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Zaid Gayle

Zaid Gayle and Jazzmone Phillips

Zaid Gayle serves as the Executive Director of Peace4Kids and oversees an ambitious organizational growth plan, intended to support youth in foster care cultivate their strengths and transition successfully into 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. He currently sits on the county Commission for Children and Families for District 2 and serves as the co-chair for the Racial Justice Committee.

Zaid’s unique strategy of blending youth advocacy with the media has yielded positive results. In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB12 which is landmark legislation that increased the legal age of foster care from 18 to 21 in California. The passage of this landmark legislation was influenced by a campaign Zaid developed with his youth advocates called “All I did was turn 18”. This campaign received national attention in the press and was featured in a local documentary co-produced by Peace4Kids youth.

Throughout the country and internationally, Zaid and the youth advocates he has trained have addressed issues facing transition age youth aging out of foster care. As part of their effort to educate the public about the unique culture of foster care and improve services for over 400,000 youth in care, they have given testimony in Sacramento and met with federal law makers.

In addition to his direct service work, Zaid has been involved in developing and implementing numerous training programs and community-based research projects. Most recently he partnered with clinical professor, Dr. Niki Elliott, to develop a certificate program for Heart-Centered Connectors. In this program, adults with lived foster care experiences learn how to regulate their nervous system and heal from trauma using evidence-based practices. Participants in this 6-month train-the-trainer program will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to teach educators, health care workers, caregivers, and social workers on how to create safe spaces for children recovering from trauma.

Zaid has received numerous awards and nominations for his work. In 2013 he was a finalist for the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. One of his most prestigious accomplishments was receiving the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leaders Award in 2008. Zaid was one of 8 Community Health Leaders that received this honor nationwide out of over 700 nominees. 

Practicing mindfulness and breathing strategies to achieve mental and physical balance.