Meet Your Legacy Trainers
Raul J. Alcantar
As a first-generation Xicano he moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area to pursue his undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley where he became involved in addressing educational inequities, lack of resources faced by marginalized communities, the intersections of race, class, and sexuality, and the power of healing through culturally-informed practices.
Founder, Artful Leadership Coaching & Consulting, San Diego, CA
Rachelle Archer is an expressive arts practitioner turned educational consultant and the founder of Artful Leadership Coaching & Consulting. She helps leaders shift from reactivity, overwhelm, and burn-out to building safe and inclusive learning communities where students and staff can thrive socially and emotionally side by side.
She has worked for over 25 years at the intersection of arts, education, and healing, primarily in the field of creative youth development. As a founding member of The Monarch School San Diego, she served youth impacted by homelessness in a unique public-private partnership for over 20 years. She helped develop a nationally recognized model for educating unhoused youth, specializing in arts based approaches to community building, mental health, social emotional learning, and leadership development for students and staff. Her belief in the transformative power of the arts imbues everything she does with creative expression, experiential learning, and play. Rachelle’s work is also deeply rooted in her values: everyone can be a leader, humans thrive in community, and the wellbeing of that community starts with us doing our inner work first.
Rachelle lives in San Diego, California, where she can often be found having spontaneous dance parties in her kitchen or getting schooled on baseball by her 12-year old son, Kai.
Marina Bednarek, MA, LAC
Licensed Associate Counselor, Here and Now Counseling and Consulting, Collingswood, NJ
Marina Bednarek earned her Master of Arts in Counseling Degree at Stockton University in 2021. Marina is a Transgender therapist and specializes in working with members of the LGBTQ+ community and runs support groups for trans youth and young adults. She has a particular interest in supporting people through the process of managing diagnoses of personality disorders and enjoys working with all populations including children 8 and older, adolescents, and adults.
Prior to becoming an independent consultant, she worked with Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) as a Project Director with the Transform Schools Department. She has provided site-based support for school improvement efforts in comprehensive Los Angeles high schools since 2011. Prior to LAEP, she worked as a classroom teacher and teacher leader in elementary and middle public schools in East Harlem, NYC. She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish Literature and Language from University of Southern California. She holds a M.S. in Education from Hunter College, City University of New York and a M.A. in Education Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is currently studying Entrepreneurial Leadership in Educational Organizations at at Johns Hopkins University, in the Ed.D. Program.
Throughout his tenure with CAN, Jeff has had the opportunity to make many meaningful contributions to the expanded learning field. He has played an integral role in creating quality frameworks including the California Afterschool Program Quality Self-Assessment Tool and the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California. Mr. Davis organized diverse stakeholders to support older youth programs, advance after school nutrition and physical activity, address unique rural program needs, and provide effective supports for English learners.
Jeff advocated for a strong role for expanded learning programs in the future of STEM education as part of Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s STEM Task force. He also helped build field capacity to implement STEM learning through his leadership of the Power of Discovery: STEM2 initiative. He has helped to shape statewide expanded learning technical assistance and workforce development efforts through participation in the CDE After School Division Strategic Implementation Team and Workforce Subcommittee of the Before and After School Advisory Committee. Jeff’s most recent work has centered around supporting CAN’s transition of fiscal sponsors and procuring of funds to support CAN’s future work in support of the field.
Jeff had the fortunate opportunity to begin his career in expanded learning as an Americorps volunteer in the CalServes expanded learning program. He has participated in major field initiatives as a Consulting Team Member of the California After School Resource Center and an Endorsed Trainer of the California School Age Consortium.
In his spare time, Jeff enjoys working on the completion of his Master’s Degree in Community Development, bicycling the American River Parkway, music, travel, and spending quality time with his wife Kate.
Gabriela B. Delgado
Grants Manager, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA
Gabriela has a Master of Arts in Education and School Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Master of Public Administration from San Diego State University. Gabriela is also an Adjunct Professor at Azusa Pacific University.
