Youth Passageways Leadership

Our Stewardship Council

The Stewardship Council is similar to a Board of Directors and holds the same legal and fiduciary responsibility. This circle consists of a small but diverse group of partners dedicated to steering the larger decisions and direction of Youth Passageways as a living network and organization while keeping vigilant that the mission and vision are always at the heart of Youth Passageways’ operations. Learn more about How we Govern.

Stewardship Council Members

Kruti Parekh, Co-Chair


Community Organizer, Los Angeles Youth Uprising (LAYUP) Coalition
Tongva Territory, Los Angeles, CA

JO Jett Cazeaux, Co-Chair


Founder, Queer Odyssey
All the Places

Katheryne Lewis, Secretary


ROP Facilitator
Multnomah Territory, Portland, OR

Cameron Withey, Treasurer


ROP Facilitator
Duwamish Territory, Seattle, WA

Ashanti Branch


Founder, The Ever Forward Club
Ohlone Territory, Oakland, CA

Luis J. Rodriguez


Founder, Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural
Tongva Territory, Los Angeles, CA

Tarek Kutay


Guide, Rite of Passage Journeys
Duwamish Territory, Seattle, WA

Vianey Marino


Young Warrior, Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural
Tongva Territory, Los Angeles, CA

Hubert Blackwolf


Cheyenne Thunder Youth Group
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, MT

Sharon Blackwolf, Elder Wisdom Keeper


Buffalo Visions Healing Center
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, MT

Dayvon Willams


Tongva Territory, Los Angeles, CA

Lia Bentley


Dancer and Restorative Justice Facilitator

Siri Gunnarson


ROP Facilitator, School of Lost Borders
Coast Miwok Territory, Sebastopol, CA


Leadership Circle

Along with the Stewardship Council (SC), a smaller group of staff and SC members works in direct dialogue and collaboration with each other to determine and implement the general direction and day-to-day operations of Youth Passageways. We think of them as co-directors called the Leadership Circle, including Darcy Ottey, Marisa Taborga Byrne, Kruti Parekh, and Dane Zahorsky. Learn more about How we Govern

Marisa Taborga Byrne

She/her | Chumash Territory, Nipomo, CA 

Marisa Taborga Byrne is a heart-centered humanitarian. She serves where she is needed and in various capacities: as a friend, teacher, ceremonialist, nature connection guide, gardener, activist, sexual health educator, and ally. She dedicates her work and life to the holistic sexual health education of our youth and to the Global Sexual Healing Revolution one step at a time. With gratitude, her work is influenced by her own journey as a woman of American/Irish/Bolivian heritage, a survivor of sexual trauma, a deep connection with nature, and the belief that love is all.

Darcy Ottey

She/her |  ˈmɛthaʊ Territory, Twisp, WA

Since her wilderness-based coming of age experience through Rite of Passage Journeys at age 13, Darcy Ottey has been dedicated to creating intentional rite of passage experiences to help young people mature into healthy, capable adults. As an initiated European-American woman (Keltic/Slavic descent), she is particularly interested in how rites of passage can help develop both the individual capacities and the cultural will necessary to dismantle structures of oppression, as well as the role inheritors of race-based privilege can have in interrupting cycles of oppression those structures cause, helping to allow for the creation of truly thriving communities. Currently Co-Director for Youth Passageways, Darcy has worked with a variety of youth-serving organizations as both rite of passage practitioner and administrator. She holds an M.A. in Environment and Community from Antioch University Seattle.

Kruti Parekh

She/her | Tongva Territory, Los Angeles, CA

Kruti Parekh has been working synergistically with young people and families in the most marginalized communities in both New York and Los Angeles for 18 years.

Kruti’s experience includes: adult ally at the Youth Justice Coalition, organizing to transform the juvenile and criminal injustice systems; director for youth programs, including YouthBuild, Teen Court, and Workforce Investment Act Programs as well as domestic violence accountability, workforce development, youth empowerment, youth leadership and wellness programs.

She would like to use her experience to help create the necessary infrastructure within Los Angeles City and County to prevent harm, death and incarceration for youth and increase graduation rates, financial independence and positive social contribution. Kruti has a Bachelor’s Degree from Brandeis University, Masters Degree in Social Worker from Hunter College and a self-proclaimed PhD (People’s health Degree) from the Youth Justice Coalition.

Dane Zahorsky

He/him | Kaw & Osage Territories, Kansas City, MO

Like many called to this work, Dane never had proper initiation, and at 15 left home to seek one. After a long and sordid journey he found himself in a small lake town in Guatemala, taken in by a family of Highland Maya. It was here, living and working among humble and joy filled people who knew exactly who and what they were that he fell into a passionate kinship with initiation, indigenous wisdom, and the nature of simple graces.

In 2013 he was called back to the Midwest to care for his mother, and blessed with an opportunity to remake and re-envision what his own relationships to family and place were and are. A large part of that has been connecting to his Slavic heritage [Hungarian/Slovakian descent].

He has since founded the Make Trybe Center for Transformative Design in Kansas City, that guides seekers of all ages through collaboratively designed transformations in the form of workshops, courses, and wilderness vision fasts as they relate to developing that sense of deep community, or of trybe, that he bore witness to and was a part of in San Lucas Tolimán, all those years ago.

