Leadership Team

Team Synergy, Flights 509 & 709, are teams within a leadership training program at  Ascend Spiritual Flight Academy www.visionascend.com and this New Orleans service weekend is part of our contribution to the world. Ascend is a coaching organization which facilitates and provides workshops, retreats, spiritual and Adventure trainings to those ready to move outside of the box and live a full and exciting life!

We are Synergy – Flights 509 & 709


zahira1Zahirah Nur Truth, Educator-Artist-Visionary. Originally from Boston, MA now residing in the nations capitol. Loving, Open, Bold Woman! Creative soul bringing healing to the community via art. A ever growing eclectic visual artist. Aiding in the educational development of inner city youth specifically Elementary Education. Founder of Divyne Phabrix where you can find healing through jewelry, art work and more. In the process of developing ground breaking curriculum via creative Freedom, Justice, Equality with a strong focus on Arts. Sincere and Authentic Mother of a funny soon to be 4 year old. My passion is family and arts! A key component of an extraordinary team of women called flight 509!!!


Freda RayFree Ray is a Stand for EMPOWERMENT- ENCOURAGING a DESIRE TO GROW while expanding her educational goals to benefit the community from a global perspective. She is humbled by the opportunity to be in service in New Orleans this April. This is an occasion that calls for open, intense and loving leadership. Its time to build freely, consciously, lovingly, having fun, contributing, and evolving!!!  Free Ray is delighted with the chance to breakthrough and transform with all who join us on this journey of paradigm shifting.



Bonita Walker began changing lives at the age of 10, as a facilitator with the International Black Youth Summit. Now at the age of 25, she has filled her life with community outreach on a global scale. Bonita’s purpose is to inspire and activate others to be agents of positive change for themselves and the world. She has traveled the globe speaking on issues from self-esteem to learning with dyslexia. Bonita is currently working in a middle school in Boston teaching Media Arts. In her free time she coordinates A Village At Work’s project to build a Arts and Culture Community Center in her Neighborhood. Bonita STANDS for Love and Community.


Kelela Mizanekristos: a C r E a T i V e, CONFIDENT, loving LEADER. A native Washingtonian of Ethiopian descent, and a stand for BIG love and its power. Her story begins with a rich, dual-culture childhood experience, and MUSIC. Kelela is a jazz vocalist with a new-found clear, multi-faceted and dynamic sensibility. Known for her energy and vibrancy, she is a teacher at a preschool that integrates children with special needs in the classroom with typically developing children. Her passion for academia and the power of knowledge began at American University’s School of International Service, where her focus was International Development in Africa and in the School of Sociology, where she developed a strong passion for social justice through her study of Race, Gender, and Sexuality power dynamics throughout the world. Going for the biggest possibility and integrating each of these visions is what she is up to as leader of FLIGHT 509!



Nadia A. Benitez was born in El Salvador in 1981 and migrated to Northern Virginia at the age of 13. Her vision is to design and build innovative community centers that empower youth. Nadia earned a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Howard University. She is an open, confident, and loving healer who stands for peace, love and happiness. Through her service in New Orleans and in other communities, Nadia intends to be a powerful agent for transformation and abundance in the world.

Malkia Kokuyamba Lydia

Malkia K. Lydia is building an internet superstation for tv, film and radio programming that empowers, connects and inspires people around the world. Her training includes the core curriculum of the Ascend Spiritual Flight Academy, an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University, and a degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. Malkia is an eager student and practitioner of transformational leadership, and she currently serves as Enrollment Manager of the Ascend Flight Leadership Program. She is excited to join in committed action with all of you in New Orleans.


Pandwe Aletha Gibson is a relentless advocate for the efficacy of urban public school students. She has committed her life to insuring all students have the resources and supports to learn.  Ms. Gibson travels the world inspiring young people and educators through innovative workshops. She addresses a range of topics around building resilience and community development. Ms. Gibson is also a published author. She has recently published three multilingual children’s books with the goal of encourage youth to read. The books are part of a series entitled Why?… which celebrates inquiry, family, and community through the sciences. She is currently on a eight week ten city book tour promoting and presenting across the country.

flight_709_christineChristina ‘ChaCha’ Holmes representing H-town.
I am a  RESPONSIBLE, PASSIONATE, VULNERABLE healer, standing as a source for  global transformation through love.
I am changing lives as I speak,
my sharing and caring bring hope and healing to the weak,
For I once stood in victims bond,
before I heard the cry of the ASCEND song.
And NOW I stand in courageous power,
contributing to those, like I, who once cowered.
Bold am I in my walk, chanting victory when I talk.
So STAND with me and make the change
there are no limits in our range!! — Much Love, Christina


heather Heather Reffett is a Joyful, Loving, POWERful Woman committed to serving others. Heather has worked for the city of Washington DC for over eleven years as a public policy professional.  She has vast experience in strategic planning, project management, CON analysis, state health planning and environmental health.  All tools that have allowed her to impact the health services delivered to the residents of DC. Heather is also a very skilled writer having authored and contributed to several published documents, such as the DC Healthy People 2010 and the 2007 DC State Health Plan.  She has a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University and is a Certified Public Manager.


flight_709_lauren22I’m Lauren Camille Taylor, a teacher, leader and powerful lover.  I work with young children and at risk families, a population that is rapidly growing but that I am committed to transforming. The change this world needs is within us all.  What is your calling?

flight_709_jeremy21Jeremy Koss, 22, was born right in the nations capital of Washington, D.C. and was raised in Silver Spring M.D., a suburb of the city. His vision in life is to be a teacher and supporter of community and identity development and is truly excited for the opportunity to share in this wonderful New Orleans experience. He received his Bachelors from American University in D.C. in Business with a minor in Print, Layout and Design and loves adding creativity to all forms of structure in the world. Currently working in higher education, Jeremy is really passionate about supporting the growth of all peoples. Join him and everyone else on the leadership team in supporting and building love in New Orleans this April!!!


