Meet the Team
Debra Máres, Esq., WWW's Co-Founder, Executive Director and Publishing Director co-created The Write of Your L!fe in 2012. Debra is a veteran prosecutor in Riverside County and Adjunct Professor at Pacific Oaks College teaching The Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children, Art & Social Change and Working With Children Who Challenge Teachers' Skills. Her assignments at the DA's office shaped her experience building resiliency in youth and their families, including handling of SARB (School Attendance Review Board) cases, gang homicide, sexual assault and child abuse cases and worked on the Youth Accountability Team (YAT), a collaborative team monitoring youthful offenders, developing case plans to help students succeed. Debra is the independent author of the children's book It's This Monkey's Business and legal thriller The Mamacita Murders, tackling domestic violence, sex-trafficking and gang violence. She is the recipient of the Dragon Fly Book Awards, two-time recipient of Prosecutor of Year Award and Community Hero Award, and Top Oral Advocate at the Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition. Debra received her B.A. in Political Science at UCLA and law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where she was an editor on the Entertainment Law Review and competed on the Scott Moot Court. Growing up dancing Ballet Folklorico, salsa dancing and using writing as a tool to overcome adversity, Debra believes, "The arts and healthy expression are critical to personal transformation and social change."
Terry Boykins, Marketing Director
Terry Boykins, WWW's Marketing Director, is the CEO of Street Positive, a social impact agency focused on the emotional, educational and economic needs of underserved communities and students at-risk. Mr. Boykins obtained degrees in Marketing, Management and Communications from California State University, San Bernardino. Prior to venturing as social entrepreneur in 1997 to raise much needed funds for child maltreatment prevention, fatherhood engagement and mentoring development, Boykins achieved corporate success in the consumer products industry during the 1980’s with Clairol, Inc. and the Nabisco Company. He is the recipient of over 320 local, regional and national parent engagement, community service and mentoring awards. Including, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, NAACP’s “Roy C. Wilkins” President’s Award and the National Sales Network “Outstanding Community Achievement” Award. Mr. Boykins sits on multiple advisory boards and steering committees including Women Wonder Writers Mentoring, One Nation Media, Native Challenge, Brother II Brother Mentoring, and H.O.O.P Foundation to name a few. He is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc and is sought after nationally to present on significant and sensitive topics involving children of color and underserved populations. Boykins has chaired numerous mentoring conferences, symposiums and collaborations over the past decade; his biological children are graduates of UCLA and UC Berkeley with degrees in the S.T.E.M fields. His Family Mentoring Model has been requested and presented at colleges and universities for increased parent engagement and student achievement. For more information about Mr. Boykins and Street Positive visit www.streetpositive.com.
Dr. Debbie Sacks, Teaching & Learning Expert
Dr. Debbie Sacks has been an educator for over 35 years and has a passion for improving the lives of students by providing resources and experiences to build personal skills and resiliency so that their dreams become their reality. Her career experiences include teaching high school, continuation high school, adult education, and college, as well as serving as a school principal and administrator for Riverside County Office of Education, and providing oversight of State and Federal grants, including the School Improvement (SIG), the High School Graduation Initiative (HSGI) Grant, and the Youth Build Grant.
Debra worked with the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools on the initial blueprint and implementation of the Nationally-Acclaimed Come Back Kids (public) Charter School, a Dropout Recovery graduation program (2008), as well as the development of the College Connection Mentoring Program (2011) for youth in Riverside County, including court, community, foster youth, and adjudicated youth.
Both programs have received the California School Board Association Golden Bell Award. She has been featured on the PBS/KVCR American Graduate Series documentary and the KUCR radio show at the University of California Riverside. She serves on the ACSA Educational Options Council, the California Family Life Center Empower Youth Caravan Board, and the Women Wonder Writers Board. She currently provides coaching and consulting for ten districts in School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (SWPBIS), Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Social Emotional Learning, Mindfulness in Education, Restorative Practices, and Restorative Conferencing. She recently served on a Dissertation Committee for the University of Southern California (USC) Rossier School of Education.
Additionally, Debra has developed on-line Social Emotional Learning courses (Tier 1) and an Alternative to Suspension course curriculum called Raising Resilience(Tier 2), designed for middle school and high school students. Currently, six districts are using the on-line curriculum in both a direct teaching model and independent study model. She has been published in Leadershipmagazine, The JSSAC Journal, and has a chapter on “How to Repair and Restore Relationships in Order to Build Student Resiliency” in the book Transforming School Climate Through Innovative Solutions (2017).
