An East Bay native, Awa spent the early part of her career climbing the corporate ladder, until she realized she'd rather spend less time working and more time living. That was the start of her personal journey to lose weight and be healthier and happier. With motivation from her trainer, Awa set out to get certified in spin and started teaching others how to change their lifestyles. Now 50lbs lighter and 10 dress sizes smaller, she runs Project Pedal, an indoor cycling program that combines music with cardiovascular and strength training, and is dedicating her days to helping others.

Joaquin Miller Park

In 2009, Rue Mapp started a blog that focused on the things she truly loved — nature, community, technology — and that changed everything. Soon she was running Outdoor Afro (where Black people and nature meet), a national organization with more than 60 leaders in 28 states around the country. An Oakland native, Rue has always loved the Oakland Hills and the world-class park system just minutes away from everywhere. She feels fortunate to be able to reconnect people of color to the outdoors, and help them realize that nature truly is for everyone. So please take a minute to visit the Outdoor Afro website and learn about this amazing organization.


I'm inclined to tell you all about Jon and Brittany — along with their youngest children Hana and Kai — how they are from Southern California (and had noticed each other down there before they met); how they actually met as students in Berkeley's graduate social work program; how they both got jobs 20 years ago with Alameda County Social Services and have been working there ever since; how they are currently raising two amazing, close, intelligent, fun, caring kids; and how I had more fun with them on our hike that I can remember having — but it's probably better if you just look at the photos. I think they tell the same story.