BACKGROUND
 
STAFF AND BOARD
 
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
 
MEDIA COVERAGE
 
LIFETIME NEWS
 



     
 
About Us - Staff & Board

 
 

EXECUTIVE STAFF

Diana Spatz, Executive Director

Diana Spatz is the founder of LIFETIME, Low-Income Families’ Empowerment through Education, a grassroots organization created by student mothers at the University of California Berkeley who completed college degrees while raising their families on welfare, and who are committed to helping other low-income parents do the same. A former welfare recipient, Ms. Spatz founded LIFETIME in 1996 upon graduating with honors from the University of California Berkeley with a BA in Political Economies of Industrialized Societies, and being awarded an echoing green Public Service Fellowship. An award- winning author and advocate for low-income families, Ms. Spatz won the 1996 I.F. Stone Award for Journalism by The Nation magazine for “ Welfare Reform Skips School,” an article on the role of higher education in welfare reform. Ms. Spatz, currently chairs the Education and Training Task Force for the statewide advocacy group, Californians for Family Economic Self-Sufficiency, and is a member of the California State Legislature Joint Committee to End Poverty in California (EPIC).  

 

PROGRAM STAFF

Rebeca Walker Marquez, Bilingual PEER Advocate

Rebeca Walker-Marquez is LIFETIME’s Bilingual PEER Advocate. Since she moved to California in 2000, she has worked with the Latino community as translator, advocate, case manager, interviewer and teacher. Before moving to the United States she earned her BA in Social Anthropology in Mexico and worked as a Research Assistant for projects related to gender, poverty, violence and art. Her passion is to continue her work with individuals struggling with the barriers of education, gender, language, immigration, and domestic violence.

INTERN STAFF

Jasmine Frazier, Administrative Intern

Jasmine is a single mother attending school at the College of Alameda. She is at LIFETIME through the CalWORKs work-study program as she completes her Bachleor's Degree in Forensic Science.

Bathsheba Jackson, Bookkeeping Intern

Batsheba is a single mother working toward her GED while attending the College of Alameda. She has been working at LIFETIME as a Bookkeeping Intern through the CalWORKs work-study program, and would like to continue her schooling to complete her degree in accounting.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Brenda Rogers, Chairperson

Brenda Rogers is a mother who raised her son while a student receiving welfare and has gone from a high school drop out to a PhD candidate. As the parent of a special education student who had behavioral problems and learning disabilities, Brenda became an advocate for her son by applying her law and society educational background to the special education process and beat special education administrators at their own game. Today, Brenda's son is a successful teenager because of her advocacy and in 2004, Brenda founded the California non-profit Access Center for Education (ACE). ACE provides sliding scale and free special education advocacy to parents of disabled children in public schools.

Leilani Luia, Co-Chairperson

Leilani Luia graduated from Cal State Hayward with a BA in Sociology/Social Services in 2001 after earning four associate's degrees from Peralta Community Colleges while raising her family on welfare. Leilani was appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Advisory Council and served on the board for SAFER, a grassroots organization of communities of color working to end environmental racism in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2001, Leilani was awarded the Management Center Board Award for Leadership for her work on the LIFETIME board. A mother of three, Leilani served as Chairperson of the LIFETIME Board of Directors from 2000-2003, and is currently serving as Vice Chair.

 

PhD. Mark Toney, Treasurer

Mark Toney is Executive Director at The Utility Reform Network (TURN) a social justice organization focused on protecting affordable utility rates and access to renewable energy for consumers.  Toney was awarded his Doctorate in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2007.  His leadership accomplishments have been recognized nationally by his selection as a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow, National Science Foundation Fellow, and Echoing Green Fellowship.  Mark is the former Executive Director of the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), and serves on the boards of Africa Action, and the National Whistleblower Center, both based in Washington, DC.

Jasmine Hain, Youth Representative

At 15, Jasmine Hain is the first youth representative on the LIFETIME board. She became an activist at the age of nine, when she testified at a state budget hearing asking lawmakers to “protect funding for the CalWORKs educational programs so my mom can give me a future.” She received a standing ovation and hasn’t looked back since. In January 2009 Jasmine coordinated LIFETIME’s first youth summit, where LIFETIME children and youth held a press conference to highlight how budget cuts would affect poor children, receiving statewide media coverage. Jasmine currently attends Berkeley High School and is a Staff Writer and Youth Leader at POOR Magazine in San Francisco. Her book “My Life x4” is currently used to teach children about poverty and homelessness in the Oakland Public School District.

Alfredo De Avila, Board Member

Alfredo De Avila is a program associate of the Applied Research Center, for the past forty years he has been a farm worker and community organizer, newspaper manager, radio show host and a trainer of community organizers trainer and campaign consultant. He has work with communities of color all across the country, working on issues of employment, education, health, environment, housing, transportation and immigration.

Rita Saenz, Board Member

Rita Saenz is the Executive Director, Western Region, Health and Human Services for Affiliated Computer Services. In that role she is responsible for consulting with the company on California needs and approaches. She was the chief executive officer of the Academy for Coaching Excellence, which offers consultation, organizational development, and training to develop coaching cultures in business and organizations, including health care providers. In 1999, Ms. Saenz was appointed by Governor Gray Davis as the director of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and was responsible for a $21 billion budget, 4,700 employees and 51 offices across the state. CDSS managed the welfare-to work program, child welfare services, community care licensing (80,000 facilities), disability evaluation review, adult protective services and services for refugees. She has also been the CEO for several companies, including The Holiday Project which had 20,000 volunteers visit 200,000 people confined in institutions during the holidays. These institutions included hospitals, nursing homes, children’s homes, prisons and jails. Prior to her appointment with CDSS, Ms. Saenz worked with alcohol and drug abuse programs, serving as director of the Office of Alcoholism and later working with the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs for California. She also worked in the office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., where she oversaw the executive recruitment for gubernatorial appointments. During her years with community-based organizations, she worked for the International Institute of Los Angeles, the East Los Angeles Health Task Force, the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and was an on-air moderator for the KCET program, AHORA!, which highlighted the ELA community and Hispanic culture. Ms. Saenz serves on the board of directors of the Plexus Institute, the international nonprofit, Children Uniting Nations, and the California Family Resources Association. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation and the Hispanic Woman of the Year Award, 2001, and has been acknowledged for her support of tribal people in California.

Diana Spatz, Executive Director/Board Member

Diana Spatz is the founder of LIFETIME, Low-Income Families’ Empowerment through Education, a grassroots organization created by student mothers at the University of California Berkeley who completed college degrees while raising their families on welfare, and who are committed to helping other low-income parents do the same. A former welfare recipient, Ms. Spatz founded LIFETIME in 1996 upon graduating with honors from the University of California Berkeley with a BA in Political Economies of Industrialized Societies, and being awarded an echoing green Public Service Fellowship. An award- winning author and advocate for low-income families, Ms. Spatz won the 1996 I.F. Stone Award for Journalism by The Nation magazine for “ Welfare Reform Skips School,” an article on the role of higher education in welfare reform. Ms. Spatz, currently chairs the Education and Training Task Force for the statewide advocacy group, Californians for Family Economic Self-Sufficiency, and is a member of the California State Legislature Joint Committee to End Poverty in California (EPIC).