Facilitator, EduCare Foundation, Van Nuys, CA
Bryn Drescher is an Expert in Transformational Speaking and Facilitation. She has been using her unique brand of electric energy, humor, and insight to empower audiences and individuals to move toward their dreams and goals despite the obstacles in their path. She has spoken in the arenas of large and small business, education, and personal development. Bryn believes that we all have what is necessary to achieve anything once we move beyond self-imposed limitations and blocks. Her most recent engagement was at Inbound, HubSpot’s annual marketing conference in Boston, where she had the privilege of being a featured speaking alongside, Gary Vaynerchuk, Alec Baldwin, and Serena Williams. The topics she is most passionate about are Leadership, Self Empowerment, and Limitless Living. Bryn is also passionate about youth and has devoted the last 6 years to speaking all over the Los Angeles Unified School District for EduCare Foundation to high school students regarding being their best selves while pursuing their goals.
Researcher, UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools, Los Angeles, CA
Earl J. Edwards is a researcher, consultant, educator, and youth and community advocate. His research examines race, equity, teaching and learning, the impact of structural racism and implicit bias on outcomes for vulnerable youth, and ways that U.S. public institutions can better support them. As a consultant, he leads race and equity workshops with service providers across the country, and works with municipalities on mitigating issues of local homelessness.
Prior to becoming a researcher and consultant, Earl was a high school special education teacher. He taught in urban public high schools for 5 years and has 12 years of experience in youth development and directing mentoring programs for Black and Latino youth across the country.
Edwards holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Boston College, a master’s degree in Public School Leadership from Teachers College Columbia University, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
Dr. Robin Elliott
Associate Dean, Director Harmony SEL/Inspire Teaching & Learning of Long Island University, Brooklyn, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY
Robin Elliott, Ed.D. is currently the Director of Social, Emotional and Academic Development at Long Island University in Brooklyn. In this role, she supports the training and implementation of Social Emotional Learning Strategies within thousands of schools and afterschool organizations in New York and surrounding territories. Dr. Elliott provides weekly professional development sessions to pre-service and in-service educators on Emotional Intelligence and strategies to increase resilience and cultural competencies for educators and youth development facilitators.
Dr. Robin Elliott has over 27 years of teaching and administration experience in New York City and South Carolina. Her passion is supporting the emotional intelligence of educators, families and students, with an emphasis on those affected by poverty and adverse childhood experiences. Her most recent qualitative research titled Factors that influence the Retention of Urban, Hispanic Male Graduates is in publication.
Inspirational Speaker, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
For nearly a decade, Dee Hankins has been helping students and children in foster care realize that they have a chance at a successful future…no matter their background. By implementing his ground breaking “At-Best” youth program for at-risk and foster youth in schools, sharing his six-step personal achievement system, being a mentor, and sharing his incredible story, Dee has inspired tens of thousands of individuals across the nation to BE AMAZING!
Dee Hankins started life as a troubled youth in foster care and worked his way up to becoming one of the most influential, life-changing individuals around. His nearly two decade stretch in foster care has led High schools, Universities, such as Cal State LA, Fullerton, Northridge, UCLA, USC, and a number of organizations to seek out Dee’s knowledge and expertise on at-risk youth, and increasing educational outcomes for children in foster care. Making sure to Inspire Change and Ignite Hope along the way.
Dee Hankins is on a mission to show every student that there is a chance at a successful future… no matter their background!
Founder & Visionary, Kamora’s Cultural Corner, Hartford, CT
Kamora Le’Ella Herrington is the founder and visionary for Kamora’s Cultural Corner and is dedicated to living with and teaching others about Cultural Humility. For decades she’s worked with organizations & groups committed to marginalized communities. Kamora is a member of the National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC) Leadership Advisory Council, a founding member of CT Black Women, & the 2018 Advocate magazine’s Champion of Change recipient for the State of CT. Her personal life mission includes, “creating spaces where families are free to love their children” which is the guiding principle of all of her work.
Founder of #iAmImpact, #iAmImpact, Sacramento, CA
Nathan Houston has been involved in expanded learning for 17 years. Nathan started as a participant with the Center for Fathers and Families (CFF) at age 13. Within a couple of years, he was given his first job as a program assistant with CFF at age 15. At age 19, Nathan was asked to help launch the first After School Education & Safety program (ASES) for (CFF) MASTERS (Making After School Time Enriching Rewarding and Successful) expanded learning program as the Site Coordinator. After being a coordinator for 10 years, Nathan is now the Director of Training and Professional development for the Center for Fathers and Families. He uses his experience and knowledge to train, coach and develop his staff to be successful educators.
