At one of the chapel services in seminary, Taylor heard the challenge to “do what makes your heart sing.” That began his journey to Graffiti to show Christ’s love meeting tangible needs. He has an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary and a Ph.D. from Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. Taylor has written a number of books, including Upside Down Freedom, Upside Down Leadership, Upside Down Devotion, Squat, Mercy Streets, and A Church Called Graffiti. His wife Susan serves in collegiate ministry and is also a writer. Their two sons have both returned to NYC, each leading other Baptist ministries. Taylor has been the pastor of Graffiti since 1986.
Kareem knew as a teenager that God was calling him to serve those in need after giving out sandwiches in Tompkins Square Park through Graffiti’s FLIP Program. He holds a Masters in Social Work from NYU and an M.Div from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was a social worker for NYC Social Services, and directed MNYBA’s Church and Community Ministries before coming to work full time at Graffiti in 2001. Kareem’s wife, Theresa, also serves as director of Graffiti 4, “Gotta Dance, Gotta Serve.” They have three children.
Carmen moved to the L.E.S. when she married, after growing up in Puerto Rico and Washington Heights. Upon experiencing Graffiti as a mom with her own children in the programs, she went to a deeper level by joining the church, and then the church staff. Her dedication to making the community better, especially in the area of serving children and youth, has shown her to be a wise and compassionate mentor to people in the programs and on the staff. She is encouraged in this work by her husband and two grown children. Habla Español.
It was during a trip to NYC to serve as a Mission Housing Intern Coordinator during one summer off from teaching that Tonya visited Graffiti Church and volunteered a few days at our summer program for kids. Soon after, Tonya moved to NYC and became Graffiti’s Associate Children’s Director; and in 2015, she transitioned into our Children’s Director role. Tonya holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin and an M. Ed. in Elementary Education from Texas State University.
Patrick first became involved with Graffiti on a mission trip with his home church, First Baptist Church Georgetown Texas. After spending much of his adulthood in international and short-term missions, he knew “Missions” would always be a passion of his. Now, living in Manhattan with his wife Kelsie, he has returned to Graffiti to help as the Missions Director and the Youth Director. Patrick enjoys eating cupcakes, tacos, and cheesecake.
Phyllis has volunteered at Graffiti for over 30 years through her church in Wilton, CT. After her retirement in 2007, she volunteered to be the Director of Development for Graffiti. Phyllis received her undergraduate degree from Auburn University in Alabama, and her Master’s Degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut. She is instrumental in helping Graffiti continue to serve and grow, always looking for new ways to extend our reach.