Oldways’ African Heritage & Health Ambassador Network is a collective of talented community volunteers dedicated to improving nutrition and public health. The Ambassador Network was designed especially for A Taste of African Heritage teachers who want to take their community outreach work to the next level. Oldways provides Ambassadors with additional outreach support and exclusive materials to be able to offer cooking classes, workshops, and other community health outreach events in their areas.  

To help ATOAH grow in its early years, we formed an ambassador program of leaders who have done impactful community work. Though we are no longer recruiting ambassadors, the individuals below were instrumental in helping spread the joy of A Taste of African Heritage around the country.

Meet Our Ambassadors!

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Madea Allen

Washington, D.C.
Affectionately known as the Organic Soul Chef TM , I am a teacher, wayshower and facilitator. I facilitate others into their highest state of being through wholesome cooking, holistic nutrition, energy work, sacred movement and other sustainable lifestyle practices. Many describe my teaching...
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Danessa Bolling

Houston, TX
Motto: Divine In Victory Always Danessa M. Bolling, LMSW, LCDC, is a mental and behavioral health professional with 21 years’ experience in the healing arts. She is employed full time with the Michael E. Debakey V.A. Medical Center, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program and is the founder of D.I...
Shirelle Boyd

Shirelle Boyd

Chef Shirelle Boyd is a lover of life who has been a Culinary Professional for more than 20 years. Her culinary career began when she was a cook in the Navy where her passion for cooking grew. She decided that once she finished her duty in the Navy she would pursue a Culinary Arts career. She...
Carrye Brown

Carrye Brown

Washington, DC
An obligation to do a Black History presentation in my church in Washington, DC started my journey to the ATOAH Program . My husband, Larry and I selected the topic of “Food eaten during the middle passage by African enslaved people to America.” Our goal was to highlight healthy foods that...

Toni Colley-Perry

Professor, Folsom Lake College
Sacramento, CA
For sixteen years I held a position as a classified employee for a local school district as a Parent Advisor. I completed my BA in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA. As a seasoned Parent Educator, I applied and completed my Master in Education Leadership with a...

Aqiylah Collins

Certified Integrative Health Coach
Henrico, Virginia
I first learned of the power of food from my grandmother. Miss Berta was one gardening, home-cooking, restaurant owning, community leading, hymn-loving, clairvoyant, prayerful woman! Much of my formative years were spent in the garden and kitchen with her (and my grandpa), hands-on with...
Tiffany Davis

Tiffany Davis

Powdersville, SC
Becoming an A Taste of African Heritage teacher, and now an Oldways Ambassador, has allowed my love of food, community/family and health to come together. I see, hear, and live (through family members) the health disparities within my community. I now have a platform to show people how to choose...

Deitra Dennis, RN, NBC-HWC

Atlanta, GA
Deitra Dennis, a true southern girl that resides in Georgia. She is a Registered Nurse, National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach from the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching, Licensed Food for Life Instructor from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and...
Dejenaba Gordon

Dejenaba Gordon, MPH

Lindenwold, NJ
Dejenaba Gordon originally from Camden, New Jersey has lived in Southern New Jersey for twenty years. She graduated from Sterling High School and attended Temple University where she received a Bachelor of Science in 2009 and Masters of Public Health from Drexel University in May 2012. She...
Adante Hart

Adante Hart

Baltimore, MD
Adante teaches A Taste of African Heritage in Baltimore, Maryland, as a means of addressing the various food and nutrition-related health disparities present in many of the city’s underserved residents. Always interested in food, Adante’s passion for nutrition, in the context of public health was...
Selas Kidane

Selas G. Kidane

St. Louis, MO
I am originally from East Africa, Eritrea, which is the collective cultural heritage of diverse populations. Eritrea shares historic commonalities with the traditions of Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti; Eritrea also has some ties with those of the Middle East and Italy. Therefore, Eritrean...
Benita Law Diao

Benita Law-Diao, CDN

Albany, NY
While Benita Law-Diao was working on her Masters Degree program in the Division of Nutrition at Cornell University, she chose to get practical experience through the Maryland State Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Dietetic internship, which rotated her through a wide range public and private...
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Angela Ledyard

Certified Fitness Trainer
Dallas, Texas
I had my struggles with weight in the past and really needed to make some lifestyle changes. My struggles were the result of unhealthy meals that I grew up on, stress, and falling into that trap of what everyone else around me was eating. Things needed to change as I was becoming another patient...
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Yvonne Lively

Detroit, Michigan
My name is Yvonne Lively. I’ve been certified as a Taste of African Heritage Teacher since February of 2017 after which I taught classes at Carter Metropolitan CME Church where I manage the Culinary department. Later that year I was offered the opportunity to become an Ambassador...
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Sytira Richardson

Chicago, Illinois
Sytira was born and raised in multiple cities: Philadelphia, PA, New York City (Manhattan & the Bronx), Norwich and New London, CT and the latter part of her young adult life into full adulthood in Chicago, IL. She started her 7 year career at Ryerson Steel in the billing department as a pricer...
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Nneka Shoulds

Baltimore, MD
Nneka is a Community Nutrition Educator with a passion for working in urban environments, inspiring, educating, and empowering people to make healthier lifestyle choices. As a child, she cared about the decisions her family made concerning their health and became more passionate after seeing the e...

Lashell Staples

Bowie, MD
LaShell discovered the A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH) program while working as a nutrition student intern. She was on a journey to find culturally relatable nutrition information to supplement her coursework and strategies for helping those most affected by health disparities. The...

Calvis Williamson

Ocala, FL
Calvis Williamson is the founder of The Afro Whisperer Group, LLC. Her passion for holistic health and wellness grew out of wanting to see her family, friends, and community live better. She is currently an Ambassador for the African Heritage and Health Program offered through Oldways...

Brenda Atchison

Boston, MA
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Brenda Atchison continues to live in her Roxbury community. As a volunteer, social entrepreneur and activist, she contributes her skills and expertise to numerous non-profit organizations. As an Ambassador for A Taste of African Heritage cooking, Brenda is committed to...
Claire Richardson

Claire L. Richardson

SNAP Hotline Counselor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Claire has been with the Taste of African Heritage program as a food educator since the fall of 2014, instructing classes via The Culinary Literacy Center at The Free Library of Philadelphia. Claire has been instructing classes via Zoom as in-person classes begin to resume. Working as SNAP Hotline...

Elyce Lloyd

Lorton, Virginia
Elyce Lloyd MLIS, HHC, CNWE is a passionate educator and health and wellness enthusiast. She believes in the power of plants for food as well as for medicinal purposes. Her family has southern American roots and she as allways been intrigued with their cultural connections to the Continent. Elyce...
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Anthony Beard

Cleveland, Ohio
I am afforded the privilege of helping African American families and small businesses develop the proper relationship with the food they eat and end the confusion over what is good or bad to eat. All foods can fit into a healthful diet and I incorporate culture into the recipe that...
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Glorya Fernandez

Boston, MA
Glorya is the chief culinary instructor and executive officer of Gogobytes. A visionary Culinary Instructor who develops delicious cuisines to demonstrate how they create highly nutritious meals using vibrant produce, healing herbs, spices, and simple cooking techniques. She is very passionate...

Fatou Faye

Fatou Faye MEd is a health educator who works at Penn State University. She specializes in diabetes and nutrition education in African American and African communities. Her goal is to work with families to improve their overall health and well-being.