908-725-7223 ext 412
Maria Strada has been with Middle Earth since 1997, first as a Program Director and then becoming Executive Director in 2012. She has a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree from Montclair University. Prior to Middle Earth, Maria worked in the Somerset County Office of Youth Services, and she worked with adults experiencing mental health issues. She is passionate about our mission and loves working with a talented staff who make positive changes in the lives of youth.
Associate Executive Director
908-725-7223 ext 413
Maggie Navatto has been with Middle Earth since 2005. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Law & Justice from Rowan University. Maggie has experience with Middle Earth’s juvenile justice programs, mentoring services, and afterschool programs. She has been the Associate Executive Director since 2014. Maggie also has extensive volunteer experience through Somerset County 4-H.
Full-Time Program Staff
Phone Ext. 404
Jerlyne Calixte is a Community Organizer and Healer who grew up in Rockland County. She lives and works at the intersections of the Black diaspora, immigration and LGBTQ+ liberation. She facilitates community healing spaces for the BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities, teach-ins on decolonizing indigenous African spirituality and volunteers at Blackline, a crisis line that supports people through incidents of racial violence and systemic oppression. Jerlyne graduated with her BA from Caldwell University and is pursuing her Masters in Social Work at NYU.
Corey Griffin is a graduate of Virginia State University with a degree in Health and Physical Education. He has worked for many schools in the Edison township area, as well as being employed by Edison Recreation. He has a passion for team building and mentoring youth through events that bring people together and build on core strengths and improve weaknesses. He uses his free time to enjoy family and events notable to the community.
21st CCLC, Outreach
Phone Ext. 405
908-809-9572 – Program Cell
Becky has a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies from WGU. Becky has worked with children and youth for over 10 years and has always had a passion for it. Becky has worked for Middle Earth since 2013 in the 21st CCLC afterschool program as well as the mentoring program. Currently, Becky is the Lead Site Coordinator for 21st CCLC and runs the Mentoring Program.
Phone Ext. 417
Michelle Macauley was born and raised in Somerset, NJ. While she graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Liberal Studies (focus in Sociology and Health Studies), Michelle has lots of experience with Health & Exercise Science. She has had a variety of opportunities to work with the youth; she was a Teen Group Leader at a summer camp for 3 years and is now a part time Track & Field Coach for developmental children at the YMCA.
Journeys, Station House Adjustment
Phone Ext. 407
Cory Matthew is a Case Manager and Life Skills Facilitator for Middle Earth. He has 8+ years of experience working with and educating diverse populations of adolescents of various ages and now works within both the Journeys and Promise programs for Middle Earth. After graduating from Kean University with a degree in Psychology and Health, he still enjoys working on his professional development in the fields of adolescent psychology and social work.
Phone Ext. 406
908-963-9519 – Program Cell
Ike Onyejiaka is a Somerset, NJ native. He graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Law & Justice. Ike has enjoyed working at Middle Earth since 2013. He currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Promise and Journeys programs. In his free time, he is passionate about mentoring youth from his community.
Phone Ext. 408
Ricky is a Site Coordinator at 21st CCLC. He graduated from Kean University with a Bachelors in Recreation Administration. He is a native to New Jersey and has over 10 years experience in early childhood education, from paraprofessional positions to coaching sports. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting friends and family and rooting for his favorite sport teams.
Visions, WIB Outreach, YCRP
Phone Ext. 415
Michelle Ramirez-Cruz holds an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Middlesex County College. She then attended Rutgers University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She has previously worked with Rutgers University Transfer Center to support and mentor incoming students. Michelle is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at Montclair State University.
Visions, Journeys, SACH
Phone Ext. 416
Jeylynne graduated from Rider University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. During her time at Rider, she was involved in many extracurricular activities that involved counseling and community service within underrepresented populations. Jeylynne intends to pursue a Master’s Degree in either Social Work or School Counseling within the near future.
Mentoring, 21st CCLC
Phone Ext. 405
Jelsie Taggert graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Linguistics and Education as a Social Science. During her time at Rutgers, she worked in the university’s Transfer Center to mentor and facilitate the adjustment process for new transfer students. Jelsie has hands-on experience with youth in classroom settings as a substitute teacher as well as an after-school program teacher assistant. She has worked closely with children grades pre-k to 8th, supporting their academic, social, and emotional needs.
WIB Outreach, YCRP
Phone Ext. 403
908-963-9479 – Program Cell
Kyle Vandenberg has been with Middle Earth since 2014, first working in 21st CCLC and Mentoring, before taking over as coordinator of the Visions Program in 2015 and the coordinator of YCRP in 2017. Prior to working at Middle Earth, Kyle held positions as the Mentoring Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Program Director in charge of Native American Ministries for YouthWorks. He holds a Bachelor’s in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and is pursuing his Master’s in Family Studies from Amberton University.
Phone Ext. 409
John Williams is the Site-Coordinator in Manville, NJ and has been working for Middle Earth since 2018. Before his employment with 21st CCLC, John attended Brooklyn College where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He has hands-on experience in a large classroom setting working with children ranging from grades 2nd to 6th as well as experience with one-on-one mentoring.
Part-Time Program Staff