Staff and Board
Sam Lealofi, Executive Director
Sam has been with the organization since it began in 2011. As a former Eastside Neighborhood Association director and Eastside resident, with a work history in the nonprofit housing sector, workforce development, and funding, Sam has been instrumental in building the organization from the ground up to support the organization’s vision of creating an environment where all Eastside youth can reach their fullest potential.
Sam holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University and has completed coursework toward a Masters in Development Administration from Western Michigan University, focusing on international development and project management in developing countries.
Sam has traveled extensively, living in Europe and Africa. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Paul, and her dog, Malu.
Ashley Turnage, Program Manager
Ashley graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Performance in Health and Recreation and minored in Sociology. Ashley earned a four-year scholarship to play volleyball at Western Michigan University while receiving her education. She has been working with youth programs since 2013 and enjoys making a difference with the children and community. Her goal is to help children overcome barriers and to guide youth to success.
Yulanda Taylor, Youth Development Professional
Yulonda has worked at Eastside Youth Strong since 2012. Her excellent organizational skills and rapport with young people provides the necessary qualities to support youth in their success socially, emotionally, and academically. Prior to her work with Eastside Youth Strong, Yulanda led the after-school program for the Eastside through the City of Kalamazoo for three years.
In addition to her work with Eastside Youth Strong, Yulonda is also employed by the Kalamazoo Public Schools, where she serves as a classroom specialist. Yulonda enjoys walking, cooking and spending time with family.
Heather Taylor, Youth Development Professional
Heather has been with Eastside Youth Strong since 2013. She is committed to providing high- quality homework help to youth and increasing their academic skills. She also develops youth leadership roles to support youth in building 21st century skills for work and careers. Her niche is helping youth find their creativity.
In addition to her work with Eastside Youth Strong, Heather is also employed with Kalamazoo Public Schools as a classroom specialist. She enjoys spending time with her two teenagers and her husband. Heather also enjoys reading and doing crafts.