Staff Bios

Jana Karp, M.Ed
Founder and Executive Director

Jana was born and raised in Massachusetts. She graduated from Union College in 1999 with Honors in English. After graduating, she went on to teach third and fourth grade at St. Patrick School in Roxbury from 1999-2009 and continues to mentor former students. Jana started a Girl Scout Troop in Roxbury in 2003; the troop has since transformed into a Female Empowerment Group and currently serves former troop members now in their twenties. In 2006, she received her Masters in Education from Lesley University, where she currently sits on the Board and has been an active member of the Board of Trustees since 2008. Jana worked as a home-based Case Manager in Dorchester, MA from 2010-2011 where she coordinated services for children with mental health-related needs and their families. In 2013, she joined The Board of Trustees for The Steppingstone Foundation and in that same year, was awarded the Elizabeth Ann Seton Community Leadership Award. In 2014, she became a member of the Crossroads, MA Board of Directors. In 2015, the Chamber of Commerce named her one of Boston’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders. In 2016, Jana became a member of The Saint Patrick School Board, returning to the place where her career began. Jana’s work in Boston’s inner city over the past two decades has allowed her to work closely with many different young people in a variety of settings and communicate directly with families about their needs and the types of services they find most helpful. This work is what led her to found Boston Youth Sanctuary, Inc.

Jordan Wright, MA
Milieu Director

Jordan Wright graduated from The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics in December 2008. He began working as a Child Care Worker for The Italian Home for Children in December of 2008. In October of 2009, Jordan became a Therapeutic Mentor for the Italian Home, working with youth in the Boston community. In September of 2010, Jordan received an Outstanding Service Award for his work with youth as a Therapeutic Mentor. In November of 2010, Jordan began working as an Intensive Care Coordinator at The Home for Little Wanderers, continuing his work with families in the Boston community. In July 2012, Jordan joined the BYS team as a Case Manager. In July 2013, Jordan was promoted to Milieu Coordinator. In July 2015 Jordan was promoted to Milieu Director. Jordan received a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from William James College in July of 2016.

Danielle McFarlane
Director of Family Services

Danielle began her journey in youth work while still in high school, where she worked as mentor for the BELL Foundation and went on to work as a Youth Service Specialist for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). Prior to joining Boston Youth Sanctuary in 2015, Danielle served as the Director of Out-of-School-Time Programs for the YMCA of Greater Boston for the past ten years. As a long-time resident of Boston, she has always been an active member of her community and an advocate for the youth she serves. Her passion to support the families in her community has always been evident in the work she has done. Danielle received her Bachelors of Science degree from Springfield College in December of 2015. In her leisure time, Danielle truly enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading and writing poetry, and an occasional art class.

Esthephania Gomez (Steph), LICSW
Clinical Director

Esthephania has had a vast number of experiences volunteering in youth programs—such as after school programs—prior to 2010. In 2010, Steph began her path to obtaining a graduate degree. In 2010, Steph did her internship at Travelers Aid Family Services providing case management and stabilization skills to homeless families. In 2011, Steph did an internship with The Home for Little Wanderers: Children’s Collaborative—a residential treatment program providing individual, group and family therapy to the children in the program, as well as some home-based work. In 2012, Steph graduated from Boston College School of Social Work. After graduating, Steph worked as an In-Home Therapist (IHT) with Latino Health Institute and The Gandara Mental Health Center. During her work as an IHT Clinician, Esthephania provided individual and family therapy to children with behavioral and emotional needs and their families. Additionally, Steph aided with case management and advocacy needs of the families. In June of 2016, Esthephania was promoted from Child Clinician to Associate Director of Clinical Services at Boston Youth Sanctuary.

Adonna Ferrell, MA
Expressive Arts Therapist

Adonna is a Massachusetts transplant from Brooklyn, NY. She came to MA in 2005 to attend Eastern Nazarene College where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Religion in 2012. During this time, Adonna served as the Program Coordinator for The Center for Responsibility and Justice’s arts-based initiatives and in 2012, was able to take a team of 6 interns to teach different artistic modalities in the Bronx, NY. It was this experience that expanded Adonna’s passion for working with youth and also her understanding of the transformative power of artistic engagement. Adonna became the Office Manager for ESAC’s GED Plus Program, an educational program for at-risk youth in Boston, where she was able to create a spoken word class called the V.O.I.C.E. Scheme. In the fall of 2014, Adonna began her journey towards her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University. She completed internships at both BYS and Roger Williams Medical Center’s Dual Diagnosis Unit. After the completion of her thesis on using photography as a therapeutic intervention in 2017, Adonna began working as a Group Clinician at an adolescent detox facility. Engaging with so many clients living with unprocessed trauma caused Adonna to reflect often on her first clinical family and only made it that much easier to transition back “home” in 2018. She’s excited to continue her journey as an Expressive Arts Therapist with the BYS community.

