Ian Hadley – Executive Director at 916 Ink – has been leading our organization since January of 2018. He has spent his entire professional career developing effective programs for underserved children and families, and he is eager to pick up the pen and help write the next amazing chapter in the 916 Ink story. Prior to working at Ink, his work involved building statewide programs that develop kindergarten readiness, youth life-skills development, as well as strong and healthy family dynamics. In ten years at the Child Abuse Prevention Center, he brought many innovative projects to scale with diverse partnerships including the First 5 Association, The Corporation for National and Community Service, and dozens of community-based nonprofits throughout California. His projects have been recognized at the local, state, and national level for their efficiency and impact.
Ian was inspired by 916 Ink for a number of years before joining the team, and he has also experienced the power of creative writing and self-expression first hand. Growing up in difficult circumstances while facing a number of early challenges, it was his connection to the written word that ultimately changed the trajectory of his life. He believes strongly that by helping youth experience that same positive connection to literacy, 916 Ink can continue to provide transformational experiences for youth throughout the Sacramento area.
Justin Self is 916 Ink’s Director of Advancement. His primary focus is in working with the wonderful people and organizations who, through their donations, make it possible for us to grow our mission and our impact. After spending the first five years of his career in the private sector, Justin decided that he was ready to put the skills he had developed into effect in the nonprofit world. An invitation to a book release party from a friend of a friend gave Justin a chance to see firsthand the incredible impact 916 Ink programs have on youth, and from there he was hooked.
Justin believes that when kids become engaged in writing they become more engaged in the world around them and are better prepared for success later in life. He finds that being a part of an organization that helps make this possible for so many children, many of whom have had few other ways to express themselves, is both humbling and fulfilling. After relocating to Sacramento from the Bay Area in 2017, Justin is excited to become a part of the local community.
Nikki Cardoza serves 916 Ink as the Director of Programs. Before coming to 916 Ink, Nikki was active in the Sacramento writing community and as a volunteer for 916 Ink. She also worked full time as an associate education lobbyist in state government, representing community colleges, school districts, and employee unions.
Nikki’s experience working with nonprofit organizations began in 2003 when she started serving as a long-term volunteer for a faith-based aid organization in China. During this time, she also served as an editor and publication designer for China Compass Publishing. After a short sabbatical to focus on her education, Nikki returned to the workforce as a Volunteer Coordinator for International China Concern.
In 2015, she completed her undergraduate education at California State University, Sacramento, where she graduated with a degree in government.
She continues to write for fun and is happily revisiting the best moments of her own childhood, reading all of her old favorite stories to her daughter Annie.
Paulette Greenhouse is 916 Ink's Program Manager. She has always been a writer, even since an early age. At six, she was crying over the idea of never being able to read, but by eight, she was referring to her trusted World Atlas to create numerous country reports on staple-bound scrap paper with detailed Crayola drawings of the geography and appropriate flag. This research experience became useful when Paulette discovered her love for reporting, which pushed her to become an editor of her high school’s newspaper, and eventually an associate editor and art director of Xpress Magazine at San Francisco State University (SFSU), where she graduated in 2011 with her bachelor of arts in journalism.
Paulette then continued her studies and received a Multimedia Certificate through SFSU’s College of Extended Learning. She was introduced to 916 Ink when she was suffering a major creative block and wanted to find inspiration. Volunteering as an Inspirator helped push her to achieve goals that she had previously been unaware of. She now serves as the Program Manager to 916 Ink, happy to be contributing to her community and helping youth realize their own imagination and potential.
Maria Gavia is 916 Ink’s Office Manager. Prior to her work with 916 Ink, she taught English and Creative Writing at the high school level for four years. Maria holds a bachelor of arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a master of fine arts and a secondary education teaching credential from San Jose State. She has served as a content editor for San Jose State's Reed Magazine and is an alumna of the VONA Voices workshop for writers of color. She has been working for 916 Ink since 2017, first as a Wordslinger and more recently taking on a myriad of essential responsibilities like assisting with book production, developing curriculum, and managing our facilities and inventory. When she’s not saving the day at 916 Ink, she can generally be found either at the gym, purchasing chocolate for her husband, spoiling her two cats, or professionally belly dancing.
Emma Hoppough is 916 Ink’s Production and Publication Coordinator. After growing up in Chico, California, Emma attended the University of California, Davis to earn a degree in English and a minor in art studio. She has enjoyed writing since she was a young kid scribbling in tiny picture books, and for three years she wrote for the lifestyle magazine Upgraded Living. By working with organizations like BuildOn and Children of Tomorrow throughout college, Emma gained a greater appreciation for education- and literacy-focused causes. She’s excited to bring that passion to 916 Ink. If Emma’s not finishing up a project for work, she’s probably painting, picnicking, or losing spectacularly at a trivia night downtown. More often than not, she is also thinking about her cat.
