JAIA’s Founder

Gena Jefferson

Who is Rev. Gena Jefferson, LCSW?

Gena Jefferson, a native New Yorker (and a proud “Brooklynite”) 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 Master Degrees, in Education, Educational Administration and Social Work from varied institutions. She was ordained by the Interfaith Council of New York, and her Spiritual Life Coaching Training and Certificate comes from Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development founded and directed by the Masterful Coach Rev Dr. Iyanla Vanzant.

Gena served as 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!” She was spotlighted in the “Dignity of Children Newsletter” for bringing Motivating the Teen Spirit to New York City in April 2009 www.dignityofchildren.org.

At the 2017, Night Of Excellence, Gena was awarded the Lydia Martinez Award  from the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault for outstanding service and collaboration in the field of violence prevention.Gena has served as Adjunct Faculty/Lecturer and Field Instructor at Rutgers University, Columbia University and Fordham University Graduate School’s of Social Work.

She is co-owner of “Overture Wellness: Begin with Purpose” a Spiritual Life Coaching Practice. She has been quoted in numerous media outlets and most recently appeared on, “THE COUCH” a CBS Morning News show, and WPIX Channel 11 morning news.

Gena’s has presented various aspect of violence prevention, positive youth development and mindfulness for youth as it related to JAIA’s 3 year/tiered leadership Model at:

  • University of Akron’s Black Male conference (2012)The Spirit of Black Youth- Theorizing a [spiritual] path toward positive youth development.
  • Nealy, E., Jefferson G., Boon Lin, N, Reynolds, M. (2016)[Panel Discussion] For Such a Time as This: The Role of Faith and Religion in Family Acceptance. Gender Conference East.
  • Jefferson, G.C., Obara, L.M, Davis, A., Banyard, V. (2022).  Elevating Youth Voices through Strength-Based Mentorship [Poster Presentation]. National Mentoring Resource Center, 2022 Youth Mentoring Research Symposium. Virtual Conference. 
  • Banyard V., Jefferson. G, Mathias, J. (2022) Creating a Safer and Healthier World:Lessons from Resilience Research and Positive Youth Development

Other papers include:

  • Banyard, V., Jefferson, G. C., Segura, A., Forman, S. G., Haviland, M., McMahon, S., … & Sarkar, S. (2021). Feasibility and acceptability of engaging significant adults in youth sexual and relationship violence prevention work. Violence against women, 10778012211034201.

For more information about Gena, see her profile on psychology.com or reach out via email.

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