Kenneth Barbour, Greening Assistant
A lifelong DC resident, Kenny Barbour assists all aspects of maintenance and improvements at Marvin Gaye Park, the Riverside Center, and numerous park and greening sites across the city.
Jeffrey V. Catts, ASLA, Field Director
Jeff Catts brings over 25 years of experience and design skills as a licensed Landscape Architect. During his career he has designed and managed the construction of significant projects including: a major expansion to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, a renovation master plan for Olmsted’s Fine Arts Gardens adjacent to the Cleveland Museum of Art, numerous college campus and urban park landscapes. Jeff’s work in the DC region has included program management for DDOT’s Anacostia Riverwalk Trail project and designing the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association facility which reclaimed and restored a major section of riparian buffer plantings along the river. In 2011 Jeff left the private sector to follow his passion for working more ‘on the ground’ with communities by joining the staff of Parks & People. He has designed, coordinated and helped plant over 1500 native trees throughout the District with our DC Green Corps, and he has helped design and install numerous community and school gardens as well as the new landscape at Parks & People's Josephine Butler Parks Center. Jeff is a graduate of Penn State University and is a 7-year resident of Adams Morgan.
Stephen W. Coleman, Executive Director
Steve Coleman has led Washington Parks & People’s award-winning alliance of community-based greening partnerships since it began as a volunteer neighborhood park crime patrol in 1990. In 30 years of non-profit service, he has been a vice president and director of research for a national organization, program director of an international environmental advocacy network , staff officer for a national foundation, a fundraising consultant for environmental media initiatives, a community organizer, and an intern reporter for Public Broadcasting’s MacNeil/ Lehrer Report. Here in Washington, Steve served on the Environmental Planning Commission and was an elected officer of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, Washington Innercity Self Help (WISH), and the city-wide Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Assembly. He is the current chair of Parks for Life, the international urban parks alliance, and has served as a Trustee of the City Parks Alliance and the National Recreation and Park Association, faculty member of the American Planning Association’s City Parks Forum and the Urban Open Space Leadership Institute, and keynote speaker on urban greening in 20 cities across three continents. He began leading community tree-planting and environmental reclamation projects at the age of 12, and had his first job with a small timber company at the age of 19. Born in India, Steve has lived in DC's diverse Reed-Cooke neighborhood for 30 years.
Behnam Mehrabkhani, Foreman
Behnam Mehrabkhani has helped train and coordinate thousands of Parks & People volunteers helping in all aspects of park and landscape revitalization and building restoration and construction. He came to Parks & People in 2001 as a refugee from Iran, helping to assist the award-winning exterior restoration of the Josephine Butler Parks Center before he could speak more than a few words of English. Prior to coming to the United States, Behnam supervised a staff of 18 machinists in a Teheran factory and worked as a welder in Turkey. He is fluent in Persian and Turkish.
RonDell D. Pooler, Field Coordinator
RonDell Pooler is a graduate of Parks & People’s DC Green Corps program, and holds a certificate in urban agriculture from Prince George's Community College.. A resident of Ward 8, RonDell now leads all field training and volunteer programs, based at the Marvin Gaye Community Greening Center in Far Northeast DC, the District's first neighborhood nursery and training center.
Abby Snyder, Program Manager
Abby Snyder is the point of contact for all events in the Parks Center, the Riverside Center, the North Columbia Heights Green, and the Marvin Gaye Community Greening Center. She grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, where her love for nature and environmentalism developed at a young age. She graduated from Dickinson College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a focus in Sustainable Agriculture. After fighting the good fight for Greenpeace on the streets of Philadelphia, she hopped across the Atlantic and landed in a small rural village in Togo, West Africa, where she served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer. Collaborating with local counterparts, she honed her community organizing skills and worked to improve food security issues by implementing innovative agroforestry techniques. As a Columbia Heights resident, she recently worked to create a thriving green economy as Business Outreach Manager with our partner Live Green. She put her event management and community engagement skills to work as she organized community events such as the Green Living Expo DC. Abby loves spending time outdoors and seeks to help advance community-based approaches to making the world sustainable and just for all.
Maite Moncayo, Program Coordinator
Mai is very excited to be joining the Washington Parks & People team as Program Coordinator of all events taking place at the Parks Center and Riverside Center. Washington Parks & People’s dedication to combating difficult environmental and social issues is what intrigues her.
Mai is a graduate of the Montgomery Scholars Program and participant of the Philadelphia Beacon Conference where she spoke on the harmful effects of Brazilian Agribusiness Expansion on the Indigenous people of the Amazon. She plans to receive her Bachelors in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland.
Leslie Bratton, Office Manager
Leslie grew up in Missouri and correspond with Jane Goodall "the chimp lady" which is where she developed her love for nature near and far. She earned her Honors BA from the University of Toronto in Anthropology and her MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England. After her time in school she interned for the Jane Goodall Institute providing admin support for their Africa Programs and the St. Louis Zoo and Caldwell Zoo as a zookeeper. After her internships she volunteered with the Great Primate Handshake during their expedition to Uganda, Africa where she helped other volunteers create and showcase films to local communities about wildlife living in their "backyards". From there she turned her focus towards the business side of things and managed two H&R Block offices, moving them from 75th to 9th place in customer satisfaction and profits. This opened doors for her at the Sierra Club where she continued with business management, focusing on the financial aspects of the organization as the Washington Administrative and Finance Coordinator. She is a very organized and detail-oriented person, but at the same time loves to get outdoors and experience all the wonderful things DC has to offer.
Malauna Steele, Financial Manager
Malauna Steele has been working with NGO's in Washington, DC for the past 12 years assisting startups, providing financial management, strategic planning and operational development. By creating policies and procedures tailored to each organization, she has been able to encourage sound organizational practices that convey transparency and sustainability. Her portfolio ranges across a host of dynamic causes, including global health and nutrition, education and training, water and sanitation, economic development through agriculture, conflict resolution, wildlife conservation and global slavery, to name a few, all around the world.
Malauna is a native of Tuskegee, Alabama, where she heard stories of civil rights injustices at an early age. Her commitment was made as a child to become instrumental in assisting those whose voices were not being heard.
In addition to managing various nonprofit's financials, she is also the founder of Helping Enrich DC, a 501(c)3 nonprofit addressing literacy in DC. Since becoming a resident, she has volunteered for several nonprofits in her community. She now enjoys reading the local news on behalf of a local station in Baltimore to persons visually/physically impaired or unable to read for themselves.
Javier Zapata, Communications Associate
Javier Zapata is our newest member of the team. He organizes and upkeeps our social media of all events at Washington Parks & People, as well as other media. He is passionate about music, community service, human rights and the environment.
Javier is a student at Florida International University Honors College, where he studies International Relations. He was President of Students for Environmental Action at FIU, where he worked to pass a bill to make his campus greener. He is also a Radiate FM DJ, and has worked with other organizations such as Alternative Breaks, International Rescue Committee, Habitat for Humanity, Southern Energy Network, Sierra Student Coalition, Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference, among others.