Helping people build healthy relationships and create more peace in their lives
Devon Gaster, Executive Director
Devon is the co-founder of Men Creating Peace. He has worked for over 20 years to educate men about the devastating impacts of interpersonal violence and provides tools for them to use to stop their own abusive behavior. 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. He also continues to lead conflict resolution and violence prevention groups at San Quentin State Prison.
Devon is a former convicted batterer who has been strongly committed to restorative justice and healing. 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 before starting Men Creating Peace in Alameda County in 2007. Devon worked in the San Francisco County Jail’s “Resolve to Stop the Violence Project”, and “Community of Veterans Engaged in Restoration (Cover), Program”. He also worked as a case manager assisting clients with substance abuse treatment resources as they transition from custody back into the community. He currently works part-time for Episcopal Community Services as a Problem Solver working to assist homeless Veterans in San Francisco to find more stable housing.
Thomas LaFrance, Finance & Administrative Coordinator
For thirty-plus years, Thomas held financial management positions in a variety of subsidiaries and successors to McKesson’s long-divested businesses in northern and southern California. He has served on the Boards of several performing arts organizations and a federally-chartered credit union. He is active in the leadership and ministries of his local Episcopal parish.
Having joined the MCP staff in December 2017 as “the numbers guy,” Thomas happily applies his budgeting, financial and administrative skills in support of Devon, the facilitators and the Board of Directors.
Charles Hollins, Facilitator
Charles Hollins is the newest facilitator with Men Creating Peace. He currently facilitates the Wednesday evening first stage class at our Laney College site. Charles also works as a case manager and facilitator for Community Works West in the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project RSVP, at the San Francisco County Jail.
Charles was once a participant in the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project when he was an inmate in the San Francisco County Jail. This is where his journey began on the path to becoming a violence prevention advocate and educator. While in the RSVP, Charles began to show an interest in the curriculum and quickly became one of the strongest advocates in the program. He made a promise to himself and to staff, that he was very serious about someday doing this work and becoming a facilitator.
During his time in State prison Charles helped run a violence prevention class for other inmates, sharing much of the information and curriculum he had learned in the RSVP program. When he was released from incarceration he reconnected with the RSVP staff and became an intern with Community Works West. He worked and trained for over a year to become a certified violence prevention educator. He joined Men Creating Peace in 2019 and has been a vibrant addition to the facilitation team.
He is a proud husband and father who strives to make a positive difference in his family and in his community in Oakland California.
Edward Moore, Facilitator
Edward L. Moore is a certified life coach, motivational speaker, and author. Mr. Moore has over 20 years of experience working as a batterers intervention facilitator working with both batterers and survivors of intimate partner violence. He initially started his work in 2001 with the San Francisco “Sheriff’s Department Resolve to Stop the Violence Project” as a case manager and violence prevention facilitator, he then expanded his experience and skillset while working at “A Safe Place Women’s Shelter” as a shelter advocate and community educator. Mr. Moore currently works with the city of Oakland’s violence prevention program as a Life Coach working with young men in extreme high risk for violence.
For the past two decades, Mr. Moore has dedicated his life to help individuals identify and eliminate the destructive attitudes and patterns of thinking, that impede personal and professional success. Mr. Moore’s life’s work has always centered around the teachings of creating positive changes from within, and he has made a concerted effort towards imparting the tools & skills needed to do so, with youth and adults from all walks of life.
Scott Schell, Facilitator
Scott has been working with MCP for over 12 years. He has been working in violence intervention and prevention for twenty 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. He is now the program manager for the RSVP in-custody Program at the San Francisco County Jail. 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.
Alanna (Lana) Kinne
Lana has been working in the food and hospitality industry as a chef for over a decade. Her main occupation is feeding and teaching cooking classes to children of all ages at a community center in Berkeley.
As a survivor of sexual assault and workplace harassment, the work that MCP does is extremely close to her heart. She works part time as an executive assistant.
