Institute Advisory Council

The Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute’s Advisory Council guides and supports the Institute's work activities through monthly council meetings, review of work products, and participation at Institute events. We welcome new members with lived experience of financial instability and strive to maintain diverse representation both in terms of social identities and members’ locations within the state.

Current Members: 

Kim Kim Boyd, Indianapolis, IN – I am the Founder & President of the H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Prosper Economically) TEAM which is a grassroots, volunteer collaborative effort that has been seeking to help the underserved in Indianapolis for over 30 years.  Originally from Gary, Indianapolis has been my home for over 40 years. I enjoy spending time with my family and grandchildren.
  • Policy interestsChildren/families being able to cope in dysfunctional environments, crime, seniors being able to "stay in place", the welfare system, DCS, affordable childcare
Destiny Destiny Faceson, Indianapolis, IN - I am a Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leader. As an advocate of public health, I focus my efforts on lowering Indiana's infant and maternal mortality rates, helping families secure and keep their housing, and supporting community collaborations.
  • Policy interests: Family mental health, housing insecurity, paid time off, and wage gaps.

RJ Dunavan, Cayuga, IN – I am a County Commissioner from Vermillion County. I have a strong passion for serving my community as I got elected at age 21 to my local school board. Affecting change and being a voice for the people is something I take pride in doing. I’m always looking to expand my horizons and help in any way I can. I like to leave a place better than I found it. 

  • Policy interests: Housing, including addressing issues with housing stock before they get to a point of no repair, workforce and jobs, giving tools/letting people of all ages know what’s available to them
Akiah Akiah Riddick, Indianapolis, IN – I'm 14 years old and from Northeast Indianapolis. I love to dance, try new food, and spend time with my best friends. I am also a member of the Northeast Corridor Youth Advisory Council and Leading Ladies. 
  • Policy interests: Education, health care, paid maternity leave, diversity in higher levels of power
  Aimee West, Muncie, IN - Aimee is Executive Director for the Anderson Education Foundation, is BOD Secretary for the Facing Project on NPR, and has served as Vice President for Family Alliance, Community and Neighborhood Organizer for Muncie's strategic plan, Muncie Action Plan, Executive Director for Cancer Services of East Central Indiana, and public educator at the Youth Opportunity Center via Muncie Community Schools, where she also served on the Community Engagement Council. She is a mother of four, a writer/photographer, alumna of Ball State, and a former rural victim rights advocate and CASA (Court-appointed special advocate) for children. She prioritizes civic engagement and preserving declining local investigative journalism to help improve public health outcomes and combat mis/disinformation in Indiana. 
  • Policy interests: Education, health care, housing, child care, women's equity.

Derrick Faulkens, South Bend, IN - I have three adult children. I was a union carpenter for more than 20 years and I have also held several sales jobs over the past 40 years to make ends meet. I am currently in my 11th year as a bartender at Legends on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. In September, I will begin the final phase of the South Bend Entrepreneur Adversity Program.

  • Policy interest: Workforce development, education and youth leadership programs, housing, community health and welfare and social justice

Wendy Wright, Camden, IN - I worked in and out of healthcare for over 20 years and received my Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration/Management before becoming disabled because of an unconventional cervical spinal cord injury in 2019. I have been a Certified Health Care Worker and Certified Addictions Recovery Coach, have led women's trauma groups, and have worked in in-patient facilities and schools along with working with patients in behavioral and mental health. I have also engaged in social work, helping link people to resources and assist them with navigating and completing different programs. I am a passionate advocate for mental health, trauma victims, fighting against homelessness, and fighting for the aged and disabled communities.    

  • Policy interests: Addressing circumstances contributing to the increasing amount of people who are living in poverty and on the verge of homelessness, bringing more awareness to people about assistance programs, addressing the lack of assistance and insurance coverage for people with disabilities who are not veterans to address what people with disabilities actually need and the challenges they face. I also want to help identify and address the many issues within federal programs that are in place that contribute to people being disqualified from state programs

Kassandra Berger, Jasper, IN

  • Policy interests: Support of foster children/ families (with a focus on those with high medical and/or support needs), workers' rights, health care access, education, fair lending practices, recidivism reduction



 Kendra Cuyler, Merrillville, IN 


  • Policy interests: Housing, supports for individuals with disabilities


Teresa Jarman, Schererville, IN - I am the Founder of Refuge Healing Center. RHC assist men and women with housing and utility resources. RHC also extend behavior mod services to adults and children. RHC is known as a safe place to share the traumas of life. 

  • Policy interestsChildren/families being able to cope in dysfunctional environments, Depression, anxiety, autism, the welfare system, DCS, affordable childcare

April Pearson, Dearborn, IN has a passion for social justice and helping others and believes that everyone should be economically empowered. She has over ten years of experience in education and youth work. She is a certified ACES (adverse childhood experiences) master trainer. 


  • Policy interests: Housing insecurity, mental health awareness, public education, affordable healthcare
Aja Aja Jester Bloomington, IN  -  I work at South Central Community Action Program in non-profit finance. I am also a captain in SCCAP’s Thriving Connections, founding TC’s  Talking About Change auxiliary  group.  I am a Steward committee member and facilitator of Strengthening Families with Coping Resources. I also serve as a Monroe County Precinct Committee person. I am most passionate about raising my children to be empowered to advocate for themselves and others.


  • Policy interests: Living Wages, Affordable Housing, Equity in Education, Social Justice and Mental Health