Nathifa Forde is a Brooklyn native with ties to North Carolina, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Very early on, she realized that she had a keen ability to understand people and what things motivate and inspire them. She also has an overwhelming passion for working with children. This has led Ms. Forde to a decade long career in the non-for-profit sector where, prior to being selected as a National Urban Fellow, she was a site coordinator at the Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA.

Ms. Forde believes in the transformative nature of participating in extra-curricular activities for young people. Her own experiences include African, jazz, tap and ballet dancing, art and theater as a child and a stellar track career as an adolescent, high school and college student.

She has taken these talents and employed them as a dance specialist at the Police Athletic League, where she has taught all styles of dance and put on major productions such as A Raisin in the Sun, The Wiz, The Grinch and Malcolm X. She developed her leadership skills here and became a program coordinator with the same organization where she was able to employ her philosophy that individuals can change the way the world works only if they understand the mechanisms in place that shape the world.