PeacePlayers United States engages over XXX American youth, ages 6-25, in year-round and multi-year basketball training, conflict resolution education and leadership development activities. Programs are divided as follows:
of Chicago youth indicate new confidence in their leadership skills after their first year with PeacePlayers
youth reached in Baltimore since the inception of PeacePlayers Baltimore
of youth participants in Brooklyn and Detroit were able to experience something they normally would not have because of PeacePlayers
of PeacePlayers United States staff are women
youth are engaged each year through PeacePlayers Los Angeles programming.
David joined PeacePlayers in May 2019, as the new head of US strategy and operations.
David came to PeacePlayers from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, where he oversaw the strategy and program development of the start-up violence prevention/intervention organization in Chicago. In that role, David facilitated local partnerships while gathering best practices in violence prevention and intervention from cities around the country to adopt and implement in Chicago. During David’s tenure, the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago expanded efforts to end violence in three of Chicago’s most violence communities.
David grew up in a community of 79 families designed to welcome people of diverse backgrounds to live and interact together in an intentional way. Members of the community were culturally, racially and religiously diverse. As the community developed, people who grew up in Japanese Internment Camps, escaped Nazi Germany, fought for their civil rights in the US, lived in rural farming communities as well as urban communities lived together in harmony. It was in this context that David learned to play basketball at the local park with young people of different races, ages, backgrounds and experiences.
Prior to his work at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, David served as a leader at the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago after serving as the executive director of the Alliance of Local Service Organizations on Chicago’s Northwest Side. David is a 1998 graduate of Juniata College with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies/Communications and earned his MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2009, David was named “35 Under 35” by the Community Renew Society for his community work in Chicago on social justice, violence prevention and community collaboration.
Rashawn Martin was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and has attended Baltimore inner-city school systems all her life! As an outstanding student at the top school in her city, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, she accomplished many personal and academic accolades. Her older brother Raheem Martin has played a pivotal role in her upbringing related to sports, providing enthusiasm for athletics and a competitive spirit that Rashawn has mimicked throughout her life. As a result, she excelled in many different sports in high school, such as in indoor and outdoor track & field, and dominated in chess.
Rashawn‘s ability to align her purpose with destiny has positioned her throughout life. Her indomitable will to succeed and desire to persevere in the face of adversity allowed her to acquire an undergraduate degree in criminal justice and a minor in philosophy. She currently serves as the Program Coordinator of Peaceplayers Baltimore while obtaining her Master’s in Negotiations and Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore.
She is very excited to be a part of the team and help build capacity, as this fulfills both her lifelong desire to make a difference in Baltimore and her primary passion for building developing youth into future leaders and problem solvers.
Alesha is the newest addition to the PeacePlayers team and is excited to continue her career in Brooklyn as the Brooklyn Program Director.
Alesha was born in Brooklyn, NY but was raised in Athens, GA. Her love for basketball began early when her mother and father introduced her to the game. She grew up playing basketball with her brothers and the other boys in her neighborhood until she was old enough to play on an organized team. Her work ethic and skill earned her a scholarship to play Division I basketball at Mercer University, but after an almost career- ending injury, Alesha would later transfer to Xavier University of Louisiana (an HBCU in New Orleans) where she would finish her collegiate basketball career with two conference championships and a B.A in Political Science in 2016.
After graduation, Alesha turned down the opportunity to play professional basketball overseas because of her strong commitment to social justice. She instead decided to move to Brooklyn, NY and began her career as a Community Organizer at one of the largest nonprofits in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Community Services, where she worked in partnership with various mental health facilities, homeless shelters, community centers, and after school programs in some of Brooklyn’s most under resourced neighborhoods with the goal of creating a better Brooklyn for all.
After three years as an organizer, Alesha returned to sports as a Program Manager at Up2Us Sports. At Up2Us, Alesha helped train and support over 100 coaches on best practices in mentorship and sports-based youth development.
Alesha recently completed her M.A at New York University in Steinhardt’s Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy program. She is dedicated to the intersection of sport and social justice and centers the transformational power that sport has to build and maintain community.
Matt’s coaching philosophy: I believe that it is a coaches’ job to educate their players on the game of basketball as well as life. I believe that a coach should be encouraging, uplifting, gentle yet truthful, firm when necessary, but above all, loving.