Birthed the child inside to conceive breath…Measured energies to manifest possibilities endless…From fetus to lotus position…Inside the womb of the universe bear witness to creation’s religion…She prays, from congregations of constellations…Patient as stellar formations…Abstract with the language…her origins ancient…Watch the ancestors trek…where they left…a Mecca of stars collect…count their steps across the arch of the heavens…balancing between light beams…inciting galaxies to day dream…Came on the scene with this Flight 709 team…we stay shaping…peeling back the edges to the meat of a world…ever ripening…  –Nicole Henry


Yao Tyus was born and raised in Washington, DC, where he currently resides with his family.  A graduate of Howard and The George Washington Universities, Yao’s career has spanned an array of responsibilities including fundraising and program development at Howard University (4 years); as the Chapter Director for the Greater Washington DC Chapter of the American Liver Foundation (4 years); and the Neighborhood Service Coordinator for Washington, DC’s Ward 8.  He currently owns and manages Steppingstones Management Services, LLC, a tutoring and mentoring company that serves young people in foster care and with special needs.  He is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and a swimming instructor.  His current focused interest lies in the development of effective teams.


meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeKimberly Berry-Hicks is a Powerful Courageous Creative Leader, a very proud mother of 2 and wife to an extraordinary musical genius.  An accomplished jazz vocalist in her own right, she is also a vegan chef, a writer, techie, healer and visionary.  Kim’s passion and vision is a commitment to healing the planet wholistically starting with all women in the world.  Her vision is to raise global consciousness creating global healing.reaching 7 future generations of men & women not yet born by healing and empowering beliefs about themselves and their world, to ultimately save the planet right now.


Peace! I stand for .LOVE. It is an honor being a part of this awesome service project. I believe in the POWER of a few dedicated spirits to shift the paradigm around the world. I am an advocate for the rights of the forgotten and a healer of hearts. I look forward to soaring to heights unknown with my community! I am a LOVING WOMAN standing as a source for a transformed world!


flight_709_chris_pChris P. A Passionate, Creative, Loving Leader, Stands as a source of Peace, Prosperity, Wealth and Justice for all Humanity. He works as a Business Manager at Friendship Public Charter School one of the nations largest.  He is CEO of The Natural Mystic Movement! which is Creating a Vision of Uniting and Networking Healers, Artist, and Entrepreneurs to Transform the World. He invites you to make a shift in your world so that you may come to New Orleans and Contribute to a Paradigm shift for the World!



Eight years ago, DeAnna DeWitt was performing accounting work in a job that she had held for a decade. “But it was not soul satisfying,” says the Beltsville resident.
She says, “I was just pushing papers, and it was not purposeful. I felt there was a higher calling for my life.” After much prayer and meditation, the charismatic woman found what she feels is her true calling: giving women sacred healing herbal body wraps. Now, DeWitt spends her days “giving thanks for the work that I now do. This is something that I’ve been divinely led to.”  She now seeks to spread her healing touch to the people of New Orleans.  This Powerful, Open, Loving Healer is dedicated to touching the world through service and encourages you bring some passion and love to a region that has and can shift the conciousness of the world.


flight_709_amber24 Amber Smith is part of the driving force of Flight 709, who are Loving, Authentic, Connected Leaders Boldly Standing as a Powerful Source of a Transformed World.  Amber is requesting your support as Healers, Teachers, and Leaders that we may continue to lay healing hands on New Orleans. Be Loving, Open and Authentic and allow the great spirit of our ancestors to guide us on a journey of Contribution and Service connecting with the great people of New Orleans.


I am Sasteh Lenora Walters.  I am a Caring, Loving, Empowering leader.  I am a mother of five, two boys and three girls, with my youngest being seventeen years old. I am also the grandmother of one grandson, Ghazi.  I am fifty-three years old.  I teach the third grade at P.S. 3, The Bedford Village School, in Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York. I have been teaching for twenty-nine years, and I love it!  Teaching is my passion.  I love to see the children’s minds turn on when they get it. Learning new things can be quite empowering for youngsters. My vision for the world is a world of peace where people, especially children, get it about what?s Great about them Now.



  1. I am a wilderness woman who is excited about this service project in New Orleans. I did Lifespring in 98 and also one of the founding members of Optimum Living with Ron Davis. I remember my Leadership program and it was awesome and one of the many things that has had a profound change in my life. Working with the National Park Service I have been bringing environmental education to our youth and community. I feel the land, water and streams are very important to our well being as healthy individuals. I desire to empower our youth to be stewards of our city parks, create more green spaces in urban environments and take action about the water which is part of our life force that we drink. So I would love to be apart of the project in New Orleans and congratulate all of you for the stand you are in your lives and community.

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