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Our Peace4Kids Team

Peace4Kids is anchored by a diverse group of leaders that are committed to improving the child welfare system through giving their time, expertise and care. Each member of our leadership team began their career as a volunteer for Peace4Kids or has lived foster care experience.

We’ve discovered that when you show up to listen and learn, the people you believe you’re serving teach you something that can change the world. All of our leaders are trained to learn the language of youth in foster care and ensure that they have a safe place to discover their greatness.

The members of our team live by a simple motto, “We were born to relatives, but we choose our family.”  


Executive and Program Team


Zaid Gayle

Zaid Gayle

Executive Director & Co-Founder

Zaid coordinates an ambitious plan to support youth in foster care cultivate their strengths, form long-term relationships, and transition to adulthood. Having been involved in community leadership and program development for over 25 years, he co-founded Peace4Kids to promote peaceful conflict resolution among youth in South Los Angeles in honor of his mother’s foster care experience and her life as an educator. Read Zaid's full biography.


Diane Martell Peace4Kids Diane Martell

Deputy Director

Known as a catalyst for well-organized change, Diane has extensive experience working in both the public and private sectors. She hopes to prepare future generations for success through her experiences in California foster care during her teen years. Diane supplements our organizational bandwidth through strategic planning, organizational development, instructional design, team building, coaching, and mindfulness.


Jasmine Lamitte

Jasmine Lamitte, LCSW

Director of Mental Health & Wellness

From her early days as a California-native, school social worker in Chicago’s south side to over a decade later, Jasmine has been committed to reducing the stigma of mental health and illness in Black and Latinx communities. She develops our wellness systems and community supports from a healing-centered, resilience-focused, and liberatory lens. Through her efforts, Jasmine works to ensure that mental health services are culturally relevant and accessible.


Jacob Stein

Jacob Stein

Program Manager

In 2013, Jacob started volunteering at Peace4Kids as our Teen Program facilitator, then transitioned to a Volunteer Coordinator role. In addition to recruiting, training, and supporting Peace4Kids' most valuable asset, Jacob is passionate about creating a positive environment for youth in foster care. With his passion, he has been promoted to Program Manager, where he is dedicated to helping Peace4Kids provide the best experience for our young people.


Lanny Wilson

Lanny Wilson

Volunteer & Outreach Manager

Lanny is a proud alumnus of the Watts Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club, and he brings with him a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to serving our community. He brings 15 years of experience supervising MSW interns and case managing for youth involved with the foster-care and juvenile justice systems. Lanny is a certified trauma-informed nonviolent parenting educator who spends his down time painting murals and creating Hiphop music to uplift his community.


Mir Cortez-Cáceres

Mir Cortez-Cáceres

Program Coordinator

Since 2015 Mir has been dedicated to nurturing and sharing her talents at Peace4Kids. An exceptional artist, she has contributed to renowned musicians' music videos and to our efforts to highlight the strengths of our community. Mir draws on her own personal experience in foster care to advance an agenda of equity for youth impacted by trauma. A ROCMove co-founder, she is a committed advocate for youth in foster care and a passionate voice for Peace4Kids.


Landon Clark team pic

Landon Clark

Program Facilitator

Landon, a Compton native, is passionate about improving youth outcomes in his community. As a licensed massage therapist and health advocate, Landon is passionate about helping others live healthier lives. Through his skill at connecting with youth and knowledge of fitness and the human body, he leads our Peace4Kids' fitness programs that expand youth's knowledge about health and wellness. 


Charmaine Griffin

Charmaine Griffin

Program Facilitator

Charmaine is a proud Teach for America alumni, former KIPP teacher and facilitates our weekly confidence building workshops with our female identifying teens at Peace4Kids. As a professional writer since 2015, she has been published in Huffington Post, Ravishly, Blavity, Flaunt Magazine, LA Travel Magazine, and is now a Senior Copywriter for one of the nation's largest healthcare companies.


Neda Popat

Neda Popat

Program Facilitator

Neda has 20+ years of teaching experience, a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education & Special Ed from NYU and a BA in Child Development from San Diego State. As a volunteer teacher at Peace4Kids since 2014, she has led our early childhood program and curriculum, incorporating mindfulness practices, and creating a safe environment where children can learn, grow, and connect.


Jhamasa Lewis-Adams team pic

Jhamasa Lewis-Adams, ACSW

Systems Navigation Support

Jhamasa was raised in Los Angeles, and spent most of her childhood in care. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, specializing in Social Innovation and Change. Jhamasa’s diverse background and extensive experience enable her to approach her work with empathy, understanding, and a holistic perspective. She's passionate about supporting and guiding young adults during this critical transitional phase of their lives and strives to empower and promote positive change.


Shannon Lee team pic

Shannon Lee, MSW

MSW Intern

Shannon is a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach, pursuing a Master's in Social Work, specializing in Child and Family Wellbeing. Dedicated to championing the holistic development of young individuals and their families, she brings a blend of curiosity and genuine care to every interaction. With her work experience with people of diverse backgrounds, she transforms knowledge into action, embodying a commitment to helping others.