Board of Directors
Ray Casarez – Treasurer
Ray Casarez grew up in Union City, CA. He was raised by his grandparents and mother who was involved in a very physically and emotionally abusive relationship with his father until age 12. After his father left the picture, Ray began to be very involved with music and playing guitar in middle school after buying his first Rock CD and quickly developed a passion for what it meant to be a musician. After high school, Ray continued playing in a touring band that has traveled from coast to coast multiple times as well as putting out a CD release under a record label for international distribution.
Several years after High School, Ray was offered a job at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in Oakland, CA in 2008. Upon being hired, he served as a file clerk to the attorney staff in the records and archives division. Mr. Casarez was also sent down to Los Angeles for 2 weeks to assist as a witness transportation escort for the trial of People v. Johannes Mehserle for the 2009 shooting case of Oscar Grant. Ray currently works in the Investigative Division of the District Attorney’s Office, assisting the DA Inspector’s with court subpoena preparation and service, as well as helping direct incoming clientele with connection to prosecutors, victim resources, and case results.
Ray met Devon Gaster while completing his Domestic Violence Counselor Certification course and immediately reached out in showing interest with helping expand the organization. Ray enjoys spending his free time working out and producing music in his home studio.
Alana Kapust (LCSW, PPSC), Board President
Alana graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Sociology, and a Masters degree in Social Work from CSU East Bay. While pursuing her Masters she served as the Chair of the Social Work Graduate Association organizing fundraisers, providing education to fellow students and doing community outreach. In her 12 years as a social worker, Alana has worked in group homes with teenage boys, infants with Autism, developmentally disabled adults, and a wide range of other disenfranchised populations. Most recently, she was an intern with Alameda County Children and Family Services as an Emergency Response child welfare worker, as well as with Safe Passages doing school social work in East Oakland.
She is currently working with Marin County Children and Family Services as a Supervisor overseeing child welfare workers who conduct emergency investigations, provide ongoing services to families, and provide adoptions services. She is an active participant in the Marin County coalition fighting the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), specifically working to provide services to victims and collaborate with other agencies to educate the community about how to help this population. Alana is also registered as an Associate Clinical Social Worker and member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Noa Mandel (LCSW,PPSC), Secretary
Noa grew up in Sacramento, CA with values rooted in social justice, humanitarianism, and advocacy. She further developed these passions through taking a gap year to participate in AmeriCorps*NCCC. Noa was based in South Carolina, participating in many projects to support the community. One project in a school led her to solidify her career direction towards social work and supporting marginalized youth and families. Noa went on to attend UC Santa Barbara to complete her Bachelor degree in sociology, with a minor in education and applied psychology. During this time, Noa strengthened her leadership skills through volunteer work and involvement in student organizations. Upon graduation, Noa moved to the East Bay and worked for a non-profit before attending CSU East Bay for her Masters in Social Work. After working as a school psychiatric social worker for several years, Noa began working as a Clinical Supervisor for a local non-profit. In her free time, Noa enjoys being in nature, traveling, being creative, practicing yoga, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Janani Ramachandran is a lawyer, artist, and activist with a lifelong passion to end domestic violence. A native of the East Bay, she received her J.D. from Berkeley Law, and B.A. from Stanford University. Prior to law school, Janani began her career as a home-visiting case manager for low-income immigrant mothers who were survivors of domestic violence. She later founded a Domestic Violence Advocacy Program across a network of five community health clinics, where she conducted trainings for staff, supervised advocates, and launched public outreach campaigns. As a law student, Janani worked on domestic violence and related issues at Bay Area Legal Aid’s Domestic Violence Prevention Program, ADZ Law LLP, Ross Family Law, East Bay Community Law Center, and the Honorable Judge Tara Flanagan. At Berkeley Law, Janani founded Berkeley Resistance Against Inter-Partner Violence (BRAIV), which works to support survivors of domestic violence in the Bay Area. Apart from working with Men Creating Peace, Janani currently pursues her advocacy for domestic violence survivors through her work in family law, and as a board member of the Family Violence Appellate Project. Janani also has a background in the performing arts, and has devised original theater productions and music with the goal of catalyzing community action on various social justice issues.