2023-2024 Nourishing Power Fellows

Cheryl Clements

Co-founder of Melanated Mushrooms
photo of Cheryl Clements

My name is Cheryl Clements. I am a farmer, artist, and educator of both. My goal is to provide healing through mushrooms, herbs, and art through my companies, "Melanated Mushrooms" and "House Of Weird Perfection." It's my purpose to educate and share the knowledge I have to help make other people's lives better along with helping and working with Mother Nature- being a steward of the land.



Mr. Vernon Clements

photo of Vernon Clements and Cheryl Clements at a farm

My name is Vernon Clements and I am a military veteran. I feel no one should go without food or education, as they're basic human rights! My organization's purpose is to make sure every community we touch has these things.



Janet Nevels, MPA

Photo of Janet Nevels with plants and a spiral staircase

Janet Nevels was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Not long ago, she remembers growing up eating lots of fruits, beans, and fresh vegetables. In this day and age, fast foods have replaced fresh food in most instances. Less people and fewer families are eating fruits, beans, and fresh vegetables and not realizing the health issues that processed foods may cause to their bodies. Constant consumption of fast foods can have a direct correlation to diabetes, high cholesterol, and other co-morbidities. Janet understands that a diet containing fruits, beans and fresh vegetables can in fact improve one's health which is why she is so passionate about ensuring that children, youth, adults, and seniors have access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. Through gardening, Janet can educate others about the importance of growing their own food and ultimately fostering a love for healthy food. She earned a Bachelor's from Central State University and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Akron.

Narkeita Motaabbed

Photo of Narkeita Motaabbed

As a Mother, Missionary, Evangelist, Business Owner, Educator and Youth Gardener Liaison, I’ve been impacting families for over 30 years. My mission is clear: to support and to empower, to teach, to reach, and pray for the increase.





Sonia Cruz Matos

The Neighborhood Achievement Hub, Co Founder
Photo of Sonia Cruz Matos in a purple shirt

Sonia Cruz Matos, 61 years of age, married 42 years, proud mother of two sons and grandmother of five, passionate facilitator/advocate of services to our community. Sonia is the Co-Founder of The Neighborhood Achievement Hub.




Jonathan Gray

Founder and Executive Director of Trials for Hope
photo of Jonathan Gray carrying a box of food

I am the Founder and the Executive Director of a non profit called Trials for Hope. We started in 2010 and became a non profit in 2015, with a goal of helping others who struggle with food and or financial challenges with basic needs. We now have a food pantry as well as assisting those unhoused with basic needs at their camps.



Makanya Ms Mikki Smith BSA,MBA,CPSS

Executive Director Little Africa Food Collaborative
Headshot of Mikki Smith in a black and white shirt

Makanya (Mikki) Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois & relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where she currently resides with her family. She received both her master's degree and bachelor's Degree from the University of Phoenix in Beachwood, Ohio. Now retired she spends her time as an educator, consults with organizations on curriculum development, youth curriculums and crisis intervention management, and assists with community
organizing. Mikki is the Executive Director of Little Africa Food Collaborative where she educates on food nutrition and instructs the weekly gardening classes at Village Family Farms. Mikki is the current board chair of Union Miles Development Corporation. Mikki has received certifications as a Master Rain Gardner, Master in aquaponics and agriculture, and Family Peer Support Specialist in 2023. Mikki loves spending time with loved ones and celebrating life one degree at a time.

Angelina L Taylor

Little Africa Food Collaborative
Photo of Angelina L Taylor

My name is Angelina L Taylor. I have served as executive secretary, program director, and board chair of Little Africa Food Co-op. Currently, I am a board member and serve on the program committee. I have a bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership and have assisted multiple non-profit organizations in different capacities, including project manager and event coordinator. As I pursue my juris doctorate, I plan to continue to serve my community to address food deserts in Cuyahoga County.



Katarina Smiley

Cultural Curator | Sankofa Circle International
photo of Katarina Smiley

Katarina Smiley is a community organizer, youth advocate, and creative entrepreneur from the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, OH. She is an alumni of Kent State University where she received her Bachelor's degree in Public Health. Currently, she is
the garden leader at Collinwood Friends Garden where she strives to nourish the community she loves with affordable, accessible, and quality produce while sowing seeds of liberation on common ground. Katarina is passionate about all things art, healing, and justice related and often incorporates these elements within her work as a
youth-serving professional and faith leader. She firmly believes in the power of radical love, rest, and acceptance as powerful tools to advance humanity in a forward direction.

Ridwan Lawal

Youth Enrichment Specialist with the East Cleveland Neighborhood Center
photo of Ridwan Lawal in a red shirt

Ridwan Lawal’s passion is supporting other people’s growth. He was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States at six years old. He grew up in Prince George’s, Maryland, and attended Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. He received his Bachelor's in economics with a minor in environmental studies. His passion is in education, in all its forms. As part of an internship in high school, he taught financial literacy. That was where his education journey truly began. As a First Year Mentor at Goucher College, he cultivated the growth of others entering college. He moved to Cleveland in 2020 to teach middle school math. Since moving to Cleveland, he has gotten involved in the community through efforts focused on food insecurity, urban agriculture, and education. He is a co-garden manager with the Collingwood Friends Garden. He continues to help support many food initiatives that support the Cleveland community’s fight against food insecurity. He is a Youth Enrichment Specialist with the East Cleveland Neighborhood Center, where he nurtures student’s understanding of themselves through social-emotional work focusing on middle grades. He continues his education journey with his work as an Ella Baker Trainer with CDF Freedom Schools. What motivates him is the good that comes out of collective leadership. He truly believes it takes a community.