We’re a family that believes in the power, positivity, and possibility of each other and our community.

Our Mission

Live In Peace is an East Palo Alto-based organization committed to advancing the cultural, educational, and economic empowerment of youth in communities of color. We fulfill this mission by building a strong family atmosphere that supports our youth in the following three program areas: the L.I.P. Studio (arts & culture), the College Initiative (education) and StreetCode Academy (technology & economics). In each program, we help our students discover, develop and direct their creative genius for the benefit of their community and the broader world.

Our Movement

East Palo Alto is at a critical and unique point in history (and geography). The next decade will answer the following question: How will Silicon Valley  impact communities of color, and how will communities of color impact Silicon Valley? Without intentional efforts to the contrary, the answer is unfortunately predictable: communities of color will be displaced, and the Valley will continue to miss out on the “untapped” genius within them. Live In Peace is pursuing strategies that change the narrative about our communities, shape the future of the Valley, and write the next chapter of history.

“There is nothing more beautiful than to see communities come together for a common cause. We get to see the genius and talent of our youth and young adults every day. We are excited for the rest of the world to see it.”

HEATHER STARNES – Executive Director, Live In Peace

Our Family

East Palo Alto carries the distinction (among people who know it beyond the headlines) as a community that feels like family. It is that spirit that birthed Live In Peace, and today the same spirit sustains our organization. Beneath the programs we offer is a deep love for our city, its young people and its families. We believe in the power and gifts so often overlooked in this amazing community, and we believe that those gifts can help bless and enrich the world.

Meet the Live In Peace Family…

  • Heather Starnes
    Heather StarnesExecutive Director & Director of College Initiative

    25 years ago Heather found a second family in East Palo Alto. Over the years she has become one of the city’s most trusted and influential leaders, owing to both her community development expertise and her ongoing work with youth. She is now following up her Masters in Urban Studies with a Doctorate in Education, moving to affect change within the systems that shape the future of both our youth and our city.

    • Lisa Yarbrough-Gauthier
      Lisa Yarbrough-GauthierBoard

      Mayor of East Palo Alto and lifelong EPA resident, Lisa carries the heart of the community with the vision and experience of a city leader. Additionally, through her work as an Executive Assistant at a local VC firm, she has developed the operational and administrative expertise that our team needs.

      • Ime Archibong
        Ime ArchibongBoard

        Director of Strategic Partnerships at Facebook, Ime is eager to see significant growth in diversity within the tech world. His industry expertise paired with his heart for the community make Ime an invaluable addition to the Live In Peace team.

        • Olatunde Sobomehin
          Olatunde SobomehinDirector of Vision & Innovation and Co-Founder, Esface, Inc.

          10 years ago while at Stanford University, Tunde co-founded Esface, Inc. with a goal to “make popular culture positive.” Leading initiatives like “Applied Business Computing” and “From the Revolving Prison Door to the Evolving Digital Door,” Tunde and his team explored avenues for overcoming the digital divide. Under Tunde’s leadership and bearing his ongoing commitment to youth and social entrepreneurship, Esface is the perfect partner to pilot our inaugural year of the StreetCode Academy.

          • Tam Sobomehin
            Tam SobomehinOperations Director

            Hailing from Texas, Tam began youth development and community programming work 16 years ago in EPA while attending Stanford. Her experience as Academic Director of the Boys and Girls Club and Director of Operations at Team Life Skills have equipped her with expertise and perspective that are essential to our work.

            • Beth Kawasaki
              Beth KawasakiBoard

              Beth earned her Masters of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and works on behalf of at-risk women and children in Guatemala and other developing countries and communities. Prior to this she worked in marketing management at Levi Strauss, Apple Computer, and Procter and Gamble. Beth’s heart for justice, strong leadership skills, and unique capacity to bridge communities and systems, combined with her deep spiritual grounding, enrich the Live in Peace community.

              • Tommy Occhiuto
                Tommy OcchiutoCo-Director of Arts & Music

                With his degree in Jazz Studies from Loyola Univ. in New Orleans, Tommy brings technical expertise to the Music Academy. The lead composer and arranger for Live In Peace’s original music, Tommy is helping to shape the sound of community empowerment and positivity.

              • Stan Logwood
                Stan LogwoodStudent Advisor

                Originally from Oakland, Stan has found a new home with the Live In Peace family. In his role as a mentor/advisor, Stan provides ongoing emotional and psychological support for students in the College Initiative.

                • Brianna Brown
                  Brianna BrownCollege Coordinator

                  After graduating from Prairie View, Brianna has returned home to EPA to help run the LIP College Initiative that supported her through college. She is also LIP’s first student to enter a Masters program (SFSU). Using her skills, experience and love for her community, Brianna is now helping younger students navigate their way through their own college and career paths.

                  • Lorena Cuffy
                    Lorena CuffyAcademic Coach

                    As the lead LIP tutor and academic mentor, Rena provides much-needed support for students in the College Initiative. Being from the community, Rena’s experience and perspective allow her to reach and impact students in ways that many tutors often miss.

                    • “Jo-zee”
                      “Jo-zee”Student Teacher

                      Our star guitarist with lightning-fast fingers, Jozee pairs raw musical talent with virtuosic skill and inspires other students to strive for the same.

                      • “Mario”
                        “Mario”Student Teacher

                        Our most naturally gifted all-around musician, Mario has now become a paid performer at local venues as well as our most active student-teacher.

                        • “Coco”
                          “Coco”Student Teacher

                          Our most amazingly natural teacher (and now bandleader), Coco embodies a spirit of leadership, musicianship and collaboration that draws students deeper into their own musical development.

                          • Justin Phipps
                            Justin PhippsDirector of Arts & Music

                            A longtime East Palo Alto resident, Justin has become “uncle” and “god-dad” to many youth in the community. Spending most of his time teaching at the Studio, Justin’s larger focus is on identifying pathways for healing, on both the individual and community levels.

                            Contact Us

                            Live In Peace college and music programs are headquartered at 321 Bell Street, EPA, and the StreetCode and SWAG programs are based at 763 Green Street, EPA, CA. We love visitors so feel free to stop by anytime. Also, please leave a note and we’ll be sure to get back.

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