Edna Garcia-Dipini is a native of New York and longtime resident of Berks County. Her special interest and expertise is in community building through the Arts. She comes to Berks Not One More Project as a social innovator, youth activist and HIP HOP enthusiast. Given her lifelong passion for the arts, Edna founded RIZE, a non-profit youth arts organization. RIZE utilizes the arts to promote healthy lifestyles and develop solutions to social adversity and community violence. Mrs. Dipini is also a strong advocate for criminal justice reform. Edna Garcia-Dipini, has shown tremendous commitment to the City of Reading and Berks County for nearly two decades, leading various community efforts including Live to Read, I-Commit, Berks Salsa Fest, Dance on The Streets, The Solidarity Project and BERKS 4 PEACE. She has been recognized locally and at the state-level for her community work.
Edna Garcia-Dipini was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, now residing in Berks County. She is a graduate of the HighSchool of the Performing Arts of LaGuardia. She has decades of experience in the arts, community engagement and organizing.
James Williams, Originally born in California and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. His passion for dance began when he was six and had since then blossomed and become stronger with time. He learned about RIZE when asked to teach a dance class after a performance he had and the rest was history. Growing up James never had a place to express his love and creativity for dance and that’s why he does it for the kids in his community.
James RIZE’s up because he wants to be there for someone who needs help. James wants to be that person for the kids by building a bond in the classroom.
Ashanique Monlynn, Originally born in New York City, dance runs through her veins as an escape from the world around her. She faced a life of many struggles and battles and triumphantly survived and beat the odds that were once against her. Her journey with RIZE began with instructor James and they would team up and create choreographies the community loved while also experiencing the bond between two amazing friends. She is a mother to two handsome boys and is a creative and talented choreographer who exemplifies kindness and patience through all she does.
Ashanique RIZE’s up because she is strong and confident and no matter what comes her way, she’ll stand with her head held high ready to conquer another day.
Jose Torres AKA Raymond, Originally born in the Dominican Republic, Raymond’s passion for dance began in the 8th grade and has grown tremendously since then. After years of dancing, he decided he wanted to participate in becoming an instructor in dance classes, the state didn’t offer many studios and many people denied him, it was then RIZE that gave him a chance to shine and show his talent. Through his dance classes and bond with dance, his life lesson is not to give up on yourself.
Raymond RIZE’s to inspire others to keep believing in themselves, awaken their talent, and bring life to their creativity.
Ameer Andé Couvertier, Originally born in Brooklyn, New York and of Puerto Rican descent Ameer’s story began when he moved to Reading Pennsylvania at 11. Ameer Couvertier has a passion for cooking and is a big comic fan as well as gaming. He also is passionate about hospitality and uniting people together for a good cause, and that is precisely what RIZE is as a nonprofit organization. After graduation, he aims to become a personal chef and travel the world helping others by volunteering. Through his volunteer work with RIZE, the lesson he aims to teach the kids is to believe in yourself and if you have a dream to chase it and learn all about it. Ameer RIZE’s up to see a change in his community. To help youth become better human beings conscious and wise so that they can continue to lead future generations.
Ricky has traveled the world working professionally as a featured performing artist & entertainer (dancer, singer, actor, event host/emcee, etc.) appearing in a variety of musical theater, casino, cruise ship, and event productions, as well as concert dance and site specific creations. He’s performed in productions created or staged by recognized industry professionals, including Barry Manilow, Patti Colombo, Gustavo Vargas, John Charron, Jill Hillier, Carla Kama, Tony Mansker, Jim Raposa & Claudia Shell-Raposa, Julia Gleich, Yasminee Lepe, and numerous others. Throughout a decade, Ricky served as a lead vocalist, dancer, actor, event host, and dance teacher aboard multiple cruise ships for Holland America Line, having learned & performed over 30 different production revue shows created by Stiletto Entertainment. Ricky has taught for numerous dance studios and arts institutions throughout southeast Pennsylvania, and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor specializing in Jazz Dance Technique for the Theatre & Dance department at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Ricky RIZE’s up by staying curious and continuously learning, while also sharing the fruits of that process with others so that they too can RIZE UP.