The Aliveness Project welcomes several new staff to the team. We are excited to see what new accomplishments we will achieve together. Learn more about each person in their bio below.
Kendall Mager (she/her) – Social Services Intern
Kendall is a Minnesota native that has lived in Northeast Minneapolis for six years. She spent her undergrad in Wisconsin studying women and gender studies and volunteering for sexual and domestic violence prevention and harm reduction organizations. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Social Work at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. For the past six years, she has worked as a sex educator and specializes in education for individuals with disabilities. Her favorite topics to teach are consent, boundaries, and dating. When she’s not at work or interning, she loves to cook and spend time outdoors camping, gardening, kayaking, fishing and biking. Kendall will never say no to an opportunity to pet a dog or sing Shania Twain karaoke! Kendall will be an intern through the end of the year and is excited for the opportunities to learn and grow.
DJ Lal (she/her) – HIV Prevention & Outreach
DJ, originally from Minneapolis, lived in Las Vegas Nevada for 17 years. During her time there, she made a splash in radio broadcasting, DJ’ing and LGBTQ+ community services. While absorbing these exciting experiences, she also began her studies in Psychology with an emphasis in substance abuse and chemical dependency and enhanced her spiritual and tarot reading expertise. DJ enjoys cooking, shooting pool, quality time with her family and playing softball with the TCGSL. Currently, DJ is on the HIV Outreach & Prevention team here at Aliveness Project.
Mike Grewatz (they/them) – Social Services Intern
Mike grew up in Duluth, MN and completed their B.A. in Sociology at St. Cloud State University 2017, and is now pursuing their Master’s in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. They have aspired to pursuing a career that helps people since they were in high school. Mike has been working in social services since 2016 in multiple realms of social work, including working with adults with developmental disabilities, political fundraising and community organizing, and most recently, working with homeless populations in emergency shelter, street outreach, and providing housing case management. Outside of their professional life, Mike enjoys the simple things – spending time outdoors, biking and going on walks, traveling, camping, kayaking, collecting indoor plants, and cuddling their senior Chihuahua, Cujo. Mike and their partner have also recently welcomed 2 Anatolian Shepard puppies into their family after finding them abandoned behind their house.
Ezra McNair (they/them) – Volunteer Coordinator
Ezra is a visual artist and writer, raised in Minneapolis. Straight out of high school, they got involved in the local Minneapolis arts community as a curator, photographer, and DJ, which has led them to aspirations of greater community and political organizing. They recently graduated with an English degree from Augsburg University with a focus in creative writing. They are deeply excited to work with the Aliveness Project to bolster our volunteer program, and they can’t wait to get their hands dirty and do some meaningful work with great folks. Lately, they’re possessed by ideas of recontextualizing history, afro-futurism, and what it exactly means to live in perpetual resistance. When not working or making art, they enjoy biking, playing video games, and chatting with their friends. Forever curious.
Marshal Mason (he/him) – Peer Recovery Navigator
Hey there, I’m Marshall. I have spent most of my youth growing up about an hour north of Minneapolis with my 2 sisters, 2 stepsisters, and 4 parents. I made the decision to move down to Minneapolis to focus on improving my life and self discovery around 2017 and immediately fell in love with the area and people here. I’ve always wanted to use my strengths and passion to help others and that is what brought me here. Outside of working, I love going to concerts, especially EDM shows, going out to the movie theaters, and spending as much time outside as possible listening to my favorite music with my friends. I’m extremely excited to join the team here and do what I can to help make a difference in the community.
Azaleah Davis (she/her) – Peer Recovery Project Coordinator
Azaleah is a South Minneapolis native. She has an associate of arts degree from MCTC and plans to go back to school for her license in addiction counseling. Azaleah is the mother of two amazing humans and one amazing husky. She likes reading, binge watching anything worth binging, and hanging out with her kids.
Jess Gookin (they/she) – Medical Case Manager
Hello! My name is Jess Gookin and my pronouns are they/them/theirs and she/her/hers. I began as a case management intern here at Aliveness in January doing and am happy to be continuing my work here as a staff member. I am a graduate student in social work at Simmons University. I like to spend my free time knitting, playing D&D, reading novels, and playing video games.
Matt Hays (he/him) – Custodian
Matt is new to Minnesota coming from Western Wisconsin. He originally moved to Forrest Lake and lived there for 7 months before coming to Minneapolis. When he first moved to the city he was unsure but has actually fallen in love with the community here. He loves rainy days where he can watch a good movie. He loves listing to all kinds of music but fun fact has never been to a concert yet – it’s on his bucket list. He is grateful for all the education and de-stigmatization that Aliveness has provided him about HIV related information. He is excited and proud to join the team at Aliveness.