Bikash Gurung was born and raised in Nepal. He’s witnessed firsthand the devastation that human trafficking brings upon the victims and their families. He has also grieved at the fast expansion of the sex trade and its insidious destruction of the community fabric.
Speaking both Nepali and English, Bikash is able to bring together the American outreach and the communities who need help. Bikash and his brother, who still lives in Nepal, are intimately familiar with the economic realities and cultural barriers that inhibit open discussion about sex slavery and its spreading practice in Nepal. They work together to heighten awareness and to offer poor families and hopeful young people alternatives that will improve their lives. Mani owns several businesses in Nepal and also works as a trekking guide. He volunteers his time in the outreach of the Journey Home Foundation as well as in administration and logistical management in Nepal. From Marin County, Bikash leads the operations of the Foundation, and with his brother, closely coordinates the leadership and implementation of the rescue, education, and training of at-risk Nepalese youth.
Dave Simonini was born and raised in Marin County, California. He has practiced law since graduating from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1975. He currently owns his own legal practice and has offices in both California and Arizona. Dave and his wife Carol reside most of the year in Marin County.
Dave has always felt that with good fortune comes responsibility. He too puts his passion into action, and like Renee, undertakes numerous pro bono cases each year to allow legal advice and representation to those who otherwise would be unable to have access to it. In addition, Dave donates his personal time, as well as his finances, to a number of charities throughout Marin County.
Jennifer Walker has worked in the Art industry for 34 years, representing both emerging and internationally recognized artists. Her experience managing nine art galleries throughout the U.S ,directing multimillion-dollar sales campaigns, international events, and exclusive exhibitions adds an important skill set to our foundation.
Jennifer’s community support is vast. From 1970-72 she volunteered for Loudon County, Virgina day care for low income children, 1973-77 she was a Vista Volunteer in Greenville, NorthCarolina operating a food co-op in the housing projects and becoming a life long sponsor of disadvantaged youth. 1998–2008, she served on the board of the Carmel Arts Festival, participating in both event-planning and fundraising. Jennifer has been recognized by Monterey County for her fundraising efforts for the Community Partnership for Youth (CPY.org), and has led successful fundraising campaigns and outreach efforts for the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County and The Youth Art Collective for Kids at risk . Initially from the Washington, DC area, Jennifer is a long-time resident of Marin County, where she lives with her husband, who is a writer and filmmaker, and her beloved dogs.
Renee Marcelle owns her own family law practice in Marin County, California. She is known for helping those less fortunate, and through her law firm, she provides pro bono legal support for low-income women and children. The people of Nepal hold a very special place in her heart. She has traveled to the country often, initially for the trekking and the scenery, and has found that her real attraction to this part of the world is the warmth and spirituality of the people.
Renee and Bikash met in Nepal in 2001. They married, and now live in Marin with their two children, ages five and eight. They have pursued a shared calling: a conviction that the small effort of those with much can create a world of difference for those with little. Both Renee and Bikash are strongly committed to taking action against human trafficking. Human trafficking and sex slavery are a bane that has become
a global concern. Nepal, and its women and children, are extremely vulnerable, geographically, politically and economically. Renee and Bikash know that if we don’t act, the lives and spirits of these beautiful individuals will be lost to grave conditions and desperate ends.
Allison Foster brings to the Board over 20 years’ experience working in international development. She currently works on a USAID project to improve the quality of health care that is provided to the neediest populations around the globe. Most of her current work is in Africa. Prior to this project, Allison worked with the Latin American regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO). Allison has also given her own to outreach, teaching English as a second language. Some of Allison’s avocational activities include writing, theater acting, and teaching zumba.