Yaga Staff 2021 Introduction
From our Young Adults at General Assembly staff to the wider Unitarian Universalist Community:
This is a turning moment in our country, world, faith, and young adult movement. Youth and young adults have long taken important leadership from times of crisis to times of change with radical and bold faithful courage. Our generation of young adult leaders are changing the face of our shared tradition, and rethinking and revisioning the way we do young adult ministry and how we engage across our generations. We are working on transforming ourselves and our faith with resilience, urgency, and a deep commitment to the values and communities that are at the center of our religion.
As a team, the change-making and vision-building we hope to foster are built on the values we have instilled into our covenant. We are engaging ourselves as a living community capable of vulnerability and growth, keeping strong faith in the goodness and power of one another, and holding radical space for folx existing in the margins. This year, we are changing the way we create and build young adult ministry at General Assembly by leaning into the principles of emergence. We are creating a community that will sustain us in the critical fights we have ahead of us. With deep love in our hearts, we are working on developing emergent programming for this year’s GA.
We are thrilled to introduce you to our 2021 Young Adults at General Assembly Staff!
YA@GA Senior Co-Coordinator - Martha Durkee-Neuman
Martha Durkee-Neuman (she/her/hers) is a UU young adult originally from Washington State, now belonging to the Boston area. She serves as a community organizer, religious educator, first year seminarian, and a progressive political trainer working on helping people run for office. Martha is passionate about transformative justice, interfaith community building, and abolition. She can usually be found swing dancing, story telling, tarot reading, picking flowers, staring at the moon, and conducting Zoom finger puppet theater.
YA@GA Junior Co-Coordinator - Dandelion Prinsloo
Dandelion Prinsloo (they/them) is a Maasai-American who came into their Unitarian Universalist faith in their mid-20’s, and is now a member of a congregation in Atlanta, Georgia. They are currently studying for a Master’s in Resilient and Sustainable Community Planning, and will continue their education with a PhD in Sustainability Education starting next year. Dandelion enjoys performing Improv, soup, going on long walks with their friends, and listening to podcasts and audiobooks. They are committed to reclaiming the stewardship of our planet to Indigenous people (#LandBack), and educating our youth on global wicked issues such as environmental racism.
Thrive@GA YAs of Color Facilitator - Jaidyn Bryant
Jaidyn Bryant (she/her/hers) is a UU young adult from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently lives in New Orleans where she is a pre-med student of Biology and medical Spanish. When she isn’t studying or in class, she is making wire jewelry with an array of crystals for her business, painting with her roommate or finding something random to do while listening to music or podcasts. Jaidyn is very passionate about social justice and subverting ideas and structures that are positioned against compassion and sustainable life and is very grateful for her UU upbringing for helping her realize this in both senses of the word. She is super excited to be building community with other people of color this year!
Worship & Spirituality Facilitator – Kitty Valbuena
Kitty Valbuena (she/they) is a pagan-UU emerging adult who hails from Washington State, and currently lives in Ashland, Oregon. She is serving her third year on the Pacific Western Region Emerging Adult Task Force. They are a Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) major specializing in Trans Studies, and a Native American Studies (NAS) minor. Kitty has committed themselves to living their life in service towards our collective liberation. She often spends her time creating and consuming stories, meditating, taking walks, and both participating in and critiquing the institution of academia.
Community Care & Access Facilitator – Liz Wendell
Liz Wendell (they/them) is a lifelong UU and Midwesterner currently residing on Massachusett land in Dorchester. They live in community with their partner, friends, and wonderful monster of a cat Crispin where they are currently working on an amalgamation of freelance writing, running a home micro-bakery, and local mutual aid work. Liz is an alum of Wellesley College ‘18 where they double majored in Peace and Justice Studies and Religion. They are passionate about building inclusive, spirit-filling, and rigorously loving communities in and out of Unitarian Universalism.
UUA Emerging Adult Ministry Associate – Rev. Stevie Carmody
Stevie Carmody (he/him) is a UU minister who works for the UUA as the Emerging Adult Ministry Associate in the office of Lifespan Faith Engagement. In that role, Stevie accompanies the YA@GA team. Stevie lives on Lenape land in Sunnyside, a neighborhood in Queens, NYC. When he's not zooming into UU-landia, you can find him cooking in the kitchen, running very slowly, and turning food scraps at the community garden.