Nora Rodriguez Camagna is one of 916 Ink’s most tenured Wordslingers. She grew up in the California migrant labor camps in Texas and in Mexico, and she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in political science. When she is not facilitating workshops with our young authors she spends much of her time working on a novel and short story collection about her Mexican-American experience. Nora has been in master writer workshops with C. Michael Curtis, Kevin McIlvoy, Robert Boswell, Tom Barbash, John Freeman, and Karen Bender. One of her favorite things about 916 Ink is the opportunity to teach creative writing to underrepresented students in Sacramento.
Dorothy Rice joined the Ink team as a Wordslinger in 2019 but has been a part of the 916 Ink family since the very beginning through her role as a longtime volunteer. After raising five children and retiring from a career cleaning up toxic waste sites, as well as taking enforcement actions against illegal tire piles, Dorothy carried that experience to its only logical conclusion by earning an MFA in creative writing from University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert, at 60. Dorothy’s first book, The Reluctant Artist, was published by Shanti Arts in October 2015. She has placed two dozen personal essays and stories in journals including Proximity, The Rumpus, and Tin House Open Bar. An essay about her mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s was awarded second place in the 2018 Kalanithi Awards, and one of her flash fictions has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. Her latest book, Gray Is The New Black, a memoir of ageism, sexism and self-acceptance, was published in Spring 2019 by Otis Books. Dorothy is a certified Amherst Writers & Artists Method facilitator.
Concepcion Tadeo was inspired to become a Wordslinger by her daughter Temmie’s interaction with 916 Ink. Temmie had fun and relayed the support and respect she felt during the Word Squad and Amplify programs over two years. During that time, she went from being a shy and isolated child who struggled with writing to a mostly shy child that could spin stories and make friends with others who shared her interests and learned how to listen to each other. Temmie also developed a love of literature, and her writing improved—and she has the grades to prove it!
Concepcion is a Certified Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) facilitator lucky enough to have received training and work directly with AWA founder, Pat Schneider. She has been writing in the AWA method under local legend Jan Haag for over a decade.
Retired from the California State Senate after twelve years, writing analyses for health-related legislation as a policy consultant, Concepcion is excited to be conducting creative writing workshops and working with youth again. She previously worked with young people as a community advocate and health educator for fourteen years in the Los Angeles area. When she first relocated to Sacramento, she taught art at the Boys & Girls Club and later managed Youth Art Programs at the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. She is also a visual artist who works primarily in photography and mixed media arts. Concepcion studied creative writing and American studies at University of California, Berkeley and currently conducts independent AWA writing workshops for adults. Her written work and photography have been published in Crossroads Magazine, Caffeine Magazine, Bukowski in Pictures, Bukowski and the Beats, The Ultimate Illustrated Beats Chronology, The September 11 Photo Project, Susurrus, Escritores Del Nuevo Sol, and Soul of the Narrator.
Isabel Geerer is a Wordslinger. It is her dream job. Her interest in literacy came at an early age. As a slow learner, Isabel was teased by other students when she was in the first grade because of the low-level reading textbook she had been assigned. Isabel’s grandmother was a teacher and helped her develop a love of reading by taking her to the library, picking out great books, and then only reading the first chapter to her no matter how much Isabel would beg her grandmother to continue. This sparked a lifelong love of reading and an interest in being a teacher. Isabel developed that interest in teaching while homeschooling her five children through junior high and high school. Then, after her oldest child went to college, she finally got to go. She attended American River College, where she received a degree for early childhood development. She had always loved to write, so she took a creative writing class, where she discovered that she enjoyed reading and writing poetry. The teacher of the class made it mandatory that students submit one story or poem to the college’s award-winning college literary magazine, The American River Review. The next semester, Isabel took the lit mag class. The teacher, Michael Spurgeon, happened to be on the board of directors for 916 Ink at that time. When she introduced herself, saying that her two favorite things were writing and kids, Spurgeon told her to get in contact with 916 Ink. Isabel served on the staff of The American River Review four semesters in a row. She worked as an associate editor-in-chief and managing poetry editor. She received a certificate for literary publishing. Isabel has had many poems published in local literary magazines. She volunteered for 916 Ink in their early days while she was still in college, then began to pursue her teaching career. Isabel has worked as a teacher in a before- and after-school program for five years, serving low-income families and teaching second and third graders. Her primary focus there is social development, teaching children how to use their words to get their needs fulfilled. Isabel still loves kids and writing and is delighted to be back with 916 Ink.
Taylor Garcia began by volunteering in many different roles for 916 Ink, and in 2019 he was hired as a Wordslinger. He enjoys the way 916 Ink demystifies writing, helping students see it as something personal and enjoyable. Raised in the ever-blue South Lake Tahoe, he struggled with school and had many challenges growing up. He has personally felt the stigmas of remedial classrooms and hard living situations. Despite this, literature was the tool that kept his head above water. It helped push Taylor to move to Sacramento and complete his bachelor’s degree in English at California State University, Sacramento, where his love for reading and writing flourished. When he is not whipping up prompts with 916 Ink, Taylor is continuing his education to get his teaching credentials and progress toward a master of arts in education. He knows firsthand that literacy is a crucial piece of a person’s well-being. Each day that he steps up, he hopes to spread the power of the written word.
