Andrew is the Executive Director of the Insight Garden Program. Previously, Andrew served as Director of Project Rebound at Sacramento State, where he supported previously and currently incarcerated people with access to a high-quality post-secondary degree. As the Project Rebound Consortium’s Policy and Advocacy Co-chair, Andrew made significant contributions to successfully obtaining a yearly line item in the state budget, helping pass Ban the Box in Higher Education in California in 2020 and the Incarcerated Student’s Bill of Rights in 2021.
He supported Sacramento State’s 4-year degree attainment program, by leveraging his institutional knowledge to assist in developing a program other state and national universities are attempting to model. Prior to Project Rebound, he co-founded the Underground Scholars Initiative at UCLA, and still engages with the program.
What draws Andrew to working with people with incarceration histories is his own incarceration experience. His experience includes struggles related to poverty, mental health, reentry, and environment, and utilizes those experiences to guide his work in the field.
Today Andrew is a husband to Kimberlee, a dog-dad to Chiko & Pepper, and a good friend to the people in his life. The community of previously incarcerated scholars supports Andrew, it shows every time he enters a prison by the love he freely gives and receives from incarcerated people and staff. Most weekends, you will find Andrew & Pepper on hiking trails either running or walking, and his favorite trails are the ones with friends.
Director of Community Partnerships
Amanda is passionate about working with social justice organizations and has a special interest in criminal justice reform, including efforts to expand quality educational opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. As Director of Community Partnerships, she supports IGP’s Program Managers at eleven California prisons. She is also helping to develop IGP’s “reentry bridge” doing outreach to Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California employers and community organizations to provide ongoing support for IGP’s alumni.
Amanda is a certified professional coach and consultant who works with social change leaders and nonprofits in the Bay Area and beyond. She has an extensive background in progressive philanthropy and transformational leadership development through her work with the Funders Collaborative for Youth Organizing, the Women Donors’ Network, Rockwood Leadership Institute and Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER).
Amanda was a past facilitator in training with the Victim Offender Education Group at a women’s prison in Chowchilla, CA. She is an affiliated coach with RoadMap, Rockwood Leadership Institute, the Haas Flexible Leadership Award and on the faculty of Leadership that Works. Amanda is on the board of UnCommon Law who provides pro-bono representation to people going to the parole board in CA.
Co-Facilitator – California Medical Facility (CMF)
Karen first joined as a volunteer in 2015 and is now IGP’s Deputy Director and Co-Facilitator at CMF. She supports IGP’s operations, coordinates a variety of projects led by IGP executive staff, and promotes team collaboration and streamlined processes between organizational systems. In addition to her work with IGP, Karen also consults with multiple California-based criminal justice reform groups. She strongly upholds the leadership and perspectives of those who have been most affected by systems of oppression and incarceration. Her life’s work strives to create intentional and inclusive community-building for healing and transformation, and to embrace each and every person’s inherent ability to love, be loved, and meaningfully contribute to the world.
Karen received a Master’s Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from Tufts University, and earned her BA in Political Science from Marist College.
Program & Operations Associate
Co-facilitator – San Quentin State prison (SQ)
Margot first became involved with IGP in 2010 as a high school student when she volunteered at San Quentin, working on a curriculum design project. She officially joined IGP’s staff in 2018. As IGP’s Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper, Margot coordinates office needs including organization systems, communication processes, program materials and financial information. She is involved in many aspects of IGP’s work, supporting the day-to-day organizational needs so programs can operate optimally.
Margot received her BA in Environmental Studies at Skidmore College, where she focused on sustainable food systems and eco-justice. She is a certified permaculture designer, nutritional chef and ceramic artist who has worked as an educator and activist for many years. Margot is passionate about ecological health, anti-oppression work and empowering communities by fostering meaningful connections to nature.
Director of Finance and Administration
Brook has 14 years of experience in accounting and finance and is always on the lookout to find new ways in which organizations can be more efficient through the utilization of technology. While gaining her experience as Controller for the California Institute for Mental Health, she went on to consult with various national and international non-profit agencies serving as Director of Finance. She truly enjoys working with mission-driven non-profits, whose values she believes in. IGP’s mission hits close to home as her father was incarcerated most of her life and often wonders if he would have had more success after being released if he had been able to participate in a program like IGP’s.