Youth Passageways Guardians

Youth Passageways Guardians offer attention to the soul and spirit of our network. Their perspective, guidance, and tending of our mission and values keep our organization and it’s growth in balance with the spiral. Learn more about How we Govern

Gigi Coyle

Gigi‘s life and work are focused on integral healing through right livelihood, social action, rites of passage, council and the arts. She is a catalyst and consultant, a facilitator and guide: a person who assists in building bridges, understanding, and awareness with individuals and groups.

In the late 70’s after a decade of work in social justice and international relations, Gigi turned her attention to a deeper look into the healing and system changes she and others longed for – thru the study of different spiritual traditions, modern and ancient healing methods, direct personal experiences of ceremony and Nature. This led to her arrival in 1981 at The School of Lost Borders and The Ojai Foundation – the beginning of a long-term relationship with fellow educator Jack Zimmerman, with whom she developed the Council Practice as a means of heightening one’s capabilities for deep listening and truthful communication. She is co-author of The Way of Council, co-founder of the Center for Council Training and continues to work as a community facilitator and trainer of trainers. She has served as Co–Director and Co Chair of the Board of Ojai Foundation and as an Associate Director, guide and trainer for the School of Lost Borders during the past 30 years. Currently, she serves on elders council for both organizations and gives much of her time and attention to an inter-generational pilgrimage of service – Beyond Boundaries and Walking-Water.

Gigi was also a principal in the development of the Terma Company, an alternative publishing venture and corporate training program, responsible for co-creating The Box; Remembering The Gift. She continues her efforts today assisting similar artistic activist projects that guide and inspire regenerative life, work, and community.

Gigi has been instrumental in the founding of Youth Passageways, providing vision and guidance throughout the process. She was part of the core organizing team for the 2012 Summit at Ojai as well as Youth Passageways’ founding Stewardship Council gathering, and has continued to provide leadership and support ever since.

She resides in Big Pine, California, at 3 Creeks, a small oasis, where she works with her husband Win, members of the Biosphere Foundation and others to create a sanctuary of care.

Orland Bishop

Orland Bishop combines a deep dedication to human rights advocacy and cultural renewal with an extensive study of medicine, naturopathy, psychology and indigenous cosmologies. He was a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Violence and Social Change at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and has consulted with many human development organizations. As director of Shade Tree Multicultural Foundation in Los Angeles, he has pioneered approaches to urban truces and mentoring at-risk youth that combine new ideas with traditional ways of knowledge.

Shade Tree reaches into gang and drug cultures where many young people expect to die before the age of 20.

“These young people feel that they are not welcome in the world, in the culture and in the future,” Orland explains.

Shade Tree employs a unique process that draws on both contemporary and ancient practices, particularly that of the South African tradition of Indaba or “deep talk.” Hidden Forces of the American Dream refers to the creative, still unused powers available to the American people and land that were released through tremendous sacrifices made over the course of American history by Native Americans, African slaves and waves of immigrants.

Orland has provided guidance and wisdom throughout the founding of Youth Passageways. He attended the 2012 Summit at Ojai as well as Youth Passageways’ founding Stewardship Council gathering, served as a member of the Leadership Circle during YPW’s first year, and has continued to provide leadership and support ever since.

Dallas Chief Eagle

Dallas Chief Eagle Jr. is a K-12 art teacher with a Master’s degree in guidance counseling and personal services. A recognized master of the Lakota hoop dance, Chief Eagle has worked as an artist in-residence and mentor through his Hoop dance studio in the All Nations Gathering Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A member of the Rosebud Lakota Nation, Chief Eagle shares and teaches the traditional hoop dance in a manner that the students enjoy while learning about the development of their own characters.

Chief Eagle will also introduce Grandpa Rock to the students while they sit around a buffalo robe. Each day core students will experience Grandpa Rock exercises that improve self-awareness and management skills. These Grandpa Rock exercises have proven to replace the burdens of pain, confusion and suffering with peace, compassion and joy. The finale of the residency is a school assembly or public performance during which core groups demonstrate the skills they acquired throughout the week.


Advisory Council

Growing directly and naturally out of the dialog between the Stewardship Council and Leadership Circle is our Advisory Council. This is a group of trusted colleagues, allies, elders and confidantes who are beacons of light and knowledge, helping to bring clarity and wisdom to the circle. If ever our waters should muddy, our advisors bring fresh perspective, allowing the surface to still and mirror back to us where we are at, so we may best cultivate the best possible solutions.

Gigi Coyle, Guardian
Big Pine, CA, USA

Orland Bishop, Guardian
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dallas Chief Eagle, Guardian
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD

Kalani Souza
Laupahoehoe, HI, USA

Melissa Michaels
Boulder, CO, USA

Sam Bull
Sonoma, CA, USA

Fidel Rodriguez
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Rob Meltzer
Westminster, CO, USA

Pegi Eyers
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Grant Abert
Madison, WI, USA

Siri Gunnarson
Boulder, CO, USA

Sharon Sloan
Ojai, CA, USA

Clement Wilson
Portland, OR, USA

David Blumenkrantz
Glastonbury, CN, USA

Frederick Marx
Oakland, CA, USA

Joshua Gorman
Oakland, CA, USA

Paul Hill
Cleveland, OH, USA

Arne Rubinstein
Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia

Bill Plotkin
Durango, CO, USA

Meredith Little
Big Pine, CA, USA

rain crowe
Unceded ancestral Multnomah & Takelma lands (Portland, OR, USA)

Ramon Parish
Front Range, CO, USA

Sobey Wing
Unceded ancestral Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC, CA)

Brendan Clarke
Ojai, CA, USA

Becky Chief Eagle, Guardian
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD