Board of Directors
Laura Keefe, Founder and Executive Director
Laura Keefe is an educator and entrepreneur who is fully committed to helping students find the voice they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. Her calling is empowering youth to be active, healthy, and productive servant-leaders within their communities. She has mentored countless students to initiate projects in their school and community. The spark she witnessed when youth were powered by real passion and purpose drove her to found YELLS. Since that time, Laura has built two dynamic programs—the After School Program and the Community Action Café—into the YELLS model and forged a diverse spectrum of community partners to mobilize youth and community members as agents of change and empowerment. Her husband, Kevin, has been a constant champion for her and for YELLS, volunteering at every event and serving on the board. When they get a moment to relax, Kevin and Laura enjoy spending their time on hikes with their dog, Flyer.
Daneea Badio-McCray, Board Chair
Daneea Badio-McCray is the President of MyMax, Inc. An inspirational speaker, actress, and author, Daneea has a passion for motivating others. Drawing on her experiences in management, sales, marketing, training, social work, entrepreneurship, and community organizing, Daneea has blended her creativity with her professional expertise to meet the needs of diverse audiences at conferences, corporations, community events, colleges, schools and churches for more than 20 years. Daneea has been working with YELLS for seven years, and she currently serves as Board Chair.
Kevin Keefe, Treasurer
Kevin Keefe has been serving with YELLS since 2008. For the past 4 years, he has served on the Board as treasurer, tasked with accounting, taxes and other financial matters. Along with his role on the board of directors, he has volunteered with all three programs. Outside of YELLS, Kevin works as an Electrical Engineer at Emory University in the Utilities and Engineering department.
Ruthie Yow, Secretary
Ruthie Yow is a native of Cobb County. After college, she completed a year with AmeriCorps working in Washington D.C. high schools, and the program ignited her interest in youth empowerment and progressive education models. As a graduate student, she researched race, justice, and community in the Marietta City Schools and was introduced to YELLS. The YELLS youth inspired her to dedicate her community work to the servant leadership model YELLS emphasizes, and she is proud to serve as a YELLS board member, helping to grow such a special organization.
Maria Bailey, Board Member
Maria Bailey is a native of Mexico and immigrated to the US at the age of 5. She has lived in Georgia for most of her life and considers herself to be a true Marietta girl, attending Marietta City Schools and graduating from MHS in 1993. She attended KSU as a business administration major and continues to work closely with the Coles Business School. She and her husband Chris have a 6 year-old son. She has been in the insurance business for 22 years in different capacities and has been a State Farm agent for 8 years. She and her team focus on financial and insurance needs, and she is a registered representative and specialist in retirement and financial planning. Her passion is helping people in need of advice and expertise on handling risks and preventing losses. She also loves to help youth in leadership development and higher education. She enjoys gardening, yoga, and running.
Lorena Beltran, Board Member
Lorena Beltran has more than fifteen years of experience working in human services, government, and non-profits. Lorena is a certified TESOL instructor and currently works in workforce development. She is from Ecuador, and she moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1993. Eight years ago she made Acworth, Georgia her home. She is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. Lorena has been married for 22 years and has a daughter and a son. Lorena enjoys reading, teaching, listening to music, and watching movies.
George O’Donnell, Board Member
George O’Donnell is a retired businessman after a career in Finance and Information Technology. He has been married to his wife Sandy for 28 years and has two adult sons and two grandsons. He has lived in Marietta since 1994 and is an active member of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. He has a long history of community service and, in addition to volunteering many hours at YELLS, currently serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) with the Cobb County Juvenile Court and as a mentor in Cobb County Schools.
Bridget Reyes, Board Member
Bridget Reyes, a Marietta City Schools graduate, is a current student at Kennesaw State University and majoring in Organization Communications with a minor in Spanish. She is a YELLS Alumni and has served as a YELLS Big for 3 years. Through YELLS, Bridget has grown as servant leader and has the passion to help her community. However, YELLS also made an enormous impact with her higher education. Through the dedication and commitment to YELLS, she was able to receive more than $20,000.00 towards her higher education through scholarships! Today she continues to give back through her participation as a Board Member. Bridget volunteers her time because she believes the program has made an impact on her life and wants to see it affect the lives of many others as well.
Dr. Gregory Taylor, Board Member
Dr. Gregory Taylor, a native of Laurel Mississippi, moved to Marietta in August of 1992 and joined the faculty of Marietta High School as a science teacher. As Department Chair of Science at MHS, he consulted with the Georgia Department of Education on the Georgia High School Graduation Test and was the only teacher, at that time, in the state of Georgia on the Review Board to develop the policy relating to the End-of-Course Test. He has remained committed throughout his career to youth development in Marietta by sponsoring a youth mentoring group called, YOUTH (Young Organizers United to Help the Community). He is active with several professional organizations including: The Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals, Masons, and The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated. In his leisure time, he enjoys running, weight lifting and martial arts (he holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate). He is the author of Paradise Lost: The Unraveling of American Morals.