PeacePlayers Los Angeles, within a nationwide network, engages over 300 youth, ages 8-18, in year-round and multi-year basketball training, conflict resolution education and leadership development activities. Programs are divided as follows:
Peace League is a 6 week program where we build curriculum around the game of basketball that provides a safe space for youth to have fun, be themselves, feel supported and where they will be introduced to PeacePlayers Core Values as well as the characteristics of a leader. We have partnered with Markham Middle School, The Salvation Army, (ADD) The Boys and Girls Club, Watts-Willowbrook and the Watts Empowerment Center to deliver our Peace League program seasonally throughout the year. Through this program we are working with 300+ youth annually.
Jr. LDP is a 7 week program for a select group of youth that have consistently been engaged in PPLA programming and proven to be great teammates and leaders throughout our work with them. We believe they have the potential to be positive youth ambassadors and change agents for their community. We meet 3X a week with the Jr. LDP team and go through various sessions focused on basketball development, team building and a deep dive into leadership development. We launched our inaugural Jr. LDP season Winter of 2021 with 15 youth from the Los Angeles community and are excited to grow our numbers and impact as we expand our partnerships and programs.
Our Global Friendship Games program is where youth leaders from across our five sites are brought together for a week of basketball, leadership development and cultural exchange.
Our National Girls Summit is where girls from across our five cities are selected locally to engage with girls, coaches and leaders from our other US sites.
Evan Unrau joined PeacePlayers United States in 2020 as the Director of their Los Angeles chapter. In her role Unrau brings with her an unwavering sense of self that she hopes will support young people as they authentically develop their own personal identity in the safe spaces that her team works hard to cultivate. Evan’s passions sit at the intersection of empowering women, elevating sport, building community through meaningful relationships, and expanding young people’s access to great programs and better people.
Prior to her work with PeacePlayers, Evan served as the Manager of Youth Basketball for the LA Clippers. Here, Unrau notably supported the growth of the Jr. Clippers program into one of the NBA’s largest youth basketball programs, boasting over 100,000 kids in the Southern California region. Evan’s success with the Clippers afforded her opportunities to live into her purpose and continue her commitment to engaging girls in sport with the delivery of a variety of events in collaboration with the NBA, WNBA, and Jr. NBA.
Unrau has held notable assistant coaching positions at UCSB–where she helped the Gauchos to a Big West Tournament title and a berth in the 2009 NCAA Tournament–and at Stanford for the 2014-15 season–during which the Cardinal secured a Pac-12 Championship and a Sweet 16 appearance as well as a Final Four Title game appearance in 2000. And as no stranger to Los Angeles basketball, she coached at the University of Southern California, from 2012 to 2014 as an assistant coach where most memorably Unrau was instrumental in the Women of Troy’s historic 2014 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship.
A four-year letter winner at Missouri, she earned Honorable Mention All-America honors as well as a two-time first team all-league selection, and 3-time Big-12 Academic 1st team selection Unrau captained the United States team at the 2003 World University Games in Daegu, South Korea. She was drafted by the WNBA’s Washington Mystics in the third round in 2004 and played professionally overseas for two seasons. Most recently in 2017 Unrau was inducted into the SEC Legends Class.
A native of Fort Collins, Colorado, Unrau graduated from Missouri in 2004 with a degree in psychology and went on to earn her masters in health education and promotion from Missouri in 2006. Unrau currently resides in Los Angeles with her wife and three daughters.
Natalie Gutierrez joins PeacePlayers as the new Program Coordinator for PeacePlayers LA.
Natalie was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and has always had an attachment to and love for the game of basketball. Her desire to lead and inspire others began the first moment she touched a basketball and got on the court with her teammates. She graduated from Granada Hills High School in 2014. During her 2012-2013 season with the Highlanders, Gutierrez won a Division 2 City Championship and was named Second Team All-City and First Team All-League. In her 2013-2014 season, she was named Most Valuable Player All-League.
Following high school, Gutierrez attended Glendale College and played for the women’s basketball program for the 2014-2015 season. After her first year, she then transferred to Citrus College for her 2015-2016 season where she played under WNBA and Tennessee Alumni, Loree Moore. She graduated from Citrus College with her Associate’s Degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Gutierrez continued her educational career at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she graduated in 2018 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a minor in Sports Management.
Since 2015 and while in the process of pursuing her educational goals, Gutierrez, most commonly referred to as “Coach Nat” or “Nat”, has been coaching basketball as a player development specialist, club coach, high school & college coach. Her purpose has been to utilize basketball as a driving agent to inspire, motivate and empower athletes to become the best version of themselves. She focuses on instilling confidence within her players and is always servicing those in need of positive direction.
Listed below are the programs she’s assisted/assists:
TVT [The Valley Team] Club Basketball (2015-current)
Calabasas High School (2018-current)
LA Youth Clippers Basketball (2019-current)
LA Valley College (2020-current)
Harvard Westlake School (2016-2018)
Crossroads School in Santa Monica (2017-2018)
In addition to working for the programs and organizations listed above, Coach Nat has led multiple Nike clinics for the communities in Los Angeles. During the summer of 2019, she led Community Basketball events in East LA, coached alongside San Dixon for the Jr. Drew League and had the pleasure of leading her own team for Kobe Bryant’s Mamba League.
Brittanee is an LA native who grew up in Inglewood, CA. Brittanee developed a deep love for basketball from a young age, a passion that was nurtured by watching and attending Lakers games with her mom, which and eventually led her to join a travel ball team in 8th grade. Brittanee ended her basketball career on the court during her junior year of high school due to personal reasons. She is grateful for the significant impact her coaches had on her. For the past 14 years, she has been fortunate to work as a middle school girls basketball coach, tutor and, most recently, the behavior interventionist for View Park High School at ICEF (Inner City Educational Foundation), which has allowed her to guide and support young athletes as they grow both on and off the court. Witnessing the positive impact of sports on the personal development of children has been immensely fulfilling for her. PeacePlayers LA partnered with View Park Middle school, where Brittanee was first introduced to the organization. The core values and principles of PeacePlayers resonated deeply with the approach she had been implementing, and it felt like a perfect match. She was honored to be selected to attend the Friendship Games in Israel as part of the program. The experience was transformative, as she witnessed firsthand the profound impact basketball can have on a global scale. The interactions she had with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures during her time in Israel were life-changing, and she has been filled with excitement ever since. Brittanee eagerly looks forward to her journey with PeacePlayers LA, where she will have the opportunity to help children grow through the incredible game of basketball. The chance to combine her love for the sport with her passion for guiding young minds is truly a dream come true.