SMYAL is excited to welcome Adalphie Johnson as our new Programs Director! Adalphie also goes by AJ, and is a welcome addition to the SMYAL team.
Adalphie joins us from Real Talk, a member organization of Whitman-Walker Health, where she worked on improving the healthy lifestyles of youth throughout the area. We sat down with her and asked five questions to get to know her.
What is your prior professional background?
Prior to coming to SMYAL, I spent roughly ten years working in the nonprofit sector with a specific focus on youth behavior, reproductive health, community engagement, health disparities for impoverished neighborhoods, and assisting minorities to accomplish their goals of having better health outcomes.
Why did you choose SMYAL?
I chose SMYAL because I wanted to expand the work I was doing with youth to a different level. I want to work more specifically with LGBTQ youth in programs to ensure that our young people have a safe space, and also a space of empowerment. I also want to allow youth to become advocates and to take the skills they learn in our programs and apply them to create change within their community.
What is your role as Programs Director?
My role as Programs Director is to ensure that the programs, both at the youth center and in the community, are meeting the needs of the population we serve. I also provide support to Gay Straight Alliances (GSA’s) in DC area schools. Lastly, I provide youth with leadership opportunities to effectively and efficiently run programs, and to maintain the skills they learned at SMYAL to better assist other youth in the DC area now and in the future.
What is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal would be a bird because birds are able to walk when they need to and fly when they need to. Birds can also travel in water and land, which can be related back to the skills needed to be a Programs Director. Birds also have absolutely amazing colors.
What do you do when you're not at work?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I actively engage in faith institutions and meditation. I am the Executive Minister at my church! I love food so I love to eat. I really enjoy traveling and seeing new places.