In addition to her work with IGP, Brook also spends time mentoring and training fellow accountants who are looking to grow and expand their careers.
Rosalinda came on board with IGP in the summer of 2020 as a Bookkeeper. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in 2009 with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance. She has been working in the accounting field for the past 9 years. She enjoys sharing her knowledge as well as learning from others. Her favorite hobbies include gardening, hiking, camping, and traveling.
Reentry & Programs Associate
After a few stints as a volunteer, Damir joined Insight Garden Program on a more official basis as the AmeriCorps VISTA Reentry and Programs Associate in 2021. Damir earned his BA in Literature from California State University, East Bay. He lives to collecting stories, often flowing through narrow gorges between steep mountains to do so.
Programs and Community Outreach Coordinator
As an aspiring land steward, storyteller, food justice, and public health advocate, Ugo is committed to fostering healthier and more resilient communities through increasing local and regional access to food systems and enhancing socioeconomic and educational opportunities for all. She believes that healing our innate connection to the land, our sacred home, is the key to cultivating collective liberation, transformative justice, and imaginaries of life beyond the carceral state. Hiking, getting her hands in the dirt and raising plants keep her grounded in this practice. Music and dance are other lifelines she calls upon to get her through life. Catch her at her favorite artists’ concerts and festivals throughout the Bay this year.
Nindiya was born and raised in Indonesia. She first came to California on a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a documentary filmmaking degree. Graduated from California State University Northridge with a degree in Television Production, Nindiya has been filming short-form documentaries around the impact of mass incarceration in the U.S for the past 12 months. Nindiya feels connected to this issue because of her own experience of having a loved one incarcerated and she uses films and digital storytelling to tell unheard stories from system impacted communities.
Folsom Women’s Facility (FWF)
Jill began her career as an adult educator and is credited with improving her school through the additions of WASC Accreditation, competency-based curriculum, and the use of varied learning styles to help all students achieve their full potential. As a teacher, she developed the Woodland Joint Unified School District K-8 Home School Program, and her documents were adopted as models for the State of California. Later, as an inventor and businesswoman, Jill designed and marketed her invention, the M Brace, to help gardeners everywhere make easy and stylish raised beds.
Jill has a deep appreciation for all her fellow beings and expresses this in her daily meditation practice and social justice activism. She is a lifelong gardener who believes every garden is a place of growth and renewal, and every person can benefit by interacting with the natural world. She is grateful to be part of the Insight Garden team.
Program Manager and Co-Facilitator
California Healthcare Facility (CHCF)
California Medical Facility (CMF)
Alisa is a long-time social services administrator who has developed programs for youth experiencing homelessness, foster care, and incarceration; adoptive families, and advocating for system-involved LGBTQI+ youth. At the Oakland Unified School District, Alisa developed a mentoring program designed to support the educational needs of students who were homeless or living in foster care group homes. She has facilitated training in trauma-informed practices and self-care for childcare providers, social workers, foster parents, and educators. In her position with IGP, Alisa is excited to bring her passions for gardening, social and food justice, and facilitating reflective group processes together. As the mother of an adult son with mental illness and previous incarcerations, Alisa feels deep compassion not only for those who are incarcerated but for their families who continue to love them and advocate on their behalf; each incarcerated person is someone’s beloved child. She believes in the transformational power of genuine human connection, being deeply seen, and sharing our stories with one another.
San Quentin State Prison (SQ)
Solano State Prison (SOL)
Bio in progress
Joshua Gunner Johnson
Gunner first became involved with IGP as a guest speaker on behalf of Project Rebound at Sacramento State University, where he works as the Outreach Coordinator for the campus equity program that assists formerly incarcerated college students. He came on board with IGP as the Reentry Coordinator for Northern California in February 2020.
Gunner’s academic studies began while incarcerated in the Federal Bureau of Prisons where he earned an associate degree in social and behavioral science. He also worked as the law clerk where he learned how to do legal research and writing, which allowed him to help many incarcerated people with a range of legal issues. Gunner helped several people receive substantial reductions in their sentences, was granted over a dozen immediate release orders (including his own) and won a favorable remand order in a case before the United States Supreme Court (Dana Leon Brooks v. United States, 15-8015).
