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...
Danessa Bowling

Danessa Bolling

Houston, TX
I first came across the A Taste of African Heritage program at the Essence Festival in New Orleans 2 years ago and I was instantly in. Since then it has been a way to bring my love of foods based in rich cultural heritage to the people and communities I love in a fun and educational way. Teaching...
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 CHC & Certified Health Coach

Lithonia, GA
Deitra Dennis is a registered nurse and certified health coach in Georgia. She received her health coach certification through the National Society of Health Coaches. She also received a certification as a Food for Life Instructor, an award-winning Physicians Committee for...
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...
Angela Ledyard

Angela Ledyard

Certified Fitness Trainer
San Diego, CA
I had my struggles with weight in the past and really needed to make some lifestyle changes. One day, I decided that I had to make a change and be in more control of myself. I was letting everything else – work, stress – control me. I refocused myself and awakened to a new path in life through...
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Yvonne Lively

Detroit, Michigan
I am married to Malcolm Lively a retired Air force Veteran. Between us we have 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. I was born in Jamaica , moved to London England with my parents as a child where I attended Risley School for Girls. Later I attended the College of South East...
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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...
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Brenda Atchison

Boston, MA
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Brenda Atchison continues to live in her Roxbury community. As a volunteer, she contributes her skills and expertise to numerous non-profit organizations. As a social entrepreneur and activist, Brenda applies her insight, resources and expertise from a varied...