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Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. is the founder and president of Community Allies, LLC. She supports educators, corporations and community leaders in doing their part to advance regional equity in St. Louis. Specifically, she draws upon the ethnodramatic approach Honoring Stories and Integrating Curriculum™ to help organizations improve their cross-cultural communication through collaborative processes that maximize organizational learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion, that yield products and services that align with broader demographics and that increase revenue. She uses this ethnodramatic method to train teachers on effective instructional methods and to implement programs for the Afterschool Labs Life Skills courses, which connect youth to community-centered learning that elevates the voices of residents, builds important bridges among youth, residents, and organizations across the region, and increases investment in sustainable neighborhoods.

Founder & President of Community Allies

Sarah Hobson, Ph.D

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Candace Ellis is a Paraprofessional at Jefferson Elementary School in Belleville, Illinois. Her
passion for housing comes from the desire to overcome her own life's struggles and of those
around her. She is committed to doing what she can to help make a difference to ensure the
lives of others and their circumstances are heard through her voice by speaking out.

Paraprofessional, Jefferson Elementary School

Candace Smith


 Assistant Superintendent in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. He has also served in the Jennings School District, as a prosecutor with the St. Louis County Counselor’s Office, and as a Children’s Service Fund Board member, all experiences that contributed to his understanding of the critical needs of North County, where he lives.

“It’s kind of funny to think that as a nation we still struggle with the idea that there can be long term trauma that can occur in communities,” Boyd says. “Somehow we accept PTSD when it comes to people who have been in war, maybe even people that have been in really bad domestic violence situations. But, for some reason, we have not acknowledged the full humanity, therefore, the full experience of trauma for African-Americans. Why wouldn’t we say that because of this multi-century history of oppression and denial of opportunity that there would be some fairly significant residue that’s being left on us as a people, as a nation?”

Boyd has a B.A. in general studies from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Illinois. He’s a member of the Leadership Council for Ready by 21, another role in which he addresses the needs of youth in distressed communities.

Ferguson-Florissant School District

Phillip Boyd

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