Meet YC’s new staff


I feel fortunate to introduce you to four new members of the Youth Communication staff. Our team has a bold vision: to radically increase the representation of student voices in schools and youth development programs by expanding the use of our unique student-written stories.  

For the past several years, we have increased our impact through partnerships with institutions to implement our SEL curriculum and professional development programs–  all anchored to our teen-written stories.  

Each of these talented and experienced professionals will have a large part to play in continuing Youth Communication’s growth. Valrie Barrett, our new Senior Director of Operations, will strengthen and enforce YC’s infrastructure. Francisco Cruz, our new Director of Business Development is cultivating our community of education partners, and bringing YC’s stories to more schools and youth development programs. Tara DeWorsop, our new Senior Director of Development, will strengthen YC’s fundraising and development work, and expand our community of philanthropic supporters. And, Dana Nurse, our Director of Culturally Responsive Education Programs will build and pilot our innovative, new culturally responsive education program.  

I feel honored to lead such a skilled and passionate team and hope you will join me in welcoming them to the YC community.  


Betsy Cohen
Executive Director

Valrie Barrett 

I believe in young people having their voices be heard and giving them agency over their experiences. Youth Communication has elevated young people’s voices through the power of storytelling, and using their stories to guide curriculum development based on social-emotional learning principles to help educators in their work.  I am excited to be a part of Youth Communication to support this effort as Senior Director of Operations.  In this role, I oversee and manage Youth Communication’s infrastructure to ensure it is in line to support and keep pace with the growth and expansion of the organization.   

Francisco Cruz 

Hello everyone! I’m Francisco Cruz and I’m responsible for expanding our community of partners, leading sales operations, and supporting nationwide growth. I come to Youth Communication from Peer Health Exchange, where I led a near-peer program that emphasized providing young people with sexual and mental health education and within my last year there, I led sustainable regional expansion across the Northeast. As a former English Language Arts and Special Education teacher, I have centered educational equity and social impact in all of my work. I hope to deepen YC’s impact by sustainably expanding partnerships with schools, districts, and youth agencies who could benefit from our story-based, culturally relevant education programs centered on youth voices. 

Tara DeWorsop  

Hello! My name is Tara DeWorsop and I am excited to introduce myself as YC’s new Senior Director of Development. I am responsible for increasing resources and making connections for Youth Communication through fundraising and friend-raising. I come to YC with a BA in Cultural Anthropology, an MBA from NYU Stern, and over 15 years of experience working with international and local nonprofits in Development and Communications. My work has taken me across the U.S., Asia, and Africa and I am passionate about supporting education, mental health, and individuals impacted by the carceral system. I was drawn to YC because of its youth-centered, story-based approach to SEL learning and am inspired by the educators that are working toward real systemic change. I cannot wait to meet the young writers in our program and the entire YC community. Please reach out to connect! 


Dana Nurse 

As a former New York City public school student and high school English teacher, I understand the unique responsibility our educators have to integrate culturally responsive methods into their teaching practice. Our diverse student population deserves opportunities to not only understand that their cultures are valued, but to feel as though it is advantageous for others to learn about them. I see no better way to spend my time than doing everything I can to ensure that young people have spaces where they can see themselves reflected in the learning environment, and where they feel empowered to be their full, authentic selves.  

I am committed to connecting teachers and youth workers with the tools they need to create inclusive, equitable, and community-centered spaces. I am extremely proud to serve at YC, where youth voices are the backbone of everything we do.   

yc_admin Youth Comm

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