Michal Helman is an avid explorer with a lifelong passion for social and environmental justice. After having received her bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan in Philosophy and Environmental Science, Michal completed her M.S. in International Conservation and Development at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation. Michal’s academic research focused on water governance and climate change impacts on the livelihood of agro-pastoralists in the Chilean Patagonia and the Indian Himalaya mountain ranges. From Montana Michal went on to work in local government water resource management in both the greater Los Angeles region and the Bay Area of California before returning back to her Michigan roots.
Michal is passionate about working within the EcoWorks team on bridging the gap between environmental issues and social policy through engaging and empowering our youth to participate in their communities and to recognize their roles as leaders.
Latia Leonard, Co-Program Director
Latia began her journey with Ecoworks in January 2020. She is a lifelong Detroiter, with deep passions for youth and social justice.
After graduating from Southeastern Technical High School in 2011, she attended Michigan State University where she received her BA degree in Communication from the school’s College of Communication Arts and Science. While attending MSU, Latia remained actively involved in community service and want to help others. She spent much of her undergraduate career volunteering for causes dear to her heart.
Latia is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum and remains committed to national service and engaging others in community service. Latia brings her unique experiences in youth development, STEM facilitation, and grassroots mobilization to the Youth Energy Squad. She is passionate about achieving equitable climate solutions, water justice, and economic inclusion in the City of Detroit. Latia is excited about the opportunity to grow YES as a program, and water the seeds for “our next wave of sustainability, government, and community leaders”.
Josh Musicant, STEM and Career Coordinator
Josh is beginning his third year serving with the Youth Energy Squad. This is his first year as the STEM and Career Development Coordinator, following two years serving as a Green School Coordinator. Josh cherishes all the time he gets to work alongside youth in Detroit, in particular, the youth he partners with at Hope Park across from Cody High School.
Josh is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and Women’s Studies. He loves to read, have fun for fun’s sake, and moderate nonpersonal debates between students.
Josh sees the mission of the Youth Energy Squad as integral to the survival of the planet and the long-term health of all communities worldwide and feels grateful for the privilege of seeing young Detroiters grow and seek the justice the planet and the people on it require.