Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Afternoon of Change

Change was clearly in the air on September 25 as about 150 youth from throughout Los Angeles gathered for the first annual Youth Conversations Luncheon on domestic violence held by The Change to benefit Jenesse Center, Inc.

The outdoor barbecue and conversations event is part of The Change's continuing effort to educate adolescents about handling situations without using violence or emotional abuse and discussed the signs that are considered characteristics of an endangering relationship. The event mixed comedy with serious and frank conversations about domestic violence.

Founded by Bryson Rouzan-Thomas, Chelsea Dern and Natalia Villaraigosa, The Change is a youth organization dedicated to the idea that in order to see change, you have to be the change. The Change members include: Bryson Rouzan-Thomas, President & Co-Founder; Chelsea Dern, Vice President & Co-Founder; Kelley Butler, Secretary; Natalia Villaraigosa, Treasurer & Co-Founder; Michael Stennis, Event Manager; and Jordan Butler, Johanna Holman, Meadow Holman, Brianna Rouzan and Pilar Stennis.

“It is sad to ponder on the fact that we may have friends or family members that are in an abusive relationship but are remaining silent,” said Rouzan-Thomas. “Many are not even aware of the situation that they are in because they have not been educated about the signs.”

The luncheon was held at the home of Dr. & Mrs. Alan Todd Turner, who are continous supporters of Jenesse Center, Inc. and The Change. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and last year's Jenesse's Silver Rose Gala Honoree Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas were in attendance and presented The Change with a certificate of continuous service to the community.

Rouzan-Thomas has been involved with Jenesse Center from a very young age. His mother Sherron Rouzan-Thomas has supported Jenesse for years and she empowered him and his older brother Brandon to volunteer at Jenesse. What he saw had a deep effect on how he viewed the world.

“I know this may sound corny, but I always knew that I was never going to just sit back and hope things would one day be different," said Rouzan-Thomas. "I knew I was a change maker. I also knew that I couldn’t change things alone, which is why I partnered with my friends so that together we could use our combined resources and skills to reach as many people as possible.”

Jenesse Center’s Executive Director Karen Earl admires the work The Change is doing to reach the next generation.

“It is just amazing for me to see so many young people coming together around this issue. It really gives me hope that the work we are doing is changing the way that people view domestic violence. Ten years ago, I’m not sure if something like this would have happened. I’m really glad that the young people who come to volunteer with us are soaking in our message and are feeling passionate enough to share in this work.”

Jenesse Center’s Board President, Avis Frazier-Thomas agrees.

“I am so proud of all the members of The Change and all the young people who work with Jenesse throughout the year and who use their talents to benefit the families that Jenesse serves. They have dedicated themselves to making real change in the communities they live in. When I see them, I see Jenesse’s future.”

The luncheon concluded with guest speakers West Division LAPD Captain Evangelyn Nathan and Exectuive Producer Mara Brock-Akil, along with luncheon participants signing their "iPledge," a promise to never use violence and to take the education they learned from the event and incorporate it in their daily lives.

For more information about The Change contact Bryson Rouzan-Thomas at For more information about Jenesse Center, Inc. visit their official website at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Be The Change - Break the Silence of Domestic Violence

The Change, a youth organization co-founded by Jenesse Teen Angel Bryson Rouzan-Thomas and Chelsea Dern recently filmed a PSA to educate young adults about domestic violence and its impact on youth.

The PSA is part of a youth education project which also includes a Youth Conversations Luncheon that The Change will be hosting on behalf of Jenesse Center, Inc. this September.

Sponsors for the PSA Shoot:

Ms. Erin Stennis
Ms. Sherron Rouzan
Ms. Deborah Wood
Coffe Bean Playa Vista
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Bryson Rouzan-Thomas
Natalia Villaraigosa
Robert Johnson (videographer)

Written by:
Bryson Rouzan-Thomas

Edited by:
Natalia Villaraigosa
Jeannae Rouzan

Bryson Rouzan-Thomas
Chelsea Dern
Natalia Villaraigosa
Meadow Holman
Johanna Holman
Michael Stennis
Skylar Townsend
Brianna Rouzan
Tyler Adams
Whitney Woods
Alexis Christie
Nicole "Chani" Christie
Jordan Butler
Kelley Butler
James Davis

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Linking with their Community

Members from the Los Angeles Chapter of Links, Inc. spent Saturday, August 28, volunteering at Jenesse. The young women and men worked at our Jenesse Fashion Boutique and helped with mailings.

Special thanks to:

Lydia Decoud
Rachel McLurkin
Amber Avant
Lorionne Campbell
Charity Pourbabib
Leilani Banday
Letetsia Fox
Kierra Moore
Ashley Canty
Jared Hunter
Jerry Jackson
John-Paul Wahnon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Camp Jenesse 2010

Camp Jenesse 2010 recently ended and it was a fun time for all the Jenesse kids and for the Jenesse Teen Angels who participated as Camp Councilors. The camp ran from June 28-August 6 at one of our sites. Kids who participated in the camp had a great time with math and science projects, music and art lessons, foreign language games, word play, drama games, relationship building games, field trips and more!

Special thanks to Ariel Gilliam, Poshia Oberg, Matt Carney, Bryce Sutherland, Kelcie Ewing, Bryson Rouzan-Thomas and Neima Patterson for all their hard work.

Check back soon for more information about the camp and to see pictures and video from the camp.