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I am a parent. I am also an executive leader in higher education and an active member of my community. I am committed to anti-racist, pro-liberation parenting, as a white identified cis-gender woman, raising two young daughters who identify as Black and mixed in Western MA with my partner. I am also a friend, auntie, sister, daughter, niece, godparent, and aspiring scrapbooker and amateur photographer. I am a scholar and practitioner in the Social Justice Education community and have authored books, articles, and curriculum on popular culture, friendship, race, spirituality, and critical pedagogy. And because of these roles and experiences, I am passionate about sharing information and providing support. I founded More Joy Parenting for all of us, who are managing so much, and along with my team, we are offering workshops, resources, and coaching. Look out for our launch in 2021!

transforming families


More Joy Parenting is designed for parents and caregivers who are interested in combining spiritual growth, work-life integration and social justice education. We believe in child-centered, creative strategies that bring peace and harmony to your home.

Are you looking for support around raising children within a social justice framework?

Are you wanting to add more creativity and delight to the "job" of parenting?

Are you exhausted, burnt out, and wanting solutions during these unsettling and difficult times?

Marcella’s ability to combine her education background,

social justice understanding and brilliant parenting skills

is beyond impressive.I learned so much about how I can

continue to make choices and have conversations that

make our family better; in so many ways.


it takes a village!

Eden Jeffries

Eden Jeffries is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in "Art, Community Activism and Social Justice". She participated in and worked on various social justice, arts, and education initiatives with organizations including Artists for a New South Africa, Harlem Children’s Zone, Creative Time, and America Reads. Her work as a one-on-one academic coach and tutor (K-12), has allowed her to work closely with youth and their families. Using the important insight she’s gained on the unique needs of students and their support systems, both in the classroom and in the home, she applies comprehensive strategies to improve mental performance, motivation, and boost confidence. As someone who fuels some of her joy by nurturing and building with young people, Eden has accompanied parents as a caretaker for over a decade. She is grateful for the ways in which these relationships are vessels for deepening her education on human development, psychology, and emotional intelligence. Her most recent work has been rooted in holistic health practices and alternative healing philosophies as the owner of a startup wellness lifestyle company for four years and a future candidate as a doctor of naturopathic  medicine. It is her mission to advocate for greater access and resources on disease preventative and sustainable health practices that empower vulnerable individuals and communities to cultivate healing, optimize mental and physical function, and improve overall livelihood.

Michelle Van-Ess Grant

Michelle is a doctoral student at Northeastern University. She received her master's degree from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and her bachelor's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. She has worked in higher education for more than a decade at public, private, and state institutions, including Fordham University, Westchester Community College, and her alma mater, NYU.

NYU named Van-Ess Grant as the 2013 recipient of the Michael Parkes Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award. Additionally, she was the recipient of the 2015 NASPA Mid-Level Student Affairs Professional Award, regionally and nationally, and received the African American Knowledge Community (AAKC) 2014-2015 "NIA" Award for Mid-Level Professionals. She served as the Vice- Chair of the NASPA African-American Knowledge Community (AAKC), she currently sits on the NASPA Region II Advisory Board. In her role on the Advisory Role Board, Michelle has served as the Co-Chair of the Careers in Student Affairs Conference, a conference geared toward graduates and new professionals looking to pursue a Higher Education career. She has also served as the Awards Chair and currently serves as the Professional Standards Chair.

In addition to her love for higher education, Van-Ess Grant is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Omega Mu Zeta Graduate chapter. Michelle is a charter member and former Second Vice President. She was responsible for the fundraising and disseminating scholarship opportunities to college-bound women in the Middlesex/ Southern Middlesex and Monmouth County, New Jersey. To date, Van-Ess Grant is the Zetas Have Heart/ GirlTrek Chair, a committee that encourages black women to take time out of their day to be healthy and put self-care first.

Michelle currently resides in Queens, New York, with her husband Jamel and son
JJ, loving and enjoying life!

Nicki Henry

Nicki Henry is a certified personal trainer, mentor and mom. She has been motivating her clients (both in and out of the gym) for more than 20 years. Her career began in education and naturally transitioned to the wellness and fitness industry. Nicki is a born teacher. People gravitate to her positive outlook and incredibly motivating personality. Her tag line is “Get Strong, Get Confident, Get Fit with Nick!”


Nicki has a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education, and a dual Masters Degree in Mathematics and Teaching, all from Elms College. She has been a Certified Personal Trainer since 1999 and competed as an amateur body builder from 1999-2011.


She lives in South Hadley with her husband David Henry, a pro bodybuilder and personal trainer, and their young daughter Brynna. 


Kid-curated bedtimes stories designed to inspire hope. Founded on March 30, 2020 under the vision and

leadership of 10-year-old, Aaliyah Hall.

our first project


let's work together!

More Joy Parenting is for parents and caregivers, working inside and outside of the home, who are looking for unique ways to incorporate social justice education into daily life, and those who feel like they need inspiration for bonding with their kids, and growing spiritually as a family.


Just the beginning!

We are just getting started with More Joy Parenting & have so much more to share with you! Our website is currently under construction, eagerly awaiting our January 31, 2021 launch! Please sign up for our mailing list below to be the first to hear the latest news & updates.

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© More Joy Parenting   |   Created by Loryn Design   |   Website Launch 1/31/21

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