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Robert J Rickett

Founder / Executive Director / Board President

Robert has had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was very young. At 15 years old, he started his first business. His passion has always been mentoring teenagers. He started in non-profit work as a Youth Pastor in 2007, and has been working with students ever since. While working as a part-time Youth Pastor, he also worked at Apple, which gave him a unique experience working in a high-performing team in tech. Robert has led many teams in non-profit work, and has built multiple programs from the ground up. Robert is always looking for effective ways to help teenagers. He is a student of social-emotional learning, and is passionate about helping young people develop emotional intelligence and the social skills they will need to be healthy and successful.

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Merisa Boyd-Martinez 

Program Development Director

Merisa has worked with Bay Area nonprofits for the last 15 years.  She has served in roles ranging from youth advocate, domestic abuse educator, fundraiser and event coordinator, as well volunteer coordinator. Merisa has a passion for helping youth and young adults navigate life in order to reach their goals using tools and techniques that are practical, obtainable and fun. As a teen mom at 18, Merisa has insight as well as a tender heart towards those who may have their odds against them. Merisa currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband Jose and 3 children, Anela, Noelani and Enrique.


Margena Wade Green

Board Secretary

Margena is the CareerBridge and Path2Math Program Director for Children Rising. Margena spends much of her time in program and curriculum development, as well as supporting her students and volunteers.

With a passion for serving children and youth in her community, Margena started with Children Rising as a volunteer, and brings over 25 years of community outreach and service to students in various capacities.


Alexia Paredes

Board Member

Alexia is the Program Coordinator for Safe Refuge for Children and Families. She has 15+ years of experience in volunteer management and program coordinating in Kids Ministry at Golden Hills Community Church. She is passionate about the prevention of child abuse & neglect and strengthening families. Alexia is a strong supporter of non-profits particularly as they relate to helping marginalized children and is a TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) Practitioner, a trauma-informed intervention model. Her volunteer experiences include working with teen mothers, mentoring children in foster care, and she presently serves on the leadership team of Royal Family Kids Camp-Brentwood, and as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)

Quaylin Wesley

Board Member

Quaylin Wesley is from Vallejo, California. In 2017, he graduated from McClymonds High School in West Oakland, and currently he is in his fourth year at UC Berkeley, working towards his degree in Social Welfare. He intends to graduate at the end of this academic school year, in May 2021. A passion of his is to help bridge the gap for students, in hopes to level the playing field which will grant them more opportunities that will have long lasting positive effects on their lives.


Michelle Finocchi

Board Member

Michelle is a former CMO with over 20 years of experience in media, communications and marketing across creative industries including contemporary art, tech and fashion. In 2016, she helped start the political organization Swing Left. There, as a member of the executive team and board, she built an audience of 1MM+ members and moved hundreds of thousands of people to take a meaningful action (defined as making a donation or volunteering). Swing Left is now one of the country's leading grassroots activist groups. She has an entrepreneurial drive and previously founded her own public relations firm.