Brandon Long, Executive Director
Brandon Long moved to the Highland neighborhood with his wife in 2012 to begin his master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at St. Catherine University. He began work at the Minnesota Autism Center as an occupational therapist in 2015. Brandon served as an elected at-large board member of the Highland District Council, worked on the council's engagement committee and helped found the neighborhood non-profit Sustain Ward 3. He is obsessed with his two Cavapoos, Obi-Wan and Kylo Ren.
Abdulrahman Wako, Community Engagement
Abdulrahman Wako ("Wako") resides right here in the Union Park neighborhood. He moved from Lansing, Michigan to Saint Paul with his family in 2006 and has since made Saint Paul his home. Wako is a community organizer at heart. His idea of a vibrant community is a relationally connected community. He enjoys talking with concerned neighbors about issues that affect them directly and working with these individuals to come together and organize for a better community.
Wako campaigned for candidates in the 2018 midterm elections and has learned that in order for each individual's voice to be heard, the community needs to first organize and then engage. In his free time, Wako likes to perform spoken poetry, take a walk at the nearest park or read a good book with his favorite feline, Haneef.
Irene Woods, Community Organizer Intern
Born in the Netherlands to Liberian parents, Irene has lived in Saint Paul for over a decade. She was engaged in conversations about social disparites at a young age. An undergraduate at Saint Paul College, she plans to obtain a bachelor's degree in Environmental Design to provide solutions for social disparities among communities by creating compelling indoor and outdoor spaces that can influence or enhance residents' daily lives. As a multidisciplinary artist, Irene recently completed an arts training program and commenced an Environmental Design apprenticeship with Juxtaposition Arts. She is acquiring the necessary skill set to become an environmental designer focused on community projects. You can find her at various parks and gardens observing and interacting with her natural environment.
Teresa Kayser, Community Engagement Intern
Teresa Kayser was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and is a senior at St. Olaf College. Double majoring in Sociology/Anthropology and Economics with an emphasis in International Policy and Analysis, she plans to pursue a career in urban planning where she can help cities in making conscious and equitable decisions when it comes to economic and social development. When she’s not in class, you can find her cheering on her teammates on the St. Olaf women’s rugby team or playing with her Akita mix, Tuffy.