ZJJWNJvK_400x400.jpg

Alexis Coleman

FOUNDER

I am a Texas native living in Washington, DC. I work in the public sector on U.S. foreign affairs. I founded Traveling Mercy after seeing the profound impact travel had on my life. When I reflected on my travels, I noticed a lack of global exposure, particularly in historically marginalized communities, so I started Traveling Mercy.

 
 
 
 
 

Cayla Machleit

Board Member

My passion for travel comes from a deep desire to learn about dynamic cultures around the world. I love meeting new people and learning how their culture, religion, and experiences shape the way they think about and react to things. I know from personal experience living in a small, closed off community how easy it is to be scared of the things you don’t know and understand, which is why I am passionate about Traveling Mercy’s mission. Exposure is key to building bridges and not walls. Meeting people from around the world  has helped me see that the world is made vibrant and better because of our differences, not in spite of them.

Cayla.jpg
 
 
 
Bee Nyong

Blessing Ikpa

Board Member

I travel because the experience allows me to get outside of my everyday life and connect with the world around me. Traveling is so important because, as global citizens, we need to constantly be understanding the world around us. We have to be engaged if we want to live in a world we’ve always imagined.

 
 
 
 
 

Tara Severyn

Board Member

I’m so psyched to be a part of Traveling Mercy and help facilitate eye-opening and horizon-broadening experiences with communities that may not have accessibility to international travel. I grew up in a single parent home and didn’t have the financial resources to travel abroad until my freshman year at college. During my first international trip I remember feeling uncomfortable and out of place the entire time, which actually gave me the space to expand what I thought to be true about myself and the world. Travel is transformative to the mind and spirit, and it’s so important that we all have the opportunity to engage in that transformation. After my first trip, I was inspired to make a goal to visit a new country every year until I turned 25. This month I’ll celebrate my 25th birthday and I am so grateful to be able to say I’ve reached my goal! I’ve made sacrifices to make these various trips happen, and I am forever appreciative for the lessons learned, the experiences I stumbled into, and the self-growth I achieved.

Tara.jpg
 
 
 
Maya.jpg

Maya Day

Board Member

I am a Jersey Girl turned entertainment lawyer currently working in NY. My most memorable traveling experience was studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in 2014. During that time abroad I learned that in embracing a different culture I better understood my own, which is what I hope to help others discover as a member of the board for Traveling Mercy.

 
 
 
 
 

Maurissa Walls

Board Member

I am a Philadelphian living in New York City working in Digital Retail. As a high school student getting to travel abroad for the first time to France was a deeply spiritual experience that changed my life.  I joined the Traveling Mercy Board to give other people with limited access the same gift of travel that I was given. I hope that they too can see a world beyond their own and learn new life skills that they can take home to transform their lives.

Maurissa.jpg
 
 
 
Danielle.jpg

Danielle Noel

Board Member

As the daughter of Caribbean immigrants and a product of one of the most diverse cities in the country (Brooklyn), I have always been curious about how other people live. Through various travel experiences as well as having the opportunity to live in various parts of the country, I have learned to respect all cultures and ways of life. I am passionate about helping people of color, youth, the working class, the elderly and other communities seek new opportunities to expand their worldview.

 
 
 
 
 

Abrar Rageh

Board Member

As a Pittsburgh native working in the field of global human rights advocacy, I grew up in a community that saw people from all around the world. I learned about other countries from talking to people, and tried to live experience through listening to their stories. As a first generation American who only traveled after getting into college, I quickly learned that travel expands horizons, community, and develops ones self in a different dimension. I aim to continue growing, and helping underprivileged communities grow through travel. Together we all make the world better.

Abrar.jpg
 
 
 
Kathya.jpg

Kathya Saavedra

Board Member

I was born in El Salvador and grew up in Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. My current professional journey is serving as a Finance and Operations manager for an education-based non-profit in D.C.

As a person who was born in a war and violence torn country, I never thought I would have the opportunity to travel around the world. I am committed to ensuring that all marginalized students have different options for international travel, and I hope to be a force for Traveling Mercy’s vision.