5th Annual Guardians for Good Panelists


Dr. Raglin Bignall
Whitney J. Raglin Bignall, Ph.D., is the associate clinical director of The On Our Sleeves Movement For Children’s Mental Health. Dr. Raglin Bignall received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Cincinnati. She completed her clinical residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a post-graduate National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award fellowship in general academic pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She was named to the Who’s Who in Black Columbus list in 2019 and is a 40 under 40 Leader in Minority Health award winner of the National Minority Quality Forum and the Congressional Black Caucus.


Whitney Gherman, MSW
Whitney Gherman is a Family Engagement Senior Research Associate with the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at The Ohio State University. In her role, she leads efforts to support, develop, and advance professional learning among schools, district leaders, and other family-facing professionals. Based on more than a decade of experience as an educator and advocate for youth and families, Whitney supports the Ohio Network of Partnership Schools through capacity-building activities that enhance the adoption of research-based practices among district and school leaders who engage with families.

Whitney holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and is currently a Ph.D. student in Teaching and Learning with a specialization in Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education from the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Her research advances efforts around family engagement and elevates youth voices to improve school policies, programs, and practices. “Project DREAMS” examines how anecdotal and personal experiences of high school students connect to wider cultural, political, and social meanings of race, racism, belonging, and othering. In 2021 she was awarded by Ohio’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission for her ability to keep Dr. King’s dream alive and advance his philosophy of nonviolent social change. Whitney has also been featured in dozens of publications and webinars including Voyage Ohio Magazine and a social work textbook, “Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice: Building Social Work Practices Skills”. She has won additional local, state, and national awards for promoting diversity and her approach to racial justice is described by her peers as “warm, open, and authentic.”

When she’s not working or studying, Whitney connects to her ancestry and the natural world with her partner, Chris and their 9-year-old daughter, Isa. She loves to read, eat good food, and spend time outdoors. Her sign is Libra, and her Instagram handle is @whitneygherman.


Jackie Lipnos
Jackie Lipnos is the Youth Empowerment Coordinator for HelpLine. In her role, Jackie is responsible for the development and implementation of all youth-led programming, including HelpLine’s program for middle schoolers, Thank Goodness I’m Me (T.G.I.M.). T.G.I.M. uses proven methods of effective prevention to help students create a school environment where bullying is not accepted, ignored, or minimized.

T.G.I.M., previously known as Thank Goodness I’m Female (T.G.I.F.), was created in 2011 in collaboration with a local high school student as a way to address the certain kind of bullying that she saw among girls (what we call relational aggression). Over the past year, Jackie and the program’s advisory board recognized the need for a more inclusive program. They understood that female students are not the only students who experience relational aggression and could benefit from the program. Also, they specifically wanted to expand to include transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students as they are at higher risk for victimization, making it that much more important that those students have access to the program. With this in mind, Jackie and the board made the decision to rebrand the program as “Thank Goodness I’m Me” as a first step to becoming a safe and inclusive space for any student.

Prior to her start at HelpLine, Jackie received her Bachelor of Arts from Otterbein University in English Literary Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a concentration in gender, culture, and representation. While at Otterbein, Jackie was a peer advocate at the resource center on campus, assisted in developing and piloting Otterbein’s student-led sexual violence prevention program, and served on the Community Coordinated Response Team to address dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking on campus. Jackie also served as Otterbein’s Panhellenic Council President where she prioritized the community’s need for sexual violence and hazing prevention strategies.


Elaine Miller
Elaine Miller is the Community Engagement Coordinator with Connections Volunteer Center, a program of HelpLine. As a community service professional, she has a passion for building and managing relationships with community residents and partners in Delaware County.  Using collaboration, consultation, and communication, she has successfully increased participation with several different community groups in the programming available at Connections.

Her primary focus at Connections is programming and activities for older adults 55+. Elaine’s coordination of projects such as Volunteer Happy Hour and the intergenerational Sages and Seekers program, demonstrate her devotion to developing empathy, combating social isolation and dissolving age-related segregation.

Elaine has facilitated partnerships with local businesses, government agencies, school districts, and community groups to expand the reach and impact of volunteer engagement activities. This includes such partners as SourcePoint, 11 apartment complexes for older adults 55+, Kiwanis, and three high schools throughout Delaware County.

As a part of the HelpLine Cultural Inclusion and Equity Committee and in her role at Connections, Elaine has developed training sessions on cultural competence and effective communications for staff, volunteers, and community partners. These workshops have offered community participants the opportunity to practice leadership skills such as communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. In the past ten years, Elaine has brought her skills and passion for community engagement to the Delaware County community and made a positive impact.  She has contributed to the growth and success of both HelpLine and the community it serves.

When she isn’t working, Elaine enjoys a variety of creative pursuits and spending time with her spouse, Cory, and their children Addie, Pennie, and Bronson. Much of that time is spent supporting her children in various extracurriculars including baseball, tennis, soccer, and marching band.  


Maureen Nafula
Maureen Nafula is a Sophomore at Hayes High School and a proud member of Project DREAMS. Aside from the club, she volunteers at the StemPossible Steam Club, works on her crochet business, and survives chemistry class. In the future, she hopes to have a career that combines her love for STEM and her dream is to help her peers and Delaware Community reach common equity!


Dr. Jason Rawls
Known for his music production work with artists like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Domo Genesis (Odd Future), Capital Steez (Pro Era), Beastie Boys, Del tha Funky Homosapien, Aloe Blacc and more, Dr. Jason Rawls is an educator with over two decades of teaching experience. A leader of the #HipHopEd movement, Dr. Rawls is an Assistant Professor of Hip Hop at The Ohio State University. He is leading the team that is creating the FIRST Hip Hop Studies program in a School of Music at an R1 university in the United States. Before this, at Ohio University, Dr. Rawls helped develop the first Hip-Hop Based Education program in the College of Education. The program called H.O.P.E. is a series of four courses rooted in Hip-Hop Based Education using both Culturally Relevant and Relational Pedagogy and he was the coordinator of the Brothers R.I.S.E. program at Ohio University. Dr. Rawls is also co-author of a book entitled, Youth Culture Power: A #HipHopEd Guide to Building Teacher-Student Relationships and Increasing Student Engagement. Rawls is also featured in an exhibit on Hip Hop at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.


Erin Upchurch (she/her), MSSA, LISW-S
Erin Upchurch presently serves as the Executive Director for Kaleidoscope Youth Center, an organization that works to serve and support LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. She is a seasoned advocate, community leader, and facilitator of conversations centered on reducing harm related to the experiences of oppression for marginalized and minority communities; and specializes in working with youth and families in areas of mental health, substance use, and trauma recovery.