Halley Miglietta is a Wordslinger. Halley became an advocate for writing as a method of empowerment and healing during her last year of college in 2009. She was a religious studies major and hadn’t yet delved into the realm of non-academic writing. She had been putting off a mandatory composition class because it didn’t seem very interesting to her. In fact, she put it all the way off until the summer after her graduation. Earlier that year, her mom passed away very suddenly. Halley was doing her best to process her grief while finishing her education. During that summer composition class, Halley had the chance to explore her grief through her creativity. She wrote a piece that gave her overwhelming emotional experience a tremendous sense of power and meaning. From that point forward, Halley used writing very intentionally as a tool for processing life’s tragedies and gifts. She took many writing classes and workshops for her own creative development and then brought her passion into the lives of youth and adults by leading creative writing and visual arts classes in various contexts in Detroit and Sacramento. In addition to being a Wordslinger, Halley also serves as a holistic life coach, helping people connect inwardly to align their behaviors and decisions with their self-worth, values, and purpose.
Liz Simpson is a Wordslinger. She has always had a love for the arts. Being homeschooled by a mother who fostered creativity led Liz to read copious amounts of books from the local library and become entranced by worlds beyond. She worked for a degree and a career in the arts, but soon she came to realize she wanted to give back in a different way. She left the United States and worked in South Korea to teach English as a foreign language. She then joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Northern Thailand as a teacher and community collaborator volunteer. In Thailand, she led health and hygiene camps and teacher trainings, and she worked with her community on their English language skills. She returned from Thailand and began her master’s program at California State University, Sacramento in 2018. She came to 916 Ink through her internship for her master of social work program. The school where she was interning had 916 Ink at their school once a week, and Liz would participate in facilitating the sessions. She fell in love with seeing children gain confidence and use their own voice to share their personal creativity.
Brooke Lei Noble joined 916 Ink as a Wordslinger in 2019. She has always had a focus in creative writing and a passion for reading, which peaked immensely after becoming a published author with 916 Ink in high school. Writing has always been her outlet and a place where she could find peace. Brooke was able to experience 916 Ink through the eyes of a student and wants to see the kind of spark that emitted in her in the eyes of other youth as well. She is currently attending California State University, Sacramento to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work as well as a minor in psychology/child development. After seeing firsthand experiences with the foster care system and CPS, she began developing ideas for change, ultimately inspiring her to pursue becoming a social worker. She feels that children of any age should have exposure to the wondrous idea of creative writing.
Nena Larieze is part Wordslinger, part poet, part yogi, part loving educator, and part mommy. Growing up in an unconventional setting, losing both parents by age eleven, one to a fierce battle against breast cancer and another to an even fiercer battle against addiction, Nena found that creative writing became not only a means to survival but also integral to healing. It is her passion to share the perspective and resources creative writing provides with as many young writers as possible because it is freeing, healing, nurturing and empowering, instilling resiliency and self-actualization like no other art form.
Nena is a mother, educator, and writer of environmentally, sociologically, and PTSD obsessed poetry and prose. Selections of her poetry have been featured on Trampset, Poetry to Feed the Spirit, Love and other Passions, as well as a published collection entitled Activistic, and university publications within the University of Central Florida and Valencia College. Featured performances include Queen Bean Coffee in Modesto, CA and Bad Ass Coffee in Orlando, FL. In between chasing after three young children, she is drafting and obsessively editing a novel in progress and collection of poetry entitled The Sea Also Rises and Chronicles of a Broken Childhood: Post Traumatic Past Disorder. Despite the odds sometimes stacked, youth, especially those underserved and underrepresented, deserve an ally in creative writing so that they can understand their story and tell it magnificently.
Brenda Nguyen is a Wordslinger. She has had a lifelong relationship with writing, from scribbling comic strips as a child to writing fictional stories as an adolescent to publishing op-ed pieces in the school newspaper as a teenager. As an adult, her love of words and language led her to a studying linguistics at San Jose State University. She founded a collaborative zine publication series during this time called Tiger Balm Project, which features the art and writing of Southeast Asian creatives from around the world. Tiger Balm Project focuses on exploring themes of identity and healing through the bodily senses. This venture, and Brenda’s work as an educator in the Bay Area helped her realize that making a difference in the lives of youth and pursuing the transformative power of art were her true passions. As a result, she recently relocated to UC Davis to study English and work toward a career in student counseling or social work. Brenda continues to combine her love for crafting and writing through her personal work and is continually inspired by the imagination of the kids at 916 Ink.