Valerie Slater, Esq


Valerie Slater leads the RISE for Youth Coalition and advocates for the rights of system involved youth. Previously Valerie was a Juvenile Justice Attorney with Legal Aid Justice Center and coordinated RISE efforts while it was housed in the JustChildren Program of LAJC. Valerie has also worked to protect the rights of children with disabilities in community, residential and juvenile justice facilities throughout the Commonwealth at the disAbility Law Center of Virginia. Valerie earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State University. Valerie has dedicated her life’s work to advocacy in its many forms to preserve and protect our most valuable resource, our youth. Valerie brings to the RISE team an unwavering commitment to strengthening youth and communities to lead the efforts to realize their visions for change.

Dana Hawes

Strategic Engagement Coordinator

Dana Hawes joins the RISE for Youth Team following more than two decades of service to marginalized youth as a teacher and instructional leader in public and private schools in the Greater Richmond Metro Area. Previously, as an employee of the Department of Correctional Education, Dana taught English and Pre-GED to young men adjudicated to the Department of Juvenile Justice. In addition to serving as principal of alternative schools in Richmond and Henrico County Public Schools, Dana has most recently served as principal of the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center. He earned a Master’s and Post-Master’s in Educational Leadership from Walden and the George Washington University, respectively. He is presently seeking his Educational Doctorate from Virginia State, where he obtained his BA in English and Mass Communications. Dana brings to RISE for Youth a wealth of insights from his career experiences inside juvenile correctional facilities. Dana maintains a rich connection to the community of his upbringing, in Richmond City, and possesses a strong desire to help foster change in systems with such strong impacts on the lives of youth.

Monica Hutchinson

Legislative coordinator

  • Monica Hutchinson is the Legislative Coordinator for the RISE team. She is a Community and Political Organizer who has organized around racial justice, social justice, and family centered issues. A transplant from Queens, New York, Monica is extremely passionate about her communities here in Virginia and hopes to inspire many with her vision of a Commonwealth where everyone works together towards racial, social, and political justice. Monica serves multiple organizations through volunteer and civic engagement including the Henrico NAACP’s 1st Vice President, Chair of the Political Action Committee, member of the Education Committee and mentor for the Henrico NAACP Youth and College Chapter. Monica also serves as Vice-Chair of Planning of the Henrico County Public Schools Special Education Advisory Committee. Monica is fiercely dedicated to engaging the community on issues that most impact them while challenging all to see the world through a lens of equity, diversity, inclusion, and opportunity as we fight in solidarity for justice.

Cory Jones

Youth Development Specialist

Cory Jones is the Youth Development Specialist in RISE for Youth. Cory, a Richmond native, leads the work to develop young advocates in RISE’s Youth for RISE program and Youth Development Academy. Cory graduated from Old Dominion University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and a minor in coaching. Cory brings to his work a passion to develop and enrich the lives and experiences of youth to realize their dreams for their lives and their communities.

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