Anna Lingan, MSW, LCSW
Child Clinician

Anna is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating from the College of Wooster in Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2010, Anna moved to Massachusetts to serve as an AmeriCorps Fellow at Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea. During this year of service, Anna developed a strong interest in education and social, emotional, and behavioral health. Anna spent several years working for non-profit and school-based organizations across the state, including Education Development Center in Waltham and after-school programs in Boston and Cambridge Public Schools. Anna first joined the BYS family as a Clinical Intern in 2016 while attending Simmons College School of Social Work. Upon graduating with her Master of Social Work and School Adjustment Counselor license in 2017, Anna served as a Family Intervention Specialist and In-Home Therapist for the Institute for Health and Recovery, providing community-based therapeutic services to youth and young adults with substance use disorders on the North Shore. Anna is thrilled to be back with the BYS family as a Child Clinician.

Peggy Jergens, MA
Child Clinician/Art Therapist

Peggy is happy to call Boston her home after coming to Lesley University in 2010 to pursue her passion for helping people to heal and grow through art and the therapeutic process. Peggy received her M.A. in Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy in 2016. Peggy began to understand how art could foster resilience, provide an outlet for expression, and raise the self-esteem of children who have survived various forms of trauma. She comes to BYS with a background in working with toddlers and preschoolers who have experienced homelessness through Horizon’s for Homeless Children, pediatric cancer patients residing at Christopher’s Haven, and with the Italian Home for Children’s trauma informed school setting, supporting the individual needs of students. Prior to joining the team at BYS, Peggy worked with youth and families from all over Boston as an in-home therapist with CBHI. Peggy enjoys working within the family to address the whole child and their needs in many settings. Peggy values and understands how vital it is to build a trusting and compassionate relationship when working with children who are survivors of trauma. She uses art, humor, dedication and perseverance as a way to build a therapeutic alliance with them. Most of all, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue supporting the amazing and resilient youth of Boston!

Stephanie Hawkins
Family Liaison

Stephanie was born and raised on Massachusetts’ North Shore. She began her work in the community as a camp counselor, in 2010, at the Roxbury YMCA. While also working in the community, she pursued and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Fitchburg State University. Stephanie began working 2011 as an infant and toddler teacher at Little Sprouts. In 2013, she transitioned to Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Roxbury where she worked for the next 3 ½ years as a preschool teacher. In 2017, she made the transition to working with teens who had experienced trauma through Mothers for Justice and Equality(MJE) as a Youth Program Coordinator. During her time at MJE, Stephanie worked with teens to develop curriculum and programming based around work force readiness, financial literacy, advocacy, and college preparation. In addition, she facilitated a STEM service learning summer program for ages 9-13. Her experience working with youth ages 0-20 has given her a wide perspective and knowledge of the needs of families in Boston’s inner city and she has worked zealously to help families meet those needs. Stephanie’s child-like enthusiasm, commitment and passion for youth work is ever present. Stephanie excitedly joined the BYS family in December of 2017.

Albert Myers
Family Liaison

Albert was born and raised in Brockton, MA. Since middle school, he has had a passion for helping others. Previously brought on board as an intern at BYS, Albert was invited to return to BYS as a Milieu Counselor after building great relationships with the staff and kids. He has proudly served his peers as a mentor and helps others make the most of their experiences. Albert graduated from Lesley University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. While studying there, he was part of multiple councils researching diversity and increasing awareness around mental health. In addition to that, he has worked to understand more about what social justice truly is, and how relevant it is in society and education. Albert plans to attend graduate school in the near future, where he will continue his work towards becoming a Doctor of Psychology and impacting his community in a positive way. In the fall of 2018, Albert transitioned from the Milieu Team to Family Services, where he now serves as a Family Liaison.

Lindsay Walcott
Administrative Liaision

As a native of Dorchester, Lindsay has always had a passion for working with youth in her community. Prior to BYS, Lindsay worked in administration as well as direct care in youth programming for the YMCA of Greater Boston. Lindsay came to BYS as an intern in 2014 from Lesley University, joined the staff team as a Milieu Counselor in October of 2015 while completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work (December 2015), and has recently accepted the role of Administrative Liaison in May 2016. Her passion coupled with her warm personality is well noted by the entire BYS team. Her commitment and connection to young people in her community continues to motivate her each day.

Sinclair Fashaw-Braxton
Senior Milieu Counselor

Sinclair grew up in the Dorchester area and started doing community service at the age of 10. He worked with his grandmother to help the communities close to where he lives. He has continued to do community service around the Dorchester area as well as venturing into areas like Cambridge for new community service experiences. He has done service projects varying from fundraising to working for nonprofits that benefit the community. During the summers of 2005 and 2006, Sinclair worked as an assistant teacher for the Boston Pilot School Program in hopes to further get involved with the community. Having worked with the City Year program and Dream it Do It organization, Sinclair raised funds for charity and logged over 600 hours of service while attending high school. Embodying integrity, energy and hard work, Sinclair will continue to pursue community service opportunities while in college and exemplify the passion his grandma introduced to him. Sinclair joined the BYS team in September 2014.

Shakeil Samuel
Senior Milieu Counselor

Before starting at BYS, Shakeil spent five years working at the Boys and Girls Club of Boston on Talbot Avenue where he was the Social Recreational Assistant working to build skills with children from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. While working with them, he started to develop a love for working with kids. Shakeil completed two years at Roxbury Community College and plans to further his education in the child care field. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised on the island of Saint Lucia before moving to Boston. During his travels he has developed a very enthusiastic personality and is a great fit to work with kids. Shakeil began working at BYS in February 2015.

About