Nathan most recently has begun exploring and implementing Restorative Justice practices within the expanded learning field. He believes that using restorative practices along with SEL embedding is the key to helping address the needs of young people. Nathan is also the founder and creator of #iAmImpact which is a philosophy he shares with educators to help inspire them. Nathan loves helping people build positive relationships amongst students and staff.
Nathan currently sits on various committees and workgroups that help ensure both promising and best practices for expanded learning programs throughout California. Nathan is huge advocate for expanded learning because he believes that expanded learning helped save his life.
Nathan loves sharing his story and hopes it inspires educators to keep fighting the good fight. His favorite quote is “As much as it’s about you, it’s not about you.”
Director of Program Development, The SPARK Initiative, Brandon, Florida
Ashley Hunt is The SPARK Initiative’s Director of Program Development, Youth Mentor, and Co-Creator of the S.P.A.R.K. Mentoring curricula (Speaking to the Potential, Ability, and Resilience inside Kids). After seeing her personal relationships transform through an understanding of the mind in 2015, she left her 11-year corporate career in insurance to pursue her passion for educating youth.
She now works as an integral part of the development, coordination, and implementation of S.P.A.R.K. curriculum and training events in our own community and around the world. Ashley brings an understanding of the mind to life with her natural ability to connect with the youth she mentors. Ashley lives in Tampa, FL with her husband Justin and two children.
Expanded Learning Consultant, Afterschool Guru, Los Angeles
Fred Jones holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of South Carolina and an Associates Degree in Music Management from The Art Institute of Atlanta. This former cast member of the Broadway musical “RENT” is a gifted teacher and facilitator, drawing from his experiences as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and as a professional performer.
He began his career in education as a teaching artist working with, and learning from, at-risk youth in impoverished communities throughout NYC. He then moved on to manage after school programs for the New York City Department of Education where he served as Senior Grant Manager for the Office of Youth Development.
During his time in New York, Fred served as the Teen Summer Camp Director for SEIU healthcare union. He also developed and managed a 3-year school climate improvement pilot program in partnership with the National School Climate Center, Fordham University, and The Leadership Program.
Fred provided technical assistance for schools and community-based organizations across the state on topics ranging from infusing arts into the curriculum, to sustainability and capacity building. Fred also served as an expert on several conference panels for the NY State 21st CCLC Technical Assistance Center and was the opening night motivational speaker at the 2009 NY State 21st CCLC after school conference in Albany NY.
In 2012 Fred relocated to Los Angeles where he worked as a Project Coordinator for the Los Angeles County office of Education After School Technical Assistance Unit. In that position he provided technical support to over 150 ASES and 21st CCLC funded grantees throughout LA County covering over 1800 sites. He also co-chaired the California After School Network (CAN) STEM committees Virtual Innovation Support Center work group.
He currently provides professional development and consultation to expanded learning programs throughout California as the CEO and owner of Afterschool Guru.
Co-Founder, Praxis Institute, Chicago, IL
Jennifer L. Magnabosco, Ph.D., ACC
Career & Leadership Coach and Workshop Trainer, Dana Point, CA
Jennifer L. Magnabosco, Ph.D., ACC is a certified Career-Leadership-Life Transitions Coach, Emotional Intelligence Practitioner and Workshop Trainer. She has 25+ years of experience in management, coaching, consulting, training, teaching, research/evaluation and clinical practice in government, non-profit, university, and private sector organizations. She coaches public and private sector professionals at all levels, small teams, emerging leaders/young professionals, entrepreneurs, and individuals making career changes or returning to the workforce. Her consulting expertise includes organizational development and assessment; workforce development; change implementation and management; and using research/evaluation to support the delivery and management of services and products.
Jennifer’s presentations and publications have focused on career and leadership development; emotional intelligence; and the implementation, improvement and evaluation of mental health, substance use, homelessness, and healthcare services. As a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor she provides trainings for the Youth, Higher Education, Adult, and Older Adult modules. She is Co-Editor of the first (1997) and second (2011) editions of Outcomes Measurement in the Human Services: Cross-Cutting Issues and Methods. She currently serves as Mental Health Section Policy Chair-American Public Health Association; Mentor-Network for Social Work Management, The University of Chicago Women’s Athletic Association, and Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and reviewer for peer-reviewed journals.
