GirlPower 2014 Honorees
April Freitag | Jackie Lacey | Marisela Nuño | Amber Riley
10:30 am – Reception and Boutique
12:00 pm – Luncheon and Program
April Freitag is a passionate global humanitarian and founder of Community Connect Effect, an organization that connects teenagers with local and global service opportunities, and has served as a board member, executive committee member, and advisor to many community and public service organizations. April is dedicated to providing education to underserved youth both locally and abroad. She serves on the board of Leading Through Reading, an NGO that works with communities in developing countries, combating illiteracy and inaccessible education by building libraries and educational centers. She works with Aegis Trust on broadening awareness of their global peace education program on genocide.
April enjoyed a successful career for over a decade in the advertising and publishing industry. She served as the West Coast Advertising Director for Seventeen and Teen Magazine, overseeing marketing and advertising programs for Fortune 500 Companies.
April discovered a passion for empowering children through education while on a volunteer service program abroad with her daughters. She and her daughters travel yearly to volunteer in orphanages and schools in countries around the world, including China, Peru, Ghana and Cambodia. April lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband and two teenage daughters, Siena and Sloan.
We are delighted to be able to honor and acknowledge April for her dedication to young people everywhere, and specifically at A Place Called Home, where she has become a partner in service and an inspiration to us all!
District Attorney Jackie Lacey has spent most of her professional life as a prosecutor, manager, and executive in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
On December 3, 2012, she was sworn in as the 42nd District Attorney. Ms. Lacey oversees roughly 1,000 lawyers, nearly 300 investigators and about 800 support staff employees. She is the first woman and first African-American to serve as Los Angeles County District Attorney since the office was created in 1850.
A Los Angeles native and graduate of the University of Southern California Law School, Ms. Lacey joined the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation in 1986 as a deputy district attorney. She worked her way through the ranks as a front-line prosecutor.
While serving as a deputy district attorney, she prosecuted hundreds of serious criminal cases. Ms. Lacey won national attention for her successful prosecution of the county’s first race-based hate crime murder. Ms. Lacey was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2000 for prosecuting this case and for participating on the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee. Also, Ms. Lacey twice was selected as Deputy District Attorney of the Month by her peers.
Starting in late 2000, Ms. Lacey took on management and executive roles in the District Attorney’s Office. Her duties included reviewing nearly every major case the office prosecuted, serving on the office’s special circumstance committee that reviews death penalty eligible cases and making high-level policy decisions affecting the pursuit of justice and the management of the office.
In 2011, she was named chief deputy district attorney and was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the office. She also considered federal, state, and local legislation to determine the impact on the county’s criminal justice system.
Ms. Lacey has overseen the development of several groundbreaking crime-fighting initiatives within the office. They include the nation’s first Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program, the Graffiti Prosecution Program, and the Project Safe Neighborhoods Gun Prosecution Program.
She was key in the creation of alternative sentencing courts to deal with specific nonviolent offenders. These include the Los Angeles County Veterans Court, the Los Angeles County Women’s Reentry Court, and the Los Angeles County Co-Occurring Disorders Court.
As a result of Jackie’s career achievements in trial, and her leadership efforts, the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal named her one of the Top Women Litigators of 2009.
She was elected to a four-year term of office. Ms. Lacey is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, and Dorsey High School in Los Angeles. She and her husband, David, have two adult children.
Marisela Nuño was born in the heart of South Central Los Angeles, a community permeated by gang violence, drug dealing and racial tension. As a first generation American born to immigrant parents from Jalisco, Mexico, Marisela learned from her landscaper father and her seamstress mother the value of hard work, entrepreneurship, and most importantly, compassion and a dedication to helping others. Both parents had little education and spoke almost no English. As the eldest of three, Marisela was a right hand to her parents, who lacked the language to communicate at times with their clients. Starting at age 9, Marisela would take calls from clients and send out invoices. Her summers were spent helping her family with their business or traveling with her family to villages in Mexico to distribut toys and clothes to children.
Growing up in South L.A. taught Marisela skills that enabled her to survive and embrace her community. The lack of resources and the 1992 Riots inspired her desire to bring positive change to her community and gave her the drive to be the first in her family to go to college. At the age of 23, Marisela opened her first childcare business, serving teen and single mothers in her neighborhood. Marisela paid her own tuition to UCLA and was able to help others. She seized the opportunity to study in Europe, Australia and South America, places she had never even dreamed of going. Marisela would send postcards to the parents and children in her childcare center, saying “If I could do it so will you!”
Marisela’s path hasn’t always been easy, but it is most definitely her own, and now she is an accomplished CEO and entrepreneur who loves to grow businesses and people from start-up to success. Among her businesses have been childcare facilities, a Construction Management Company, and a Real Estate and Property Management company, where she is known as a hands-on professional with a proven track record for the successful completion of commercial and residential construction projects.
Marisela loves to support local nonprofits that serve youth, including Nuevo South, Root Down, and A Place Called Home. She has a passion for mentoring, and she leverages relationships to provide opportunities for young people to expand their lives and build leadership skills. Marisela is a proud mother, and lives in a beautiful home very near where she grew up, with her husband and four boys.
A Place Called Home is deeply pleased to welcome Marisela Nuño into the family, where she is already inspiring the GirlPower Girls to broaden their horizons and never, never give up!
Amber Riley, best known for her role of “Mercedes Jones” on FOX’s Golden Globe and SAG Award winning musical comedy “Glee,” recently won season 17 of ABC’s hit competition series “Dancing with the Stars” alongside her partner Derek Hough. She got her first big break when Ryan Murphy cast her in the pilot “St. Sass.” Although the pilot was not picked up to series, she was able to use that experience to land a role on the television series “Cedric the Entertainer Presents.” Amber has performed in numerous theater productions, including “Alice in Wonderland,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Into the Woods” and “Mystery on the Docks” with the Los Angeles Opera. In November 2012, she made her New York stage debut to rave reviews in New York City Center’s Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade. “(Riley) offered a note-perfect take on “Stormy Weather,” – Entertainment Weekly.
Amber has received two individual NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy series for her work on “GLEE.” In 2011, she was nominated for a second Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer and in 2010 received the Most Popular Geek Award at AOL’s 1st Annual Geek Awards. Amber previously served as an Ambassador for VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation and as a member of Seventeen Magazine’s Body Peace Council.
She is currently in the studio working on her debut solo album.
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