Kevin Penn – Facilitator
Kevin is a certified domestic violence counselor as well as a certified substance abuse counselor working with many clients who have dual diagnosis issues. He is the founder and director of A Day of Peace, a mentoring program for at-risk youth in Richmond, CA. He was also the lead facilitator for Cease-Fire, an organization specifically focused on ending youth violence in Richmond. He is a Deacon in the Ephesians Church of God and Christ in Richmond.
Kevin facilitates first stage domestic violence classes for Men Creating Peace in Alameda County. He also does public speaking and community outreach about violence prevention throughout the greater San Francisco bay area. In 1989 Kevin was convicted of attempted murder and served 23 years of a life plus 10 year sentence in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. During his incarceration, Kevin received his AA degree in Liberal Arts from Patten University. He was active in a variety of restorative justice and rehabilitation programs including; Manalive™, AA, NA, No More Tears and The Healing Circle. He also founded the Day of Peace in San Quentin that is now an annual event at the prison.
After Kevin was released from prison he worked as a manager for Goodwill Industries and as a life counselor for the United Counsel for the Homeless. He began attending classes with Men Creating Peace and later trained to become a facilitator in the program. In August of 2012 Kevin was hired by Rubicon Inc., and has now advanced to the position of senior housing coordinator working in both Richmond and Berkeley CA.
Kevin Penn was adopted into a family that introduced him to domestic violence at an early age. By the age of 7 he had witnessed his mother shoot his father and shortly thereafter the streets became his playground as well as his family. By the age of 12 he was sent to the California Youth Authority for three years and was in and out of custody thereafter.
When sentenced to life in prison, his violent behavior only got worse. But after ten years inside, he began to engage in his education, getting his GED and an Associates Degree. Kevin was interested in understanding his past behavior and that was when he met his mentor Pete Van Dyk, Pete was facilitating Manalive™ classes to inmates who had life sentences in San Quentin State Prison. Pete helped Kevin increase his accountability for his past violence and influenced him to begin working to create peaceful change in his own life.
Shortly thereafter, Kevin became a Manalive™ facilitator in San Quentin and taught violence prevention classes to other inmates. He founded the Day of Peace while in prison, an organization that fed over 5000 inmates in the form of peace. He was paroled from his life sentence in August of 2010 and established the Day of Peace as a Non-profit organization serving the youth of Richmond, CA with social and life skills in violence prevention. In 2011 he started facilitating for Men Creating Peace with Devon Gaster at Laney College for men who had been convicted of D.V. Kevin also works as Senior Housing Coordinator for Rubicon, Inc.
Today he teaches men and woman across the nation the power of intimacy in comparison to violence through his speaking engagements and counseling. “My model is hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people.” His life is a lot different today and he credits that to those that have had the most impact in his life – Peter, Devon, Mark, and ex-wife Arlinda.
Scott Schell – Facilitator
Scott has been working with MCP for over three years. He has been working in violence intervention and prevention for twelve years. He is the Site Coordinator at the San Francisco Sheriff Department’s Community Programs Office. It is there that he runs the day-to-day operations of the certified program in San Francisco. Scott was originally an inmate participant in the in-custody RSVP Program. He then voluntarily completed the program upon his release. He then became an intern and was hired as a facilitator, then promoted to Site Coordinator after one year – a position he still holds today. Scott is very passionate about this ever so important work. He is also a father of two young boys. This furthers his investment in the betterment of our communities. Scott’s longevity working in this very difficult field is demonstrative of his dedication to this much needed work.
Frances Luster – Facilitator
Frances is a highly regarded probation officer for over twenty years (from 1984 to 2004) with the City and County of San Francisco. She strongly believes in giving back to the community, and is currently facilitating classes for Men Creating Peace. In her words, “working in the Probation Department offered me an opportunity to touch the lives of a number of citizens from the community; who made some incorrect decisions… Probation gives people the opportunity to change their lives, take responsibility for their actions, apologize to the community and build new lives”.
Frances’ prior experience includes working as a juvenile probation officer and rehabilitation specialist. She has worked at the Family Services Agency’s Teenage Pregnancy and Parent Program. She also has been an instructor at San Mateo Community College since 1984 and at San Francisco City College since 1996. Frances also has worked as a board member with the District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program and was the chair of the San Francisco Chapter of California Probation Parole and Correctional Association. She participated in the Mayor’s San Francisco Youth Coordinators on behalf of the Probation Department and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department Anti-Violence Project Based on the “principles of restorative justice.” In September 2003, she was sworn in as President of the California Probation Parole and Correctional Association, the second African-American female to head this powerful state-wide organization, which was founded in 1913.
There are a number of community organizations and Boards that Frances is currently a member of: such as Soroptimist of North San Mateo County, the Chair of the Domestic Violence Committee, eleven years Frances has been a member of Parking Place Commission in South San Francisco, CA; Frances is also on the Bishop Committee at St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Delta Zeta Omega chapter in San Francisco, Chair of the Health Committee, a member of Society of Government Meeting Professionals. A charter member of the Bayview Hunter Point Lion Club. Frances has volunteered for several programs in the Bayview programs such as, Model Cities Senior Center with Dr. Davis and Inter City Adolescent Network Inc. etc.
Rose Muniz, Administrative Support Specialist
Rose was introduced to the Destruction Cycle/ Power and Control Wheel via the Man Alive Program in 1998. As a part-time employee of Man Alive, she attended stage I of the Program. During the course she identified her own rolls as victim and perpetrator of Domestic Violence/IPV. She gained the knowledge of her learned behavior through studying the cycle of violence and began to question her own existence and purpose. This knowledge changed her life in a meaningful way and she is grateful to support change in others.
Rose continued behavior rehabilitation by volunteering for the San Francisco Sheriff Department’s Resolve to Stop the Violence Program (RSVP) and spent countless hours with staff and advocates for victims of DV. She also began attending DV Awareness Events and Conferences. In 2006, Rose was hired as a part-time DV advocate employee at SFSD’s RSVP. Rose joined Men Creating Peace as an Administrative Support Specialist in 2014.
Rose has completed the following Educational Programs and Certifications:
Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse; Residential/Facilities Specialist; Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse; Crisis Case Manager – Residential/Transitional Housing; State Certified Domestic Violence Training: Casa De Las Madres/CORA; Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse, CORA; Rape Trauma Services, Rape/Trauma State Certification
Devon Gaster, Executive Director, Founder, Facilitator
Devon Gaster is the co-founder and executive director of “Men Creating Peace”, a violence prevention program in Oakland, CA. His program works to educate men about the devastating impacts of interpersonal violence and provides tools for them to use to stop their own violent behaviors. He is also a long standing member of the Alameda County Domestic Violence Collaborative and works closely with the courts, probation and other community based organizations focused on ending family violence. He provides trainings and presentations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area on violence awareness and intervention strategies.
Devon is a former convicted batterer who has been strongly committed to restorative justice and healing for over 19 years. He is a graduate and certified facilitator of the manalive violence prevention program. He has facilitated manalive groups in San Francisco, Marin, Sacramento, Yolo and Alameda Counties. Devon worked for 8 years in the San Francisco County Jail’s “Resolve to Stop the Violence Project”. He has also worked as a re-entry placement specialist and case manger assisting clients with substance abuse treatment resources as they transition from custody back into the community. He currently works as a case manager for Swords to Plowshares, serving Veterans who are incarcerated in the San Francisco Jail. Devon also continues to provide conflict resolution and violence prevention groups at San Quentin State Prison.
For more information about Devon’s experience and achievements, please click here.