WHO WE ARE

Frank Christian Jr., CEO and Co-founder of DE51 and Friends, is a graduate of UC Riverside. Fresh out of college, he worked for the Sugar Ray Robinson youth foundation. After entering corporate America, he worked for three worldwide corporations in marketing. In 1984, he began work in ministry under Dr. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray who became his Pastor and mentor.

 

This prepared him for ministry beyond the walls of the church, conducting outreach programs which engaged in issues involving youth and community. A lover of the cultural and performing arts as an artist, Mr. Christian founded the Youth Performing Ensemble, a city wide mentor and leadership program. The grants and research foundation at Cal State University at Fresno used his template as a reference for funding non-profit organizations. In 2000, Frank was ordained as a minister and continued his work with children. In 2009, his passion would lead him to Africa. He was given land by a business man, where he promised to return to develop the acres into homes, a school and a place where parentless children could play and be protected. This is the inspiration for DE51 and Friends.

Demetrius Jones, Co-founder of DE51 and Friends, and his twin brother Damian Jones enjoyed a stable home until the ages of 6, when they were moved to the roughest parts of Philadelphia's inner city. Their stepfather was extremely abusive and a drug addict. They often slept in shelters, bus stations and whatever floor space was available. By the time they were 16 they were left to fend for themselves and found work where they could.

 

They began capitalizing on their talents as singers and storytellers, eventually opening their own independent record label, Damete Entertainment, at LA Center Studios. ABC bought out their space and they decided to take their story ideas into the film world. A path of serious health issues and Demetrius' battle with with a form of cancer slowed their progress, but they never stopped and kept pushing forward. With that struggle and thankfulness for their first 6 years, they were inspired to do something to help children have a stronger foundation in the beginning so they could be more balanced as adults. No one knows how long your precious life will be, so pushing off something so important is not an option.

Damian Jones, Co-founder of DE51 and Friends, enjoyed the same stable home until the age of 6 with his twin brother Demetrius, until they were moved to Philadelphia's inner city. Their stepfather was extremely abusive and a drug addict. They often slept in shelters, bus stations and whatever floor space was available. By the time they were 16 they were left to fend for themselves and found work where they could.

 

They began capitalizing on their talents as singers and storytellers, eventually opening their own independent record label, Damete Entertainment, at LA Center Studios. ABC bought out their space and they decided to take their story ideas into the film world. A path of serious health issues that his brother Demetrius had to fight slowed their progress, but they never stopped and kept pushing forward. With that struggle and thankfulness for their first 6 years, they were inspired to do something to help children have a stronger foundation in the beginning so they could be more balanced as adults. No one knows how long your precious life will be, so pushing off something so important is not an option.

Ian Stafford is originally from Denver, PA and attended Penn State. He was blessed with the experience of growing up with a wonderful, loving and supportive family. While his sister was intellectually disabled, the family structure was solid. Being the big brother, he always looked out for his sister and has a personal affinity for those with developmental disabilities. He joined the DE51 and Friends movement 3 years ago and is excited to push things further.

 

With so many programs for the intellectually disabled losing funding, Ian's passion is focused on aiding people like his sister to lead fuller, happier lives and have the opporunities they deserve. Giving these amazing kids a way to play competitive sports, be their absolute best selves and shoot for the stars.

Albert De Jong has also been fortunate enough to do charity work locally, and across borders. Through the Corazon de Vida program, he was able to travel with other like minded people to visit, help and donate to small children at the Door of Faith Orphanage in Mexico. Around the greater Los Angeles area, he has worked with the Riverside, CA Mission to feed the homeless.

 

 

Albert has also participated in multiple Toy Drives throughout Southern California to give toys to less fortunate children. He looks forward to making more of a difference in the world, one kind act at a time.

Benjamin Watts spent the bulk of his formative years training in Indo-Malaysian martial practices and volunteer work throughout Northern California. While living in Las Vegas, he volunteered for Good Medicine Theatre Co., doing seasonal performances for children and worked with Broadway veteran Walter Mason at the Ira Aldridge Theatre, which provides professional theatre training for kids of all ages.

 

When he made his way to Los Angeles, he continued fundraising work and philanthropy with the Children's Defense Fund, Charity: Water, Delta's Holiday in the Hangar events for Children's Hospital and the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. He became involved with Parvez Alam and the Fighting For Lives organization in 2011, which raises funds for homeless children in Sierre Leone, Kenya, Indonesia and Malaysia. Being an animal lover, he also rescues critters from euthanization and fosters from shelters around Southern California.

Max Berryhill, a filmmaker that has worked in film and television for over 15 years, grew up in a military household in San Diego, CA. Her father was a career Marine and her mother, a lifelong daycare worker, provided a stable home for her, her two sisters and her brother. Following in tradition, she worked in a family daycare and has always had a close affinity for children. 

 

 

Unable to bear the thought of children going without, being hungry or homeless, Max has always supported children’s charities like St. Jude or any disaster relief measures that arise. Currently she is happy to use her success in the film industry to promote DE51 and Friends and build a better future for children everywhere. Max believes that every child belongs to all of us. We are obligated to take care of each and every one of them.

 

Nicole Christine Schott is an established costume designer for film and television.  After earning a BFA in Theatrical Design from Emerson College, Boston and an MFA in Costume Design from University of California, Irvine, she was able to share her skills and mentor high school students in the creation of costumes for theatrical productions.

 

 

 

Through working on film and television projects like Fox’s Red and Society, Disney Online’s Rule the Mix and the independent Baby Genius sequels (3, 4, and 5), she has developed a special appreciation for children’s needs and unique personalities. Nicole firmly believes that we can only improve the future by helping the children of today.

 

A native of Southern California, Shugella Weaver has a wealth of experience in various social, professional and political arenas. Her primary skill set is offering executive coaching to non profit organization in a method of directing, instructing and training a group home and residential care owners, executive directors and administrators, with the aim to achieve some goal or develop specific skills. 

 

 

She has over thirty years of experience in the non-profit sector as Executive Consultant, Management and Coaching, specifically in therapeutic residential treatment and experience working with at-risk youth, abused, neglected, abandoned dependents and Juvenile court appointed minors and youth adults. Additional professional experience includes but it not limited to the Transitional and Independent Living Residential Programs, supervision of clinical personnel, program directors, managers and direct care staff.

 

Professional athlete turned Fashion Designer, Meika Wagner graduated from USC as a 2 time All-American volleyball player. She began a professional volleyball career that took her from USA's national team to storied clubs across Europe's professional indoor league. Her success on the court won her the German and Italian cups, as well as a championship in Italy's 4 x 4 beach volleyball league.

 

Throughout her work in fashion and the arts, Meika continued her support of athletics by working with the young people of San Marino at the Beach and Park Volleyball Club. Her work as a coach, camp director and role model keeps her connected to the next generation of volleyball players and ensures that her life experience and invaluable wisdom can be a source of positivity and inspiration for her community. "DE51 & Friends is all about the children and one of our many goals lies in the building these precious beings up. I feel that this is of the utmost importance, as it is our responsibility as adults to lay a solid foundation for them. I am proud to be a representative of DE51 & Friends and would like to encourage all of you to join us in protecting the world's children while building productive citizens for tomorrow, today!".

 

SPANNING THE GLOBE - PROTECTING THE WORLD'S CHILDREN