Get to Know Us

About Us


Anusha Alles

Executive Director

I am a first generation American whose family comes from Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean. I was born in North Carolina, grew up in Texas, and have been in Rhode Island for eight years. I joined DARE in 2016 and have been a THA member, Board Secretary, and then Behind the Walls Staff Organizer for the past four years. In 2023 I transitioned to Director. I believe in the power of community to transform our world and am grateful for the home I’ve found at DARE. 

Melonie Perez

Behind the Walls Staff Organizer

I am a Colombian-American woman who was born and raised in South Providence; eventually moving down the street to the Edgewood-Cranston area. I have a 23 year old son who is serving life at RIDOC for protecting me in an abusive relationship. He was a juvenile when the crime occurred, so juvenile sentence reform is important to me. I have been around incarcerated individuals my entire life. My family members and loved ones have always struggled with racism and prejudice in Washington Park, so fighting for equality in all walks of life has been a lifelong struggle. I have a business degree, real estate license, CNA license and have always been in the hospitality industry. Helping my son and others like him is what drives me every day to help make a change with prison reform.

Jazzlyn Jaxzyn

Tenant and Outreach Case Manager

I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Raised in the Bronx, NY. I moved to RI when I was 17. I have two brothers and one sister. I’m a high school graduate and bilingual in Spanish and English. Pet lover. Love family. Very reliable and organized – worked as a Production Assistant in the past. Shy but friendly.

Terri Wright

Tenant & Homeowner Association Staff Organizer

My name is Terri Wright. I was born and raised in Providence RI. I am a mother of five beautiful children. I organize to mitigate past harm and ensure that gentrification is not an ongoing barrier in BIPOC communities while advocating for tenants’ rights. I love to write, and aspire to direct and produce my own movies, connected to an old childhood dream of mine. I love to sit by the water and listen to music and eat Iggy’s clam cakes and chowder. I am currently working on my first documentary centered around the housing crisis in RI. I also advocate for housing justice and the production of low income affordable homes.

Juan Turbidez

Member Development Coordinator

I was born and raised in Providence by a single mother. I have been in and out of jail since the age of 18. I was released a couple of years ago after serving 15 months and a friend brought me to DARE for help with court debt and I became a member of the Behind the Walls committee. I was very optimistic about the work and got hired as the Communications Specialist in 2022. I’m bilingual in English and Spanish.

Debra Harris

Outreach & Event Coordinator

I have worked at DARE for eight years. I did Data Entry for the first 4 years through Maturity Works and also became a volunteer member of the Behind the Walls Committee. I was eventually hired as Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator. 

I started my own organization, Teen Matters Suicide Awareness in 2008, and I am also an event organizer and promoter. 

I am formerly incarcerated and in recovery for eleven years. I love what I do to help the incarcerated population. 

Dee Wojcicki

Administrative Coordinator

Mixed-race woman, mother and grandmother, experienced in finances and keeping people organized, advocates for the elderly. Board of Directors Secretary for RI Black Storytellers. I enjoy teaching and sharing gardening knowledge.


Joe Benton


Joe is a graduate of Community College of RI and a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island. He’s received a number of awards throughout his divinity education and one of those awards is the spirituality award from the Lamp Stand Institute. He has a Citizen’s Citation from David N Cicilline, when he was Mayor of Providence, for outstanding contributions to Providence and its residents. He also received a Proclamation from former Mayor and current state representative, John Lombardi. He worked for MAP, alcohol drug and rehab center where he was a counselor and developed several re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated and substance abusers. He also worked for Amos House, counseling young men from the community and who were residents at Amos House and coming in from prison. He loves this community and these people and they’re part of his life. He also served a substantial amount of time in prison but came back to be part of a community solution, as opposed to a community problem.

Sheila Wilhelm

Vice Chairperson

Sheila Wilhelm is a DARE co-founder, mother and grandmother and long-time resident of the West End, fighter around schools, neighborhood issues, police injustice, and prison reform, and is an ice cream connoisseur.

Brandon Robinson


Brandon Robinson was born and raised in South Providence. He served extensive time in the ACI, came home in 2019 and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Development from College Unbound in August 2020. He is now working on his Master’s degree at Roger Williams University in Public Administration and is scheduled to graduate May 2024. He is also the Campaign Manager and Lobbyist at Open Doors for the Stop Torture RI Coalition and is a DARE member. He also is the CEO/Founder of his own Nonprofit organization called Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Initiative (JDPI), which he founded in 2019. JDPI works with at-risk youth to help them avoid the school-to-prison-pipelines.  JDPIRI.ORG.

Michael-Evan James


Michael-Evans is a scholar, educator, and dedicated community health activist. As a first-generation American with roots in Dominica and Trinidad, he exemplifies diverse cultural influences and a strong commitment to social justice. Holding a B.S. in Health Science and a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University, he has worked closely with activist organizations as an organizer and street medic. Raised in Florida and Georgia, he currently studies to become a physician at Brown while contributing as a member of DARE’s Behind the Walls committee. He also volunteers at the Rhode Island Training School, teaching sex ed and physical and mental health education to incarcerated youth.

Ramaar Logan


I am a lifetime resident of Providence RI and a member of the community, a family man and a great friend that is willing to listen, pay attention to detail and the concerns of my peers. I am very dedicated and at times take on more tasks than one can handle but manage to get them done. I’m a part of the Bail on 32 campaign and the Behind the Walls committee. I got connected with DARE at the age of 14 through community service, but as I got older I fell back for a while. Then I heard about the restitution program that helped pay for past fines and after that I’ve been back attending. I respect everyone at DARE, new and old to the organization and hope it lasts for another 30+ years!

Brenda Taylor

Tenants and Homeowners Association Committee Representative

Black Woman. Born and raised in Boston where she was a youth activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Member of the Tenants and Homeowners Association. Stands for love, compassion, and solidarity. Brenda lives in Providence, RI.

Alyssa Perry

Behind the Walls Committee Representative

Born in RI, resident of Providence since 2018. I believe that if second chances were enough that would leave zero people free in America, so I believe in true justice, true politics, and truer people. I am inspired by the DARE family and hope to continue to serve as a voice for the most underrepresented folks in our community for many years to come. 

David Chavez

Board Member At-Large

My name is David and I am currently doing social outreach and am an active member of society. I am in CCRI becoming a social worker and have two part-time jobs. 

Melaine Ferdinand-King

Board Member At-Large

Melaine is a local scholar, curator, and multi-form cultural strategist. She received her B.A. in Sociology with concentrations in African Diaspora & the World and Women and Gender Studies from Spelman College. A New Jersey native, she’s based in Providence and has served as a member of DARE’s Behind the Walls committee while pursuing her Ph.D. in Africana Studies at Brown University. Melaine hosts public workshops and teaches on issues of race, Black history and culture, and everyday ethics. She plays instruments, listens to jazz, and writes poetry in her leisure. 

Maggie Chung

THA Committee Representative

I was born and raised on Cape Cod, MA and moved to RI after law school. I began my career as a public interest attorney as an assistant public defender for 9 years. Currently, I’m a staff attorney at the RI Office of the Mental Health Advocate. I’ve taken part in BTW meetings and joined the BAIL ON 32 campaign. I’m the mom of a Providence Public School student and love to cook, travel, and read.

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