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.
Rebecca Keel, MSW
Rebecca leads policy advocacy for RISE, developing policy platforms and keeping legislators and community members informed and engaged in our legislative efforts. Previously, Rebecca was a Juvenile Justice Organizer with LAJC. Some of Rebecca’s organizing work includes working with Southerners On New Ground to develop youth leadership, and the Richmond Peace Education Center to organize and facilitate an after-school program of conflict resolution workshops. The conflict resolution workshops teach 7th and 8th graders conflict resolution skills, creates a Youth Peace Leadership Team and has the team train their peers. Rebecca earned her MSW at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was also involved in organizing efforts with Advocates for Richmond Youth to support their work to reconstruct our dysfunctional homeless youth services system. Rebecca brings to the RISE team her passion and determination to support and empower individuals and communities to advocate for policy reforms that bring about positive change.
Strategic Engagement Director
James Braxton III
James Braxton is the key relationship builder for RISE. James cultivates community awareness and collaborative opportunities to build with key stakeholders. James is the creative lead for initiatives undertaken to implement RISE for Youth’s strategic plans. Previously James was a Juvenile Justice Organizer at LAJC. As a previous Boys & Girls Club Area Director, James developed a youth program for photography and music and secured grant funding to implement the program. James developed a leadership program for youth to teach the skills of professionalism and ethics in the work place. James studied Human Services at University of Phoenix, and is a Restorative Justice Certified Facilitator. James is dedicated to community empowerment and youth development and brings to the RISE team an ability develop and turn youth and community partnerships into action that results in successful advocacy efforts.