Jasmine Cooper is a passionate mentor, coach and leader who believes “it is easier to build strong children than repair broken men” (Frederick Douglas). Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Jasmine has experienced firsthand the benefits of participating in youth development programs and she plans to dedicate her life to be a resource for youth to reach their full potential.
Jasmine grew up on the eastside of Detroit and graduated from academic standout, Detroit Renaissance High School. After high school, Jasmine moved to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University where she earned her bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and MBA in finance. Upon completion of her collegiate education, Jasmine moved back to Detroit where she began to work in the financial industry and coach girls’ basketball. Jasmine immediately recognized the deep passion she had for mentoring and coaching youth and she has spent the last 5 years coaching high school and travel AAU girls’ basketball.
With a desire to make a full-time impact on youth development, Jasmine joined PeacePlayers International as the Program Coordinator for Detroit in the summer of 2018. As the program coordinator Jasmine will be overseeing the Peace League and Leadership Development Program, working to build and maintain local program partnerships as well as recruiting and training support lead coaches and staff. Jasmine is excited to be able to mesh her passions for basketball, youth development and mentorship to help continuously grow the impact PeacePlayers has on the youth in the city of Detroit.
Siyeh Frazier is a native Detroiter, who is a new addition to the Peace Players Detroit Staff. She has been heavily involved with many sports for her entire life. Early on in her life she solidified her connection to basketball and played through high school and college. She played four years at Penn State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2020.
Siyeh enjoys using sports to make connections to youth about life lessons and leadership, more importantly to youth from her hometown. Prior to joining the PeacePlayers Staff, she mentored high school student-athletes as part of a Detroit internship in the summer of 2020. This was her first look into connecting with the youth through sports, which led her into her new current role as a Program Coordinator in Detroit.
Michael Hundley joined PeacePlayers as a part time coach in February 2022. He eventually got hired full time as a program coordinator on July 1st, 2022. Michael was born in Detroit, Michigan and eventually moved out to Farmington Hills, MI with his family where he was the youngest of 3 brothers. Michael grew up loving the game of basketball from an early age. He was coached in AAU by former NBA player Tim McCormick most of middle school and all high school. He attended Detroit Renaissance where he graduated from in 2011 with many collegiate basketball offers from NCAA division one and two.
Michael attended The Citadel University for two years 2011-2013 then transferred to Ashland University to finish out his playing career 2013-2016. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a minor in sports management. After college he got the opportunity to play professional basketball overseas for four to five years in places such as Spain, Australia and Albania. As he was spending time overseas, he had a lot of time to reflect on what career path he wanted to try and which direction he wanted to go in.
Michael always loved being around the game of basketball while also teaching kids certain life/leadership skills they might not learn in school. He worked for summer camps and recreation facilities part time anytime he would return home from basketball. In the beginning of 2022, he was searching the internet and came across PeacePlayers. He emailed the director of Detroit Jasmine, and everything instantly connected from there. Michael looks forward to all the amazing opportunities PeacePlayers has to offer!
Le Baron Dock Leath II was born and raised in Detroit, MI. Dock was raised in a single-parent home with his mother and older sister. His mother was very business savvy and refused to settle for less. She did her best providing for him and his sister, ensuring that they lived the best lives possible with limited resources. His mother would always find better opportunities in her career and as a result it caused them to relocate often.
Throughout Dock’s years growing up in Detroit, he attended 9 different schools from Pre-K through 12th grade. Relocating had its pros and cons; on one hand he had the opportunity to make many lifelong friends and build a network that he can often rely on until this day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, he has never felt as if he had a solid foundation at home growing up. The opportunity to attend many different schools forced Dock to develop people skills at a very young age; helping him to become more outspoken, comfortable with public speaking and less afraid to try new things.
Dock still vividly remembers every neighborhood he has lived in, beginning with the projects in Detroit off of Trumbull and 94 freeway. It was an affordable town home and apartment complex that his mother managed back in 1992. There were often times when the news truck would be in their residence parking lot, covering a shooting at their complex. He remembers a moment when his friends who lived two doors down, home was riddled with bullets. His family was fortunate enough to have not dealt with any of those incidences firsthand but it will always be a part of his childhood memories in which would help mold him into the person he is today. It wasn’t until the summer of 2001 going into Dock’s 8th grade year that he began putting his focus into basketball.
