Deeply rooted in Marin County, the STOP team is intimately aware of the needs of out community members and has a strong desire to give back to the younger generation. Our program staff has relevant life experience and has Survived The Odds, making us excellent candidate for mentoring the at-risk youth population.
John grew up in Marin City and found refuge in the arts as an escape from a troubled home life. Street life and drug use caught up to him, landing John in Marin County Jail numerous times and eventually in San Quentin State Prison for several years. Refusing to give up, John worked hard and earned his GED while in prison. After he was released, John went on to attend classes at College of Marin, Santa Rosa Junior College and Butte College. He is currently a recognized musician, tattoo artist, and hairstylist who often provides his services at low or no cost to those in need. John believes in the importance of giving back and understands the therapeutic value of art and music. The artist name he writes music under is 'FREEDOM.' His self-produced debut EP, All My Life, was released in January 2018 on his very own record label, Revolution Records. His follow up album, Surviving The Odds, was released in July 2018. Founding and creating STOP has developed as part of the natural progression of his life’s work and passion.
Melissa grew up in Novato and graduated from Novato High School. She went on to earn a B.A. degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University with a minor in Business Administration. Melissa continued her education in law school, receiving her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Currently she works for a private K-12 school and was recently promoted to Classroom Coordinator. She is in the process of obtaining her teaching credential in Special Education. Melissa feels in her element most when working with the youth in her community. An artist at heart, she recognizes the value of providing young people the opportunity to explore and develop their creative talents.
Bio coming soon...
Lamar grew up in San Rafael and went to Terra Linda High School, but did not graduate due to the inherent conflicts between school and street life. He ended up in juvenile hall and was eventually placed in a group home. His trials continued, taking him to Marin County Jail and two years in San Quentin State Prison on drug-related charges. While incarcerated, he met a counselor named Sylvester who had a huge impact on his life. As a result, he gained a new perspective on his life and the world. Shortly after being released Lamar invested in an independent record label called Success Entertainment with his close friend - the late Tupac Shakur. They went on to record a song entitled ‘Trapped,’ which was featured on Tupac’s debut platinum album ‘2Pacalypse Now’ on Interscope Records. From his personal experience in the music industry, he learned the importance of self-expression and came to see how circumstances can produce opportunities. Lamar has developed a fierce passion for helping provide such opportunities to the youth in our community.
Lena grew up in Marin City, CA and graduated from Tamalpais High School. She attended San Jose State University where she majored in Computer Engineering. Later she went to Bryman College in San Francisco and received her Medical Assisting License. She has been employed as a Manager/Business Manager for a private Internal Medicine/HIV Specialist firm for over 20 years. Lena has volunteered in her childhood community of Marin City as an Event Coordinator for multiple organizations. Her true passion gets expressed when she takes an empty space and makes it grand. This inspired her to start her own business called An Eloquently Done Affair. Her experience growing up in Marin City coupled with her ability to connect with people of all ages through events is a huge asset to reach those who are at risk of giving up on themselves or their futures. Her goal is to show others that as long as they have the desire to succeed all things are possible in the journey of life. Lena imagines a child’s life is like an empty room; with just the right influence and nurturing they can achieve anything.