Jennifer received her PhD (in Social Policy Administration, and Community Mental Health) from Columbia University; and MA (in Social Science-Human Development) and BA (in Behavioral Science/Psychology) from the University of Chicago. She received her certifications as a Life & Leadership Coach from the Hudson Institute of Coaching; Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation; Career Coach from GetFive; Emotional Intelligence Practitioner from Learning in Action Technologies; Emotional Intelligence EQI-2.0 Assessment Coach from Multi-Health Systems; and Mental Health First Aid Instructor from the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Chief Locus Focuser, Focus Your Locus Teambuilding Training & Development, Hartford, CT
Justin McGlamery is the founder and Chief Locus Focuser for Focus Your Locus Teambuilding Training and Development, LLC and is a Master Trainer for the Wingman Movement, a program of Dylan’s Wings of Change. Justin is committed to creating meaningful experiences for people to unlock their greatest potential & unleash the power of positive community, is a regular speaker and presenter at national and international conferences and is co-author of: Focus Your Locus: Activities that Focus the Power of Individuals and Groups (2010). Wood n Barnes Publishing.
Sarah Mello, MA, MS, LPC, ACS
Owner/Clinical Director, Here and Now Counseling and Consulting, Collingswood, NJ
Sarah Mello is the owner and Clinical Director of Here and Now Counseling and has been in private practice since 2015. She received her counseling degree from Capella University and completed a three-year post-graduate training program at The Gestalt Training Institute of Philadelphia, where she is also a member of the faculty. Sarah is no stranger to the field of afterschool education. Prior to returning to school for her degree in counseling, Sarah spent nearly 25 years working in the field of afterschool education and has run programs, developed curricula, managed grants, and developed partnership initiatives between schools and youth development organizations.
Executive Director, TransFamily Support Services, San Diego, CA
For over 30 years, Kathie Moehlig has been a public speaker, workshop presenter, nonprofit development coordinator, and support group leader. She is a certified life coach, an ordained minister, and a certified parenting instructor.
As a parent advocate for her transgender son, Kathie helped navigate his journey. As a result of their family’s ongoing experience, the need to help others was apparent to her. In early 2015, Kathie founded TransFamily Support Services, a nonprofit organization in San Diego serving transgender and gender nonconforming youth and their families.
Kathie provides individual and family coaching to facilitate acceptance and support, assists with healthcare and insurance issues, helps families navigate the legal system, and advocates for resources and support at schools for transgender and gender nonconforming youth and their families.
At the school site and district levels, teachers and students become more comfortable and feel safer with open dialogue as educators are given language and tools to assist students and families in the broader community. Kathie provides workshops and training programs for faculty and staff in LGBTQ awareness, vocabulary use, understanding and implementing state and federal laws, and how to adopt best practices as policy.
Kathie works with medical and mental health professionals from the front desk receptionist to the physician in the back office pointing to resources both medically and procedurally. Providing emergency rooms and urgent care centers with knowledge about trans issues, and access to resources to support specific needs, creates prepared, safe, and effective treatment for all patients.
Kathie tirelessly advocates for transgender acceptance in the social, medical, educational, media, and legal communities. She serves as a board member of PFLAG San Diego, and Camp Laurel. Kathie has also served as a San Diego Trevor Ambassador and will GLSEN. Kathie collaborates with the North County LGBT Center, the LGBT Center in Hillcrest, and many other organizations nationwide that serve transgender youth. She was San Diego Pride 2017 -Spirit of Stonewall Friend of Pride winner and the 2018 California Assembly District 78 Women of the Year.
Owner, A-MOtivational Communications, Author, Speaker, & Writing Coach, San Diego, CA
Motivating. Funny. Inspirational.
In times like these, we need Alex Montoya. He is an award-winning, Ted X motivational author and speaker.
In 2015, after over a decade working in sports and business, he created A-MOtivational Communications, specializing in speaking, motivational writing, and consulting. He has carried the U.S. Olympic Torch and received a Medal of Honor from the Colombian government.
