Children & Families Co-Facilitator: Abigaile Brace-Higgins (she/her)
Abigaile (Abby) is a passionate Friend, deeply committed to enriching the spiritual lives of Quaker children and fostering stronger connections within the Friends’ community. She is an active Mickleton Monthly Meeting and Salem Quarter member, serving on multiple committees. Abby enthusiastically helps coordinate families for community activities as a class representative for Friends Family Collaborative at Friends School Mullica Hill. She contributed to the planning circle, led songs, and read inspiring stories during PYM’s Giant Children’s Meetings. Abby earned her MFA in Fine Art from Rutgers University and was trained in Faith & Play/Godly Play storytelling at Pendle Hill. Abby is a painter, photographer, singer, and storyteller who brings art, music, and creativity to the Children and Families program. With her charisma, communication skills, and ability to encourage empathy and understanding, Abby is a great Friend to have on the team!
Children & Families Facilitator: Crystal Hershey (she/her)
Crystal is a member of Mount Holly Meeting and a civil engineer with BL Companies. Crystal earned her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Widener University. Since her own youth, Crystal has worked with children in many Quaker settings: as a camp counselor at Haddonfield Friends School, a volunteer with the Friends General Conference (FGC) annual Gathering’s Children’s Program, a First Day School teacher at Mount Holly Meeting, and a planner and leader of the Tri-Quarter Gathering of Friends Children’s Program. She also volunteered with PYM Children’s Sessions at many Annual Sessions! Crystal describes herself as a caring person with a positive spirit who loves working with children because of their energy and excitement; she is a positive role model in the lives of PYM kids!
Middle School Friends Co-Facilitator: Elizabeth Croce (she/her)
Since 2016, Elizabeth has served the Middle School Friends program, first as Assistant and now co-Facilitator. Elizabeth graduated from Guilford College in 2015 with a double major in Religious Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as a minor in Quaker Studies, and has more recently earned her Masters of Education (PreK-4) from Chestnut Hill College. She has worked as a Quaker Voluntary Service fellow in Germantown Friends School’s Community Involvement Office where she taught 7th grade Quakerism and coordinated service opportunities. She also held positions as an assistant teacher in 4th grade and Kindergarten classrooms at GFS, John B. Kelly public school, and currently teaches at Greene Towne Montessori School. Elizabeth is a member of Orlando Monthly Meeting in SEYM. She seeks to create a spiritually grounded, exciting, and fun program with MSF!
Middle School Friends Co-Facilitator: Alix Vallery (she/her, they/them)
Alix brings to PYM Youth Programs deep experience volunteering with MSF and more than ten years in mentoring and teamwork positions. Alix earned a B.A. in Culinary Arts from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, and in addition to her background as a chef, is a certified SafeServ Food Handler. She has a passion for photography, crafts, and nature walks and a love of physical and athletic activity — which has enabled her to create spontaneous outdoor activities and keep MSF moving! Alix is known to Middle School Friends as an energetic and humorous presence, who is good at making them feel comfortable in being authentically themselves. Alix cares deeply about not only the growth of the MSF community as a whole, but also the individual growing minds in this community, “that will shape our future.”
Young Friends Program Facilitator: Clare Chalkley (she/her)
Clare Chalkley joined the Youth Programs team in December 2021 as Co-Facilitator of the Young Friends program. Clare’s background includes studies at Guilford College (B.A. with honors in History and minors in Visual Arts-Drawing and Quaker Studies), and years on staff with the Baltimore Yearly Meeting camp programs. She is experienced in program development and has run workshops and facilitated open conversations with youth about gender, race, and class, especially in relation to Quaker beliefs. Clare is committed to social justice education and is fluent in English and Spanish. She shares, “I’m excited to help create a space that will nurture high schoolers mentally and spiritually as well. My number one priority is the well-being of children and teenagers, to ensure their physical safety, to make them feel supported and heard, and develop their spiritual growth.”