Dance & Language Instructor
Venessa Manzano is a native of Massachusetts and currently resides in the Tri-State area. She is born of first generation Filipino parents and learned to speak Tagalog fluently at the age of 10. In addition to Tagalog, Venessa is fluent in Spanish and has a basic comprehension of French and Italian.
As a freshman at Northeastern University majoring in Physical Therapy, she was a founding member of the school’s first Filipino student organization (NU Barkada). An active member and supporter of Filipino organizations in the Boston area, Ms. Manzano was a student of Iskwelahang Pilipino (IP), served in both the dance troupe and Scholarship Committee of the Pilipino American Association of New England (PAMAS-NE), and was a dancer, choreographer, charity coordinator, website developer and newsletter creator for the Philippine Dance Company of Boston (PDCo Boston). Her work as charity coordinator raised thousands of dollars through the company’s cultural performances to help other Filipino-serving non-profits such as ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata 163, Bahay Pag-Ibig, and Rotary International’s Gift of Hope.
In 2004, Venessa graduated from Boston University’s School of Public Health with a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in International Health.She also took classes at Bank Street College of Education in New York City that focuses on linguistics and elementary school-aged children.
In 2005, Ms. Manzano moved to New York to assume the position of Executive Director of the Filipino American Human Services, Inc. (FAHSI). With the help of her staff and volunteers, they were able to serve and improve the lives of Filipinos in NY through their programs. These include the Seniors Support Program, Women’s Support Program, 9/11 Case Management Program, Leading Youth to Finding Empowerment (LYFE), and Adult Conversational Tagalog Classes.
After her work with FAHSI, Ms. Manzano moved on to work as the Director of Programs with Ascend, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to helping advance Asian students and professionals in accounting, finance and other business related fields. She also served as the Director of Corporate Relations at Liberty Science Center, where she was responsible for the creation, implementation and management of the corporate fund raising efforts of the Science Center, encompassing planning, research, proposal development, solicitation, cultivation and stewardship of corporate sponsors and members.
Venessa’s genuine love and pride for her Filipino culture, its language and dance, the community and working with children, ultimately led to the establishment of The Filipino School of New York & New Jersey, which she did with the support of her family, friends and colleagues. With years of research and assessment on the Filipino community tied in with her experience in non-profit management and small business development consulting, she was able to fulfill the needs of a growing number of young Filipino parents and families looking for cultural programs for their children.
Despite her busy schedule, Venessa still manages to find time to enjoy with her growing family and close friends, learn new languages, appreciate art and architecture, ski, read, run, dance and travel. She served on the board of Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment, Inc. (CORE) as their Chair, Vice Chair of Programs, and Vice Chair of Membership Services and was an Advisory Board member of California State University’s (Hayward) Center for Filipino Studies. She is also still actively involved with many other local and national community and professional organizations.