He has published eight books, all available on Amazon:
- Swinging for the Fences (2008)
- The Finish Line (2012)
- See the Good (2016)
- Wolfpack (2017)
- Living Inspired (2018)
- *Here Comes Cannonball: Reflections on 40 Years at Anderson Plumbing, Heating, and Air (2018)
- Alex Masters the Monkey Bars (children’s book) (2020)
- You Got This: A Sacred Journey to Wellness (2020)
*co-written with Mary Jean Anderson
He is currently ghostwriting (co-writing) several books for release in 2021:
- Twisted Individual: The Brian Ferguson Files
- Don’t Tell Judy ‘No!’: The Judy Loredo Story
- The PMP’s Guide to Fencing (with John Tejada)
- The Courage to Overcome (with Beto Gurmilan)
Alex has also achieved the following:
- 2019 Medal of Honor awardee by Colombian government
- 2019 Latino community outreach consultant for San Diego Sockers
- 2018 MiraCosta College “Reading Festival” featured author
- 2017 “San Diego Award” for life coaching
- 2013 San Diego City Schools Hall of Fame inductee for disability mainstreaming
- 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- 2010 “Community Visionary Award” by the San Diego Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration Committee
- 2015-2018 member of California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
- 2014 Rotary International “Paul Harris Fellow” for leadership
- 2014 KPBS-TV “Community Hero” selection
- 2013 San Diego High School “Wall of Honor” inductee
- 2013 San Diego Metropolitan Magazine “40 Under 40” winner
- 2000 San Diego Magazine “50 People to Watch” selection
- 1996 “Distinguished Student” Award winner at Notre Dame
- Appeared in the films Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report
- Endurance-sport participant who has completed two half-marathon relay-team races
Alex has spoken nationwide at places like Google; NASA; Harvard; Wells Fargo; the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI); the “Texas Lead!” Conference; and the Ford Motors “Ford Driving Dreams” tour. He has shared stages with Drew Brees, Soledad O’Brien, and Imagine Dragons. He has been featured on NPR, PBS, NBC.Com (Los Angeles), and the Huffington Post.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Notre Dame; Master’s Degree from the University of San Francisco; and a Personal Development certification at Harvard.
Alex is on the Board of Directors for the Gurmilan Foundation, which supports people with disabilities in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, through grants and scholarships. A native of Medellin, Colombia, Alex immigrated as a youth to San Diego, California, where he resides.
Author, Entrepreneur, Activist, Santa Monica, CA
Jonathan Mooney is a dyslexic writer, speaker, and do-gooder who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. He faced a number of low expectations growing up and was told he would flip burgers, be a high school dropout, and end up in jail. Needless to say, these prophecies didn’t come to pass. Opposed to being a high school dropout he became a college graduate from Brown University with an honors degree in English Lit; instead of flipping burgers he ended up writing books, the first of which he wrote at the age of 23, the end of his undergrad; and instead of becoming an inmate he become an advocate creating organizations and initiatives that help people who get the short end of the stick.
Jonathan has won many prestigious awards including The Harry S. Truman Fellowship for public services, was a finalist for a Roads Scholarship, and won an LA Achievement Award from The Lab School of Washington where he shared the stage with Vice President Joe Biden. He has also been featured on HBO, NPR, The New York Times, NBC, Fast Company, and multiple other media outlets. Jonathan takes great pride that he proved many people that doubted him wrong but also that he proved to many people such as his mom, a teacher, and his wife Rebecca—right, not just about his potential, but about the potential for all of us who live and learn differently.
Director of Engagement & Strategy, Praxis Institute, Chicago, IL
Steven has years of experience in positive youth development, designing and implementing school-based and out-of-school time programs as well as training and coaching practitioners and organizational leaders. As a leading Racial Healing Practitioner, Steven served as Founder and Co-Director of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Youth Institute that built a community of youth healers. Most recently, Steven has adapted this curriculum to the City Colleges of Chicago where he co-leads the Introduction to Racial Healing Methodology course. Steven currently serves on Local School Council at Schurz High School and is the Board President at the Chicago Freedom school. He has his Masters in Educational Psychology from UIC.
