Give Kids Sight Day is on Saturday, October 9.  Find out more here.

Young Professionals Advisory Council

Children First’s Young Professionals Advisory Council is a diverse group of enlightened and engaged young leaders from across the Philadelphia region who have come together to support our mission and work. The purpose of this Advisory Council is to build the strength of the pipeline of leadership, networkers, advocates and donors for Children First’s work well into the next 40 years!

With guidance from veteran Children First Board Members, Javier Suarez and Lindsay Albright, Council members will:

  • LEARN. Engage with the Children First Board and staff in education sessions and through reading Children First’s materials and e-blasts to become more informed about issues impacting children in our region and strengthen your advocacy skills to actively participate in Children First’s advocacy efforts at the local, regional and state level.
  • ADVOCATE. Participate, when possible, with Children First’s leadership at specific events to advocate for policy change for children and youth.
  • ENGAGE. Leverage your social media networks (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) by commenting, sharing, re-tweeting Children First activities to help us reach more
  • RAISE MONEY. Serve in a fundraising capacity for Children First by tapping into personal and professional networks for sponsorships and tickets sales for Children First events, grant opportunities and individual fundraising efforts.
  • EXPAND. As an Advisory Council create and implement at least 2 friendraising and low dollar events each year to support and broaden awareness of Children First and its work across the region with 20-40 year olds.

For more information about the Young Professionals Advisory Council, contact Steven Fynes at stevenf at pccy dot org or call 215-563-5848 x11.

2020-2021 Council Members

Saumya Ayyagari

Saumya is a Public Health Nurse Home Visitor with Philadelphia Nurse Family Partnership. She started volunteering with PCCY as a health policy intern in 2017, having volunteered for a number of Children First events since then and today, she is part of the Pritzker Lead Public Engagement Group that is working to prevent lead poisoning in PA from the policy level.


Jacqueline Baker

Jacqueline is a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner working at a Federal Qualified Health Center in SW Philadelphia.  Prior to working in health care, she worked as a social justice organizer for environmental, human rights, and health policy causes.  Jacqueline has been a volunteer with Children First since 2017.



Elizabeth Bates

Elizabeth is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in NE Philadelphia and pursuing a degree in public health. She is committed to being a big voice for little kids and partnering with community organizations to improve the health, development and well-being of children across Philadelphia. She is excited to be a part of Children First!



Tom Brown

Tom is a litigation associate at the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller. A graduate of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and Montgomery County public schools, he has been a Children First volunteer since 2018.



Katie Chisholm

Katie Chisholm is an HR Manager with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), where she partners with stakeholders to build culture and engagement enterprise wide. Katie’s professional career has focused on mission driven work.  She is committed to finding opportunities to give back, get involved and make a difference within the Philadelphia community.  Joining the Children First Young Professionals Advisory Council is an incredible way to have an impact!


Cory Johnson

Cory Johnson is a Philadelphia resident and current Program Coordinator for Drexel University’s Action for Early Learning, an early childhood education improvement initiative in West Philadelphia. Strongly committed to equitable quality education, she completed a PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning Policy Fellowship in 2018 and is a former Children First intern, supporting the Pre-K for PA Campaign.


Chau Wing Lam

Chau Wing has worked in and around human services and K-12 education for over 10 years. Having immigrated to the United States when she was young, and now a mother of a young child, Chau Wing believes deeply in our collective ability to improve communities by ensuring the health, education and safety of young people and their families.



J.R. McArdle

J.R. is a Philadelphia-area native that currently lives in South Philadelphia. J.R. is passionate about helping the local youth in the community reach their maximum potential and gain equal opportunity to succeed. J.R. is a Certified Public Accountant and currently works for Ernst & Young in assurance services.


Ricardo J. Ortiz



Rosa Parks-Green

Rosa currently works at Temple University as the Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity Compliance. Prior to this, Rosa was a child welfare attorney at the City of Philadelphia Law Department and she also worked at the School District of Philadelphia in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. She is excited to serve and advocate for young people in and around Philadelphia.


Geraldine Pena

Geraldine Pena is a Licensed Professional Counselor and currently working at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center as the Integrated Care Program Team Lead. I have a passion for helping children, teens and families live a more healed and peaceful life which I have dedicated my career to advocating for.



 Joy Soto

Philadelphia native Joy Soto currently works as the Community Voices and Engagement Fellow for WHYY, cultivating partnerships and executing various civic dialogue events. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for Greenlight Fund Philadelphia, Treasurer for LULAC Philly, and Board Member for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Philadelphia.


Lisa Vaccarelli

Lisa Vaccarelli is a Senior Consultant with Plus Delta Partners, where she partners with non-profit advancement leaders to enhance their fundraising teams’ results by addressing skill gaps and creating desired behavioral change.  A South Philadelphia resident, Lisa’s work with Children First is rooted in her desire to increase the quality of life for the children and families in her own community and beyond.