"The function of freedom is to free someone else."
The Beloved Early Education and Care Collective (BEE Collective) was formed in 2017, to build an integrated mental health framework to increase the social-emotional development outcomes of children, birth to 6, in Berkeley County, SC. The Collective began by addressing exclusion and expulsion in early learning settings that disproportionately affects children of color and children with disabilities. The group also supports family resilience from the beginning, through doula services, reproductive health information and parent groups.
The Collective tackles bias in the birthing and early education system and engages the community to lead the way toward solutions.
Who We Are
Dr. Kim Nesta Archung
Dr. Kim Nesta Archung is a co-founder and abolitionist educator/storyteller for the BEE Collective. She is also the Senior Vice President of Global Student Affairs for the African Diaspora Consortium (ADC), which positively impacts the educational, economic, and artistic outcomes and opportunities of Black populations across the African Diaspora. As a Co-founder of Paige Academy, an African-centered nursery and elementary school in her hometown of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Dr. Archung served for many years as Educational Director, Head Teacher, and Board Member.
Dr. Archung received her Ph. D. in Educational Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, conducted post-doctoral research at Dillard University, in New Orleans, LA and the University of Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has been a tenure track university professor, an invited lecturer at American University of Nigeria, and a visiting lecturer at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill in Barbados.
Alexa Stephens (she/her/hers) is a cofounder and the Research Justice Director for The BEE Collective. Her work is to promote and advocate for community learning and action by making data and evaluation more accessible. She is also the Outreach Director for the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, leading the outreach department and implementation of the Center’s strategy to increase community knowledge of services that promote prevention and resolution of heirs’ property and build awareness of sustainable forestry practices and prospects for historically underserved landowners.
Richie Simone Lee
Raised in rural Berkeley County in South Carolina, Richie Simone received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the College of Charleston. After 15 years in Business Administration, Simone pursued her interest in birth services. As Owner and Certified Birth Doula of Birthing with Purpose, LLC, Simone is also a Certified Lactation Counselor, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, Childbirth Educator, Community Champion for Beloved Early Education and Care Collective and Nurturing Parenting Facilitator with Berkeley County First Steps. Most recently, Simone became a Certified Reiki Master / Teacher.
Simone believes the experiences we have during our lifetime, especially during childhood, have the possibility of shaping our perspectives in all areas of life. When trauma is introduced, the effects of that trauma remain in the psyche of the individual until it has been thoroughly processed. The same is true with childbirth; even breastfeeding can be seen as reminiscent of a traumatic experience.
Adrienne Troy-Frazier (she/her/hers) has been an early childhood educator for more than three decades. Adrienne enjoys working with other early educators to find innovative and sustainable ways to transform teaching and learning so that all children can thrive. Her areas of expertise include inclusion, anti-bias, supporting professional learning communities, and coalition building. She is also a DONA trained birth doula and CAPPA trained post-partum doula.
Adrienne is the Executive Director of a non-profit organization that prepares young children for school. Prior to coming to South Carolina in 2012, she was an administrator in Chicago at an organization serving children through Head Start and ISBE funded Early Care Programs.
The mission of the Beloved Early Education and Care Collective is to ensure all families are provided with access to quality maternal, child, and family health care. We also work to ensure every child enters kindergarten socially and emotionally ready to learn, that every educator has positive well-being and the tools to handle challenging behaviors, that families are resilient, and that our community reduces mental health stigma for all ages.
Our vision is to build upon the assets of our hardest to reach children, parents and educators so that we can co-create beloved community in early education where everyone is treated with dignity.
“When you choose to give up your time and resources to participate
in community work, that's what makes a leader.”