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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Saturday, April 6, 2013

Just Communities Welcomes New Board Leaders

Abril Lopez and Mark French Are Appointed as Just Communities Board of Directors Co-Chairs


Local non-profit Just Communities announces new Board of Director Co-Chairs Abril Lopez and Mark French. These new members will attend their first board meeting in their new positions April 22, 2013.

WHO: Abril Lopez, Co-Chair of Just Communities Board of Directors; Mark French, Co-Chair of Just Communities Board of Directors; Jarrod Schwartz, Executive Director of Just Communities; Hillary Blackerby, Just Communities Board Member; Nicole Dinkelacker, Just Communities Treasurer; Doug Green, Board Development Officer; Hillary Blackerby, Joshua Moon Johnson, Lucky Lynch, Maria Monjaraz, Viviana Marsano, Jack Rivas, Just Communities Board Members.

WHAT: Local non-profit Just Communities has recently elected two new Co-Chairs to their Board of Directors. On February 25, 2013 Abril Lopez and Mark French were elected as the new co-chairs by the Just Communities board. Their first meeting in their new positions will be Monday, April 22, 2013.

About Abril Lopez

Abril Lopez
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Abril Lopez

Abril Lopez first became involved with Just Communities when she participated in Just Communities summer youth program CommUnity Leadership Institute (CLI) in 2007 while attending Dos Pueblos High School. While at Dos Pueblos, Abril wrote and facilitated a Latino Achievement Survey which aided the Excellence for Equity in Education (EEE) Committee which is a part of the school’s PTSA. The survey uncovered several language and access barriers for Latino students at the school which were then remedied by the PTSA. Abril first joined the Just Communities board in January 2011. As the youngest member on the Just Communities board Abril provides the unique perspective of not only a youth but also of a recent program graduate. Abril is currently attending the Certified Nursing Program at Santa Barbara City College.

Quote from Abril: “The work that Just Communities does is amazing in many different aspects, whether it’s trying to break down the language barrier that exists in schools or bringing a community together to try and make the place where they live safe. That’s why I love working with Just Communities, not only do they address oppression but they bring communities together to work on good causes.”

About Mark French

Mark French
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Mark French

Mark graduated from UCSB in 1973 with a B.A. degree in political science. He then obtained a teaching credential at UCSB in 1974 (student teaching at Dos Pueblos High School). While at UCSB Mark participated in intercollegiate basketball and baseball. He earned his Master’s degree in Physical Education from the University of the Pacific in 1978. In 1987 he returned to UCSB as the head women’s basketball coach and served in that position for 21 years. Mark retired from coaching in 2008 and worked for 2 years at the UCSB Alumni Association as the Director of Scholarships and Outreach. Mark serves on the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors as the Chair of the Awards Committee, is a Co-Chair of the Just Communities Board of Directors, and is on the Executive Committee of the UCSB Athletic Department’s Gaucho Order. He was recently inducted into the UCSB Athletic Department’s Hall of Fame, and the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable’s Hall of Fame.

Quote from Mark: “Serving on the Board of Directors of Just Communities is a challenge and an honor for me. A challenge to help this wonderful organization continue its much-needed efforts to make the central coast a safer, more inclusive, and equitable place to live. An honor to be part of a staff of caring professionals whose efforts in programs like our Community Leadership Institute change young people’s lives forever!”

About Just Communities

Just Communities is a Santa Barbara-based organization that works to bring together diverse groups of people to build leadership and develop joint solutions for our communities’ challenges. Just Communities programs help build trust across historic divides, foster relationships between diverse community members, and leverage the trust and relationships towards joint action to produce positive social change. For more information about Just Communities or how to get involved please call 805-966-2063 or http://www.just-communities.org

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