Ardena Bartlett, MPA Parent Advocate, Founder, Executive Director Access Nonprofit Center Ms. Bartlett is the founder and director of her initiative Parenting Black Children the mission is to decrease disparities and increase access for parents/caregivers of children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She is a proud parent of a Beautiful Black Boy on the Autism Spectrum served by the Regional Center and is well aware of the needs of raising a child with Autism and developmental differences.
She soon realized, that other Black parents experience the struggle of gaining equitable access for their children to receive services from community and public education. She began attending Special Education, Autism, and Developmental Disability trainings so that she would be equipped to empower her community of parents to gain access to this hidden information. As a result the PBC initiative was awarded the State of California DDS Service Access and Equity grant to focus on decreasing the disparity of Black/African American families gaining access to services.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from University of California at Irvine(UCI), and a Master’s of Public Administration from University of Southern California (USC). Additionally, she has served the local school district’s special education department, volunteers at church, sits on a board Committee of the San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center, participates in California Department of Developmental Services workgroups, and is a member of the Pomona Valley NAACP. She resides in the San Gabriel Valley with her family and enjoys discovering new opportunities for her son to help him and other children Live & Thrive in Home Community & School.
With Southern roots and Californian perspectives, Emani Shelton grew up traveling the United States with her mother and sister. Her parents are retired Marines of 20 years, and her taller younger sister is achieving the volleyball career of her dreams.
Her traveling plans did not stop her from working in her community. Ever since she could remember, she has been volunteering — as it is important to leave a place in a better way than how you found it. It wasn’t until Trayvon Martin was killed in her senior year of high school that she realized what she had to do.
With that sentiment, she acquired her Bachelor’s in Business Management at the University of California, Riverside while working and volunteering at various nonprofits. As necessary as protesting is for true social justice, the organization behind creating sustainable movements is the key to long-lasting change. With her experience in advocacy and accessibility, her passions include utilizing empathy and efficiency to uplift underserved communities, and playing with her two cats.
From day one, Alexandrea Turner hit the ground running as a Generational Firestarter, gaining a seat at the table that no other African American teen girl would in local government and faith based communities.
Now Parent, Advocate, Consultant and Speaker, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of families. With a passion for empowering parents and children, Alexandrea Turner specializes in providing guidance, support, and resources to navigate the complexities of education and parenting. Through her professional background, lived experiences and unwavering dedication, Alexandrea is passionate about helping families overcome obstacles and access the resources they need to thrive. Her mission to impact the lives of as many families as possible and be a catalyst of change for lasting transformation among future- minded generations. She positions herself as a bridge between systems that are no longer of service and the strategic innovations that she brokers.
At 19 years old, Alexandrea received a revelation of what her divine calling would mean for her life and the life of her growing family. Birthing her 1st born son, Christian Alexander also brought into existence the Visionary Mama that she is. Alexandrea’s first order of business is her ministry to curate a lifetime of experiences for the transformation of her own three beautiful, black, and blessed children, Christian, Alijah, and Alaijah. With a “Home First” Mindset, Alexandrea’s highest calling of her life is to model balanced living and cultivate as many opportunities as available for thriving in a culture where surviving and grinding is prevalent. Overcoming systemic and personal adversity is not her middle name but is deeply embedded into her identity as God continues to make her the exception.
Despite the storms that are sure to come, Alexandrea has maintained her passions for singing praise songs, painting with her littles, cooking Sunday Dinner, and still loves being the helping hand that for anyone in need. In this season of her life, this Millennial woman will not stop short of virtuous!
Jazmine Blackman is the Owner/Director of Carousel Developmental Service, an infant development program serving the San Gabriel Pomona Valley and Inland Empire. Her goal is to see underserved families of infants and toddlers with special needs have the supports needed to thrive. In addition to working in home with infants and toddlers, Jazmine spends her time supporting the Infant Development Association of California as the Co-Chair of the Social Media Committee, Community Representative for the State Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention, and with local organizations focused on educating black families about the Regional Center system and how poor maternal health outcomes impact baby’s long term.
She received her bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Child Development from California State University, Fullerton. Master’s in Public Administration and Public Health from the University of LaVerne. She is a Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/USC California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) Public Health Fellowship graduate.
She enjoys indoor cycling, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Elise, a California native has always had a passion for patient advocacy and empowering the Black community in their healthcare decisions. With her own history of sickle cell, her diagnosis did not stop her from pursuing her dreams. She graduated from Spelman College with her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and is currently acquiring her Masters Degree in Nursing. She aims to help rebuild the trust between the Black community and the medical field, so that they can lead healthy and sustainable lives. After graduation, she plans to continue her education and acquire her Nurse Practitioner license.
When she is not actively studying, Elise conducts research for the various initiatives offered here at Access Nonprofit. She believes that in order to make informed decisions about one's care, having the proper resources is necessary, and as a result, commits to ensuring that parents are adequately equipped to address the needs of their children. Living life through the words of her favorite quote ["to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived--is to know success-Ralph Waldo Emerson], she hopes to be an asset to those who cross her path and help them breathe easier.
Parenting Black Children (PBC), a project of Access Nonprofit Center, is a team of parents, special education teachers, social work interns, disability advocates, church ministers, foster-care advocates and others who have dedicated time to help to increase awareness, outreach and education of developmental disabilities, mental health and special education resources.
We provide support and resources to parents and caregivers of African Americans with developmental disabilities and those who are interested in understanding the signs and how to support the people they love. Our aim to as address disparities in communities of color and support families and caregivers to gain access to information and resources. We are not alone in caring for their loved ones!
We work in partnership with the Regional Center providing a support group and network for parents/caregivers.
Ardena Bartlett, founder of Access Nonprofit Center is a parent/caregiver of a child with Autism served by San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center and is well-aware of the challenges of raising a child with developmental, educational and behavioral challenges. In that same passion of those mighty mothers who were instrumental in the establishment of the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act in 1969, so is Ms. Bartlett who built the mission of ACCESS Nonprofit Center around her personal struggle to obtain access to relevant early intervention information and resources to help her son.
Access Nonprofit Center is a TEAM of passionate professionals who are parents, disability advocates, teachers, church ministers, culture experts, college students, film-makers, early education professionals - who are all ready to expand their passionate project. ‘Parenting Black Children’ is just one of the many projects that will become a great resource to African American children and their families.
Ms. Bartlett believes it is essential to the well-being of the community to create community-based support groups for parents/caregiver of African-American children with developmental disabilities. Additionally, she believes that reaching out to the emerging generations (Millennials- Gen Y & Z) as they begin family planning will increase the probability of early detection in babies.
There is a coined phrase in the African American culture “the struggle continues” which means that although in the midst of victory there is still more battles to overcome. The African American community has seen many struggles and many victories. The struggle is not failure, but a reason to “fight” and work together to solve our collective issues for the well-being of our families. Surely, “the struggle continues” as it relates to Awareness, Early Intervention, Authorization and Utilization of services within the Regional Centers across our great state. However, in the SG/PRC caption area, African American clients make up only a small percentage of the total client population. Parenting Black Children is just one of the many projects of Access Nonprofit Center that was created to cater to these underserved communities.
"To always do as much as we can, in the way we can,
in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it."
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