Following his release in 2017, Gunner enrolled at Sacramento State University with the help of Project Rebound. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and advanced to a master’s program in Sociology, where he is currently working in the field of restorative justice. The genesis of this work can be seen on CNN’s the Redemption Project, which highlights Gunner’s experience as a victim of gun violence, and his healing journey that ultimately led him to forgive the person who harmed him, and to advocate for his release.
CENTRAL VALLEY CALIFORNIA
Program Manager and Facilitator
Avenal State Prison (ASP-Yard C)
Calliope began volunteering with IGP at ASP on Yard D in July 2017 and has been the Program Manager on Yard C since July 2018. She became involved with IGP because she believes in the power of nature to heal and IGP provides an amazing opportunity to bring nature to a population that lacks access to the natural world’s beauty. She appreciates how the curriculum encourages participants to grow from within while facilitating vocational and life skills.
Calliope has a BS in Plant Science from Fresno State as well as a MS in Interdisciplinary Studies in Plant Science and Rehabilitation Counseling. She wrote her thesis on curriculum development for young adults with disabilities using horticulture to improve life and social skills. In 2015, she obtained a certificate from the Horticultural Therapy Institute and is a guest lecturer about the practical side of horticultural therapy. She is currently an Instructional Support Technician with California State University Fresno and manager of the Horticulture Nursery on the Fresno State Farm. She is passionate about getting people connected to the natural world and teaches classes to everyone from children to elders on the benefits of getting in the dirt and how to improve well-being through interaction with nature.
Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF)
Lauren is a climate and social justice activist as well as an Accessible Yoga Instructor. She currently attends Maharishi International University pursuing a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Sustainable and Regenerative Living. She has been a volunteer in her community bringing accessible yoga and food access to underserved communities and has recently started a local food distribution to the unhoused community in her neighborhood. She is passionate about climate action and alleviating food insecurity. She believes that there is empowerment and community building through the radical act of growing your own food.
Lauren is also a certified Intermediate Herbalist with a Permaculture Design Certificate and in her spare time enjoys creating herbal remedies and working in her permaculture garden. She especially enjoys spending time with her two children, her partner, and 5 rescue animals.
Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF)
Sylvia Castelino Derby is a human resources professional with a strong interest in restorative justice. She is passionate about creating spaces for deep sharing and listening. Currently, she is learning more about restorative justice and has been training to be a facilitator for circles and victim offender dialogues.
Prior to this, Sylvia worked with International Justice Mission, Mumbai and Delhi, India for nine years until Feb 2019 as Head – People & Admin Operations where she served teams combatting human trafficking issues. Before IJM she gained 7.5 years of corporate experience, including 5.5 years in investment banking at JP Morgan bank where she successfully managed the credit default swap process. Academically, Sylvia holds a Post Graduate Degree in Business Administration through Symbiosis, Pune, India specializing in Finance. Sylvia has also been on the board of a non-profit, Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ) in Delhi, India since its inception and continues to serve as the Chairperson.
Avenal State Prison (ASP-Yard D)
As co-facilitator at ASP, Arnold is motivated to witness the possibilities of change. He has a strong desire to show those who are inside and outside that transformation is possible. This ethic has led him to work within the California Prisons, side-by-side with the prison population.
Arnold earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Social Work at Fresno State University. In addition to co-facilitating at ASP, Arnold assists with Project Rebound, a student support services program for formerly incarcerated students at California State University, Fresno. He also interned as a mentor at Fresno’s Juvenile Justice Campus in the Focus Forward program and continues to play an active role there, he now currently interns at West Care’s Health and Wellness Program as he finishes his last semester at Fresno State.
Arnold deeply values the opportunity that IGP provides for humans to grow from seedling to full bloom. Having spent the better half of his life in prison, he experienced his own transformation which enabled him to break out of his shell and become a proactive and productive member of society. IGP has allowed Arnold to continue this fruitful journey as he shares his personal life story and the endless possibilities of change with those he now works with the inside of prisons.
