Jennifer DeBarros is a New Bedford, MA native who is a passion-driven, creative, critical thinker and community educator with over twenty-six years of experience in diverse leadership roles. After dropping out of high school and obtaining her GED, she enrolled at Bristol Community College and through a co-op opportunity was able to discover her passion at a local non-profit organization. It was at this time when her spark for positive youth development and social justice was ignited as she quickly learned that her own personal struggles were tied to a larger, historical, and collective movement for humanity through civil rights advocacy and activism. While fulfilling various roles as a professional and volunteer through non-profit, school-based, and community-based social service organizations, she continued her educational pursuits and completed a bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Bethune Cookman University finishing Magna Cum Laude. Recognizing the importance of education and having a particular interest in working with young people, she has crafted her life work around creating several engaging and empowering programs, as well as, educational workshops and culturally relevant curricula. She has spoken at several engagements focusing on her own journey through adversity, in addition to, issues surrounding social justice and public health. As a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at UMass Dartmouth, she completed her dissertation research for a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies which consisted of a historical contextual analysis of a local police shooting that examined the intersections of schooling and cultures of control through the oral histories of community residents. As the Director of Prevention & Intervention Programs at NorthStar Learning Centers, she designed and developed the HEAL (Health, Education, Action, & Leadership) Center for gun violence prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery program. She also worked as a Lecturer for the Crime and Justice Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. As a parent and formerly disengaged learner, she understands the barriers in accessing high-quality education opportunities and hopes to be a bridge that connects Eagle Rock to the wider community through her role as Dean of Admissions. She is happiest when investing time with her children and grandchildren, dancing at a Hip Hop concert, and supporting youth to actualize their dreams.
More About Jennifer DeBarros
I am really moved by the power and promise of young people.