Meet Our Board

Winnie Barron – Founder and previous director of Makindu Children’s Centre (MCC). Winnie is a Physician’s Assistant and Paramedic, specializing in emergency medicine.  She currently serves on the Executive Committee as Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors.  She has a special role as a consultant to MCC, providing guidance and technical assistance.  Winnie conducts field evaluations and monitoring several times annually.  She has played a central role since the inception of MCC in 1998, and helped to establish Makindu Children’s Program (MCP) as a 501(c)(3) in 2001.

Michael Farley – Michael is our current Chair of the Board.  He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Makindu Kenya in the late 1970s, an experience that had a significant, positive impact on his life.  He has served on the MCP Board since 2004 as is part of his on-going efforts to give back to that community. He has led over 10 Proper Walks and Safaris in Kenya to raise funds and awareness of the program.

Cheri Villa – Cheri is our Vice-Chair and currently has her own business as a Leadership and Life Coach with Pegasus Horse Wisdom Consulting. She is an avid child and animal rights activist and has spent over 20 years in mission-focused and human centered nonprofits serving in executive management positions. Before starting her own company, Cheri was the Chief Operating Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Cheri has taught courses at the University level on Nonprofit Management and the Principles on Nonprofit Fundraising. She has 3 graduate degrees in Public Administration, Political Science and Nonprofit Management. Cheri has been on three Proper Safaris. Her passion for being part of our board is to help Makindu Children’s Center thrive!

Steve Randolph – Steve joined the board in January of 2005.  He currently serves on the Executive Committee as Treasurer.  Steve has been on Proper Walks in ’04, ’06 and ’12.  Educated at Oregon State University and Cornell, he recently retired from Oregon Food Bank after 28 years in the field.  Steve also served in the Peace Corps in Kenya (’77-80) with Michael Farley.

Nancy Woolfson – Nancy has served as MCP Board member since 2011, and currently serves as Board Secretary.  Nancy is a retired teacher with a PhD in Education, specializing in special education research.  She has played a vital role in planning and organizing the MCP annual fundraiser and organizes smaller fundraising efforts throughout the year, by using her extraordinary cooking abilities to raise funds for MCP.

Marcia Moore – Marcia is a long time supporter of MCP.  As a retired Dental Hygienist she volunteers in Africa and Asia in the field of dental health.  Marcia has been a Proper Walk participant and has served on the Board of Directors since 2014.  She leads 2-3 safaris a year to Kenya, called Safaris & Moore, to raise funds and awareness of the program.  Her vision is that all children deserve an opportunity for hope.

Joshua Dowell – Joshua joined the board in 2017. He currently works as a counselor at a private school in Goochland VA. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University and received a degree in Psychology. Joshua is also the frontman and band leader of the multi-award winning reggae band, Mighty Joshua & The Zion #5. He has helped raise funds for Makindu Children’s Program for many years and has been on Proper Walks 2010 and 2016.

Taylor Simmons – Taylor first experienced Makindu on Proper Safari 2016. She returned for Proper Safari 2018 and has been committed to the kids of Makindu ever since. Stateside, she is a Pilates Instructor, personal trainer and nutrition coach. Tay recently started her own business after working as a physical therapy assistant for 5 years and is enjoying every moment. Tay lives in Seattle with her two dogs and in her free time enjoys travel, cooking, reading, hiking and supporting the kids of Makindu.

Niki Smith – Niki was introduced to Makindu Children’s Program while traveling with Marcia Moore of Safaris & Moore. A longtime advocate of nonprofits, including a long career in developing housing for special needs populations and providing capacity building for fledgling grass roots groups, Niki is now retired and focused on supporting international groups with a mission to empower women and children.

Thomas Marvel – Tom joined the Board of Directors in May 2021. Tom’s first introduction to the Makindu Children’s Program was as a participant on Proper Safari 2017. With that experience, he was hooked, joining the safaris in 2018 and 2019. Tom is a retired special education teacher and school counselor with Montgomery County Public Schools outside of Washington, DC. Working with children for over 40 years, having extensive outdoor experience, and being passionate about photography made the Proper Safaris a natural fit. Once Tom met the children of MCP and got to know them, there was no turning back. Tom is delighted to join the Board of Directors and to continue to support the children of Makindu.

Phillip Virden – Phillip became aware of the Makindu Children’s Program in early 2005 and participated in the 2006 Proper Walk. Seeing the children at the Makindu Children’s Center was one of the most dramatic and memorable days of his life. Since then he has returned to Kenya many times, to fundraise and to visit. Through his participation in the sponsorship program, he has befriended a family with many children enrolled in Makindu Children’s Program, a precious relationship and rewarding gift for his support. Phillip lives in Colorado where he built and still operates Mountaineer Movie Theatre. He has been a school board director for 26 years, and is an avid amateur astronomer.