Danny Alvarado, a native of Southern California, has been working in healthcare for 15 years, a journey that began at the age of 18 when, as a Navy Corpsman, he provided emergency medicine during combat operations while on deployment with a Marine Crops unit in Iraq. For the past eight years, he has worked in operations management role and oversees operations and business development for a large outpatient mental healthcare organization in California. When Danny was young, his father was incarcerated, and he remembers the embarrassment and shame of growing up with a father behind bars. His goal is to help break the stigma that comes with having incarcerated loved ones and would like to see programs like POPS the Club throughout the U.S. Danny holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Dennis Danziger (Co-Founder) taught English and Sports Literature in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over twenty years. In collaboration with his wife, Amy Friedman, and PEN USA’s Pen in the Classroom program, he had many students publish their first essay in books, magazines and online journals. Since 2013, he served as an instigator, prompter, and editor of POPS the Club’s anthologies and other student writing and as sponsor of the inaugural POPS Club at Venice High. He retired from teaching in 2017 and now volunteers at POPS Venice. Mr. Danziger’s essays have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He is a novelist and playwright who currently works closely with Hollywood’s Stephanie Feury Theater. You can learn more about his work at djdanziger.com.
Aaron Palmer (Treasurer) has experience in several different industries including automotive, finance, investment services and healthcare. He has spent the last 10 years of his career leading and developing sales and operation teams in the Market Research Industry. Aaron decided to seek out POPS because it became clear that the world needs more people and organizations that are committed to empathy. Aaron received Bachelor degrees in Business, and Performing Arts from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He is the Owner and Founder of ASP Investments LLC, which focuses on encouraging financial literacy, specifically with high school students. Aaron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Rodriguez, is a student, writer, and activist. He is a formerly incarcerated juvenile offender who understands the importance of listening to our youth. John is an English major and hopes to teach a public high school, juvenile hall, and prison one day. His writings appear in several of POPS The Club anthologies. He makes an effort to change the popular negative view against the currently and formerly incarcerated. Through writing, storytelling, and advocacy, John aims to eliminate the stigma people carry for loving someone in prison. He is also a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC).
George Soneff is an attorney with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Los Angeles and leads the firm’s real estate litigation practice. He attended public schools in the Los Angeles area, before graduating from law school at the University of Southern California in 1984. Best Lawyers has named George one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in each of the past 10 years.
When George was growing up in Compton and Bellflower his family was impacted by incarceration, which gave him an understanding of the stigma, pain, and hardships the prison system inflicts on the entire family. He believes strongly that many people can and do grow, change, and redeem themselves after having served time, and that society should not turn its back on people sincerely trying to do so. He looks forward to seeing POPS expand its reach to help more young people as they cope with problems no child should have to face alone.
Shandra Spicer (Board Chair), a Buffalo, NY native grew up in a household where her parents instilled core values of honesty, integrity, loyalty and hard work made her successful in building her own minority woman-owned company. As President and CEO of Spicer Group, a commercial general construction and construction management firm, Ms. Spicer grew the company from a company with an annual revenue of $29,000 in 1999 an annual revenue of over $10 million by 2016. Ms. Spicer currently serves as CII Program Manager for Brilliant Comers, a California nonprofit focused on eradicating homelessness throughout the state. Ms. Spicer is proud to have served as a mentor and has served as a board member for the Buffalo Urban League and Daemen College. She is proud to call the West Coast her adopted new home.
Carol Burton, LMSW, BS and MSW, Former POPS Board Chair, Vice Chair, Co-Chair and Coordinator of Alameda County Children’s Incarcerated Parents Partnership, advisor for NRCCFI at Rutgers University at Camden and CEO and Principal Consultant for Jeweld Legacy Group . In 2013 Burton received The White House Champion of Change Award for her outstanding work on behalf of Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Rachel Davenport, has over 30 years of experience in the securities / financial industry and were Chief Compliance Officer, responsible for SEC compliance as well as corporate and investment bank administration for Iaccocca Capital Group, a boutique investment firm. Rachel was a Board member and Board Chair of New Directions, a residential rehabilitation organization that serves veterans.
Karen Henry, is President and Senior HR Advisory at Orange Coast Human Resources.
Marianna Houston, has worked at Safe Horizon, a New York City service organization for victims of domestic violence and at CASES in Harlem, a service organization for alternatives to incarceration. She consults for the United Palace for Cultural Arts in Washington Heights on effective and sustained arts education programming.
Rita Marmolejo, is a director, manager, trainer/instructor and consultant with expertise in planning, developing, implementing and evaluating programs and services.
Kate Savage is POPS’ Mindfulness Coach. She is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher through the International Mindfulness Teachers Association, and the founder of Open Window Mindfulness. Kate is also an artist and educator who has taught in various settings for decades. She regularly volunteers at POPS Culver City and at POPS events.
Kelly Slattery, a native Canadian and songwriter, works as a consultant in the Film and TV space, developing, packaging and setting up projects and works closely with several nonprofits. She is a longtime volunteer at POPS the Club Venice High.
Lyn Twyman, is a domestic violence and behavioral health advocate, speaker, consultant, producer and activist, an expert in community policing and behavioral health advocacy. In 2013, Lyn established Lasers,a national, progressive program designed to support all domestic violence victims and survivors.
Madge Stein Woods, is involved with several nonprofits working with women prisoners and sits on the board of R.I.S.E. to Empower. Ms. Woods has worked as a court-appointed mediator. Past president of the board for Action Committee for Women in Prison, Ms. Woods is a native Angeleno, graduate of West L.A.’s public schools.
Jonathan Zeichner, is Executive Director of A Place Called Home.