Tonii CunninghamTonii Cunningham

IG Social Media Coordinator, Board Member

Tonii graduated from CSU Northridge with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Tourism Management. He has been involved with Peace4Kids for 15 years as a youth, teen, volunteer, intern. He now represents our alumni and youth on our Board of Directors. As our social media guru, Tonii helps us reach our target audience, build relationships with all stakeholders, and raise organizational awareness through innovation and creativity.



Consultant Team

Craig Issod


Having worked in the non-profit and fundraising sectors for over 25 years, Craig provides Peace4Kids with advancement services, including grant writing, fundraising, project management, and organizational development.

Dr. Leslie Ponciano

Research & Evaluation, Board Member Emeritus

Founder of Hope Education Research Solutions, Dr. Leslie Ponciano has wide-ranging experience in educational research, academic programming, grant writing, publishing for diverse audiences, presenting at national and international conferences, and training professionals in early childhood education, human development, foster care, and educational technology.

Wendy Gayle

Finance & Administration

Gayle Management Consulting specializes in setting up/improving accounting and administrative infrastructure, leveraging technology resources to maximize efficiency for small- to medium-sized businesses, non-profit organizations, and venture-backed start-ups.

Richard Loring

Project Manager | Finding Home, Board Member

Richard is the Founder and President of Fortis 17 CRM Corporation, providing construction management and development advisory services to a variety of end users.  During the course of his nearly 40-year career, Richard has been the recipient of numerous AIA awards and spoken at conferences dealing with design and environmental issues in many parts of California.

Dave Hendry

Curriculum Development

President of Real Curriculum, Dave consults and supports public and private educational organizations and institutions who develop education-related products and services for children and adults. With 40 years of experience in a wide range of educational contexts, he is an expert in the design of experiences that engage learners in true understanding.

Erin Lenihan

Curriculum Development

As a collaborative and empowering EdTech and Learning & Development leader, Erin has a successful track record of working effectively and delivering high-impact outcomes in diverse environments, ensuring the discovery, assessment, development, and delivery of content that meets user needs. By creating a dynamic partnership between learning and technology, she drives innovation and pushes the boundaries of what's possible in curriculum development.

Board of Directors

Cristina Rodrigues

Board Chair

Cristina is a marketing leader whose strengths lie in understanding customer experiences and building powerful brands. With an extensive resume serving as a marketing executive, Cristina has been responsible for the strategic development of product and marketing initiatives worldwide. She has served as a Peace4Kids volunteer and participant in our group mentoring program for over three years. Cristina brings over 20 years of International Marketing & Product Development experience that includes working at a Fortune 500 company (Staples Inc.), a Forbes 25 company (Samsonite Corp.), as well as 15 years of experience in the LED technology industry. Cristina has also held top management positions as Director of Global Brand Marketing at Rosetta Stone and Director of Strategic Marketing at Acuity Brands.

Levi Richards


Levi has been a valuable part of the Peace4Kids community since 2020. Levi currently serves as a Vice President at Corbel Capital, a private equity and credit fund based in Brentwood. Levi has spent 12 years in the financial services industry advising and investing in a wide range of industries. Levi attended Harvard University and spent 4 years as a member of the varsity football team. His passion for sports occupies most of his free time in one way or another.

Elizabeth [Liz] Parker


Liz is a commercial real estate professional with experience managing more than 1.5 million square feet across 11 properties. She specializes in construction project management, facilities management, acquisitions, and redevelopment. Liz joins the Peace4Kids Board having been a regular volunteer at the Peace4Kids Core Saturday Program. She brings an intimate understanding of our organizational culture and the needs of youth in foster care.

Richard Loring

Richard has been an active part of the Peace4Kids community since 2009 as both a volunteer and member of the Board.  When not busy with Peace4Kids, Richard serves as the Managing Director of Design Lab, a real estate development entity located in NELA.  Richard also is the Founder and President of Fortis 17 CRM Corporation, providing construction management and development advisory services to a variety of end users.  During the course of his nearly 40-year career, Richard has been the recipient of numerous AIA awards and spoken at conferences dealing with design and environmental issues in many parts of California.

Mira Zimet

Mira is a documentary filmmaker and the founder of the award-winning web series, The Storyboard Project, stories of young people impacted by the foster care system. Most recently she served as the chief creative officer for USC Annenberg and had been producing, directing, and editing videos for the university for over 13 years. Prior to this, Mira worked as an independent writer/producer on documentaries and educational videos. Besides being nominated in 2002 for a regional Emmy in the education category, Mira has won dozens of awards for her education work and has also been honored numerous times for The Storyboard Project web series. She has also served as a foster parent, one of the highlights of her life.

