As an Educator, Interfaith Minister, Psychotherapist and Life Coach, with over 22 years of experience working with youth, individuals and families, Gena Jefferson is passionate about creating environments where people can feel safe, empowered and free to express their individuality. She is inspired to teach adolescents and young adults to value their mental health and peace of mind.
Gena has acheived a B.S. in Performing Arts (Dance) from Brooklyn College, a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University, a M. S. in Special Education from Long Island University, and a M. S. in Educational Administration from Touro College. She is currently an advisor at the Columbia School of Social Work.
While serving the NYC Public School system as a Teacher, District Liaison, Director of Student Services and Social Worker for more than two decades, Gena began her ministry as an ordained Interfaith Minister. She founded Sacred Center New York’s “It’s All About YOUth” ministry and led it for four years. She also served on its ministerial team and board of directors.
In 2005, she founded, JAIA YOUth Empowerment, a self-development program that provides Teen Life Coaching and powerful workshops in Self-Mastery and Leadership for youth ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-24. JAIA workshops use Universal Life Principles and Mindfulness techniques in order to encourage mental health and support youth and young adults of all ethnic, cultural, religious or non-religious backgrounds, in leading successful lives. In 2010, Gena began her private practice GJ Counseling Services offering Life Coaching, Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy in the NYC Area.Gena supports clients by holding the highest vision of what is possible for them as they move toward realizing their dreams.
Gena is a Certified Facilitator for Motivating The Teen Spirit, a national training and development company founded by Lisa Nichols, world renowned, motivational speaker and author of “No Matter What!” Gena was featured in the “Dignity of Children Newsletter” for bringing Motivating the Teen Spirit to New York City in April 2009.
In February of 2012 Gena was featured on the WPIX 11 morning news show in a story on parenting at-risk youth. In August of 2012 she appeared in a back to school special on the WCBS morning show “THE COUCH”.
Gena presented a workshop “The Spirit of Black Youth- Theorizing a [spiritual] path toward positive youth development” at the University of Akron’s Black Male conference 2012.
Gena co-presented “The Spirit of Black Youth- Theorizing a [spiritual] path toward positive youth development” at the University of Akron’s Black Male conference 2012.
Gena is also a performing member of GraceDrums, a versatile, all-women percussion and vocal ensemble with the simple mission of making joy contagious. The group’s music uses elements of traditional West African and Haitian percussion, blends western influences of R&B, and adds vocal improvisation and spoken words with acoustic instruments of West Africa. The result is an energetic, expressive blend of music with universal appeal. The group performs at celebratory occasions and festivals, and is available for bookings. See the group featured on the WPIX 11 morning news show in a story titled GraceDrums: A Story of Pursuing Passion.
As an artist, Gena’s first love is dance. Out of her desire to heal her past relationship with formal dance education, Gena founded the Just As I Am Dance Ministry for adults who love to dance but perhaps never pursued it, or those who choose to heal physical and emotional trauma’s through dance/movement. JAIA Dance Ministry has collaborated with and presented at Sacred Center NY, and The Inner Visions Institute of Spiritual Development in Maryland.