Program Manager and Facilitator
California Institution for Women (CIW)
With a curious mind and strong connection to nature, Michelle found IGP’s mission to be in alignment with her personal values and joined as a Program Manager in 2021. As a consultant in the public health sector for nearly two decades, Michelle has managed multitude of projects, including evaluating the impact of rehabilitation programs on incarceration. She is dedicated to working with organizations that focus on community building, restorative justice and systems thinking.
Michelle received her Bachelors from University of California, Berkeley and Masters in Public Health from Boston University with a focus on International Health. She also holds a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies from UCLA as well as Integrative Thanatology from the New York Open Center. Currently, Michelle also works as a death midwife and helps people reclaim the end of life journey.
California State Prison – Lancaster (CSP-LAC, Yards A and B)
Armando has worked as a Co-Facilitator with IGP through the Catalyst Foundation in Lancaster, California since May 2016, supporting two classes on a high security and a medium security, programming yard. He has been active in the community for over 40 years as a community advocate for cultural integrity (Chicano/Indigenous/Opata Tribe), human and civil rights, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Via Health Care Clinic in East Los Angeles, LIAPA (Los Angeles Indigenous Peoples Alliance), Opateria (Opata Tribe of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico) and the Northern Southern Winds foundation. Armando also holds council for the East Los Angeles “Men Circle”/ National Compadres Network.
His experience in the community and specialized training in cultural sensitivity and healing has provided him with a strong sense of the interconnectedness of all human beings as well as all living-things. The various curriculum trainings he has received have prepared him for working with youth, parents, and incarcerated people in California’s prisons. He believes the concept of the “Circle of Life” can guide us in knowing “who we are, where we come from” and charting a positive and healthy path for not only our futures but for our children, families and community as well.
Women’s Reentry Associate
Angelica came on board with IGP in the Spring of 2019 as an Intern for Reentry Coordination in the Central Valley. The heart of her work revolves around conducting research and outreach to reentry partners while also connecting IGP participants to resources that support their reentry needs. She serves as an IGP volunteer at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.
Angelica is currently finishing up her undergraduate career at the University of California, Merced working towards degrees in English & Sociology. In addition to her work with IGP, she also assists with learning support services for first year, first generation college students at UC Merced. She is grateful to be part of such a transformative program.
Robert Ortiz Archila
Southern California Reentry Coordinator
Robert Ortiz Archila (he, him, El), is originally from Bell, California. Robert served in the U.S. Army as a Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A purple heart was awarded to Robert after he was wounded in combat, and as a result of his injuries he was honorably discharged. His transition to civilian life proved difficult. After recovering from alcohol addiction, homelessness and incarceration, Robert set out to pave a new path for himself by entering and successfully completing a recovery program from at the Loma Linda VA Hospital. Soon after, Robert enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College where he earned an Aeronautics degree with honorary distinctions (Summa Cum Laude). Robert transferred to California State University Fullerton where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in ChicanX studies.
His journey continues at Cal State Long Beach, where he is working on his Masters of Science Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Student Development in Higher Education. Robert serves as the new addition to Project Rebound Cal State LA staff. His dedication to the reentry community continues as he supports participants leaving CIW/ CSP Lancaster. His values include, equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice and the value of academic grit. His hobbies include Off-Roading and flying Cessna Airplanes. Robert currently lives with his wife in SoCal and is eager to begin his Ph.D. program.
Reentry Coordinator/ Alumnus
Jamala became involved with IGP while incarcerated at CSP-LAC after being transferred from solitary confinement at Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (S.H.U.). Jamala spent 15 years in solitary and 31 years overall in maximum security prisons across the state of California. As a result of changes in the law (AB260 and AB261) commonly referred to as the “youth offender laws” he was released from prison on December 20, 2020. Jamala has recently joined the IGP team officially and has been accepted into CSU-Fullerton’s Sociology program where he plans to earn his bachelors degree.
Jamala is a revolutionary, working for liberation and just treatment of the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and poor people. Jamala is also committed to developing reentry resources for women While incarcerated he facilitated several classes (CGA, NA, Anger management etc.) He has committed his life to combating exploitation, oppression and making a positive and impactful contribution to the world.