about us

STRENGTHEN TEENS & REACH INNER-CITY VITAL ENVIRONMENTS (STRIVE) is a not-for-profit organization committed to generating opportunities for New Jersey’s economically disadvantaged youth. Founded in 2009 at the peak of Newark's gun violence, STRIVE now offers a variety of programs tailored to the neighborhoods it serves. Each program fosters accountability, independence, and creativity to contribute to a brighter future and has served more than 4,500 students and their families in the greater Newark area over the last decade. The STRIVE team is pleased to partner with Rutgers University-Newark, Newark Public Schools, Marion Bolden Center, Operation Pathways, The Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), The Newark College Institute (NCI), Newark Youth One Stop Summer Employment, Abbot Leadership Institute/Youth Media Symposium, East Orange Salvation Army and the Union County Youth Services Commission. STRIVE’s current programs include After-School Enrichment, Summer Scholars and the Right-Track Enrichment Program serving Essex and Union Counties.

Our Mission

STRIVE aims to prepare New Jersey 's inner-city youth for a fruitful adulthood through a variety of educational and vocational programs. We believe in engaging the whole family to maximize tools for success and welcome individuals to join our network of flourishing professionals.

Our Vision

STRIVE builds on the effectiveness of its current programs and continues to evolve to sustain its positive impact on New Jersey 's at-risk youth and prevent them from succumbing to the disadvantages of their environment. Our premier services have created a centralized hub where youth and emerging adults can receive academic support, vocational assessment and career counseling. 

Message from the executive team

Over the course of the last 10 years, Strengthen Teen and Reach Inner-City Vital Environments (STRIVE) has remained committed to providing services that empower youth to recognize their unique aspirations. Through partnerships with community organizations and families, we have been able to assist adolescents with gaining employment, successfully enrolling in higher education, and accomplishing their personal and professional development goals. Our organization is supported by individuals who are passionate about the social and academic activity of the youth and families of lower income communities.

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ASHANTE GUILLAUME-SALVANT Co-Founder and Director of Development

Ashante Guillaume-Salvant, STRIVE co-founder and Director of Development, has over 10 years of experience in Mental Health, Special Education, and Post-Secondary Education Administration.  Ashante is licensed by the New Jersey Board of Marriage and Family Therapy as an Associate Counselor and Certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors. She has invested in the lives of others through providing support for employment, brief solution focused counseling, philanthropy and conducting empirical research.

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ROSE SHAW Chief Financial Officer

Rose Shaw joined STRIVE in August 2010 as Chief Financial Officer. Rose is committed to developing, coordinating and focusing ideas, resources and expertise that expand opportunities and improve academic and socio-emotional outcomes for all youths in Newark. Prior to joining STRIVE, Rose worked for the ARC of New Jersey with the Juvenile population.  Rose has worked for the Mental Health Association of Essex County for 10 years, before her position at ARC of New Jersey. At Mental Health Association of Essex County (MHAEC)

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Marion Washington, Co-Founder and Human Resources Director. Marion is dedicated to the growth of the organization by working on staffing and organizational change strategy. Prior to this position, she served as Vice Chair for STRIVE and supported the organization in several hands on roles during the early phases of operation.  Marion's passion for propelling youth forward has been an asset to the organization for over 8 years. In addition to her role at STRIVE, she serves as a Human Resources Administrator at Colas Inc. Marion holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Psychology from Montclair State University and Certificate in Human Resources Management



Dawan Alford is a lifelong New Jersey resident who offers a special blend of local knowledge and global research experience that equips him with a unique understanding of diverse urban landscapes.

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Jahleel Drewery is currently a Securities Service Representative for Foresters Financial. He is licensed to accept unsolicited stock and securities trade orders from clients for execution and provide quotations for current securities.

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Anissa Talley has been working continually as a student, wife, mother, entrepreneur, paralegal and administrative assistant from 2005-2013.

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Rashmi Shah is Marketing Manager, Home Insurance Solutions, at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Rashmi manages all aspects of marketing,

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Lynette is currently a trainer for the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s Career Connection Employment Resource Institute.

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Vardine Kéda Siméus serves as Adjunct Faculty for Capella University. She is also a clinical research consultant who conducts seminars

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