Meet the Team
Founder & Director / Mediator
Alyssa Tamboura is an adult child of a formerly incarcerated parent and an advocate for children impacted by the criminal justice system. She is an undergraduate transfer student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is entering into her third year as a Legal Studies and Philosophy double major. Alyssa is an intern for the Center for Public Philosophy at UCSC and a peer mentor for Black Academy, a university transition program for black identified students. Alyssa plans on attending law school directly after finishing her undergrad. She is an avid writer and storyteller and is currently writing two children’s books. By sharing her experience, she hopes to raise awareness around family reunification and connection to heal the traumas that many endure during familial incarceration. Alyssa spends her free time reading and writing free verse poetry, hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains, and spending quality time with her family and her kitten Thurgood Marshall.
Co-Director / Mediator
Alyssa Scarsciotti is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is entering into her fourth-year as a Linguistics and Sociology double major. She is also Director of the ART (Artistic Rehabilitative Therapy) Intiative, a student-led group at UCSC that provides art classes in correctional facilities in Santa Cruz County. After graduation, Alyssa plans on joining the Peace Corp. In her (small amount of) spare time, she loves enjoying the beautiful coastal redwoods in Santa Cruz, whether it’s through hiking in Henry-Cowell, going to the beach and having a bonfire, or skateboarding around town. She’s looking forward to her last year at UC Santa Cruz–whether it’s sharing time with the people around her or studying for a class, she’s going to enjoy it all because being a banana slug flies by!
Daisjah Sheperd (She/Her) is a third year sociology and anthropology double major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. With her studies of the injustices within the criminal justice system along with first hand experience of the ways in which incarceration can affect a family, she is dedicated to helping mend the relationships the criminal justice system has broken. She believes the foundation of any good relationship is clear and kind communication. She hopes to help facilitate this and in the process support the rebuilding of relationships affected by mass incarceration.
Paola Ixmucane Leon is a Bay Area native, born and raised in San Francisco, CA, in the Mission District. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.) in Legal Studies with a minor in Education. She is very passionate about advocacy for underrepresented communities and has had practice in fields such as mentoring incoming first generation college students under the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) at UCSC. Similarly, this summer has had the privilege of interning at a non-profit organization called Oasis Legal Services in Berkeley, CA, as a paralegal intern. The work she does involves working as a Spanish speaking translator for undocumented individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community who are seeking asylum, petitioning for work permits and overall navigating the U.S. immigration system. She is currently transitioning into her last year at UCSC where she will continue this advocacy through the development of this program in Santa Cruz county, Walls to Bridges. She plans on continuing this advocacy through the attendance of law school and potentially working in a fusion of immigration, criminal, and corporate law.
Shelby Ai Richards
Shelby Richards is going into her second year as a Sociology and Legal Studies double major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her long term goal is to work on rehabilitation programs within the C.D.C.R (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) system, as she has experienced how rehabilitation can mend families and produce stronger bonds. She is a passionate believer that through communication and understanding families can be mended and is excited that she is able to take part in the process. Shelby is also a dedicated solider for the Salvation Army and highly enjoys helping with youth programs at her church. During her spare time, she loves to spend time at the ocean, whether it be hanging out with friends on the beach or scuba diving in the open waters as well as spend her summer backpacking with The Salvation Army’s Redwood Glen Outdoor Adventure Camp Program.