Alumni Changemaker: Rochelle Haynes

Alumni Changemaker: Rochelle Haynes

Improving the lives of vulnerable children and families

To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Rochelle Haynes completed the 2001 Junior Summer Institute at Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs.

Rochelle Haynes embodies the values of connection, kindness, and responsibility. Raised in NYC, Rochelle Haynes utilized the Junior Summer Institute to create greater social impact with her time and talents. She went on to graduate from Princeton with her MPA/URP.

Returning to her hometown of NYC, she began working locally to create affordable housing, social services, and homeless services programs and policies for those in need with a lens towards addressing the root causes of poverty. This led her to work within the NYC Human Resources Administration as both a Senior Legislative Liaison and then a Director of Policy where she came to understand the value of providing support services to assist with building skillsets within vulnerable families as well as the importance of cultivating health both emotionally and physically.

“Working in local government to address deep-rooted poverty may feel daunting, but it is truly where transformation and innovation can happen for people and communities. Don’t shy away from the heaviness of the work or times. Rather lean into the transformative moments and think about what you can contribute towards change."

Rochelle continued to impact change as the Chief of Staff at the NYC Department of Homeless Services where she led initiatives as both an advisor and a liaison that focused on wrap-around services for people and creating a sense of place through the stability of a new home in her local community.

As Head of Operations and Program Strategy at 100 Resilient Cities, she continued her quest to bring stability to those who were experiencing shock or stresses economically, physically, or socially.

As time went on, her mission began to shift ever so slightly and she became focused on the role of early education and early childhood development as a means to ending the cycle of poverty. This led her to her current role as Vice President of US Social Impact for Sesame Street in Communities, an initiative of Sesame Street Workshop.

Within this role, Rochelle is fulfilling her deepest desire to serve vulnerable families and children. Her work in government revealed to her that “education and the early years were foundational for adult outcomes.” With the first 5 years being so formative in shaping long-term outcomes, she realizes the value of Sesame Street in Communities. The initiative builds on the trust that Sesame Street has earned over the years and the ever-popular muppets, to effectively provide educational and social-emotional resources to increase overall childhood well-being and resilience in children, families, and communities.

"Together, one community at a time, we will create resilient communities, families, and children who will be smarter, stronger, and kinder.”


We celebrate you, Rochelle, for investing in resilience! Your wisdom and compassion merge elegantly to create safe spaces for others to realize their potential. With your experience and commitment, families are growing stronger and children are realizing they are not alone during dark times. Thank you for giving without measure to a vibrant and thriving future where all will realize our value and feel supported during times of difficulty.


Read more Changemaker profiles here!