By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
Crystal Feliciano is a go-getter. Or shall we say, a go-giver? She has a full-time job as a finance teacher and she is a journalism advisor at Trenton Central High School; she serves as the North Ward District 5 Committeewoman—for a second term—and is the 1 st V.P. of the Trenton Dems; she runs The Giayana Monae Genesis Foundation; Project M.O.V.E.; hosts for the multi-stellar award-winning Station of the Year, WIMG 1300AM; is a reporter for Peterson’s Breaking News of Trenton NJ; and hosts her own podcast called “All the Chatter.”
Feliciano simply loves to be out and about. “I love the people,” she said, “and I balance my time.”
Feliciano was born in Trenton and is mostly a lifelong resident. She briefly lived in Ewing and Lawrence, but then moved back to Trenton. She received her education from Bethany Lutheran Elementary School, Blessed Sacrament Elementary School, and graduated in 1988 from Notre Dame High School. Feliciano earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Georgian Court University in 1992 and has since earned a Master’s Degree in Education in 2008, as well as a Master’s Degree in Leadership in 2011, both from Walden University, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Upon graduating college, Feliciano’s primary work focus has been in auditing, and she worked for several banking institutions as well as New Jersey state agencies where she excelled greatly. In April 2017, she became a proud member of The Trenton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and has since joined the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa—Pi Chapter, Mercer Mom’s Demand Action, The National Congress of Black Women, and The National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
As a kid, Feliciano was shy; an only child who kept to herself. But she attributes her mother and the church for her inspiration to be service oriented.
“It’s always good to give back and help other people,” she said. “My foundation was set at a young age by the different activities.”
Her 19-year-old daughter, Giayana Monae is the muse who motivated Feliciano to become founder and president of The Giayana Monae Genesis Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501c3 organization, named in honor of her daughter, that helps children ages 3 to 17, who suffer from partial or total hair loss due to alopecia areata, cancer, or other extenuating circumstances.
Giayana’s hair started falling out at age 2 and was diagnosed with alopecia. “She would have to wear bandanas,” Feliciano shared. “I’d put different color bandanas in her hair. She’ll be 20 in September. Now we found a doctor who prescribed medication. Her hair is growing back, which is really cool.”
When Giayana modeled in a fashion event showing her bald head, the audience was in tears because of her bravery. “That was a defining moment,” said Feliciano. “That was her showing that people struggle with it all the time. It’s just loving who you are when you see him or her in the mirror and writing your own story in your own way so you can make your way forward. That just made it all surreal for me. Helping her grow and thrive; it’s been a beautiful experience.”
As a single mom, Giayana, naturally, is Feliciano’s top priority. “I make sure she has everything,” Feliciano said. “She’s a Junior in college…Georgian Court University, in Lakewood Township. She is Student Government President. I am so proud of her.”
Another project in the mix for Feliciano is Project M.O.V.E (Making Our Visions Evident), which focuses on the arts, civic engagement, and education, as well as self-esteem building and motivation enhancement.
It is Feliciano’s love for children and the desire to help people that motivate her. She looks forward to continuing to build partnerships that help educate, enlighten, and empower the various communities in which she is involved.
As a news correspondent, Feliciano has a talk about what’s happening in town called “Moment with the Mayor.” In the future, she will bring student writers to accompany her as she interviews the mayor and give them exposure to additional stakeholders in the city.
The good thing is, the teaching day ends at 2:10, allowing Feliciano to work part-time for the city during the rest of the day. And in the fall, when the teaching day is longer, she switches back to working a couple nights for the city. She explained, “I have weekends. I have time during the day. I encourage people, if I can’t make it [to an event] send a quote from the event to give exposure to it.”
Feliciano also enjoys karaoke in her free time. She also likes to chill with her little dog named Ace, and watch Netflix. Or sleep. But not too much. “Down,” she said, “is thinking of the next move. I study to bring new lessons to my students; how to get them to the next level.”
Crystal Feliciano has another major project in the works, but she is not ready to announce it yet. She does see herself serving the community in a larger capacity. “Just doing more work,” she said. “Utilizing the gifts and talents, the knowledge and experience I have to help my students be the best that they can be. To help the people in Trenton be the best that we can be. I see myself diving a little deeper into the political landscape. Continuing to grow within and help my students, while serving the community. That’s who I am, that’s who I’ll be.”
All the Chatter
“All the Chatter” is a podcast where Feliciano brings “All the Chatter that Matters!” She speaks on a wide variety of topics, either solo, with special guests, and even members from her listening audience. Recent topics include meditation, energy work, and a look back on Black Wall Street and The Tulsa Race Massacre—100 Years Later.
“Cool episodes,” Feliciano said. “I’m out there. I talk about everything and anything. I’m always looking for guests and people that have a story they want to tell. I definitely want to connect with them.”
Everything is set up in her living room, or guests can have a great conversation with her on a ZOOM platform.
“It’s just about connections,” she said. “We all have a story to tell. We all have something. There is something in each of us we want to get out. We need to get out. We’d like to get out. It’s awesome to have platforms where people feel safe to share what you have to say.”
Those interested in being a guest on Feliciano’s show may email her at [email protected].
And for more information on the Giayana Monae Genesis Foundation, visit: https://gigifoundation.com/