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The Village Project

About Us

About our cdep

Our CDEP is called the Emanyatta Project.  Emanyatta is a Maasai word meaning “Warrior’s Camp”.  It is a Warriors Camp of learners in which children of African Ancestry grades K-4 learn the truth about their culture and heritage. The goal of this 5-year project is to prove that children of African Ancestry who have strong racial pride and identity will not develop mental health issues that will become severe and disabling at any point in their lives.  Additionally, we expect that children who are involved in the Emanyatta Project will experience success in all other aspects of life.  The truth about who they are is reinforced each Saturday with African greetings, rituals and lessons learned from special presenters, all of who are of African Ancestry, who come from the fields of science, history, education and the arts, who serve as role models and sources of inspiration for the children.  Parents are encouraged to attend all Emanyatta sessions as a means of supporting their children in this dynamic learning environment.  Parents often learn knowledge of their ancestry that they were not taught.


Our approach is to provide services involving meeting people where they are while encouraging self-determination through the delivery of culturally specific services.

Our goal as an agency is to provide effective services to every child and adult who request assistance. These services are designed to produce positive outcomes for the families and children we serve.

Who We Are

our team

Regina Mason, Project Manager
Mel Mason, Executive Director/Clinical Director 
Dr. Grace Carroll, Local Evaluator
Jamelle Jones, Cultural Warrior Healer 
April Dunham, Cultural Warrior Healer
Monica Smith, Finance Director

Each of our team members is centrally involved in our CDEP.  The Project Manager, who is also co-founder of The Village Project, Inc. has the responsibility of overseeing the Project and its activities, assuring that all project activities are relevant and in accordance with the goals and objective of the Emanyatta Project. The Executive Director, who is also co-founder of the agency, also serves as the Clinical Director for the project.  His role is to oversee the clinical component of the project.  This includes observation of any behaviors or symptoms exhibited by the children that suggest they might be experiencing early onset mental health issues.  The Clinical Director then works with parents and staff to provide clinical services that culturally, professionally and effectively address those issues with children and parents, thus helping the CDEP live up to its responsibility to provide prevention and early intervention services.   He also serves as an Elder to the project and often serves as an historian with the children as well.  The Local Evaluator is key to quantifying data and outcomes, thus demonstrating the validity and reliability of the CDEP in meeting its goals and objectives.  Our Local Evaluator, who is a retired University of California Professor and Researcher, is the primary team member who will prove that our CDEP works.  Our two Cultural Warrior Healers are responsible for organizing and scheduling presenters, presentations and cultural and educational activities for each Emanyatta session.  In coordination with the Project Manager, they oversee the “Read Loud, Read Proud” activity of each Emanyatta session which inspire our Young Warriors to read and think. They also oversee our agency’s Cultural Enrichment Academy.  Our Finance Manager assures that the CDEP’s funds are accounted for, dispersed prudently and oversees payroll for the CDEP.  She is the primary team member who maintains communication with our CDEP’s Contract Monitor from the CDPH Office of Health Equity.

Board Members

Charles Brown, Board Chair 
Dirrick Williams, Vice Chair 
Brenda Thomas, Secretary
Karyn Johnson, Treasurer
Rev. Dr. E. B Jones
Elza Minor 
John Johnson

Board Advisory Committee

Debbie Anthony
Caroline Haskell
Deb Busman

Board Members Emeriti

Ann Todd Jealous, Board Chair 
Michelle Brown, MD, Founding Board Chair 
Dr. Frederick Anderson, Founding Board Member
Edd Armstrong, Founding Board Member
Bettye Saxon, EdD, Founding Board Member 
Mae C. Johnson, Founding Board Member (Deceased)


Cultural Competency Training
Groups for boys and Girls
After School Academy
Plant Propagation Program
Grief Support Services
Effective Black Parenting Classes
Emanyatta Saturday School
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
Nyumbani Re-Entry Program
Emotional Emancipation Circle
One Circle Youth Group
Court Emergency Response Team

All 35 CDEPS in California are funded by the 2004 Mental Health Services Act through the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity (OHE) for 5 years.  We are currently in our 4th year.  As all CDEPs are experiencing such great success, our CDEP’s deserve to continue to provide our services to our respective communities. As a result, we are working in collaboration with all the other CDEP’s to attain long term sustainability by advocating that the California Department of Public Health fund our CDEP’s well beyond the original five-year funding period. Lastly, we are readjusting in COVID-19 to meet our communities’ needs where they are. We have been the recipient of Foundation grants that allow us to provide emergency food and rent funds to members of our community who have those needs.


The Village Project After School Program 

2015 Village Project  – Nikki B.

TVPI Informational Video Jeena Janks


Am I Black Enough For You

Place in The Sun

Equine Therapy


Contact Us

general contact information

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The Village Project, Inc.—Monterey County