Founder and Chairman of the Board of Chiku Awali, is a graduate of Upsala College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She has a Masters Degree in Urban Studies from Occidental College and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She began her career in corrections as a Probation Officer and retired July, 2005, from her position as the Superintendent of the Taconic Correctional Facility, a medium confinement prison for women.
The word "Awali" in Ibo means "joy" and it is the sheer joy of helping others that impels Nana Yaa Oforiwaa to reach out to Rockland County. Her energy and spirit of volunteerism, her dedication to her community, and her passion for uplifting and empowering children make her a visionary who saw a need and did something to address it.
Dreena, as called by her family, friends, and the community, is a true leader and humanitarian. Seeking innovative ways to put African culture into willing hands, she founded Chiku Awali in 2003. Not only does she take classes to learn new moves for future performance, but she also teaches them. Nana Yaa studied African dance as a youngster with dance pioneer, Ismay Andrews. She also was a student of Afro-modern dance with legendary dance educator, Syvilla Fort.
As a former New York State prison warden, Nana Yaa has seen the difference a guiding hand can make early in life. Consequently, she is dedicated to empowering the community's youth. Through her affiliation with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Pi Psi Omega Chapter, Nana Yaa works diligently to bring youth programs to Rockland County.
Nana Yaa has also conducted math and science competition that have encouraged African American youth to feel confident in these subjects. One former participant has a degree in Engineering and is pursuing another in Math. Another is completing medical school. They recall how Ms. Dixon drove them to Boston to enter a science competition. Behind the wheel of her own minivan, Nana Yaa has chauffeured children on tours of historically black colleges and universities. She has also sought and received funding for historical, cultural and educational tours.
Alexandreena is in Who's Who Among American Women in the East and is the proud mother of Delaina Dixon and Deshala Dixon who are also cited in Who's Who anthologies. She has two grandsons, Chase Alexander Murray and Chazman Murrary.
Nana Yaa is a Life Member of the Spring Valley NAACP; former member of the Arts Council of Rockland Board of Directors, and former President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Pi Psi Omega Chapter. She became Queen Mother for Progress of Bepoase, Ghana, West African in August 2010.
Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts & Culture, Inc. Spring Valley, New York