Press Release

America’s Promise Alliance Announces New Cohort Of Youth Leaders

Seven youth leaders, ages 18-23, to assume national leadership positions

WASHINGTON – America’s Promise Alliance today named seven youth leaders to its governing boards, where they will serve as full decision-making members and help shape the direction of the organization. Three youth leaders will be serving on the Board of Directors, and four will serve as Trustees.

“Our young leaders are critical to have at the table. They bring insight, energy, and solutions to the work that we do, so it is vital that they have true representation within our leadership,” said Dennis Vega, interim president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. “We are lucky to have the opportunity to work with them and learn from their perspectives.”

The new members represent a diverse group of promising young leaders from across the country and were selected from a competitive pool of applicants. They will serve three-year terms and, will play a valuable role in the strategic direction of the organization.

Elevating the voices and experiences of young people is central to the mission of America’s Promise. The three young people serving on the board will have full voting privileges. By designating youth board members and trustees, the organization models youth involvement and provides promising young leaders with authentic leadership opportunities.

The 14-member board of directors of America’s Promise supports the mission and vision of the organization and provides strategic organizational governance. The 44 Trustees help shape the organization’s strategies, act as spokespeople, and provide insight into the current needs of the youth-serving sector that helps steer the programmatic work of the organization.

America’s Promise Alliance is pleased to welcome the following youth leaders to its governing boards:

  • Brittany Amano (Trustee), 23, is a business analyst at McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco office. Prior to entering management consulting, Ms. Amano interned at J.P. Morgan, the Partnership for Public Service, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and Amazon Web Services. She graduated from Duke University as a David M. Rubenstein Scholar with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and international comparative studies and a certificate in markets and management studies.
  • Sophia Hala Chin (Board), 20, is a freshman at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., studying international affairs and economics. Originally from South Windsor, Conn., Ms. Chin served on the Connecticut State Board of Education from 2019-2020. An accomplished tennis player, Sophia was the captain of her high school’s tennis team and provided more than 400 hours of tennis instruction to children as a volunteer at a local summer tennis program.
  • Cristian Gaines (Trustee), 18, is a senior at Newton North High School in Newton, Mass., and a student at the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development. Mr. Gaines aspires to bring social and educational equity to his community and beyond by leading Black Lives Matter protests, establishing antiracism initiatives such as Newton Overdue, and striving to be a role model for his Black and brown peers and youth.
  • Maria Salmeron-Melendez (Trustee), 21, is a student and Posse Foundation Scholar at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., where she is studying economics and government and law. Ms. Salmeron-Melendez has interned at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and served as an Accelerate Fellow with Teach for America. She received a 2017 National Gold Hispanic Heritage Foundation award in education for her leadership as a student in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).
  • Jahari Shelton (Board), 19, is a sophomore at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., and an independent consultant to Transcend Education. Mr. Shelton has worked with several education organizations and served as a youth commissioner on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission for Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. His passion for education began in 2016, when he joined the founding team of Statesman College Preparatory Academy for Boys, a middle school serving Black and brown boys in Washington.
  • Calvin Tran (Trustee), 23, is a board-certified music therapist and recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans. Following graduation, Mr. Tran spent a year tutoring and mentoring students in Tulsa, Okla. with City Year. He is passionate about exploring the intersection between education and healthcare to empower, inspire, and uplift young people and their communities.
  • Trinity Woodson (Board), 20, is a junior at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., where she studies political science. Among her many leadership experiences, Ms. Woodson is the founder of “Trinity’s TumbleReads,” an initiative to provide story time for children at a laundromat in her hometown of Suffolk, Va. Her extensive background in political engagement and advocacy includes internships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin.

For a full list of America’s Promise board and trustee members visit:


America’s Promise Alliance is the driving force behind a nationwide movement to improve the lives and futures of America’s youth. Its work is anchored in the belief that every young person deserves to succeed, and every adult is responsible for making that happen. By bringing together hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, community and civic leaders, educators, citizens, and young people, the Alliance does what no single organization can do on its own: catalyze action on a scale that reaches millions of young people.