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A Program of iACT

Little Ripples is a program of iACT. iACT is a Los Angeles-based organization providing humanitarian action to aid, empower and extend hope to those affected by mass atrocities. Through responsive action campaigns and leadership development in the U.S., we provide tools and training necessary to create a new culture of participation for people facing and responding to humanitarian crises. iACT utilizes innovative thinking, human-centered design, and collaborative relationships to co-create replicable and cost-effective programs in refugee camps. Since 2005, iACT has facilitated refugee-led education, sports, and human rights programs that build resilience and cultivate recovery in refugee camps in eastern Chad. Learn more at www.iactivism.org

Meet our Advisors

Jocelyn Tucker

Jocelyn has been in the Early Care and Education field for over 45 years. Her first “job” was as an assistant in her mother’s Family Child Care program. Her professional career began over 15 years ago as a teacher’s aide in an infant care center and prior to her current position, served as the Director of Program Operations of a Head Start Program that served over 800 children and families.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from UCLA and Master of Arts degree in Human Development, Specializing in Leadership in Education, from Pacific Oaks College. She’s also completed the coursework for a Doctorate in Education, Specializing in Training and Performance Improvement, at Capella University. Currently, Ms. Tucker is a consultant with the Child Development Training Consortium serving as a CLASS mentor/coach and Lakeshore Learning. She also works as adjunct faculty at UC Riverside-Extension, El Camino Community College, Loyola Marymount University, and Union Institute and University.

Melissa Holcombe

Melissa Holcombe is currently working as a My Teaching Partner Coach and Assessor in collaboration with First 5 California, the Child Development Training Consortium and Teachstone, Inc. Additionally, Melissa enjoys her adjunct position as a Child Development Instructor at San Bernardino Valley College. She holds a Masters of Education degree with a focus on early education and care. Melissa has twenty years of experience in the child development and education field. She is a member of the California Early Childhood Mentor Program and serves as a local/regional trainer. One of Melissa’s passions is developing and facilitating fun, interactive ECE workshops to teachers on topics related to increasing the quality of teaching in early child development classrooms. Melissa is excited to serve as an Expert Teacher Advisor on the Little Ripples project and is honored to be part of a wonderful project that will provide preschool services to thousands of children in Darfuri refugee camps.

Irma Vazquez

Irma earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, a Bilingual Elementary Credential, and a Masters of Arts in Multicultural Education from Loyola Marymount University (LMU).  She is the Founder and Director of My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids, a Spanish language program for children ages 2-10 that runs after school, during school breaks, and in local businesses across in Los Angeles such as Mattel and Equinox. She has been an adjunct professor at LMU School of Education and Field Work Supervisor for LMU Bilingual and General Education Student Teachers. Irma has been involved in elementary school education since 1991. Currently, she teaches Kindergarden at Washington Elementary (Redondo Beach Unified School District) where she launched the Dual Immersion Spanish Program.  Irma is a mom of three who attend 2nd, 4th, and 6th grade.

Rachel Veerman

Rachel is a Professional Associate in Executive Administration, International Business, Marketing and Sales, and an Auxiliary Accountant. Rachel has over 30 years of administrative background.  Among many other skills, she has extensive experience with the preparation of grant proposals to Federal and State agencies, including NIH and to foundations.  Experience with survey research, including questionnaire structure and translation procedures, as well as experience in developing and monitoring budgets and preparations of reports, and designing, creating, and maintaining web pages. She is enthusiastic to share her knowledge to help Little Ripples be successful in all their endeavors. Currently she works at the UCLA School of Public Health as a Sr. Public Administrative Analyst. Rachel is the mother of two and Grandmother of one.

Stacey Martino

Stacey has been to the camps and knows first hand the impact the crisis in Darfur has had on the younger generations. Inspired by the children in the camps, Stacey runs Whole World Baby and is a full time mother. Stacey has spent the past 20 years combining arts and activism with a focus on connecting every day people and direct action. She is currently the Producer of The King of the Desert, a one man show in the L.A. area, currently running for the fourth time in honor of Latino Heritage Month and inspiring children to dream big and drive forward. She is the mother of two beautiful girls.


Dr. Trudy Goodman

Trudy Goodman, Ph.D., is Founder and Guiding Teacher of InsightLA, a non-profit organization for Vipassana meditation training and secular mindfulness education. Trudy was a psychotherapist in private practice for 25 years and studied Buddhist meditation for 36 years with Asian and Western teachers. She was the fourth teacher of MBSR, mindfulness-based stress reduction, which she taught with its creator, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. She is the Guiding Teacher and co-founder of the original Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the first center in the world dedicated to integrating these two disciplines. In Los Angeles, Trudy co-founded Family Path and Growing Spirit, family mindfulness programs, with Susan Kaiser Greenland and has worked with children all her life. She teaches retreats and workshops nationwide, and lives in Los Angeles near her two grandchildren. She is a contributing author: Guilford 2005, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy; Springer, 2008 Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness.

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Maureen Shannon-Chapple, M.S., has worked with children, families, and adults in a variety of contexts including 20 years of classroom teaching at Chadwick School. She taught parenting classes at LAUSD, child development at College of the Canyons, and children’s literature at Loyola Marymount University. A long-time practitioner of yoga and meditation, Maureen completed the Community Dharma Leader program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 2008. She currently leads a weekly mindfulness group for InsightLA at Loyola Marymount University.

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Elizabeth Leblanc graduated from Wake Forest University in 1998 with a BA in English Literature; she is currently pursuing a Masters of Education at NMSU with a focus on Educational Learning Technologies. Her love of travel and concern for vulnerable populations began during a college backpacking trip in Guilin, China. Elizabeth teaches Language Arts to students in grades 5-12 at Taos Academy Charter School where she also serves as Curriculum & Data Coordinator. Working with i-ACT brings together her passion for innovative design, early childhood literacy, global education and Emotional Intelligence/Six Seconds training. Elizabeth lives, works, plays and moms in the beautiful rivers and mountains of Taos, New Mexico.

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Dr. ReGena Booze

ReGina Booze, Ph.D., is core faculty at the School of Human Development and Family Studies in Pasadena, California. ReGina received her Ph.D. in Human Development and her M.A. in Human and Organizational Systems from the The Fielding Institute. She also completed an M.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College and her B.A. in sociology from CSU, Hayward. Her areas of interest lie in anti-bias curriculum/diversity issues, communication for empowerment/self esteem issues, personal growth and development, resilience skills in children and adult and early childhood education.

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Dr. Olga Winbush

Dr. Olga Winbush, core faculty at Pacific Oaks College School of Human Development & Family Studies, consults, mentors, and trains communities, teachers, and administrators on diversity and integrating equality and justice into curriculum. She’s a founding teacher and currently sits on the Board of Directors at the Children’s Community School late in Van Nuys, California.  Dr. Winbush has presented in-service training and a parent workshops at the Walden School, a K-8 institution in Pasadena, CA and spoken on anti-bias education for prospective students at Pacific Oaks College. Dr. Winbush has presented at several early childhood education conferences globally.