Ron is the visionary behind Soulciety. At an early age, with aspirations for social entrepreneurialism, Ron dreamt he would build an organization from the ground up that would have a vast and deep social impact. That was the birth of Soulciety. Through determination and hard work, Ron has achieved a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Ever innovative, he seeks to support youth in their discovery of their own potential and purpose. Ron is responsible for the organization’s administration, finances, sustainability and capacity building.
Ron holds a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies from CSUEB. He is also a professional photographer. Ron’s wife Ellen has had an essential role in the development of Soulciety’s theatrical productions. They have three children and live in Oakland, Ca.
Leighton Ahpo assists youth with GED and academic tutoring, financial aid, and with the college admissions process. This work is significant to Leighton because it serves as a space where youth have the opportunity to learn employment and educational skills while also serving as a safe haven to discuss both personal and community issues. From his experience working with youth, Leighton has learned that something one learns cannot be taken from them; knowledge gained is both permanent and powerful.
Leighton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from San Francisco State University. For over 25 years, he taught Theater Arts and English at Balboa High school in San Francisco. For the past 8 years, he has been the GED Instructor at the Youth Employment Program in Oakland, which is Soulciety’s partner organization.
Mario has been with Soulciety since its early days and is the only person that has participated in every single program and almost every event that Soulciety has produced. His enduring commitment to the organization is a reflection of how motivated he is to serve his community through the use of his many talents. He has grown with the organization from a volunteer, to performer, to now a Program Assistant with Soulciety’s employment program. He helps youth with resume writing, job search and preparedness, and provides administrative assistance.
As a skilled dancer and an interest in helping others, Mario aims to study dance therapy after he graduates from Berkeley Community College. He is also a full-time student, an assistant photographer, and performs throughout the Bay Area.
Amanda helps facilitate job readiness trainings, assists with data entry, and contributes to youth outreach efforts. As a former Soulciety intern, Amanda believes this work is essential for youth, especially young women in the juvenile system. From this work and from her own personal experiences as an at-risk youth in probation, Amanda has learned the importance of working towards dispelling the criminal stereotypes that youth on probation are judged by since she believes that one should not be defined by their past mistakes.
Amanda is currently studying at Chabot College in pursuit of transferring to a 4-year university to study Psychology. She also just gave birth to twin boys.
Tony is one of Soulciety’s original staff members and has played an imperative role in building the organization and its employment program. Tony’s attention to detail and his organization skills help Soulciety to stay on top of our contractual objectives. His other interests include singing and musicals which has led him to play a role in Soulciety’s Empower theatrical productions as the Bearded Lady’s son. Tony loves this work and finds it fun, rewarding, and very much needed as it is important for our future as a whole.
Outside of Soulciety, Tony is a Certified Event Planner and co-owns an event planning business.
Cathy is one of the original members of Soulciety and has helped to build the organization from the ground up. She has helped to coordinate numerous programs and events, including Soulciety’s overseas outreach project, child development program, and theatrical productions. She has also been integral in the development and implementation of Soulciety’s employment program. Over the past two years, she has processed payroll for the youth interns. From this work, Cathy has learned that everyone has a story to tell.
Cathy has an Associates in Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and is happily married with three children.