Empowered Voices

Team

Founding

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When Stephanie Brooks and Janine DiVita crossed paths, they discussed their mutual passion for allowing people the opportunity to tell their stories in a safe environment where they could be heard. 

Brooks, working as a Risk Reduction Coordinator and Prevention Education Specialist for the military community and a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, collaborated with DiVita, a Broadway and screen actress, educator, and advocate, to implement an interactive theatre presentation that would allow others to be heard while teaching valuable skills that would lead to actionable change. 

Together, they developed a tailored script to meet the needs and objectives of a Sexual Harassment & Assault Response Program focusing on bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention for the military population. The program was further organized by Brooks and implemented with a group of volunteer Soldiers who participated in a four-hour theatrical workshop led and directed by DiVita. The work of the volunteer soldiers, DiVita, and Brooks was presented to an audience of nearly 1,000 people. 

After evaluating surveys from these audience members and participants, the positive outcome inspired the duo to continue to collaborate using the theoretical framework they call "Theatrical Prevention Education."


Meet The Team

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Stephanie Brooks

Stephanie Brooks has over 20 years experience as an educator specializing in mental health management.  She is a certified prevention specialist and risk reduction specialist who has held positions as an early education specialist, master resiliency trainer, suicide intervention skills trainer, sexual assault prevention trainer, domestic violence trainer, substance abuse prevention and intervention instructor, creative arts teacher, narrative therapist, educational counselor, and risk reduction coordinator. Brooks has also led process improvement teams. 

Brooks has worked as a case manager for a leading community action agency where she intensively collaborated with underserved populations; advocating for high schools, the juvenile justice system, family advocacy, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Labor to provide comprehensive services- all leading to positive change outcomes.

Stephanie Brooks holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Psychology from Bowie State University, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington. She resides in the State of Washington.

Read Stephanie Brooks' extended bio.

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Janine Divita

As the Director of Theatrical Prevention Education, Janine DiVita has led Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention workshops at various Army bases such as Fort Campbell, Fort Bragg, Fort Carson, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

Aligning the Army’s Core Values with personal responsibility; lessons in situational improvisation, character development, communication, bystander intervention and consent are taught to by means of a custom interactive narrative with objectives to inspire, influence, and help strengthen social awareness about ending sexual harassment and assault. DiVita has staged original group and individual theatrical and improvisational performances for close to a decade. She delivers emotionally powerful messages to audiences and participants alike and uses dramatic skills to educate and motivate.

As a professional Broadway and screen actress, Janine has been seen on Broadway as Rizzo in Grease, Anything Goes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and in the national tours of Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth) and If/Then starring Idina Menzel; in which Janine played the principal role of Anne. On television, Janine has been seen in hit shows such as Elementary, The Americans, The Colbert Show, and PBS’ This is the Moment starring Irish Tenor, Paul Byrom. She can also be seen opposite Dustin Hoffman and Josh Lucas in The Choir. Her off-broadway and regional theatre credits are numerous and her concert work spans the globe. Janine is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she double majored in Communication Studies and Musical Theatre. Janine resides in New York City.

Read Janine DiVita's extended bio.

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Kelli Kuzmich

Kelli Kuzmich hails from Overland Park, Kansas and most most recently worked as the office manager for Finan's Chiropractic, a holistic business that maintains a strong mission of empowerment and betterment through intuitive patient care and improved and innovative practices of living and being. Kelli is passionate about nature, children, communication, and integrity.

Kelli manages the records for Government bookings. 

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Leo Koester

Leo Koester is a video producer, writer, and creative freelancer. He has extensive experience in nearly all aspects of video production including conceptualization and planning, set design, camera setup and operation, sound recording and engineering, editing, graphic design, and post-production. Leo helped develop content for television, web platforms, and the big screen. Some of his recent work involved covering live music events, including producing and editing backstage content for the Lollapalooza music festival.

Leo received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Northwestern University, where his education encompassed a diverse range of creative disciplines, including film-making, screenwriting, sound design, animation, visual design, sculpture, drawing, and more. 

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Gina JOhnson

Gina Johnson is a certified Victim Advocate specializing in Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Human Trafficking.  She’s also a member of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) and National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP).

Johnson has over 10 years experience in Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention and over 4 years in High Risk Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She holds certificates for multiple disciplines including, Sexual Assault Preparedness and Response, Domestic Violence, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training. Gina has conducted thousands of hours of training on safety, and risk management and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Washington.