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Lifestyle • Career • Business • Education • Religion

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Kissena Frazier has spent her entire professional career assisting children and families in one capacity or another. She was born in Atlantic City, NJ and spent a majority of her childhood in Buffalo with her paternal grandmother. Her grandmother understood the importance of exposing her to activities outside of the home like youth activities at church, modeling, arts and crafts. Kissena loved music and was enrolled in dance and piano lessons. She remembers her childhood being full of transition, just like many of the students she works with.


Education was always important and she enjoyed attending Niagara Falls High School where she was friends with almost everyone. In high school she participated in band, chorus, gospel choir, varsity cheerleading and many other clubs. After graduation Kissena obtained an Associates in Human Services from Niagara Community College, a Bachelor Degree in Community and Human Services from SUNY Empire State and a Masters Degree in Social Work. As a first generation college student her list of educational accomplishments is quite impressive. It should be noted that Kissena completed her Masters Degree in May 2021 with a final GPA of 3.85 during a pandemic...something she lists as one of her proudest accomplishments.


Kissena’s journey in social work began as a Family Partner at CAO Head Start. It was there that her love for helping children and families blossomed. Her passion to help youth opened the door for her current position as Interim Director of the Trio Upward Bound Program at D’Youville College. Kissena understands the challenges experienced by people of color while pursuing higher education and seeks to provide equitable support for underserved student populations. She has also held a part time job at Homespace Corporation for the past six years which is an organization that meets the needs of parenting/youth in foster care. Kissena also works part time for Southwest Key as a Gang Intervention Specialist for youth between 10 and 17. It means a lot to Kissena to be employed by companies that align with her values and mission.


Her motivation comes from her two daughters, her love of music and her partner in love, friendship and faith Willie Jay. Kissena wants her legacy to be known as someone that loved helping people. Now an empty nester she’s looking to put some stamps on her passport.


As for regrets, Kissena has none. She views her story and all its nuances as necessary preparation for the social work and advocacy journey that fulfills her life’s mission.

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