Claudine Sanders James
8th Grade ELA Teacher and District Community Liaison, Malvern School District, Malvern, AR
Claudine James is in her 12th year of teaching 8th grade English at Malvern Middle School in Central Arkansas. James achieved National Board Certification in 2014 and also has an ESL endorsement. This passionate educator serves as the school district’s community liaison working within the district and community to highlight cultural awareness and to help other educators gain knowledge and skills related to building a platform for culturally responsive teaching.
In addition to being a BOOST Ambassador, she’s a recipient of several awards including: awards: 2016 – Malvern/Hot Springs County Chamber Commerce Educator of Year; 2017 – Malvern School District TOY; 2018 – Penguin Random House Teacher Award for Literacy; 2019 – Sanford National Teacher Award; 2019 – Henry Ford Innovation Nation Innovative Teacher Award; 2019 Hot Springs County Community Service Awardee ; 2020 – AHA James Atkinson Award for Excellence in the Teaching of AR History; 2020 WeTeacher Award; 2020 – Honored National Teaching Award.
Outside of teaching, Claudine loves to cook and spend time with her family.
Chief Executive Officer, Mizzen by Mott, Los Angeles, CA
Carlos will be managing our team focused on supporting all chapters around programs and evaluation. Previously, Carlos was part of the team that helped launch the Los Angeles chapter of After-School All-Stars in 2002, spending close to 13 years working with Ana Campos and others in helping establish ASAS LA as one of the largest, leading after school programs in California. Most recently Carlos served as the Associate Director for ASAS-LA and focused on securing program partners, establishing organizational infrastructure, leading the organization’s professional development agenda, designing program quality initiatives and metrics and assisted the executive leadership in raising program revenue. Before ASAS, Carlos spent three years working for various public relations firms in the tech industry.
Carlos is a graduate of UCLA where he majored in history and worked for various youth programs including UCLA UniCamp, UCLA’s Youth and Family Programs, and Skyhawks Sports during the summers. Carlos is a native of Honduras in Central America and is married. He and his wife have two little girls.
Tiveeda Stovall, MSW, Ed.D.
CEO & Founder, Griffin & Legacy Associates, LLC, Washington, D.C.
Tiveeda Stovall is the CEO and Founder of Griffin Legacy & Associates LLC, a consulting company grounded in work to “build better communities.” Dr. Stovall has worked globally as an educational and organizational consultant. She has over 35 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and families in community nonprofits and institutional settings. Tiveeda has advised on community collaborations, youth development, critical pedagogy, social services, nonprofits, strategic planning, community organizing, research, and evaluation. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors at National Youth Leadership Council and VISIONS, Inc in the United States and on two international boards, one in South Africa and one in Ghana.
She served for ten years as Executive Director/Founder of Excel Youth Zone, a statewide nonprofit in California that engaged over 32,000 K-12 youth in service-learning opportunities. In addition, she has developed curricula and taught within Graduate and Professional Studies on Community-Based Education and Leadership. Between 2002 and 2016, she served as an adjunct professor in sociology and psychology, an assistant professor, and a Professor of Practice/Community Fellow at the Mulvaney Center for Community, Advocacy, and Social Action at the University of San Diego.
Tiveeda has presented at numerous conferences nationally and internationally and was a sought-after expert on a local National Public Radio station and other media. Dr. Stovall co-authored and published the article “Service-Learning and The Future of America and Education.” Tiveeda has a Doctorate in Education from Johns Hopkins University and earned her M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a past recipient of the Youth Award for Colorado Black Women for Political Action and recipient of the 2007 Congresswoman Susan Davis Award for an Adult Actively Engaging Students in Service.
President & CEO, Mentor California, Oakland, CA
Marcus L. Strother is a father, husband, educator, and a youth and community advocate. Marcus is a 19 year veteran in the education field spending 17 years in Illinois and has since relocated to California. Marcus spent 8 years as a classroom teacher. During that time of teaching young people, he taught Language Arts, Life, Social Skills and Advocacy. Marcus also spent 9 years as a high school administrator with a focus on teacher evaluation, PBIS, school culture, and discipline. Marcus is currently the Coordinator of Youth Development at Sacramento City Unified School District. In this role, Marcus oversees Expanded Learning, Summer Programming and Boys and Girls of Color work. 11 years ago, Marcus and his wife started a non-profit around Youth Development called LEAAP (Leaders Empowered to Achieve Anything Possible).
