Executive Director & Founder
Jessica Newton, Founder & CEO, Vibe Tribe Adventures
In 2016, Jessica Newton founded Vibe Tribe Adventures, a Colorado-based national organization focused on outdoor recreation and adventure sports for Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities. VTA’s mission is to facilitate urban community reconnection to nature-rich places through outdoor recreation, backcountry adventures, stewardship, outdoor industry career exploration, and outdoor. VTA’s Urban Trekkers is an experiential, place-based youth leadership program where the world is our classroom. Young people are engaged in nature-rich places often beyond our participants' daily lives where learning comes alive and youth have room to grow. This program centers environmental literacy with culturally responsive practices and aligns with Colorado state learning standards . Our curriculum uses the full range of science and engineering practices to make sense of natural phenomena and collectively solve problems that require understanding how and why Earth is constantly changing. Our program also explores ways urban communities use science ideas to protect land, wildlife, and waterways needed for all living beings to survive and thrive. Our program also trains and mentors youth of color in early stage nature-facing careers. In 2023, VTA received funding from the Colorado Outdoor Equity Program.
In January of 2018 Jessica was appointed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the Office of Sustainability Advisory Council. She is also the award recipient of the Salute to Excellence Award for Community Leader of the Year and The African Americans Who Have Made a Difference award. Ms. Newton also serves as a national board member for the American Hiking Society.
Jessica Newton has made it her life’s mission to continue to be a pillar to the urban community to help break down barriers to the outdoors. Through VTA, Jessica continues to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion to be a part of the everyday practices within the outdoor industry and natural resource management. By creating opportunities that encourage the next generation to go into environmental, engineering and science careers, Jessica is eager to strengthen and expand the program to serve more youth and their families. Jessica has two amazing children and a fiancé who loves to spend their family time at the lake where they live in Colorado.
Dawnyle (pronounced “Dawn-yell”) Ashemu
Dawnyle is a proponent for minorities in artificial intelligence, and she has been influential in creating a pipeline from the classroom to drone technology. Tasked with educating students and adults, she remains a leader in education seventeen years strong—building capacity in others for the classroom and beyond. Dawnyle’s focus has been reimagining education and creating sustainable systems by unlearning the systematic oppressive foundations of education and stepping into real transformation change by integrating the educational system and drone software technologies. Dawnyle’s technology and education backgrounds are a significant component of Vibe Tribe Adventure’s strategy to deliver backcountry and waterways safety and conservation training in in-person and digital formats.
Dawnyle holds a Master of Arts in Integrated Arts from Lesley University and is a Minorities in Leadership, Blacks in STEM, Black Girls Teach, and Mocha Moms member. Residing in Denver, Colorado, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, four children, family, and friends.
Danny grew up in North Georgia and has always loved being in the woods. His first guiding experience was taking bike tours in Copperhill, Tennesse, and he now guides a zipline in Idaho Springs, Colorado.
His fondest memories as a guide are taking urban students kayaking, hiking, and playing paintball with the ‘Explorers Club.
In addition, Danny’s degree in Urban Education and passion for sharing the outdoors in a sustainable way is an asset to the Vibe Tribe Adventures youth program.
Esther has been a public servant throughout her life, dedicating her professional career to the education and nonprofit sectors. The passion for serving the community comes from Esther’s lived experience growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California, as part of an immigrant family.
In addition, as a first-generation college graduate, Esther understands firsthand the challenges faced by the youth of color. Esther uses her personal and professional experience to advance the work of nonprofit and public sector organizations. Specializing in grant writing and program development, Esther has a passion for supporting organizations that remove barriers for youth to participate in educational and enrichment programs. And she is an integral member of the Vibe Tribe Adventures fundraising team.
Idris Keith is a lawyer, active community member, husband, and father.
As a naturally curious and adventurous woman, Kimberly (Kim) Griffin finds some of her happiest places exploring outdoors, capturing pictures of the wonders she observes in nature.