Leilani Alo, Advisory Board President
Leilani is a Senior Philanthropic Advisor for the Marin Community Foundation. Leilani was formerly the Senior Program Officer with the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest prize program for grassroots environmental leaders. She also previously worked at the San Francisco Foundation where she was fellow in the foundation’s Multicultural Fellowship Program. At the foundation Lani focused on grant making in support of Bay Area youth, and environmental education and justice programs. She studied international relations in graduate school. Lani has served on the Advisory Board of KIDS for the BAY for 10 years and is currently the President of the Board.
“Like most adults, whenever I think of the most carefree times of my childhood, I recall being outdoors. Simply climbing a tree or playing with friends on the beach. There is something fundamental that links childhood and the outdoors. It wasn’t until I moved to a big city that I realized what a privilege it was to be able to grow up among clean air and trees. Without the opportunity to be around nature, a childhood is robbed of something wondrous and necessary. KIDS for the BAY is not only providing such outdoor experiences for thousands of children who otherwise would not have them, but by doing so is stating emphatically that it is every child’s right to such experiences. That hands-on learning that KIDS for the BAY gives students, in their own communities, is matched by a strong science education in the classroom. By giving children these opportunities together, KIDS for the BAY is doing nothing short of sparking a revolution—creating the true environmental stewards of tomorrow who will make a huge difference.”
Elaine Miyamori, SPHR
Elaine Miyamori is a Human Resources Consultant with AAA Northern California, Nevada, and Utah where she provides consultation and support on HR business strategy and change management, HR analytics and solutions implementation, HR business project execution and management, and performance management. Elaine has held national and regional human resources manager positions in the financial services industry. She served on the advisory board for the Contra Costa County Private Industry Council and chaired the Finance Committee during her second term. She was a contributor in developing the first financial services “school to work program” in Sacramento through Linking Education and Economic Development (LEED); a collaborative effort with business, education and economic development focused on aligning educational resources with regional workforce needs. Elaine was past president of the Asian Pacific Personnel Association and Vice President of the Tri-Valley Human Resources Association. Elaine has a degree in Social Welfare from UC, Berkeley.
“While attending a field trip with my daughter’s class, I was able to observe one of the KIDS for the BAY programs at the Berkeley Marina. The interactive learning allowed for exploration and discovery. The students were engaged and gained an appreciation of nature. The experience created awareness about how some human behaviors can threaten nature and our ecosystem. I am excited about being associated with an organization that delivers quality programs that provide new experiences for many participants, raises environmental concerns, and educates our children about their responsibility to protect and preserve their natural habitat. I appreciate the opportunity to work with an exceptional executive director and staff that have created a thriving organization.”
Jessica Nusbaum is a communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit, social change and environmental communications experience. She currently leads communications and marketing for the UC Davis Library. Most recently, Jessica was a freelance consultant and strategist with the communications network, Wonder: Strategies for Good. She has also served as communications officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Environmental Conservation Program. Previously, as director of the San Francisco Social Impact Practice for global PR agency Allison+Partners, and at Fenton, the nation’s leading public interest communications firm, she advised nonprofit, foundation and government clients on communications strategy and message development. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Technology and Society from Stanford University.
“I have always cared deeply about our environment, but the importance of connecting with nature has hit me in new ways since becoming a mom. Whenever my young daughter is upset, nothing calms her down like being outside—even if it’s just watching the crows or looking at the flowers in our backyard. At the park, she can be happy simply playing with the grass and leaves, which she investigates intently. Watching her, it is clearer than ever that we are born with a connection to the natural world—that this is where we belong—and every child is a little scientist. We need programs like KIDS for the BAY to nurture that connection and curiosity, by not only teaching environmental science, but encouraging students to touch, experience and explore it. I am impressed by the creativity of the hands-on environmental science experiments developed by KIDS for the BAY, as well as this organization’s deep commitment to being good partners to classroom teachers. It is an honor to volunteer my time to support this work.”
Annika Rudback is an elementary school teacher in Oakland. Prior to teaching in Oakland, she taught for two years in West Contra Costa Unified School District as a member of Teach for America. Annika graduated with a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington and a Teaching Credential from Loyola Marymount University. She put her degree to good use, living in seven different countries and working with the world’s largest youth run organization, AIESEC. She has been living in Oakland since 2011 and originally hails from Seattle. Annika had the good fortune to be introduced to KIDS for the BAY during her first year of teaching and believes that all children should have the right to this type of environmental education.
“I had KIDS for the BAY in my classroom my first year of teaching and now I can’t imagine my classroom without it. My students were so engaged in learning about their watershed, building models, identifying toxic sites and of course getting to touch seaweed, crabs and fish. Students always mention the field trips we take as one of their favorite experiences – many of them have never picked up a crab or looked at plankton in a microscope until their KIDS for the BAY field trip. Seeing what an eye-opening experience it is for them has made me all the more passionate about the program. KIDS for the BAY is a highlight of my year. This work deeply connects with my belief that kids need environmental education and experiential education in an increasingly test score driven system.”
Shefali Shah is an educator of multicultural and environmental justice education with over 12 years experience. Shefali holds a Spanish Bilingual Teaching Credential and a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on Critical Environmental and Global Literacy. Her research, practice, educational curriculum and teacher training focus on environmental justice and best practices for equitable educational opportunities for multicultural youth. For five years, Shefali worked as an Instructor in the Teacher Credential and Masters Degree Programs at New College of California and for nine years she served as Program Director and later Education Director for KIDS for the BAY. Shefali’s work promotes environmental justice through action and cultural awareness and connections through musical and dance traditions. Her consulting work includes curriculum support and environmental justice education trainings.
“KIDS for the BAY provides a critically unique opportunity for youth from all walks of life to access the world around them. KIDS for the BAY programs increase children’s self-confidence by allowing them to explore their local world as true scientists. I am honored to volunteer for an organization that prioritizes environmental justice education and education through action.”
Sheela Shankar is a non-profit fundraising and events consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sheela was a staff member at KIDS for the BAY for fourteen years, including working closely with Executive Director Mandi Billinge as Associate Director for seven years. She has a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Environmental Education and Curriculum Development, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. Sheela has twenty years of experience in the environmental education field within the San Francisco Bay Area. She also brings expertise and experience in non-profit management, fundraising, event planning, and communications. Sheela is grateful to continue contributing to KIDS for the BAY as an Advisory Board member.