Assistant Program Director
Cheryl received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Clark University in 2013. She has worked as a volunteer coordinator and group mentor for girls ages 9-12 for All Kinds of Girls (Worcester, MA) and as a counselor for Dutchess Arts Camp (Poughkeepsie, NY). Cheryl joined the Main IDEA team in 2012 as the Creative Writing Teacher.
Lorrie is originally from Baltimore, MD, but has lived in Main South, Worcester since 2009. She recently completed my Master of Arts in Teaching at Clark University where she completed a yearlong practicum in the Worcester Public Schools. Lorrie has experience working with youth in Main South in teaching positions as well as mentorship positions through programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, All Kinds of Girls, and Horizons for Homeless Children. Lorrie’s deepest passion lies in working with urban youth and the input of a variety of experiences has attributed to this calling.
Ellen is a rising senior at Clark University where she studies psychology/women’s and gender studies. Ellen loved working with Main IDEA last year and since has been spreading the word about it on campus to recruit more volunteers!
Britnie is a Criminal Justice major at Quinsigamond Community College, and is also a member of the Honor Society. She has been working with children under the age of 9 for about nine years through various organizations.
Nate studied Music Education at Eastern Nazarene College, with a concentration on Piano Performance. Traveling to Jamaica in 2013 and 2010, He worked with local communities near Kingston, doing construction and working with youth. Nate has been the Owner/Operator of local construction company for the past 3 years. 2014 marks Nate’s 2nd year working with Main IDEA.
Juan “Reez” Benitez
Dance Program Leader
Juan, also known as “Reez” in the Hip Hop dance community, has been dancing under the style of urban street dance called Bboying (Breakdancing) for 17 years. He has proudly performed and competed in front of live crowds all over New England and other states with his group, Top Rock Crew, which originated in Worcester, Mass since 1994. He teaches the basic fundamentals of breakdancing in a fun and safe environment where kids learn how to express themselves through this art form. Juan has also served as a positive role model in his community by contributing to the inner city youth by hosting Hip Hop dance events and getting involved in various after school programs and teen centers. As a gifted teacher, Juan is dedicated to helping individuals find their own true spirit of dance through Hip Hop culture.
Music Program Leader
Shaun grew up in the Greater Worcester area, attended college and graduate school in Worcester, and currently resides in the Main South, Worcester neighborhood. In college he studied nursing and music. Shaun has a strong passion for the arts and for the health of our community, and loves the way these both come together in Main IDEA! He is a firm believer that exposure to and engagement in the arts has a significantly positive impact on the mental and physical well-being, and overall growth and development of youth. Shaun’s specialty is in music, and he loves to see kids become energized and inspired by creating a rhythm or melody on an instrument, or singing a song!
Creative Drama Leader
John Rupeck received his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from St. Joseph’s College, NY, with concentration on Theatre, and a minor in English. He spent his college internship with “Spotlight on Children Inc.” in 2009, and also tutored at Long Island Youth Mentoring. Additionally, John tutored through St. Joseph’s College in English, Spanish, Math and General Studies. John is a Co-Founder of Main IDEA, and will serve his third year as the Theatre/Creative Drama Teacher for the Day-Program this summer. “In a generation where it is all but necessary to grow up too quickly, I want to see imagination brought back into kids’ lives.”
Visual Art Program Leader
Jessica Richland received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and her Bachelor’s Degree in both Studio Art and Psychology from Clark University, MA. She spent her college internship teaching visual art at the “Children’s Art Village,” in India. Jessica is a Co-Founder of Main IDEA and will serve her third year as the Visual Art Teacher for the Day-Program this summer. “I love Main IDEA because it gives kids in Main South the resources and opportunity to explore various art forms, to learn, to reimagine their worlds, express themselves, and just have fun.”
Creative Writing Leader
Thu Nguyen graduated Clark University with a bachelor degree in Studio Art and Sociology while minoring in Urban Education. Growing up in the Main South area of Worcester, MA ignited her passion and desire to become an art teacher serving urban youth. In August 2012, she co-founded the N-CITE Media Collective which aims to disrupt the dominant narrative through its three projects: Soul TV, Community Cinema Worcester, and the SPIT-IT after school program. She joined the Main I.D.E.A team as a creative writing teacher assistant in the Summer of 2012. She is also currently a Junior Mentor Coordinator for Clark University’s All Kinds of Girls program. “Main IDEA is something I wish I got to experience when I was younger so being presented to help do this in my home was an offer I couldn’t possibly turn away from.”
Eve was born and raised in Worcester, MA where she attended St Mary’s Jr/Sr High School. When she graduated in 1995, Eve attended UMass Amherst where she earned two BA’s degrees in Sociology and Psychology. After Eve graduated in 1999, she began to work in the higher education field as a college counselor in Springfield, MA. When she became pregnant with her first son, she moved back to Worcester and started to work in College Admissions. For the next 11 years, Eve worked in College Admissions, had another child and purchased our first home in Worcester. Later, she decided to leave her profession to become a stay-at-home mom. While at home, Eve began her own independent college counseling service, began reading applications for Northeastern University and for fun, and became a manicurist. Eve is now a full time mom (or household engineer) with a bunch of part time jobs to keep from going crazy in her house.
Shannon grew up in Holden, Mass. and was home-schooled through high school. She completed a bachelor’s in journalism/political science at Roosevelt University in Chicago and a master’s at the University of Illinois at Springfield. After working as a reporter in Springfield and Chicago, and a year in Florida, Shannon moved bacl home to the Worcester area.
Jessica is a History major and Middle School Education Minor. She has spent this year volunteering as a Classroom Assistant in a 6th grade classroom at the Goddard School. Jessica is excited to help students experience different forms of art and feels that students should know of different forms of art because they can find new ways to express themselves.