Meet our current JUNTOSAmbassadors

Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini began dancing at Westchester Ballet Center where she trained in a variety of dance styles and performed with Dance Theater of Westchester. Rena went on to study at The Boston Conservatory and later transferred to The Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London, where she trained with students from around the world and performed at the Royal Opera House.  While in England, she volunteered at English National Ballet to assist with the Dance for Parkinson’s program as a part of her dissertation. After graduating with honors, she danced with Ballet Theater of Maryland as a trainee and is now in her second season with Fort Wayne Ballet. Rena traveled to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua with JUNTOS and is excited to stay involved through the Ambassador program.

About Rena’s Capstone Project: I will be traveling to Granada in June 2018 to teach dance to the children at Casa Xalteva (language and cultural center) and Hogar de Ninas (home for girls). Through sharing my love of dance my aim is to pass on the values this amazing art has given me: determination, confidence, creativity, and community.

Ellie Frechette

Ellie Frechette started her dance training at the age of 3 in Middletown, Connecticut. She finished her pre-professional training at The Hartt School, the University of Hartford Community Division in Hartford, Connecticut. She spent one year at Marymount Manhattan College before transferring to the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program. Ellie took her first trip with JUNTOS to Mexico in January 2017, followed by San Francisco and Guatemala in May. As a result of these influential experiences, she has recently made the decision to pursue a degree in Social Work at Fordham University. Ellie is looking forward to an inspiring and educational year in the Ambassador Program, and hopes to spend her Capstone Project in Guatemala in Summer 2018. Ellie’s favorite JUNTOS Quote: “Money and shelter make the world go ‘round, but art makes it go forward” – Joanna Poz-Molesky

About Ellie’s Capstone Project: I will be traveling to Casa Guatemala, an orphanage of 300 children in the mountains of Guatemala. The primary goals for this project include developing a dance program to fit the educational needs of the children at the orphanage, foster a sense of motivation and self-confidence through movement, and encourage young students to explore new ideas within the context of dance.

Lorena Jaramillo

Lorena Jaramillo was born in Mexico City and began her dance training in a local studio. She participated in summer intensives at the Joffrey Ballet School, which made her fall in love with New York City. She moved to the United States in 2015 to begin her higher education. Currently a junior at Marymount Manhattan College, Lorena is working towards earning her BA degree in Dance, with a minor in Arts for the Communities.

Lorena traveled to Mexico on the 2017 JUNTOSAbroad trip and has done local work, including NY Week this past spring. She believes that sharing dance can create bridges between cultures and lead us closer to social justice and equality.

About Lorena’s Capstone Project: I will be traveling to Hermanos en Camino, an organization located in southern Mexico that provides shelter to Central American immigrants. Using dance as a tool to empower others, my goal is to allow people to find a moment of peace through movement, and strength to continue along their road of unimaginable challenges.

Caroline Shriver

Caroline Potter Shriver began her dance training at C-Unit Studios in Bethesda, Maryland, and CityDance Conservatory in Rockville, Maryland. During high school, she worked with the CityDance Dream program as an assistant teacher and helped coach the Special Olympics local unified basketball team. She is currently a Junior in the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in New York City where she will graduate with a double major in Dance and Latin American Studies. After graduating, she hopes to dance professionally and use dance as a tool to affect positive change around the world.

Caroline’s passions for dancing, teaching, youth development, and outreach have led her to work closely with JUNTOS Collective. Caroline has traveled to Mexico and Nicaragua with JUNTOS and looks forward to growing as a dancer and leader as a JUNTOSAmbassador.

About Caroline’s Capstone Project: I will be traveling to The Institución Educativa Marina Orth in the rural community of Aguas Frías, in the Andes Mountains surrounding Medellín, Colombia. While teaching daily dance classes, I will also be conducting a research project that seeks to demonstrate the impact of dance education in an underresourced community and investigate how dance can make a positive impact on the confidence, motivation, relationship skills, and leadership skills of young people.