Eleni Zimiles is a social worker grounded at the cross-section of healing, education and organizing. Her work strives to build authentic community, foster creativity and critical consciousness, and disrupt harmful relationships and systems of power. Eleni is currently a School Mental Health Specialist for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Eleni guides schools in developing transformative mental health practices in order to cultivate trauma-informed and healing-centered learning cultures. She is one of the agency’s Race to Justice Trainers, facilitating staff workshops on how racism drives health disparities and inequitable workplace practices. Eleni is also a Therapist at the Critical Therapy Center, a relational, liberation-oriented psychodynamic practice. Her organizing work is currently focused on mobilizing social workers to transform the mandated reporting culture and laws that lead to the mass regulation and surveillance of families.
Eleni’s social work practice is rooted in two decades of movement-building and youth justice spaces. Eleni has worked in youth shelters, after-school programs, community centers and schools in NYC, Chicago and D.C. Eleni has supported the creation of anti-racist political education & community organizing spaces with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond as part of the Undoing Racism Internship Project, Operation Understanding DC, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Avodah, Showing up for Racial Justice, and the Bridgeport Alliance. She has served as adjunct professor at Touro College. Eleni holds a BA in Anthropology from Macalester College, and a MS in Social Work from Columbia University. Eleni is a proud fifth generation Brooklynite and Brighton Beach devotee, who carries a love for messy art & writing experiments.