Debra is a Happiness Ambassador, life-long learner, humanitarian, writer, mentor, athlete, poet, mother of three, wife, sister, and pet owner.
Cynthia Lopez, Instructor Coordinator
Cynthia Lopez is the WWW Instructor Coordinator and Head Instructor in Apple Valley and Hesperia The Write of Your L!fe programs. Born in Los Angeles, Cynthia grew up in a very diverse population, filled with poverty, crime, drugs and gang violence. Her parents divorcing when she was three, she and her three siblings were raised by her mother. As an adult survivor of childhood trauma, Cynthia learned to forgive during her teenage years and hopes to inspire and change the future, one youth at a time. Cynthia credits her success to her hobbies growing up including painting, riding her BMX, skateboarding, swimming, fishing and anything outdoors, which she still enjoys. Writing poetry and painting daily is her savior and cathartic release, which has also enabled her to connect with artists, architects and teachers. Cynthia has been a paraprofessional and mentor in the classroom for the past 13 years, working with Elementary School Teachers. Additionally, she worked as a Behaviorist, teaching those with learning disabilities and training parents along the way. She has coached sports and taught poetry, spoken word and creative writing, all while raising her son as a single mother. Cynthia holds an AA in Liberal Arts form West LA College in English Literature, and Masters in Education from GSU. She holds her Teaching Credentials in both CA and AZ.
Eli Cuenca, Head Instructor | Riverside
Eli Marco Cuenca is The Write of Your L!fe Head Instructor in Riverside. Eli has experience as the Director of Volleyball Operations and Coaching at Los Angeles Premier Sports in La Canada, Ca. He also has been the Director of Strength Training and Assistant Director of Recruiting, head coach at the Club West Volleyball in Eastvale, CA. Eli is currently working toward his Master of Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University and received his Master of Science from the United States Sports Academy in Sports Medicine/Management. Eli received his Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care from Loma Linda University. Eli has a passion for sports and teaching and wishes to pursue a passion for public speaking.
Allison Chavez, Assistant Instructor | High Desert
Allison Chavez is an Assistant Instructor at The Write of Your L!fe in Hesperia and Apple Valley. She assists her students with the completion of artifacts and credit learning packets at Learn 4 Life, WWW's partner site. Currently, Allison is a tutor for K-12 students at Taylor Mobile Tutoring and the non-profit Mojave Asters Tutoring. She is a devoted artist and spends her free time perfecting her craft. Her passion for art and teaching is essential in cultivating the creative expression of her students. Allison has an Associates Degree in Fine Arts from Victor Valley College in Victorville, and she plans on pursuing a Bachelors degree in Gender Studies.
Tonia Ferguson, Secretary
Tonia Ferguson is the WWW Board Secretary. Tonia is currently studying at Azusa Pacific University, Inland Empire Campus, CA for her M.A. in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2012, Tonia received her Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement from Park University, Barstow Campus, CA. Tonia is the recipient of Superior Court “You Deserve It” Award in November 2016, the Superior Court Shooting Star in October 2016, Superior Court Shooting Star in February 2015 and Park University Dean’s List in June 2014 and December 2013.
Charlene Johnson, Human Resource Specialist
Charlene Johnson is a human resource specialist assisting with mandatory reporter training, sexual harassment prevention training and onboarding of volunteers, interns and employees at Women Wonder Writers. Charlene has over 10 years of progressive experience in human resources with a proven ability to adapt from HR generalist to Training Specialist responsibilities, in support of employer’s business objectives. She has a solid understanding of, and ability to communicate, HR legal issues. Charlene comes with a strong background in employee relations, teambuilding and leadership training skills, (applying DISC, and Situational Leadership concepts, with best practices.). Charlene has experience teaching The Write of Your L!fe and at Gateway College and Career Academy at Riverside City College teaching transitional students in English Language Arts, Expository Writing and History. She also works at Holman and is a contracted HR Trainer. She also worked at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Loma Linda, California as Human Resources Training Manager. She earned her B.S. from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and Bachelors in Education from University of California, Riverside.
Caitlin Biljan, Social Media Coordinator
Caitlin Biljan is WWW's Social Media Coordinator and assists the Marketing Committee to provide social media updates to the community about WWW's programs, happenings and impact champions for youth are making in the community. She works at University of California at Riverside (UCR) Student Affairs Marketing & Communications as a Sr. Creative Copywriter. She has her Masters in Teaching at Western Washington University and was a former calendar editor at Patch.com. Caitlin is "proud to work for an organization that champions women's education!"