Hailing from a family of educators, Ayana Abdul-Raheem discerned her passion for education and working with youth at a very young age. Ayana is currently the CEO and Founder of Timbuk2 Academy, a culturally centered early childhood academy located in Trenton, NJ and T2A Youth Empowerment Programs, a subsidiary of Timbuk2 Academy; providing developmentally appropriate programs and services to youth of all ages. Ayana is directly responsible for all administrative, management and operational duties, including writing grants, educational curriculums and youth programs.
Ayana’s 25 plus years of experience working with youth cover a wide spectrum. From athletic coaching, tutoring, performing arts and teaching grades K- 12, but some of her most impactful experiences and accomplishments formulated during her ten years of implementing diversion/intervention programs, involving at-risk youth for the Trenton Police Department. In 2014, she was assigned to lead the City of Trenton’s YouthStat program. Through her leadership, the program was successful; reducing chronic absenteeism, juvenile crimes and recidivism, with only three (3) out of one hundred (100) youth re-offended.
Maintaining a caseload consisting of 60% girls, in conjunction with her extensive background in social services and law enforcement, specifically juvenile justice, in 2010, Ayana was invited to join the New Jersey Governor Young Women’s Action Alliance Committee. Her work with the committee addressed the rights and rising numbers of girls entering into the Juvenile Justice system and advocated for the increase of gender specific programming within the juvenile justice and other systems, to administer programs and resources for girls across the nation. A proactive problem solver, desperate to support girls in the City of Trenton, in 2017, Ayana began hosting monthly “girls only” sessions, which later evolved into HEY GIRL!, a holistic rites and mentoring program for girls.
A current member of the Collation for Juvenile Justice based out of Washington, DC, Ayana continues to study, and attend conferences and trainings pertaining to juvenile justice, and education to ensure efficiency when servicing the youth and community.
Raised in Trenton, NJ, Ayana earned a B.S. in Sociology from New Jersey City University and a Masters in Early Childhood Education. She is also a certified NFA- Youth Fire Setting Intervention Specialist.