I have had the opportunity to participate in multiple NPASS2 and Advancing Youth Development trainings provided by RND Associates through the Family League of Baltimore. I found them to be thorough, engaging and embedded in research-based youth development strategies. Even as an experienced educator with over 20 years of formal and informal education experience, participation in training called for me to reflect and refine my current practice while continuing to learn and grow professionally. I highly recommend RND Associates for training.
Alisha N. Sparks
Baltimore Programs Director
Center for Educational Outreach
Whiting School of Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
We have been working with RnD Associates/Global for a few years. They conducted focus group discussions and surveys to assess opportunities and challenges that mid-level managers and senior managers of one of our clients, a major engineering company in Ethiopia. They provided detailed summary of their findings and also included recommendations for enhancing job satisfaction, maximizing resources and addressing gaps and needs. They delivered targeted trainings with innovative training design and delivery that was unique to us and our clients and the impact was substantial. We all can't get enough of RnD's support and we are delighted to be working with them and we look forward to an closer partnership.
Yemisi Yonata Atannagbowo
Ethiopia and United Arab Emirates
"Rebkha Atnafou has been passionately committed to serving and aiding in the development of youth. As one of her mentees at the age of 17 to present she has consistently been a fixed figure in my life from providing resources valuable information of the resources available to youth growing up, supporting me on a personal level like when my mother died to now in adulthood nurturing our professional relationship. Her character speaks volumes as a reliable woman with integrity and most importantly empathy. I’m grateful for our friendship and her presence through the years.“
- Franchón Crews-Dezurn, WBC World Super Middleweight Champion
"As a graduate of your Advancing Youth Development Training series, I immediately made changes to the way I work with youth. I also changed the trajectory of my career to aspire to support professional development in Baltimore City because I knew that EVERYONE INTERACTING WITH YOUNG people needed the information you teach and I wanted to make sure it was available.
Now, as the Program Director of Professional Development with the Family League, I get to provide that same experience and witness the same light go off in others. Thank you. Continue to bless our city and it’s youth the way you blessed me and all the thousands of youth I impact."
Program Director of Professional Development
Family League of Baltimore
“On my senior year at the Johns Hopkins University, I first met Rebkha as the guest speaker in one of my Public Health classes. I was attracted to her work involving the immigrant youth in Baltimore City. I expressed my interest to work with her and we then started to work on two community-based research projects: Colorectal Cancer Screening in Baltimore and Tobacco Use Among Youth. Our relationship instantly evolved from research colleagues to a close mentor-mentee. As a pre-med student, Rebkha has given me valuable resources and opportunities to help my career path. She has been my constant support throughout my pre-med journey from taking the MCAT to exploring other professions and to applying to medical schools (and I got accepted!). Rebkha helped lay out my options during my career exploration and aligned each option to my personal career goal, providing me timely information about several programs and scholarships. She has also been with me during all my personal ordeals (such as my mom battling against cancer). She has kept me strong and resilient through all the challenges. I am fortunate that I met someone like Rebkha and that we have built a relationship where I consider her as my second mom.”
Jenina Ezra David
Research Assistant at the Johns Hopkins Hospital
“Rebkha has been an amazing mentor who strives consistently for results and excellence. I’ve known Rebkha as Faculty advisor for the Hopkins Africa Business Club. As president of the club, I’ve always been lifted by the incisive advice and intense support for the initiatives that we have pursued as a club. Most notably, Rebkha supported us deeply as we brought the first, widely successful Africa Business Conference to the Hopkins Carey Business School. Be it, support with fundraising strategy or leveraging her strong relationships to bring high profile persons to the conference, Rebkha has been such a pleasure to work with and a robust pillar of support and advice.”
MBA, Dean’s Scholar
Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business
"Rebkha has been a wonderful mentor to me for so many years. I met Rebkha nearly ten years ago while I was on the Baltimore City Youth Commission. Our relationship blossomed from a common interest in youth development. Rebkha has poured countless time, wisdom, and financial investments into my growth. I could not thank Rebkha enough for the continued guidance, respect and support she shows me. I appreciate the "no's" she gave me and how she'd hold me accountable to strive for better. I'm grateful she chose me to pour love into. I'm so glad to have her a part of my village."
Special Assistant to Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa
University of Maryland University College
Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Fellow '18
Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute
Rebkha Atnafou made a huge impact on my introduction to youth development and in helping me to become competent and confident in my work as a youth-serving professional. In 2001, I moved back to Baltimore, Maryland after living in Clemson, South Carolina for nearly a decade. I had worked in the area of animal husbandry and veterinary medicine for many years, some in partnership with Clemson University and some in private veterinary practices. I worked for the federal government just before my move back to my hometown of Baltimore.
