Rachel Miles Sandler spent much of her childhood in the forests of Fairbanks, Alaska, leading her to become a conservationist at an early age. Involved in the performing arts starting at the age of five, she eventually became a professional jazz singer and traveled nationally to compete in Spoken Word competitions. She also developed an early love for young people and has volunteered and worked for many child care centers and programs.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at New Paltz, Miles worked as a Program Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh. She headed up the middle school and high school program, serving 160 students daily through tutoring, enrichment electives, STEM learning, and homework help. She also ran the summer program for students from 4th grade to 8th grade, helping to develop a garden program with a local garden center and a community garden for the campers. Miles has also taught theater and the performing arts at various camps for special needs youth and inner-city children t. Her most recent position was as a site director for the former YWCA in New Windsor, New York, where she ran a morning and after-school program for elementary age children.
Through her work with youth and community Miles became increasingly aware of the major issue of mental health that plagues communities of color. Her goal is to develop more culturally competent mental health programs for communities of color. She believes such programs should be holistic and incorporate whole family healing. Her future goal is to develop and run a sustainable nonprofit organization that will use new and effective methods to help address the mental health concerns in communities of color.
Miles is excited about the new doors that the National Urban Fellows has already opened and encouraged that she will bring strength and dedication to the work before her.