Meet Our Team

Yolande Beckles

Yolande Beckles

She began her career in her home of London, England in 1980s where she worked for J Sainsbury’s one of the countries leading retail companies where she was Director of Development and Human Resources Director for Customized Programs for 10 years youngest in the history of the company and the first Black woman in the company in that position. Whilst there, she won one of the first National Training Awards in 1989 presented to her by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher!

Headhunted in 1990 to Deputy CEO to the Docklands Development Agency where she created customized programs for the community and developed private and public partnerships. She raised over 1 million pounds for work for minorities and women and was seconded to Project Fullemploy, a nonprofit organization that specialized in employment and management opportunities.

In 1995 she was sent by the British Government to research why African Americans were more successful than Caribbean’s in employment and small business in the US. Her research led to the establishment of Global Graduates and Global Graduates Training a leading organization on developing school children to undergraduates. The organization trained over 10,000 students through their various programs and worked with over 20,000 families and a100 schools. Her work led her to be named Black Woman Business Owner of the year in

In 2006 a controversial documentary was made about her work named “Don’t Mess with Miss Beckles” on the BBC 2. 2.5 million viewers watched her show the most-watched for an unknown that year!. The show was picked up in the USA as they wanted to produce an American version.

She arrived in Los Angeles, California 2007, and entered the public education LAUSD and a dream of TV was put on hold whilst she focused on her parent activism for the 1 million and more Title I parents in LAUSD. She became the School Site Council Chairperson for both her children’s school, CEAC Chairperson at the school site, local district, and Vice-Chair of the DAC. Gifted and Talented parent expert and a member of the Black Parent Union. In 2011 she was the recipient of the Dr. Theodore Alexander Award for the commitment to Parental Involvement in her work globally.

In 2012 she was one of the three-parent activists who formed the California Title I Parent Union there work led them to be supported by the California Teacher Association and United Teachers of LA they traveled all over the state of California supporting parents with their advocacy work in schools and with school boards.

In 2017 she was a member of the Parent Advisory Council on the LCAP and concerned with the underachievement of African American and Black Children as the lowest-performing student in the state of California especially in Math. She partnered with Professor Michael Batie to address and attack the issue head-on. They launched “Empowered Math for Parent’s” a program of workshops delivered directly to parents in and out of schools. They run a series of extra-curricular programs and out of schools programs for students of color at Dr. Batie Lab in Los Angeles.

In 2015 she launched The Knowledge Shop in South Los Angeles. This is STREAM Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math Enrichment Center for families and children.

She is a mother of 5 children with her partner.

Dr. Julie V. Hopper

Bio:
I am currently a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Southern California where
I teach Environmental Science and Ecology. I received my PhD in Environmental Science,
Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015.
My broad research interests include: Aquatic Ecology, Biological Control, Conservation
Biology, Parasitology, Entomology, Disease Ecology, Global Change Biology, Marine Biology,
and Multitrophic Interactions. I am currently collaborating with researchers at the USDA,
UC Davis, UCSB and CSULB and examining novel interactions resulting from invasive
species in California, including the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle, water hyacinth and
tamerisk. When I’m not conducting research or teaching: you can likely find me in my
garden, reading in my hammock, hiking, backpacking, rollerblading, playing capoeira,
flipping around or flying in the air on aerial silks. Motivation for working with your kids:
I love teaching all ages of people about nature, and getting them active at the same time! I
live in Angeles Mesa, and would love to be more involved in the community, including
getting to know you and your kids! Looking forward to taking all of you on a nature hike!
Contact information: juliehop@usc.edu
Professional Website: www.juliehopper.wordpress.com

Jamelita

Jamelita

Kassy

Kassy

Brandon

Brandon

Summer Intern
 

Summer Intern
Breana Arnold

Breana Arnold - Summer Intern

A young African American 16-year-old who in less than a month I will be17. Raised by a single mother who was born in Belize and a father that was born in Grenada so my family is the Caribbean. I think of myself as a musical person. It kind of runs in the family because everyone in my family loves to sing. My godmother is a calypso singer from Trinidad and Tobago named Calypso Rose, my dad is a DJ. Some of my hobbies are playing the ukulele and keyboard. I also recently just got into planting and baking. I also like playing games on my computer and Nintendo switch with my friends and family. My favorite place to go is the Beach because I just feel so peaceful and happy there. Something I want to change in my community is the way the people are treated differently because of either their gender or their race. I just believe it isn't fair
at all and it just sucks!

Isabel Gonzalez

Isabel Gonzalez - Summer Intern

 I’m a young female, finishing my senior year of high school. I am in the “Generation of change!” I am the future of the world ahead of us. I want to make sure as I grow as a person, I help anyone and anything in any way possible. The only thing I really strive for is unity and peace, lately, the world has been slowly dying, falling apart, and just becoming a mess. I want to change that, I want to bring everyone together in peace with the same goal, living with a better version of ourselves. I think this internship will help me with the younger generation. I can help them understand what change should be done in the world. I am willing to go through any obstacles that may come my way to achieve this goal of mine!

Erick Ceja

Erick Ceja - Summer Intern

 Just a young man trying to make it out like everybody else. I believe we all live in the same story just at a different time, place, and level. It’s up to us to make a difference in the world. Stay pure and positive. We all have our obstacle but it ain’t nothing we can’t handle. Together we can make it!

Akili Woods

Akili Woods - Summer Intern

 Content coming soon!