Meet Our Team
Tova Hairston, Executive Director
A little about me: I joined Boomerang in March 2021. I was most recently Executive Director of the Coastal Women’s Shelter in New Bern, NC where I managed five agency and service locations, led a staff and volunteer team of more than 75 people, and designed and implemented trauma-informed program strategies for survivors of violence. Prior to that, I was a Program Coordinator for a Duke University program in eastern NC focused on addressing adolescent health disparities and a Program Director at a 21st Century Community Learning Center. My career has prepared me to lead Boomerang in its current form and to grow the organization to better reach and serve young people in Orange County who may be in the process of disconnecting from school and community. I hope to lead Boomerang to continue to serve young people who will most benefit from the connections, services and mentorship our organization provides.
Tawanda Torres, Program Manager
A little about me: She is the new Program Manager at Boomerang Youth Inc., she is a Graduate of Salisbury University in Maryland with both a Masters and Bachelor’s degree in social work. She is also a licensed master’s social worker in MD (LMSW) and is pending a LCSW-A in NC. She is a recent transplant to NC, and lived in western MD for the past 15 years after moving there from her native home of Queens NY. Her previous roles included, case management in social work with the state of MD, Adult and children psychiatric therapy in mental health and federal housing funding for homeless prevention. She is an active member of NASW and is a certified financial social worker.
Katie Van Loon, Student and Operations Coordinator
A little about me: I joined Boomerang in July 2021 and have youth work experience with vulnerable youth in nonprofit and academically-aligned organizations throughout the Triangle, including serving as a Graduate Consultant for Table, Porch and ICH and Sex Educator for Classroom to Community in Durham, NC. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science: Kinesiology from Central Michigan University and will complete a Master’s of Public Health degree at UNC-Chapel Hill this year.
Saffiyah Elahi, Student Coordinator
I joined Boomerang in August 2021. Previously, I worked in education, supporting elementary-high school students with social emotional learning, as well as tutoring and providing college and career support (high school). Also, I worked in healthcare supporting elderly, as well as teens with developmental disorders . I earned my Bachelors of Science in Public Health from University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. This past May, I obtained my Masters of Art in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. My favorite part about Boomerang is watching students growing within and obtain their goals.
Corrine Taylor, Student Coordinator
In 2017 I graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in religion and culture and a minor in Nonprofit Administration. I am currently a 2023 Masters in Social Work candidate at the University of North Carolina. I am the Student Coordinator at Boomerang Youth. We often refer to the relationships we build with students as being the magic of Boomerang and I couldn’t agree more. I love to build relationships with the students I work with and create a wrap around support for them as they transition back to school. My favorite aspect about working at Boomerang is following up with students after they return to school. I love to hear about the progress they’ve made returning to school and the sheer pride on their faces when they share with me. Our time with students at Boomerang reminds me everyday of the ongoing work needed as a community to combat the school-to-prison pipeline. My favorite hobby is rock climbing. I’ve been climbing outside for the past 7 years all around the country and hope to climb internationally one day!
Kelsey Thomas, MSW intern
Meet Kelsey Thomas! Kelsey uses the pronouns she/her/hers. She is originally from Charleston, SC and have a Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina. She currently in her first year at North Carolina State University and is working on her Masters of Social Work. Her field placement at Boomerang Youth has been a valuable opportunity in exploring direct social work practice and nonprofit organizations. She appreciates how supportive the staff has been thus far in her social work career. A fun fact about her is that she do not like chocolate!
Carleigh Hiscock, MSW intern
Meet Carleigh Hiscock! Carleigh’s pronouns are she/her/hers and she is currently serving as one of Boomerang’s interns as she completes her Masters in Social Work at North Carolina State. Her favorite part of working at Boomerang is seeing the passion and enthusiasm put into the program in order to make it as beneficial as possible for all of the wonderful students that attend! A fun fact about Carleigh is she has an obsession with ranch and if she could put it on everything she would. Something she likes to do in her free time is hanging out with friends and going to NC State football games! Go pack!
Chelsea Frye, MSW intern
Meet Chelsea Frye! Chelsea uses the pronouns she/her/hers. She is from Durham NC and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from North Carolina Central University. She is also currently working on getting my Master’s in Social Work at North Carolina Central University as well. Her field placement at Boomerang Youth has been a great opportunity, where she has been able to see and experience great bonds formed between students and staff. The focus on the students’ growth while being at Boomerang is the most important part to her and how they show great efforts in doing so.Having such a supportive staff has been a great start. A fun fact about her is that she loves cooking and trying new recipes.
Taylor Hodges, MSW intern
Meet Taylor! Taylor’s pronouns are he/him/his and he is currently serving as one of Boomerang’s interns as he completes his Masters in Social Work at North Carolina State. His favorite part of working at Boomerang is working with the amazing team of staff and interns. Taylor loves to watch movies, go to the beach, write, and hang out with friends during his free time! A fun fact about him is that is colorblind.