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 joins PeacePlayers as the new Director of PeacePlayers, Los Angeles. Evan comes to PeacePlayers after serving as the Manager of Youth Basketball for the LA Clippers since the 2018 season. With the Clippers, Unrau was responsible for overseeing all youth engagement including the organization and facilitation of a robust year-round Clippers Youth Basketball camp schedule and was also responsible for helping grow the Jr. Clippers program into one of the NBA’s largest youth basketball programs with over 100,000 kids in the Southern California region.
Also with the Clippers, Unrau continued her commitment to engaging girls in sport with the delivery of “Her Time to Play” events that are a national NBA and WNBA initiative dedicated to championing change on behalf of girls and women. Unrau was asked to speak at the 2019 Jr. NBA conference on the topic of Girls Participation. In 2019 Unrau was selected as one of 9 women to represent the Clippers organization at the 2019 NBA Women’s Leadership conference hosted in New York City. Unrau was also a subcommittee leader for the Clippers diversity and inclusion task force LACED-UP (Leadership & Action for Change, Equality & Diversity, United for Progress) where she and team members were focused on career path planning and hiring strategies to support the organization.
Before transitioning to the Clippers, Unrau spent time with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Los Angeles Chapter as the Project Support Manager where she helped support community partners in the delivery of PCA Coach Education programming. Unrau had the opportunity to work with PeacePlayers multiple summers starting in 2014 serving as the VIP of its youth basketball camps held in Cyprus.
Unrau also enjoyed an extensive career at various levels as a college women’s basketball coach. Unrau spent 3 years with the UCSB Gauchos where she served as the Associate Head Coach under Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson and as an assistant under former Gaucho Head Coach and current Cleveland Cavaliers assistant Coach Lindsay Gottlieb. During her first run on the UCSB sideline back in 2008-09, she helped the Gauchos to a 22-10 overall record, a Big West Tournament title and a berth in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Unrau arrived in Santa Barbara after serving as the Special Assistant to Hall of Fame Head Coach, Tara VanDerveer, at Stanford for the 2014-15 season, during which the Cardinal secured a Pac-12 Championship and a Sweet 16 appearance. Her history with the Cardinal dates back to the 2007-08 season when she was the team’s video coordinator during a historic season that saw the Cardinal win the Pac-10 championship and secure Final 4 and title game appearances.
Unrau is no stranger to Los Angeles basketball. She coached at the University of Southern California, from 2012 to 2014 as an assistant coach in charge of post-player development while also aiding in recruiting and scouting efforts. She also oversaw the Women of Troy’s academic supervision. Most memorable from her USC experience was Unrau’s instrumental role in the Women of Troy’s historic run at the 2014 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, in which the Trojans won four games in four days to claim the championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to USC, Unrau was the recruiting coordinator for the Santa Clara Broncos from 2009-2012 where she worked with the post players and was the program’s recruiting coordinator. Before the 2011-12 season, Unrau helped SCU sign one of the NCAA’s top recruiting classes when ESPN ranked the Broncos’ incoming class No. 55 nationally, a huge accomplishment for a mid-major university with no football program.
Unrau maintains close ties to the players she coached to this day, writing reference letters, engaging them in programs and being a mentor as they navigate their post-basketball careers.
A four-year letter winner at Missouri, she earned Honorable Mention All-America honors after guiding the Tigers to their ninth NCAA Tournament appearance her senior season. A two-time first team all-league selection, Unrau captained the United States team at the 2003 World University Games in Daegu, South Korea, which was comprised of an all-star cadre from the Big-12. Unrau was also a 3-time Big-12 Academic 1st team selection, Kodak/WBCA All-American Finalist and the recipient of the Athletics Director Post Graduate Scholarship award. 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 spends her free time traveling and coaching a local girls AAU team, the Cal Sparks.
LaSandra Dixon born in LA but grew up in Azusa Ca, has always loved sports but has a passion for basketball. She earned a full basketball scholarship to San Diego State in 2005, graduated with her bachelors in 2009. LaSandra has become to be known as Coach San throughout Los Angeles, a basketball skill development trainer created by the people for the people. Since 2012, her mission has been to use basketball as a tool to inspire, motivate, and develop players one bounce at a time. During this time, she became the founder and head trainer of Defend Your Legacy Basketball. Training that started with members of South Central LA’s very own Challengers Boys and Girls Club, has grown to be the most sought out training by a female trainer in LA County. She is deeply rooted in giving back to her community, and from 2014 – 2016 she worked for the Brotherhood Crusade as a Champions for Change Adult Ally. Where she led, a youth team of 6, focusing on the importance of physical activity to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases. San is currently working for PeacePlayers International, as the Basketball Director for a program based in Watts.
San also started working for Nike LA as the lead female trainer for the Jr. Drew League summer of 2014. Under the Nike Basketball activation umbrella, she has created programs and lead clinics serving thousands of athletes over the past 5 years. Some of her events include Paul George Home coming, Kobe Bryant Mamba League, and Vidcon X Nike. In 2016, she was hired by the Los Angeles Sparks as the Jr. Sparks Clinic Director and Youth Basketball Summer Camp Director. Recently, she was offered an internship from Derek Fisher to assist the LA Sparks with Skill Development. During this internship, she worked side by side with the coaching staff, is the assistant to the Skill Development trainer, Dash. San worked hands-on with players throughout the WNBA season. Her passion for developing athletes, her enthusiasm, and strong work ethic paved the way for her recognition by the Los Angeles Sparks. In April of 2019 she was recognized as the LA Sparks Jr. NBA Coach of the year, was voted to the top 8 coaches in the nation. Her holistic approach to the game demonstrates outstanding character and leadership. The culture she has created with DYLBball encourages the athletes she serves to be the best they can be and give maximum effort on and off the court. San demonstrates what a role model should look like and goes beyond the X’s and O’s. She uses her platform that is fueled by passion, love, and energy to live in her purpose to influence the Young Legends of today and tomorrow!
In July 2018, San was hired as a basketball coach for PeacePlayers Los Angeles. Where she continued to serve and teach the community of Watts. Later that same year in October, she was offered and promoted to Basketball Director and the PeacePlayers LA staff grew to a team of 3.
In February 2019, San was selected as Just Do It Women’s 25 Core Coaches Los Angeles. Nike LA recognizes me along with 25 other women as a role model in this city, who is already inspiring the next generation to dream crazier. The mission is to elevate and develop female role models to address the deficit in female sport participation. She is part of the leading charge to help girls and women see their potential, to become leaders and change the world through sport!
In February 2020, San was promoted to Program Coordinator for PeacePlayers Los Angeles.
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.