Past international and domestic travel experiences have inspired the team to create a program that provides dynamic, purposeful, and experience-based travel opportunities geared towards youth an adults. Members of the team have benefited exponentially from studying, traveling, and living abroad. Such opportunities have developed independence, personal and emotional growth, and connection to the larger world. The team's mission is to empower, broaden perspectives, and encourage global citizenship among participants young and old.
To provide experiential travel opportunities to youth, young adult scholars, and professionals of all ages.
Igniting Mindful Afro-Adventures Nationally and Internationally in order to connect participants and the world with a larger sense of self and a broader sense of home.
To provide opportunities which increase the number of critical, open-minded, adventurous, emotionally intelligent, and empowered travelers of all ages, who embrace diverse Africana* and Indigenous cultures, expand mentally, and engage in experiences which positively impact their global communities by exposing and enrolling participants and the world in the lives, histories, contributions, and struggles of Africana and Indigenous people.
*Africana is a term used to describe any group/culture which intersects with heritage of the African Diaspora ie. African, African American, Afro-Latino, Afro-Asian, Afro-European, Caribbean, etc.)
Empower under-traveled youth and adults by immersing them in enriching hands-on cultural learning experiences and exposing them to new people and opportunities.
Educate all participants about themselves and other people of Africana and Indigenous descent by immersing them in action and service-learning and reflection.
Expand perspectives of our impact on the world through inter-generational service-learning and cultural exchange.
Engage parents, guardians, and other adults in the experiential learning process of the youth by creating mindful opportunities for inter-generational participation, sharing, support, learning, and mentorship.
MEET THE DREAM TEAM
Jamilah I. Shabazz
Executive Director, Founder
As a child, Jamilah was exposed to local and domestic travel with family. However, luxury vacations and tourism were the only types of travel she was exposed to. In her mind, travel was limited to sightseeing in crowded tourist populated destinations, cruises, trips to world renown theme parks, and the fantasy of visiting one of the few wonders of the world. She quickly learned in her early adulthood that travel was so much more than what she thought. After gaining a broader consciousness of the abundance life had to offer, she realized that living her best life in every moment was the only way to achieve true happiness and fulfillment of her life's purpose. As a college student, her first international adventure to South Africa in 2007 was the catalyst to the profound discovery of what it felt like to feel free and connected to the entire world. As she evolves, so do her travels and the ways in which she's able to relate to life. Jamilah attributes most of the wisdom she holds to her worldly experiences and spirit-affirming sojourns. She believes that most of life's magic comes alive right outside of the comfort zone. The reason IMANI was created was to get her message out to more people of African descent, young and old. She sees travel as a state of mind. She also understands that lack of exposure is by far what prevents many people of from finding that joy that comes from releasing the fear of getting out of their comfort zone and exploring new adventures. In addition to getting out of her comfort zone, she doesn't believe that she must sacrifice her interest in and love of traveling among like minded people who look like her just for the sake of not being alone. Afro-Adventures were created to allow Black Travelers the privilege of traveling in a community of culturally similar, like-minded, and kindred spirits, which still maintains many levels of intersection and diversity. IMANI works passionately to create the ability for more people to be empowered to seek true connection to the world, beginning with themselves.
Jacquelyn R. Pierre
Director of Finance
As a young, very focused single mother of twins, Jacquelyn learned at a young age that travel was granted to those willing to work hard to achieve their personal level of excellence. After graduating with her Masters in Counseling Psychology, her parents rewarded her with her first international trip to Jamaica. Raising children earlier than many of her peers didn't stop Jacquelyn from dreaming big, pursuing her goals, being a loving mother, and wanting the most out of her life. Since that trip to Jamaica, Jacquelyn has traveled to several states and countries. She enjoys the finer sides of travel as well as the rugged. As she evolves, freedom takes over her and forces her to face her fears in order to live life fully. Her passion for children parallels the mission of IMANI. After working 45 years as a dedicated social worker for the Department of Children and Family Services, the welfare of children has always been at the forefront. Creating opportunities for our youth and adults to develop in healthy environments and live up to their potential is what she's been fighting for since she first decided that her career would be to work as an advocate for people who need love and resources. A couple decades later, Jacquelyn is still dedicated to not only our youth and adults, but also to the liberation of her own spirit and connecting herself to the rest of the world, the IMANI way. Her expertise is an asset to the organization as we know that our youth flourish with the support of loved ones. Jacquelyn works to expose, educate, and empower our parents and families in order to enhance the experience-based travel education being provided to our youth. IMANI was created with the whole family in mind.
Aminah S. Jackson
Director of Logistics
Aminah did not grow up around the idea that travel was accessible to her or her community. Aside from the short drives from Arizona to Mexico while in elementary school, she did not see examples of traveling to places outside of the norm. At 12 years old she was invited to a National Young Leadership Conference in Washington, DC where she experienced her furthest trip of travel independent of her parents. That was the trip that served as the catalyst to her love for exploring new places and connecting with people who lead different lives. She then continued to find any reason to travel nationally, with the hopes of traveling outside of the States one day. She soon found a way in college to take an international trip on her own which then gave her the courage and drive to continue exploring. Having the experience of being a Peace Corps Volunteer has helped cultivate her passion for learning from various cultures by experiencing the lives of people, first hand. She is forever thankful for the opportunity to explore at a young age and understands the significance it has had on her personal growth and worldview. It is her goal to extend the opportunity to people of color, of all walks of life, to challenge their every day routine to experience something new, in foreign locations to them both nationally and internationally. She hopes to encourage members of marginalized communities to transcend physical as well as self-inflicted borders.