His non-profit has been nationally recognized and researched (University of Illinois, 2014) as a program that should be used in schools and communities throughout the country. Through this non-profit, Marcus and his wife bring students to the Dominican Republic where they have built schools, water filtration systems and do concrete work for homes in the 3 villages they have adopted. They also have a male and female mentoring program which has served hundreds of young people over the years. Together, they work to heal and build healthy communities and schools!
Dr. Sonia Toledo
President & CEO, Dignity of Children, Inc., Bronx, NY
Dr. Sonia M. Toledo founded Dignity of Children, Inc. in 2008 with the vision of creating programs that would support families holistically. She has over 25 years of experience working in the after-school field, building quality programming for students in elementary through high school during out of school time. Sonia has worked for Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Children’s Aid Society, Child Care Inc., and has served as the President of After School Works NY. When Sonia founded Dignity of Children, Inc., she decided that the best approach for child and youth development was to educate adults in order to help them create environments for children that would make them feel emotionally safe while allowing them to develop their self-worth. Over the years Dignity of Children, Inc., a certified MWBE, has served child care programs across New York City & State leaving each client satisfied and ready to return for more of Sonia’s intoxicating child and youth development trainings.
CEO, !Mpact Consulting, Chula Vista, CA
Ray Trinidad began his youth service career in 1989, as an outreach specialist with the National City Police Department. Since then, he has served seven years as a Senior Program Director with the YMCA of San Diego County, and five years as the founding Director of Monroe Clark Middle School’s X-tended Day Classes (XDC) program. He was selected by Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as Director of Operations for Arnold’s All-Stars in Los Angeles prior to becoming Director of the nationally recognized High Tech Middle School.
As a middle school principal, Ray brings a unique perspective to after school providers, understanding both the requirements of successful after school programs and the expectations placed on school administrators to meet academic goals. Currently Ray has taken on a new challenge in his home town as the Dean of Student Affairs at High Tech High Chula Vista.
Brooke Wheeldon-Reece, MBA
President/CEO, The SPARK Initiative, Tampa, Florida
Brooke Wheeldon-Reece, MBA, is the President/CEO of The SPARK Initiative, Inc. She is the co-author of the S.P.A.R.K. (Speaking to the Potential, Ability, and Resilience inside Kids) Mentoring Programs which are currently being taught to 1,000’s of children in Tampa and around the world. Prior to her work with The SPARK Initiative, she was a national trainer for the Mendez Foundation’s nationally recognized Too Good for Drugs and Violence prevention programs. She also spent time as a business consultant and curriculum developer for Verizon and Learning.com.
Brooke knew she found her home with The SPARK Initiative after watching her husband come out of a deep depression with seemingly little effort. She now dedicates her work to creating sustainable change throughout all populations via mentoring, coaching, and teaching an understanding of the mind. Brooke lives in Florida with her husband Will and their children.
Founder and Executive Director, The Meditation Initiative, San Diego, CA
Jeffrey Zlotnik, Founder and CEO of The Meditation Initiative, has worked to bring the mental health benefits of mindfulness and meditation to more than 75,000 people for free since 2003. He began meditating in 1996, while working at a Group Home for Abused Teens and noticed tremendous change in their attitude after meditation. Jeffrey has led free meditation for Homeless Teens, K-12 Public Schools, Juvenile Detention Facilities, Federal and State Prisons, Diabetes Patients, HIV Patients, Seniors Centers, United States Military, Wounded Warriors, UCSD, Thiel Foundation, Wikimedia, Sober Living Homes, Superior Court of CA Judges, Susan G. Komen, Braille Institute, Jewish Family Services, Superior Court of CA Judges, Catholic Charities and Group Homes for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking.
Jeffrey’s background includes community service work with the homeless and prison re-entry programs with Second Chance as well as helping to develop community partnerships for TKF, an organization dedicated to peace and non-violence for youth impacted by gangs. He has worked with physically, sexually, and emotionally abused adolescents in an effort to share methods for creating inner-peace and harmony. Jeffrey spent seven years as a Consultant working with SAP, Oracle, Siebel and RDR, in addition to coaching youth baseball for 15 years. In 1997, he received his BA in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Jeffrey approaches meditation simply as a daily practice of mindfulness laying the foundation for a happier and healthier life.