Saturday, May 28 , 2016, 1:13 am | Overcast 57º

Abril Lopez, Mark French Named Co-Chairs of Just Communities Board

By Elizabeth Weinstein for Just Communities |

Local nonprofit Just Communities announces the election of new Board of Director co-chairs Abril Lopez and Mark French.

Abril Lopez
Abril Lopez

Their first meeting in their new positions will be April 22.

Other members are Jarrod Schwartz, executive director of Just Communities; Nicole Dinkelacker, Just Communities treasurer; Doug Green, board development officer; and board members Hillary Blackerby, Joshua Moon Johnson, Lucky Lynch, Maria Monjaraz, Viviana Marsano and Jack Rivas.

Lopez first became involved with Just Communities when she participated in the Just Communities summer youth program CommUnity Leadership Institute in 2007 while attending Dos Pueblos High School.

While at Dos Pueblos, she wrote and facilitated a Latino Achievement Survey that aided the Excellence for Equity in Education Committee, which is a part of the school’s PTSA. The survey uncovered several language and access barriers for Latino students at the school, which were then remedied by the PTSA.

Lopez first joined the Just Communities board in January 2011. As the youngest member on the Just Communities board, she provides the unique perspective of not only a youth but also of a recent program graduate. Lopez is attending the Certified Nursing Program at Santa Barbara City College.

“The work that Just Communities does is amazing in many different aspects, whether it’s trying to break down the language barrier that exists in schools or bringing a community together to try and make the place where they live safe,” Lopez said. “That’s why I love working with Just Communities, not only do they address oppression but they bring communities together to work on good causes.”

French graduated from UCSB in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He then obtained a teaching credential at UCSB in 1974 (student teaching at Dos Pueblos High School). While at UCSB, he participated in intercollegiate basketball and baseball. He earned his master’s degree in physical education from the University of the Pacific in 1978. In 1987, he returned to UCSB as the head women’s basketball coach and served in that position for 21 years.

Mark French
Mark French

French retired from coaching in 2008 and worked for two years at the UCSB Alumni Association as the director of scholarships and outreach. He serves on the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors as the chair of the Awards Committee, is a co-chair of the Just Communities Board of Directors, and is on the Executive Committee of the UCSB Athletic Department’s Gaucho Order. He was recently inducted into the UCSB Athletic Department’s Hall of Fame and the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable’s Hall of Fame.

“Serving on the Board of Directors of Just Communities is a challenge and an honor for me,” French said. “A challenge to help this wonderful organization continue its much-needed efforts to make the central coast a safer, more inclusive, and equitable place to live. An honor to be part of a staff of caring professionals whose efforts in programs like our Community Leadership Institute change young people’s lives forever!”

Just Communities is a Santa Barbara-based organization that works to bring together diverse groups of people to build leadership and develop joint solutions for our communities’ challenges. Just Communities programs help build trust across historic divides, foster relationships between diverse community members, and leverage the trust and relationships towards joint action to produce positive social change.

For more information about Just Communities or how to get involved, click here or call 805.966.2063.

— Elizabeth Weinstein is a development associate for Just Communities.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.