Maria Groezinger

Maria is the President and Founder of LA Apparel Services. In this role, she coordinates a team of fashion industry professionals to help bring their ideas to market. As an alumna from foster care and health advocate, Maria also brings a unique perspective to our board that helps shape our priorities. As a trained integrated holistic nutrition expert, she believes that there is a direct link to a thriving community and access to healthy whole foods. She supports Peace4Kids by increasing the health and wellness of the foster care community through providing affordable and convenient access to whole foods through thriving business models. 

Darrell Blocker

Darrell is an ABC News Contributor and the National Security Program Manager for CT-Watch, a global solutions provider of training and consulting in counter-terrorism, security and intelligence. He is an advisor for an MGM/Skydance spy thriller TV show, serves as a certified executive coach and mentor, and a frequent public speaker on leadership and diversity and inclusion issues. Darrell is collaborating on several projects in the entertainment industry, as well as a book about his 28-year life as an undercover CIA Operative. He retired in October 2018 as the most senior black CIA officer in the Directorate of Operations with the rank equivalency to a three-star general. He began volunteering with Peace4Kids in January 2016 and was elected to the Board of Directors in March 2019.

Jaronna Yates

Jaronna serves as a Senior Project Director for Illumination Entertainment.  She implements clear strategies and processes for an efficient, seamless workflow across the Marketing Division as well as leading the Global Project Management team to high productivity. Jaronna joined Peace4Kids as a volunteer in 2019. She is deeply connected to the mission as she had a lived experience in foster care and has devoted her life to improving outcomes for our community of resilient youth.

Gina Obiakor, DRPH

Gina is the Founder of Unify*Public, a public health, consulting, and communications company. She works with major healthcare organizations to identify internal gaps within their public health integration practice for health interventions and campaigns. At Peace4Kids, Gina uses her skills as a health advocate, speaker, and teacher in the field of public health to advance solutions that positively impact youth in foster care.

Tonii Cunningham

Tonii recently graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Tourism Management. He has been involved with Peace4Kids for 15 years as a youth, teen, volunteer, intern, and now represents our alumni and youth on the board. As our social media guru, Tonii helps us reach our target audience, build relationships with all stakeholders, and raise our organizational awareness.

Lakeitcha Thomas

Lakeitcha brings over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry that includes media relations, A&R Administration, Human Resources and performing arts. As a media relations professional, Lakeitcha is a passionate advocate for inclusive, culturally relevant and authentic storytelling, and has launched and supported projects for ABC, Hulu, Disney+, National Geographic, Disney Junior, Disney Channel, NBC, FOX, TV One, and  Hallmark Music, among others. In her current role at Disney Television Studios, she develops and implements publicity campaigns for top-rated and critically acclaimed television series across major broadcast, cable, and streaming outlets. Lakeitcha is devoted to making a positive difference in the world and is focused on amplifying Peace4Kids’ success and key mission,  supporting the organization’s efforts to change how youth in foster care are portrayed in the media, and empowering the next generation of storytellers.

Maisha Daniel

Maisha is the Managing Principal at The Offices of Maisha Daniel, a by-referral only firm specializing in strategic consulting in human resources and labor and employment law. She has been involved in volunteering activities that maintain service to children at the core of their mission. From serving on the board of a private school to help navigate the pandemic difficulties to volunteering at various reading, art, and after-school programs, she has been dedicated to improving outcomes for children. 


Emeritus Board

Marni Otway team pic

Marni Otway

Co-founder Marni brought years of social work experience to Peace4Kids. Her motivation was to give youth in foster care an equitable opportunity to connect with people who care about them. While volunteering as Program Director, she developed youth curriculum, recruited volunteers, and sought out resources. Under her leadership, Peace4Kids grew from an all-volunteer nonprofit to a thriving nonprofit with a staff and a half-million-dollar annual budget. Marni, who moved with her family to New Zealand, is still remembered as "mom" by many Peace4Kids alumni.


Dr. Akin Abioye team picAkin Abioye, Ed.D.

Dr. Akin Abioye began his advocacy career at Peace4Kids at the early age of 16 by helping to shape the passage of the landmark bill AB12, which increased the legal age of foster care to 21 in California. His efforts on this campaign earned him the prestigious White House Champion of Change Award in 2015. Dr. Abioye brings lived experience and in-depth knowledge of the child welfare system to our community and organization. He currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer/Director of Operations at Baltimore Safe Haven.


Angelica Nwandu Peace4Kids AlumAngelica Nwandu 

Angelica Nwandu is an alumna of Peace4Kids and the founder of Instagram-based media company The Shade Room. The New York Times called The Shade Room "Instagram's TMZ, and in 2016, Forbes named Angelica to its 30 Under 30 list, saying she "revolutionized celebrity gossip". The Shade Room's followers, across all digital media platforms, now total more than twenty million people. Angelica has also been a Sundance Fellow, and was selected for the January 2014 Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab for the script she co-wrote, Night Comes On.