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. In 2018, Jana was asked to join Boston Children’s Hospital’s Community Advisory Board. 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
Director of Training & Outreach Initiatives

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 and since that time, has been an integral part of growing the organization and its services. In July 2013, Jordan was promoted to Milieu Coordinator, a role that he helped to design and implement, and 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. In July of 2019, Jordan became BYS’s first Director of Training and Outreach Initiatives, spreading his knowledge, skill and experience in trauma-informed youthwork to more providers in the community.

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.

Alvin Morris
Milieu Director

Alvin began his career in childcare as a paraprofessional at the Condon Elementary extended school year program where he worked from 2007-2009. In the summer of 2010, Alvin became a Direct Care Supervisor at Casa Isla Short-Term Revocation Center acting as a mentor and advocate for young inner-city males who have experienced gang involvement and violence in the community. In 2012, Alvin became a Therapeutic Mentor at The Home for Little Wanderers offering structured 1:1 strength-based support services to youth up to age 21. In 2014, Alvin joined the Face Forward program as a Case Manager helping to connect families with needed and available community resources. In February of 2016, Alvin continued his work with youth as a Trauma Therapeutic Mentor and Outreach Coordinator at the Mattapan Community Health Center. Alvin worked with youth ages 6-21 on building strength-based therapeutic skills, mentoring and building behavioral, independent living and social skills. In 2018, Alvin was a recipient of the Mothers for Justice and Equality Courage and Conviction Award for his work with youth and families in the Boston community. Alvin is a graduate of West Roxbury High School and former attendee of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where he lettered in football.

Shirlane Waithe
Director of Family Services

Shirlane was born and raised In Massachusetts. She has worked for more than 13 years in various capacities as a human service professional. She has worked with leading providers of the highest quality residential treatment services in New England. Shirlane’s dedication to advocacy and direct service work has developed over the past several years through personal and professional experiences. She has worked with adults, at-risk girls, children and their families dealing with issues including commercial sexual exploitation, mental health issues, eating disorders, behavioral disorders, developmental and intellectual disabilities and criminal involvement. In her capacities as direct care and supervisory staff, Shirlane has helped facilitate counseling, treatment, transition and aftercare planning and trauma recovery work. She also received training on the principles of CBT and DBT, which she integrated into her work. In addition to the aforementioned training, Shirlane is a certified SOLVE de-escalation and CPR/First AID trainer. As a supervisor, she has successfully built cohesive and motivated teams that are well trained and fully capable of meeting the diverse needs of communities. Shirlane’s passion is bringing healing to people who have been through traumatic and stressful experiences. She seeks to impact the lives of disenfranchised populations in a way that is empowering. Shirlane graduated from Springfield College in 2014. She is currently working on her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northern Vermont University.

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 Musso, MA, LMHC
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!

Jessica Berrara
Administrative Liaison

Jessica was born and raised in Boston, MA. After living in El Salvador for three years, she witnessed and experienced the value of helping others in need and has since devoted her life to doing so. She previously worked in different healthcare facilities and has over a decade of administrative experience. After volunteering at Horizon for Homeless Children, she realized her passion for connecting with children, and also enjoyed doing so for four years in an administrative position at a Charter School. Jessica plans to continue her education, hoping to attend Lesley University, where she plans to focus on a holistic approach to psychology. She enjoys jogging, cooking healthy meals, and watching anime with her son. Jessica joined the BYS team in 2019.

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.

Shakeil Samuel
Milieu Coordinator

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.

Kayla McKeon
Milieu Counselor

Kayla is currently an undergraduate student at Lesley University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has been working with youth from a variety of backgrounds since 2012, with BYS being her first time doing so in a professional setting. She works to build therapeutic rapport with the children she interacts with and strives to form meaningful and trusting relationships. She aims to provide a constant source of support to everyone she works with. Kayla began interning at BYS in September of 2018. In January of 2019, she joined the Boston Youth Sanctuary staff as a Milieu Counselor and is thrilled to continue to grow and learn within this amazing community.

Destanie Rodrigues
Milieu Counselor

Destanie is from Dorchester and has always had a passion for helping others, especially youth. While in high school, she volunteered assisting with preschool students at her former PreK-8 school in Roxbury. She was also part of the Best Buddies program, which focuses on working with youth with disabilities. She continued this volunteer work until she began working at the Blackstone Community Center as a camp counselor in 2014, returning to the position the following three summers. She has worked with all types of children from various backgrounds and age groups. She takes pride in helping to instill things such as confidence, knowledge, and overall kindness in kids. She joined the BYS team as a Milieu Counselor in January of 2019.

Kianna Barbosa
Milieu Counselor

Kianna was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Boston College in the spring of 2019, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She has hopes of pursuing her Masters in Social Work in the near future. Before her freshman year at Boston College, Kianna interned at BYS for 6 weeks, which further inspired her to enter the field of Sociology. Working with children has been a dream of Kianna’s. In 2013, she volunteered at the Ellis Memorial School as a teacher’s assistant. She worked to promote the children’s learning and development by collaborating with teachers to develop lesson plans and by ensuring a safe learning environment. In 2018, she traveled to Nicaragua, where she worked with adults and children of all ages to implement sustainable health systems. She is excited to return to BYS because she believes children are the future and looks forward to working alongside BYS to provide power and wisdom to its youth. She joined the BYS team as a Milieu Counselor in August of 2019.