Our Team

Kaila Cameli
Lead Facilitator and Administrative Assistant

Kaila has many years’ experience teaching and coaching.  Since high school she has provided swim lessons to both children and adults, coached a variety of different sports (softball, soccer, volleyball) and has been teaching self-defense to middle school students for the past 3 years.  Originally from Arizona, Kaila came to the Pacific Northwest on a soccer scholarship to play for the University of Portland.  In 2013, she was graduated as a student athlete with BA in Psychology.  She continues to use that knowledge daily.  Kaila is currently JV soccer coach at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham.  She focuses on creating an inclusive and nourishing environment for the JV team.  Kaila plans to enter graduate school for a MSW degree in 2018.  Her ambition is to better serve communities in need.

Carolyne Haycraft, M.Ed., MFA

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Carolyne has over 20 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. She served as a member of the Portland Police Bureau for over nine years, first as a volunteer WomenStrength instructor, teaching empowerment self-defense to women. Then, in 2008 she was hired to develop and oversee GirlStrength, a citywide violence prevention program for girls ages 10-17. As the Program Director, Carolyne created and developed curriculum for workshops, trainings and programs. Under her leadership over 7,500 girls from over 100 schools, community centers and youth organizations received violence prevention training and self-defense skills. Carolyne has received letters of commendation and awards for her community services work and services through the Portland Police Bureau.

As a licensed teacher, Carolyne worked hard to ensure the curriculum was tied to best practices and common core standards. Over a three-year piloting period, Carolyne developed the GirlStrength curriculum so that it included healthy relationships and communication, while also addressing child abuse and sex trafficking through education and prevention. In 2014, Carolyne cofounded BoyStrength, a comparable violence prevention program for boys ages 10-14 to ensure boys had access to the same information girls were receiving. This program was designed to address gender equity and privilege and hyper-masculinity. The training focused on helping boys understand consent and respecting boundaries, while increasing their verbal and nonverbal communication skills using games, theatre techniques, movement, mindfulness and yoga.

Carolyne also served on the Equity Leadership Council, a committee that aimed to improve equitable practices and policies within the Police Bureau, where she assisted with equity and privilege training of officers and command staff.  During her employment with the Police Bureau Carolyne has received training on: diversity, equity and white privilege; communication styles; conflict resolution and de-escalation; commercial exploitation of children (CSEC); sextortion; domestic and intimate partner violence; dating violence; trauma; sexual assault; harassment and stalking. She has worked with people with disabilities, adults and children; engaging men and boys in ending violence.

Since 2012, Carolyne has served as a member of the Oregon Sexual Assault Task force.  She is the Chair of the Men’s Engagement Committee and a member of the Prevention and Education Committee. The task force seeks to facilitate cross-discipline collaboration and to cultivate victim-centered approaches to sexual assault primary prevention, victim advocacy, medical forensic care, criminal prosecution and sex offender management and treatment. It brings together over a hundred members from across Oregon, all of whom are working in their various capacities to end sexual violence.

Teaching has always been Carolyne’s passion and in 2014 she was asked to co-facilitate parent education classes for Multnomah County Family Court Services. These classes are for parents and caregivers whose families are experiencing separation and divorce and are are focused on providing information on the impact of conflict on children.

Carolyne serves as member of the Core Leadership and  Facilitation team for the Portland chapter of SURJ, (Showing up for Racial Justice)  planning and co-facilitate trainings for  monthly cohort meetings on topics related to racial justice and equity.

For over eight years,  Carolyne has been working on closing the gaps in youth services and has served as a steering committee member for EPIC (East Portlanders Inspiring Change), a coalition that works to end and reduce youth substance abuse in East Portland. In this capacity, she represents EPIC on MPOT, Marijuana Policy Oversight Team for the city of Portland.

Carolyne’s self-defense training began in Chicago, IL, where she studied the Korean martial art of Taekwon-Do through the Universal Taekwon-Do Federation (UTF). Carolyne cofounded the Portland, OR and Madison, WI chapters of the UTF with her partner Ray. She holds two black belts: a second-degree black belt in Taekwon-Do, and a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. Carolyne has been teaching self-dense and martial arts to children and adults of all ages and backgrounds for more than 20 years.

Prior to her career in violence prevention, Carolyne’s love was theatre and drama. She has an MFA in Directing Theatre from the UW-Madison and was the Director of University Theatre at UW-Rock County in Janesville, WI, where she used theatre as a tool for transformation and change using techniques from theatre of the oppressed to address social justice issues on campus. She loves living in Portland and is very grateful for all the support her community, friends and colleagues have given her through the conception, planning, and implementation of EMERJ-SafeNow

Shamaa Taha

Assistant Facilitator & Administrator
Shaymaa was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in southern Oregon from the age of 5. She moved to Portland to attend Portland State University and was graduated with a degree in Business Administration, with a focus on Global Marketing. Shaymaa trained to become a violence prevention facilitator for EMERJ in June, 2017. She is  currently co-facilitating workshops and camps, and is currently serving on a team to build a Muslim Women’s program. Her desire to build, stronger safer communities stems from her work as a martial artist and identity as a Muslim woman in America. Shaymaa started her martial arts training at the age of 14 and holds a black belt in Shobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. Prior to joining EMERJ, Shaymaa previously worked in technology sales and market research around inter-religious dialogue. She is currently learning the guitar, loves reading, sunglasses, chocolate, and more than anything else in the whole world, her younger sister. 

Aman Weaver

Leader and Facilitator

Aman spent the last decade working with adolescents throughout Portland providing behavioral health and substance use and abuse treatment,  as well emergency shelter to runaway / homeless youth and accommodations for youth requiring transitional housing.   Supplementing the work she has done professionally, Aman spent six years teaching self-defense in Portland Public Schools to young women, through the Portland Police Bureau’s Girl Strength Program. Aman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Portland State University, majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice, followed by internship with the Clark County Juvenile Justice Court, through which she embraced Restorative Justice Philosophy. She is passionate about preventative approaches to community conflict and believes this is the key for creating long term change within our communities and institutions.


Amber Wright, MBA

Co-Founder & Assistant Director

Amber has over ten years of experience in management, administration, small business creation, and leadership development. Additionally, she has several years of experience liaising with boards and committees in the following areas; construction, finance, sports organization, event planning, athlete develop, fundraising and research.   She has previously worked with people in all stages of life including older adults and youth in both education and recreation settings.

Amber moved to Portland from Canada in 2015. She started volunteering with the Portland Police Bureau as a WomenStrength instructor as well as with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Dove Lewis which is a world leader in animal care.  She subsequently invested herself in equity and local social justice causes. She continued to inform herself by attending courses, lectures, events and webinars that cover; healthy sexuality, trauma informed response, domestic violence, violence prevention, oppression, decolonization, substance abuse and suicide prevention. She also began to formally educate herself in the grant writing process through continued education programs.

Additionally, she completed her MBA in Global Leadership from the University of Liverpool in 2016.  Amber was afforded the opportunity to work with peers from all around the world and gain a global perceptive of diverse approaches to common human problems. Amber believes that everyone should feel safe. She defines “safety” as more than lack of harm, believing that people who truly feel safe are confident to pursue their dreams and live a full life. She is honored to work with Carolyne Haycraft as  “Co-founder” of EMERJ-SafeNow, supporting the worthy goal of transforming  lives one person and one community at a time.

Another way that Amber demonstrates her passion for the local community is through her small business coaching organization that she co-founded to support local small businesses, help them grow, excel, contribute and flourish within their community.