Our Staff

Loren Miller, Executive Director

Loren comes to CAE with over 25 years of planning, leading and advocating for social justice initiatives in the US and internationally. She started her career in human rights, working for a grassroots women’s cooperative in Senegal and a United Nations/Organization of American States human rights mission in Haiti. As a cultural Anthropology graduate student, Loren partnered with a women’s cooperative in Ecuador to study the rise of women’s social power, uncovering a simultaneous rise in domestic violence.  Loren’s New York City based work includes running a family resource center demonstration project for immigrant moms in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which she developed with a team through a community planning process.  More recently, Loren worked as Associate Vice President at United Way of New York City, focused on policy around poverty and social safety net issues, non-profit capacity building, and donor collaboratives for more integrated grantmaking.  Loren has a BA in French from Brown University and has completed coursework at the University of Pittsburgh for her PhD .

Jenny DeBower, Program Director

Jenny joined CAE in 2012. She has extensive experience developing and implementing programming for LGBTQ youth, having served as the Director of After-School Programs at the Hetrick-Martin Institute/ Harvey Milk High School for four years, and the Director of Youth and Family Services at the LGBT Community Center for three years. She brings a wealth of program experience to CAE. Jenny earned her MSW in Social Work from Columbia University.

Jewel Cadet, Program Manager, Youth & Community Empowerment

Jewel joined CAE in 2015. Jewel has her B.A from Bay Path University in Massachusetts where she was the President and Founder of The Black Student Association. She brings experience in engaging intersectional curriculum development and innovative youth group facilitation (she was the Step Team Captain, Cheerleader Captain, an R.A., Student Government member, and Double Dutch Team Performer at her college). Jewel’s work experience has been with youth of all ages working as a Preschool Teacher at Traditional Educational Center and as a Youth Facilitator for  Hip Hop for Life, and the Children’s Aid Society. Jewel is a passionate social justice organizer for the rights of Women, Girls, Femmes and for the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community.

Annie Ellman, Co-Founder & Educational Advisor

Annie is a nationally recognized authority in the field of violence prevention. As CAE’s founder and former Executive Director for 30 years, Annie designed the organization’s curricula, trained over 200 violence prevention and self-defense instructors, guided CAE through 30 years of growth, and consulted with many organizations initiating anti-violence programming. Her vision, skill, and commitment have helped CAE have a positive and life-changing impact on thousands of children, teens, adults, and survivors. Annie received a Gloria Steinem Award from the Ms. Foundation and has been honored by the Stonewall Community Foundation.

Kyli Kleven, Interim Development Coordinator

Kyli joined the CAE community as a Tai Chi student, then as a data entry clerk in October 2013, and now does a range of administrative and event support, photography, filming and video editing. She holds a BFA in Dance with a minor in Gender Studies from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to her work at CAE, she dances, choreographs, and films internationally in the realms of experimental dance and knitwear design.

Izzy Finkelstein, Program Coordinator – School & Community Violence Prevention

Izzy joined CAE as a social work intern in the fall of 2016. Izzy is passionate about building community and has worked in social justice youth development at schools, summer camps and community centers. Most recently, she worked to implement restorative justice programs and social justice projects at the Bushwick Educational Campus with Make the Road New York. Before that, she was the Girls Leadership Instructor at the YWCA of the City of New York and a program leader at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center in Madison, WI. Izzy recently graduated with her MSW from Hunter College. A Park Slope, Brooklyn native, Izzy feels honored to join CAE’s long legacy of organizing to end violence, fight injustice and build community strength. When she is not at CAE, you can find her roaming Prospect Park with her chihuahua Bruse.

Rej Joo, Program Coordinator – Community Violence Prevention Program (CVPP)

With a degree in psychology and a M.P.H. from Columbia Mailman School, Rej has over 14 years of experience working with marginalized communities (LGBTQ homeless youth, HIV/AIDS-affected, TPOC, and those affected by mental illness) in the capacity of community education, case management, research, social service, and training curriculum development. He is passionate about creating and providing culturally affirming training, grounded in cultural humility framework. He has been practicing martial arts for over 10 years, specifically in the discipline of Taekwondo and Hapkido, where he holds a black belt. He has two Redfoot tortoises and one day wishes to have a miniature pig or a rabbit.”

Serena Sankofa, Office Manager

Serena joined CAE in January of 2018. Serena is experienced in the fields of development, communications and administration. She worked for the Rochester Public Library in Western New York for over three years, where she took over the duties and responsibilities of the former Office Manager who worked there for over 15 years . Prior to joining CAE she worked at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A as an Administrative Assistant, where she provided client and staff support in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic and helped plan and execute organization-wide events. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. John Fisher College in 2010. In her spare time, she volunteers with BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), and shares her spoken word poetry at open mics in Brooklyn.

Zola Z. Bruce, Interim Trainer

Zola is a social work artist with a focus on helping people create the life they want. She received her Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2001. Afterwards she worked for 12 years in youth development with organizations including the Center for Family Life, McBurney YMCA, and the LGBTQ Center focusing on creating therapeutic art programs for youth and families. Internationally she developed grassroots community health initiatives in Haiti, Ghana, and India using the arts to communicate beyond language, class, and cultural barriers. Combining her experiences in dance, sculpture, writing, and music, Zola is currently expanding her own creativity via writing and performance installations most recently exhibited in Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome and Athens.