Amy Friedman, Executive Director is an author, editor and writing teacher who co-founded POPS the Club with her husband, Dennis Danziger, in 2013 at Venice High School in Los Angeles. In 2015 Amy completed training with Executive Service Corps of Southern California’s Executive Director Leadership Institute (EDLI) and continues to work with her mentor, Rachel Davenport. In the fall of 2016, Amy began working with a mentor through The Durfee Foundation’s Springboard Fund. Amy is a staunch believer both in freedom of expression and in the power of art to change the world and envisions POPS the Club in high schools across the country. With the nonprofit’s expansion, she envisions an end to the shame and stigma that too often silences both the incarcerated and their loved ones. Amy champions POPS the Club students to tell their stories and showcases them in POPS the Club’s annual anthologies. Amy’s website Contact Amy@popstheclub.com
Mel Keedle, Program Manager, has a Bachelor of Social Science, with a focus on adolescent studies, from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Before moving to Los Angeles, Mel worked with young people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Mel is passionate about helping all young people to develop the skills and tools they need to succeed. Mel volunteered with POPS the Club for over a year and is proud to be part of the ever-expanding organization. She looks forward to working with school sponsors and volunteers in training and developing POPS clubs across the country. Contact Mel@popstheclub.com
Meryah A. Fisher, Volunteer Coordinator, has a Masters of Public Administration from Cheyney University and a BA in Africana Studies from Cal State Dominguez Hills. She is a current professor at Dominguez Hills and a fellowship student at Claremont Graduate University pursuing the school’s first interfiled Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Policy/Politics. Meryah is a small-town Jersey girl who has worked for years as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, founded a small New Jersey-based homeless-to-work initiative, and has a long history of case management for disabled persons, those suffering with mental health, and families impacted by homelessness. Meryah’s passion is challenging human rights and social justice threats through intuitively bridging sociopolitical gaps created by disparities, marginalization, and lost voices. She looks forward to sharing her experiences and passion with POPS to create a dynamic volunteer department that supports the vision of nationwide expansion. Contact Meryah@popstheclub.com
Lauren Marks, Communications Director, has worked as a writer, actor, director, and dramaturg. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Lauren pursued a PhD in Theatre Studies at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. At age 27, she suffered a serious brain injury that affected her abilities to communicate. Her memoir, A Stitch of Time, follows her path back to language. Lauren works with those living with acquired language disabilities, helping to facilitate meaningful exchanges through all manner of artistic expression, and POPS the Club is a natural fit since she is a passionate advocate for under-represented communities, a believer in art as a vehicle for personal expression and social change, and the transformative power of previously unheard voices. Contact Lauren.email@example.com.
Bianca Lopez, Ambassador and Volunteer, Graduate Venice High School/POPS the Club Graduate, is a student at El Camino College, studying to become a Registered Nurse with a second degree in Social Justice. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bianca joined POPS the Club in 2014, in her junior year at Venice High School, fearful of speaking about her incarcerated brother. The moment she attended her first meeting, she realized that she was not alone. After beginning to speak and write about her experiences, she has become a confident, strong, brave young adult, eager to remain part of the POPS the Club family and a volunteer and speaker for the organization, and is helping to lead a POPS the Club Ambassador’s group. Bianca is working on a curriculum designed to bring POPS the Club to schools across the United States.
Arielle Harris, Social Media Intern, is a Graduate of The University of Nice. Arielle began her studies at UC Santa Barbara before she moving to France to continue her studies. She is completing a second degree in marketing. When she was 16, Arielle moved from her home in St. Simons Island, Georgia to Los Angeles where she found comfort and new friends in clubs at Santa Monica High School. After graduating high school, Arielle taught dance to underprivileged teens. Arielle was drawn to POPS the Club because she sees herself in the POPS students. She is thrilled to have the chance to pay it forward. Contact SocialMedia@popstheclub.com.
Alison Longman, Editorial Staff, is a Los Angeles native currently studying to be an English teacher. Before getting involved with POPS, Alison graduated with a BA in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz, focusing on Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, and has worked in the Bay Area as an education administrator as well as an ESL teacher in Hai Phong, Vietnam. As a former student of Dennis Danziger’s, Alison began volunteering for POPS in Fall 2015 and has grown as a back-end support staff member. Alison has worked in many different capacities at multiple non-profits and hopes to help POPS grow and continue providing a safe space for students impacted by incarceration nationwide.