Vice President of Residential & Community Care

Aja has more than 15 years of experience working in the areas of residential management and operations, crisis intervention, child welfare, domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, prisoners’ rights, and alternative court systems. Aja began her time with SAFE as a Youth Care Worker in the Teen Parent & Early Childhood Program; since then, she has worked in management in all SAFE’s Children’s Shelter Programs, served as the Senior Director of Community Advocacy, and she is the agency’s Licensed Childcare Administrator. Prior to her time with SAFE, Aja worked as an advocate and case manager for people in prison, and wrongfully convicted exonerees, with agencies such as the Innocence Project, the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Queens Mental Health Diversion Program, and Justice Now. Aja also worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as a hotline advocate at Safe Horizon, and she is an experienced research assistant. Locally, Aja has served on numerous community groups and task forces, and she currently co-leads the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Work Group, through the Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Drawing on her many years as a competitive athlete and captain, Aja is highly regarded for her supervisory skills and team-building, and enjoys helping managers and direct service teams improve their services to survivors, support one another, and care for themselves.

Aja and her teams provide 24/7 care to youth and young adults, through good times and bad, delivering support and opportunities to rebound from trauma. A good day for her is when she sees direct care staff connecting with young people and enjoying the mundane — listening to music, laughing over a silly movie, or playing sports on campus. Aja has a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from the CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a BA in Legal and Women’s Studies from Hampshire College; she is a certified TBRI Practitioner and a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator.

Aja Recommends Reading: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc