Before joining NN4Y, Darla created and launched the Fight Child Exploitation in Tourism Initiative in South Africa and worked to reform foster care in Washington, DC. As a federal policy advocate, she fought to secure assistance for families navigating the complex criminal justice and child welfare systems. During this time, Darla established her reputation as an exceptional leader, policy advocate and grassroots organizer.
In 2013, Dara helped re-launch and re-structure NN4Y. As Policy Director, she established an unprecedented coalition of homeless youth providers, advocates, experts and young leaders from across the country. She also launched NN4Y’s 2013-2015 RHYA Reauthorization Working Group, the National Youth Advisory Council and the National Summit on Youth Homelessness. Since becoming Executive Director in 2014, Darla has continued to expand the width and depth of NN4Y’s advocacy agenda. Moreover, she has strengthened the capacity of individuals and organizations to advocate on behalf of young people experiencing homelessness.
Ms. Bardine holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Pennsylvania State University, an M.A. in Nonprofit Management from the University of Roehampton and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Yorri Berry –Harris has been engaged in youth empowerment work since landing her first internship as a teenager with Breakthrough Collaborative at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a passionate leader who has designed and led campaigns advocating for equity and access of underserved youth, engaging hundreds of youth from over 40 schools nationally. She is a respected speaker and workshop facilitator, having been featured at numerous conferences, universities, churches, schools, and political, religious & social events throughout the country.
She attended Spelman College, and is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and Howard University. She is a current Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy doctoral student at Pepperdine University; with research focusing on increasing representation of girls and women in STEM, mindfulness and holistic educational practices to promote well- being and academic achievement. She was also the youngest graduate of the Summer Leadership Institute at Harvard University for leaders involved in faith-based community and economic development initiatives.
Professionally she has served as Chief Program Officer for Jabo Industries, engaged in energy, information technology and healthcare consulting; and has worked with and managed educational and community development projects for Martha’s Table, Incorporated, KIPP Los Angeles Schools, Communities In Schools and the Children’s Defense Fund. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Covenant Full Potential Development Center (CFPDC), an organization serving hundreds of families in DC’s most underserved communities. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring, exploring new countries, zip-lining, live sporting events and art shows.
Jo Ann Paanio joins the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) as the Director of Policy & Advocacy with experiences in federal policy advocacy, human/equity centered design, education, and direct legal services. Prior to joining the NN4Y, Jo Ann focused on government relations and capacity building strategies as Policy Manager of the Forum for Youth Investment where she led a national campaign to increase pathways to education and employment for young people disconnected from school and work.
Jo Ann’s commitment to improving outcomes for children and youth began as a Legal Fellow with Whittier Law School’s Center for Children and Families. As a former legal advocate, Jo Ann’s work spanned across the child welfare, juvenile justice and immigration systems. During this time, she was also a member of the Journal of Child & Family Advocacy and taught constitutional law to high school students. Jo Ann later pursued her passion for teaching as she continued on to join the faculty of California State University, Dominguez Hills where she taught undergraduate courses in U.S. and global politics.
Jo Ann holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School.
Andrew Palomo joins NN4Y as the Direct or of Community Strategies with over 15 years of experience working with runaway and homeless youth (RHY). He began his career as overnight staff for a transitional living program and youth shelter in Pennsylvania. Andrew has held many positions in RHY programs from case manager to therapist to supervisor. Andrew supervised a maternity group home where he was responsible for the well-being of 12 parenting and pregnant young people.
Andrew was actively involved in the youth sub-committee of his local Continuum of Care (CoC) where he led the first YouthCount in his area. Andrew was a key partner in implementing Allentown’s first drop-in center for homeless LGBT youth. He worked with his local Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in developing programming at the drop-in center. One of his greatest achievements was developing leadership opportunities for YAB members. Currently, 2 YAB members have been hired on staff at the drop-in center – one member was hired as a case manager and one as a peer navigator. Andrew is passionate in developing authentic partnerships with young people and the community.
Andrew is passionate about cross-systems collaboratives. While supervising the Maternity Group Home, Andrew was involved in an integrated health collaborative which brought together various community partners to improve the health outcomes of homeless youth.
In 2013, Andrew received a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship where he spent a year working with the Ministry of Education of Guatemala to implement inclusive education for all youth, including homeless LGBT youth.
Andrew holds a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University and is currently finishing up his doctorate where he is studying the impact policy has on young people.