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Our Organization

Brenda L. Silvils, Founder/CEO, began Free2Rise Educational Foundation (F2R) to enrich the lives of girls facing adversity by preparing them to become Forever Responsible, Educated, and Empowered to rise to their full potential, through advocacy, educational enrichment, life skills guidance, cultural exposure, and travel experiences. 


Brenda L. Silvils was raised by a village not unlike the Free2Rise organization. The Angels that were in her life were Great Grandparents, an Uncle, Aunts, and other family members, friends, and mentors. For all intensive purposes they were all angels providing guidance to help her to overcome obstacles and to navigate a positive life. Brenda understands that she never would have become Free to Rise to achieve the level of success that she has today, without the sustained love and support of those angels who nurtured her, and helped to identify the many opportunities, resources, and networks in order for her to navigate the way to success.


Brenda and a dedicated Board of Directors and volunteers have a profound interest in equipping girls with opportunities, support and resources that will empower each of them to navigate a positive life. The team at F2R are  driven to help young girls, to fill the void, educate, build their confidence, aid them in finding their self-worth and purpose, and help them to navigate through life so that they can become successful young women, confident, caring, and committed to purpose and productivity within their lives and their communities. 


Board of Directors

Candy Miles Crocker, President

Candy has been affiliated with Long and Foster Realtors, the Mid-Atlantic's largest privately held real estate brokerage for over ten years.  As the mother of three children Candy is extremely active with the District of Columbia Public Schools. She has worked as a volunteer with DC Voice, a parent advocacy organization for the past twelve years to ensure our public schools are staffed and ready for the school year. In her capacity as Local School Restructuring Team (LSRT) member at Hardy Middle School, Candy worked tirelessly with the DC City Council, former Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and Chancellor Kaya Henderson on increasing the safety and security of the Districts middle schools.


Helen Mitchell, Vice President

Helen Ingram Mitchell owns The Meeting Advisor, Inc., a meetings and event management company. Helen's has been an Etiquette trainer for Elite Women of Excellence –mentor program and an Etiquette trainer for Holy Innocence School—Afternoon Program Meeting Planner for Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Southeastern Region Conference.  She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and a member of Unity North Atlanta Church, where she volunteers with church programs for mothers and children in shelters and community programs. She also serves on the Executive Parent Association Board of The Westminster Schools as Vice President for Arts. She previously served as the Walker School Parent Association President. Helen is a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and is currently the Regional Protocol Chairperson for the Southeastern Region.


Holli Townsend, Treasurer

Holli Townsend is a Procurement professional with 20 years of experience with the Internal Revenue Service.  She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Rho Mu Omega Chapter where she has served several consecutive years as the Treasurer, and chaired various committees serving the Washington, DC community. Holli is also a Board Member of the chapters fundraising organization, DC Pearls III Foundation where she currently serves as Vice President of Development, and is accountable for managing various fundraising events, and pursuing available grants which are used to fund numerous community service programs.


Katrina Dixon, Assistant Secretary

Katrina M. Dixon is an advocate, mentor, and active volunteer in the Washington Metropolitan community area. Katrina has worked over seven years with all types of populations in the field of education, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, mental health, health care, and child welfare. Katrina is an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Rho Mu Omega Chapter located in Washington, DC. Currently, she serves as the vice chairperson on their Emerging Young Leaders Initiative. Katrina also serves on the Rho Mu Omega Scholarship Committee in which she has participated as a chaperone for the past 2 years for the HBCU College Tour that is geared towards 10-12th grade potential college students. In 2010, Katrina volunteered and sponsored a young lady for the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Rho Mu Omega Chapters debutante cotillion.  Katrina has a strong passion to continue to empower the youth of tomorrow through positive engagement.

Clifton Burrell, Board Member

Clifton Burrell is a Crime Analyst for the Montgomery County Police, a Delaware State University alumna, and a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. He is a responsible husband and father who also dedicates time to uplift youth and young adults in communities within the Washington DC Metro area. Cliff realizes that there are many youth who don’t have the support that his children have therefore he does whatever he can to uplift other youth. Cliff dedicates time to be an advocate that helps adolescents, teenagers and young adults to adjust to social and educational settings. In addition to helping youth and young adults in the community, Cliff helps his Alma mater to increase the number of active alumni, develops social media pages, spearheads campaigns to promote alumni involvement, coordinates university projects to promote the university, oversees fundraising activities for an Alumni Group associated with the university, secures scholarships for current DSU students through networking with alumni and outside organizations, assists prospective students with the college admissions process, and coordinates annual alumni activities.


Cliff believes that all children are our children and we all benefit when they excel. He is dedicated to providing the necessary tools to educate and inspire youth to take the positive route to greatness.


Brenda L. Silvils, Founder/CEO

Brenda L. Silvils is owner of BLS Consulting, an information technology business that provides services to modernize financial systems. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Rho Mu Omega Chapter, and a member of Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC. Brenda is an alumna of George Washington University, Delaware State University, Montgomery College, and the Columbia School of Broadcasting. She has served on the Board of Options Public Charter School and DC Pearls III Foundation. In addition, she has served as chair and member of various committees that address the needs of the community. As an advocate of children, she chaired the "Ivy Reading AKAdemy" at Smothers Elementary School where she provided tutoring and homework assistance, and has served on committees addressing the needs of students at Luke C Moore High School and an initiative for Emerging Young Leaders to address character building, educational enrichment, leadership development, and civic engagement for girls in grades 6-8 at the Paul Public Charter School. Brenda has also served by speaking at events for other nonprofits such as Teens In Perspective and the Shiloh Debutante Cotillion.


Kisha L. Webster, Co-Founder

Kisha L. Webster was born to educate!  She believes wholeheartedly that all children will succeed if given proper support.  She has used her passion and educational philosophy as a motivation to provide a solution to the achievement gap.  Ms. Webster believes the educational system needs to concentrate on better equipping teachers to accommodate the needs of every child.


Ms. Kisha L. Webster received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Delaware State University and her Master of Science degree from Trinity University.  She has worked in various educational environments and school districts.  With 16 years of experience educating a very diverse audience from elementary to adult learners, and from gifted to challenged learners, she has the innate ability to positively affect everyone in an educational environment.  Ms. Webster's motivation comes from one of her favorite quotes "“Education is the passport to the future; for tomorrow belongs only to those that prepare for it today”".  Malcolm X.


Board Advisors


Stephen A. Glaude

Stephen Glaude is currently Executive Director of the Coalition of Non Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED). Stephen also served as Director of Outreach for the Gray for Mayor Campaign. Mr. Glaude has held numerous leadership positions in government, the non-profit sector, and also leadership positions with recovery efforts locally and nationally. In government, Stephen served as Deputy Undersecretary for Intergovernmental Relations with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Special Assistant to the President in the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House. In the non-profit sector, Mr. Glaude has served as President of the National Association of Neighborhoods, President of the National Congress for Community Economic Development and Executive Director of Men Can Stop Rape.


Nancy C. Harvin

Nancy Harvin is the Staff Development Manager for the District of Columbia Department of Public Works. Prior to joining District government, Ms. Harvin served as Board, Membership and Affiliate Services Manager for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to empowering the Black community through civic engagement.  She remains a part-time consultant for special projects with NCBCP and is a member of its Black Women's Roundtable. Nancy is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Metropolitan AME Church located in Washington, DC.  She also sits on the founding committee of the National Capital Area CARES Mentoring Movement, an offshoot of the National CARES Mentoring Movement founded by Essence Magazine Editor-Emeritus Susan Taylor. 



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