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Umoja Team. Umoja Strong!

Creating the Space for Healing and Recovery

Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective is place for community.  It takes many voices, hands, and hearts to move the work forward.  The core team holds the space and allows community to move in and around, creating moments of connection and healing.  

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Michael Hayes

Founder and Executive Director

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Aaron Griffin

HOPE 4 the Future Program Director

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Alex Taylor 

Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist

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Tyquan Harrison

Urban Art Institute Director

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Brandi Hayes

Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist

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Cheryl Pulley

Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist

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Karen Hayes-Roberts

HOPE 4 the Future Staff

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Paula Scott

Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist

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John Cunningham

HOPE 4 the Future Staff

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Michael Hayes
CPSS, CHW, Recovery Coach, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Facilitator, Trauma and Resiliency and a Reconnect for Resilience Skills Educator

Founder, Executive Director

Mr. Hayes is a visionary agent of change.  Mr. Hayes has found powerful ways to infuse the art of storytelling and the science of resilience into opportunities for healing and recovery.  He is the author of the HOPE (Healing Our Past/Personal Experiences) module, a Certified Peer Support Specialist, a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator, and a Reconnect for Resilience Skills Educator. Mr. Hayes is the founder of the Urban Arts Institute and continues to provide opportunities for healing and growth grounded in the arts. Mr. Hayes believes in the power of community and the collective healing process.

Tyequan Harrison 
Recovery Coach & CHW Candidate

Urban Arts Institute Director

Tyequan was born and raised in Asheville. He is a graduate of Erwin High School. He is the Artistic Director of the Urban Arts Institute, the Arts Program of Umoja. Tyequan is also the Producer of the weekly Hour of HOPE radio show. He’s worked as a bartender and mixologist around Asheville, including at Benne on Eagle, where he was featured in Garden & Gun Magazine. He is a Recovery Coach and a Community Health Worker Candidate and the father of four.

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Aaron Griffin
CPSS, PACE & Trauma and Resiliency Educator

HOPE 4 the Future Program Director

Aaron is a mechanic, native of Asheville, '88 graduate of Asheville High, NC Central University & Shaw University, Chair of African American Heritage Commission, CPSS, Trauma & Resiliency Educator, national Bass player, writer-producer and has opened for Cameo, Earth Wind Fire, Chakra Khan & more. Father of four. 

Karen Hayes-Roberts 
CPSS, Recovery Coach, Trauma and Resiliency Educator, CHW Candidate

Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist & HOPE 4 the Future Staff

Karen is a native of NC who moved to Asheville 10 years ago. She is a CPSS, Recovery Coach, Trauma & Resilience Educator. She is married and mother of 5. She has previously been with Winston Salem/Asheville Housing Authority for 20 years as HVAC technician. She is currently a CHW candidate.

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Paula Scott
CPSS, CHW, CNA, Trauma Informed Educator

HOPE 4 the Future Program Director

Paula is a native of NC, graduated from MCdowell High '86. She is a CNA & Home Health 25 years, PSS, CHW, trauma informed educator,  Community Paramedic team member. She has been Peer support at Buncombe County Jail MAT program and is trained in Motivational Interviewing.

Brandi Hayes
CPSS, CHW, CNA, CET

Buncombe County Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist

Brandi was born and raised in Asheville. She is a graduate of Erwin High School. Her background is in health care, and she has worked for 10 years at Mission Hospital, beginning as a CNA and later as a Care Assure Patient Coordinator. She is also a Certified EKG Technician and a Community Health Worker. She currently supports a team of Buncombe County Community Paramedics in her role as a Peer Support Specialist. She is the mother of four and the wife of Umoja Founder and Executive Director Michael Hayes.

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Alex Taylor CPSS 
 

Buncombe County Community Paramedic Peer Support Specialist

Alex was born and raised in Cherokee, NC and relocated to Asheville 7 and a half years ago to better my life and seek recovery. She has been working in the recovery/community support field for over 7 years now. She have worked in various treatment centers, has case management experience, and is currently enrolled in EMT classes. She enjoys helping people find their way out of the darkness as in recovery  for 7 and a half years now.  A fun fact about Alex is that she has a cat who she treats like her own child!

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