One day while leaving the flea market in his neighborhood, him and his friends were shot at. Although, they all got home unscathed that one incident changed his life for the better. He focused on basketball in hopes of creating a better opportunity for himself and changing his mentality. Basketball gave Dock the focus, drive and desire to strive for more in life than just surviving. That fall, he tried out for the basketball team his 8th grade year where he became a starting forward and it has been a part of his life since then.
Dock’s diverse background and experiences have helped mold him into the man that his is today. Having the opportunity to share his experiences and mentor the youth has always been a goal of his; understanding that his upbringing is similar to those that he has been blessed to mentor. Dock is pleased to have this opportunity with PeacePlayers and looks forward to the next chapter in his life.
“I remember my first basketball camp as a coach. I was 16 years old, it was at Wheaton College hosted by CURE, The Chicago Urban Reconciliation Enterprise, and The Fellowship of Christian athletes. The camp was a week long stay on the Wheaton College campus. We partnered with an organization from Englewood Chicago and it was one of the several most impactful experiences of my life.
The training I received prior to the camp was minimal but very valuable. More importantly, to me, I was an athlete and I knew what style of coaching I responded better to and that is how I approached the youth I was trusted with. As I got to know my team over the week and I learned that I had the privilege of training the younger versions of myself. These 9-12 year olds had experienced the same trauma I had and had the nearly identical journeys to adolescence as I did. Whether it was domestic, learning challenges or cultural stigmas, we were the same kids living different lives and the opportunity I had was to help these youth understand the game of basketball, train them in the better character of the game and encourage them to work on their game everyday and make good life choices. And I promised them I would be there every summer to be their coach.”
I grew up in the Abbott Homes of Chicago. At that time my entire family lived in different projects housing around the city of Chicago—Cabrini Greens, Altgeld Gardens, Lathrop Homes, Jane Addams Housing and Circle Park. I later learned it wasn’t because we were poor, it was because my grandmother was very active in providing community services through her church, she was an activist and the family supported her in everything she did so we stayed close until she was unable to serve.
Back then we played basketball on the monkey bars because we didn’t have basketball rims on the courts because the parks were to dangerous play in. We eventually got creative and used crates and bike rims and attached them to wood for a backboard, nailed it to a tree or a 2×4 and had someone hold it while we shot the ball and it was the worst because the target was always moving.
My uncle played for the Chicago Bulls in the 70’s and I grew up going to watch him, my dad and their friends play. I remember the ball hardly ever touching the ground, non-stop running, they hardly ever missed shots, everyone called their shots, no one made calls, no one called fouls, fouls were only given, you pretty much only heard screeching shoes and players calling out screens. THAT’S THE GAME I FELL IN LOVE WITH. I literally never dribbled the ball when I started playing because I thought you were only supposed to pass and shoot.
As I grew up I became pretty good at the game but I also wanted to go my own way and rebel against the rules of my parents household. With many opportunities to play at a higher level I was determined to live a street lifestyle and that was my pursuit.
At the age of 46, I am a father of three and married to my high school sweetheart of 23 years. I am still very active in basketball leagues of all ages and it has been the greatest blessing to play the sport with my now 20 year old son. I am also a huge volleyball fan. I play that regularly too.
Pre-COVID, my family and I had a very active faith-based charity named Flirt w/ Life where through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges, DePaul University, we hosted an awesome mentoring opportunity for youth, high school and pre-professionals at the infamous Gold Coast Dave & Busters in Chicago. We also host a motorcycle safety and awareness initiative where we partner with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, and several other State ran motorcycle licensing and training entities to encourage riders to take free State ran training courses. Through our great partnerships we also co-host a series of other awesome events.
I am also a the proprietor of a transportation and logistics entity.
I am a firm believer in entrepreneurship, education and mentoring.
With all the gifts, talents and passion in me, I am honored to be apart of the awesome initiatives to encourage our communities live out the core-values at PeacePlayers and to serve the city I love the most.
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.
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.