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Instructor, Travel Co-Chair
Gertrude Azia Corbett-Suleiman has been teaching, performing and choreographing various dances and movement forms in numerous venues in the United States and abroad. She has taught African dance throughout the Caribbean such as Belize, the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Barbados and Cuba. In addition, she has instructed, choreographed and performed African dance in Victoria Falls and Harare of Zimbabwe, Africa as well as in New Zealand.
Presently, she holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Dance bestowed on her from Laney College in Oakland, California. Also, she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Dance Ethnology and Africana Studies through San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California.
Even though Mama Azia has taught a wide range of students from toddler to senior citizens, teaching young children has been her favorite and extremely rewarding for her. Her experiences have allowed her to develop a style of teaching that connects with children through yoga, music and dance. Mama Azia has an amazing gift to assist, train, and support teachers and administrators at all levels, on how to use basic subject development that includes yoga, creative dance and music. The techniques she provides empowers teachers and the children they serve. She has worked in hundreds of schools from pre-K to 12th grade throughout the Bay area and abroad since 1995.
Performing arts has been a significant part of her life, of which she has engaged in since the age of seven years old. For her, dance serves as a holistic art that integrates one’s total self( including the mind, body and spirit). Mama Azia’s ultimate goal is to reach the hearts of all people: young and old, by working together to create and practice love, peace and harmony, through yoga, dance and music.
Secretary and Instructor
Ayana Forbes is an avid plant lover with her degree in plant science; obtaining her degree in Ethnobotany. Ayana is a certified crystal healer, Reiki Master and certified herbalist through the Green Medicine Herb School. Ayana is the owner and founder of I Am The Temple: Sacred Intentional Wellness; a company built on the Sankofa movement of bridging ancient ancestral wisdom and ways into the present through products and education. She lives in beautiful Northern California on the indigineous land of the Nisenan, Maidu and Miwok people with her 2 homeschooled children, her partner, her cat and her beloved garden.
Nia is a fourth generation educator and a forever student. During her teens she interned at a Sac City Unified school, an American River nonprofit foundation, and a composting network organization. Nia learned to love the natural process of giving back to the Earth and Earth giving back to her and so much more. Her specialty in composting/soil restoration, heals and helps the plants we grow and eat, as well as feeds the birds and the bees.
With 5+ years working in the public school system, she saw the importance of culturally relevant lessons, and crafts curricula with pride to meet the children’s needs. During her time serving the Twin Rivers school district she learned about the food insecurity in school neighborhoods and taught classes on harmful additives such as Red #40 found in commonly consumed foods. She connected students to a variety of natural foods while also starting a compost collection system. The compost collection system exposed the children to what happens to the food waste as it transitioned from the school cafeteria, to the community center garden, and decomposed into a rich soil digestible food for growing vegetables and herbs. Many children refer to her as the Compost Queen due to high enthusiasm for collecting food scraps. As a certified Freedom Schools servant leader intern Nia has 150+ hours of training in conflict resolution, culture/climate in the classroom and history on why it’s essential that we educate each other, sisters and brothers, moms and pops, whether young or old. Now, Nia’s passion and motivation is fueled by the obvious need to share knowledge on composting for soil health, growing food for autonomy, eating consciously for clear energy and repeating for quality of life. Her Compost Grow Eat Repeat methodology is based on the order of giving, caring for, and consuming LIFE!
Instructor/ STEM Creative Advisor
Program: STEM Kits
Purpose: To provide children and parents with engaging and fun STEM activities to do at home.
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