Established in September 2021
*Looking for High School students to fill leadership positions
Sense of community
Physical and emotional wellness
Meet our Team
Riya Chandra - Founder Jenice Mateo-Toledo - Advisor
I am a 12th grader at Hastings High School in Westchester, New York. As a girl of color who loves the outdoors and hiking, I want to share my experiences with other girls of color, some of who may not have had enough opportunities to enjoy the many wonderful hikes we have near us. During the COVID pandemic I began to really appreciate the impact of hiking and its benefit on my physical and emotional wellness.
I routinely hike with family in my local neighborhoods. I spent two weeks this summer with the Outward Bound school in Colorado, backpacking and hiking through the Rocky Mountains!! I have also climbed two of the three highest peaks in Vermont (Mt. Mansfield and Camel's Hump) Additionally, I am first-aid and CPR certified by the American Red Cross. In the summer of 2022, I submitted Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa as well as the highest free standing mountain in the world.
Loan Nguyen - Advisor
Loan Nguyen (she/her/cô)
LGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator for Generation Q in Youth Services. Queens Community House, New York
LoAn Nguyen is the proud mother to a queer daughter with transgender
experience. In her prior career, LoAn was a classroom teacher to 1st and
2nd graders in Florida, California, and China. She sought out PFLAG NYC
when she relocated to New York City. After a year as a community volunteer, she joined professionally in 2019 and is responsible for support
programs, training facilitators, and guiding individuals who reach out to
PFLAG NYC for assistance. Within PFLAG NYC, LoAn has been a strong
advocate for API Rainbow Parents, promoting culturally sensitive
communication and programs to support parents and children of Asian &
Pacific Islander backgrounds. Outside of PFLAG NYC, LoAn can be found
volunteering with the Ali Forney Center in the capacity of meditation
facilitator. LoAn is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and
completed her M.A. in Teaching at University of South Florida.
Jenice has been an educator for over 25 years. She has taught high school English, English as a New Language (Grades K-12), and is currently the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator in the Hastings-on-Hudson School District, located in Westchester County. She is the chair of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award Committee, which annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people. She is also a member of #JustLit, an affiliated MASCLab project that is housed in the CMLTD program at Teachers College, Columbia University, an organization that focuses on resources that center multimodal exploration for social change. Her research interests include English language learners, racial literacy, and culturally responsive pedagogies in predominantly white school spaces.
Monica Fantauzzi - Advisor
I was born and raised in New York City. My current profession is registered dietitian. My first career was being a school-teacher which gave me with skills working with youth of all ages, elementary to High school. I was in the Peace Corps, where I did a lot of trekking, hiking, camping, and exploring of all sorts of terrain. I am a certified yoga instructor, have lived in six different countries, and traveled extensively which included hiking off beaten paths in Turkey, to trekking through a Malaysian jungle, coming face to face with an orangutan, to camping on a beach in the Middle East while camels roamed freely around me.