Upon my arrival in Baltimore I began volunteering for a small faith-based after-school program in Southwest Baltimore. Here, I was introduced to the After School Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing technical assistance and networking supports among school-based and community-based after-school programs in Baltimore. Through this organization she created, Rebkha mentored, trained and nurtured after school professions, teaching us the importance of our work in shaping the positive develop of children and youth.
Her style of active engagement, listening and applying, bringing relevancy of youth development and positive youth outcomes opened a whole world and new passion to me. Attending monthly TASI meetings strengthened my skills, raised my awareness of the importance of healthy youth-adult relationships; intentionality in sending key messages and ensuring touch points with youth in community; and ensuring relevancy and rigor happens. Advancing Youth Development gave me a knowledge base of the importance of intentional and mindful practice, history of the evolution of youth development through the lens of funders, and how policy meets practice when caregivers, funders, and educators consider their roles in addressing developmental assets of children and adolescents.
Rebkha has been my mentor and example from the beginning. Each milestone I’ve achieved, I’ve felt and experienced her support and example. In 2009, as I transitioned to the Center for Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health from serving youth in a school and community setting, Rebkha’s leadership and example hugely impacted my further development. She had done prior work with the Center in the development of a guide explaining the stages of adolescent development, translating the science into layman’s terminology. My first task was to read the guide and plan the launch event to celebrate its publishing. I was encouraged seeing her name as one of the developers, something I saw as a sign that I was in the right place. Since that time over ten years ago, Rebkha has been apart of almost every significant development in my work. Our friendship and work together in trainings and support of the youth serving community brings me a sense of accomplishment and value. Our relationship models the kind of mentor-mentee friendship we try to teach others everyday. I am humbled and grateful to have benefited and shared with others what I have received from and through my mentoring relationship.
We were blown away by the training we received from RnD. We brought Rebkha and her team in to lead a series of AYD staff trainings at a time when our program was undergoing design changes, and with that, changes to our staffing, all of whom were entry-level and experienced in a specific enrichment area like music, art or dance. We needed support with pulling it all together and adding consensus to our approach in working with our students. They designed a program specifically to meet the needs of our team and program and were happy to advise our leadership team in weaving elements of the training into later program design iterations.
Rebkha began coaching me at a time when I really wanted growth opportunities in my career. She was able to provide incredible insight on opportunities available to me and helped me outline a pathway to advance my career through the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program. Rebkha coached me through selecting a graduate program and even supported me during the admissions process. Her industry knowledge and guidance are truly invaluable. I've since increased my salary by over 60%.
Rebkha Atnafou is one of those unique individuals who successfully brings empathy, passion and intellect to whatever task she faces. She has been the driving force behind the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program effectively herding varying personalities into a cohesive cohort of instructors serving in the program. Her empathy serves her well in being able to identify and converse with scholars, activists, fellows, corporate leaders, public officials, and clergy. Her intellect has been brought to bear in helping to shape out of school time programming and its implementation through her work with the Maryland Out of School Time Initiative. She is data driven but not to the exclusion of anecdotal stories that shed light on significant issues. Her passion has led her to champion causes that relate to youth and to be an advocate for poor, disenfranchised, dispossessed and marginalized people in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. She is a 21st century woman who represents well in all arenas.
-Bishop Douglas Miles, Co-Chair
Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (BUILD)
The training allowed us to be more considerate and reflective on youth and what they are going through and then take inventory of our mind sets and practices as individuals and also our practices as an organization and is it reflective and considerate of the youth and how they are developing. That was the biggest thing. It was like a mindset .
It was actually recommended to me and I checked it out and I went to the first one and fell in love with it. I thought it was extremely practical and very aligned to what I was doing
Dr. Otis Brawley of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Oncology speaks with Rebkha Atnafou regarding community outreach and engagement in cancer prevention.
"Many times the public only gets the chance to see @projectpneuma during programming or special events, but behind the scenes we are ALWAYS working hard to improve our model. Our students absolutely deserve our best. . . we had a great meeting with our independent evaluation team, RnD Associates to analyze the effectiveness of our summer biomedical program. They are an integral component in our growth and they help us streamline how we collect, interpret, and use data. Strong partnerships are a key to success." - Dr. Damien Myers, Project Pneuma
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