Director of Operations
Jared started at The Brick House as an AmeriCorps member in 2003. Following the AmeriCorps term he was hired as the Youth Programs Coordinator and spent several years building Teen Center programs. After a couple more position changes, he has been the Director of Operations since 2010, making sure that The Brick House meets its commitments to funders, building community partnerships, and helping to keep our old firehouse fixed up.Jared lives in Florence with his wife, son, and two dogs. He also works as a musician and sound engineer, and owes a lot of thanks to The Brick House for years of experience running concerts and open mics!
Karen is in her second incarnation at The Brick House. From early 2004 to the end of 2009, she served as the Outreach Coordinator, which grew to include coordinator of the Great Falls Art Fest, Brick House Mural Projects, and Brick House AIR (artist-in-residence program); and co-coordinator of the downtown open studio walks and the Healthy Start Back-to-School events. At present, she serves as the Administrative Assistant, performing payroll and bill payment duties.
Karen grew up on the Mount Hermon campus, where her father taught Science and Mathematics, and in Bernardston, once he became a professor at Greenfield Community College. Education, specifically in literature and writing, led her to a BA in English and Master of Education, which she uses a great deal in her other job, as Director of Cushman Library in Bernardston. She was librarian at Sheffield School for twelve years during the 90s and early
00s. At one time, the Teen Center was populated with many former students.
Karen lives in Northfield with her two feline children, Persephone and Idyllic. She loves to swim more than anything, but also likes to sculpt, sing, garden, and refinish furniture.
Parent and Family Services Coordinator
Abby grew up in Connecticut, but moved to western Massachusetts from Tucson, Arizona in 2011. Before moving to this area, she was involved in immigrant rights work in the US/Mexico border region. She also taught literacy and advocacy skills for adults in Adult Basic Education programs and Family Literacy classes at several of Tucson’s community education centers and schools.
When Abby is not at The Brick House, she spends her time gardening, cooking, playing in the woods, and raising kids. As a parent herself, she finds it particularly rewarding to be able to work with other parents and their children. She values collaborating with the many organizations that serve families in Franklin County, and is glad to be a part of the larger effort of The Brick House to make this community a stronger and more vibrant one.
Dana Lee Mengwasser,
Youth Programs Manager
Dana Lee Mengwasser began working with The Brick House in the Spring of 2014. They are committed to advancing opportunities for youth leadership and empowerment through principles of Positive Youth Development. Dana works in the Teen Center where they oversee drop-in hours, design and facilitate programming, and supervise the AmeriCorps Member and Youth Program Support Staff. Dana is dedicated to fostering community collaboration through participation in local coalitions, including the Gill-Montague Community School Partnership, Youth Services Council, Youth Career Connections Council, Communities That Care Coalition, and Mass Grad Coalition.
Dana Lee graduated from Hampshire College with a BA in Liberal Arts, where they studied arts, social justice, and non-profit organizational structure. and they have a long history of work within youth programming and non-profit organizations. In their life away from the Brick House, Dana facilitates a preschool story-hour at a local library and coaches a synchronized swimming team. They enjoy houseplants, glitter, and being by the ocean.
Youth Program Support Staff
Nina Yagual joined The Brick House team in the summer of 2016 and is very excited to facilitate youth art programs. She is a mixed media artist with a strong focus in the liberation of Black, Brown and Indigenous people.
Nina is always finding new ways to cultivate space for creative growth and artistic confidence within the youth community. She is involved in local organizing and recognizes that social change is more likely to occur when people are empowered. She invites local youth to take on leadership roles to promote self-healing and emotional independence through the arts. Nina facilitates Momentum Art Group at The Brick House and is excited to share youth led projects to the broader community. She also assists with the Teen Drop-In center during the week and is committed to strengthening her friendships with all the participants at The Brick House.
Youth Program Support Staff
J joined The Brick House as an AmeriCorps member in November 2016. Their passion for serving the community comes from having grown up in Turners Falls and attending Turners Falls High School. They are dedicated to social justice and incorporating activism into the work that they do, while giving back to the community that they were raised in. J helps to oversee the Teen Center drop-in hours as well as aids in the facilitation of youth programming both at The Brick House and Community Action Youth Programs, where they are completing an internship. They will graduate from Elms College with a BSW in May 2017.”