Marin county students
people in need touched
raised for food banks, natural disaster relief (CA & global)
Community Heroes has served*
Together we can...
Encourage teens to understand real-world issues and the nonprofit organizations addressing them.
Ignite action and cultivate the seeds of compassion so teens can grow into service veterans, unafraid to complete sophisticated and deeply impactful projects in our community.
Engage youth through high-quality programs to build strong social-emotional skills AND become impactful leaders out in the world to accelerate social change.
Our Story & Mission
Since 2012, Community Heroes has been building a ME to WE movement, providing mentorship, resources and real-world experiences for youth to ignite their power to serve the community. We started as a lunch club at one elementary school, believing that with support and guidance, the potential of all young people can be exponentially expanded to create positive impact in the world. Our program was adopted by many local schools as a platform for youth and families to engage in giving back. Our annual Day of Giving event brings the community together to further leverage our collective impact, with students leading projects in benefit of local charities.
In response to the maturation of our youth participants and in recognition of the need to develop them as leaders, in 2020 we evolved to focus on programs for teens as our target audience. We are building upon our 8+ year momentum and track record of mentoring emerging heart-centered leaders, providing teen self-empowerment programs and community engagement opportunities. In partnership with other organizations empowering youth, our “hero launch” programs will support a new generation of leaders impacting their own communities for the greater good.
Imagine a world where every teen unlocked their superpower.
We inspire young philanthropists and social activists with 21st century skills and tools to be enthusiastic, effective change-agents.
Community Heroes Tech Guy
Community Heroes Board Secretary, Engineer, Analyst Extraordinaire
Facilitator, Writer/Artist & Creative Chief Officer of Coddiwomple Queen
Community Heroes Co-Founder/Chief Inspirator, Founder of Go Inspire Go
Project-Based Learning, 21st Century Skills Education, and Performance Assessment
Comedian, Youth Counselor, Advocate of Social Emotional Learning
Co-Founder / Executive Director / Board President / Community Connector / Soccer Mom
Kala Venugopal Shah
Kala has been on a lifelong quest to figure out what drives people to make their unique positive impact in the world. As a mom to three boys and like many parents out there, she was seeking a way to authentically teach her own kids about gratitude, compassion and service and launched Community Heroes to help drive a cultural shift from “ME” to “WE.” She has worked on national and statewide policy initiatives to advance the 3Es (economy, environment and equity) with organizations to put those sustainability values to practice and as a funder to encourage civic involvement and activism. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and French from the University of Texas at Austin.
Producer / Director
Marlena Blavin is a professional speaker and performance storyteller and a founder of The Circle Of Women storytelling group. She is also the co-founder with David Roche of Love At Second Sight, the live program on appearance and acceptance, diversity and disability that they have performed over 250 times across Canada and the U.S. She is passionate about empowering youth leaders and lifting the voices of everyday heroes. For forty years, Marlena has maintained a thriving practice in the healing arts. She is a certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, Massage Therapist, Cranial Sacral Therapist and hospice counselor.
Serial Entrepreneur / Green Pioneer / Student of Natural Healing
Strategic & operational CFO and executive with unique breadth in leading startups & global public companies through product launch, optimization, and scale. Sectors included software & hardware solutions for clean tech, renewable energy, telecom, and consumer products. Successfully raised $200M+ from VCs, angels, strategic investors, & institutions. Proven leadership in emerging markets including IoT, location based services, SaaS, & green products. Achieved two private exits; IP sale & private merger returning 6X invested capital. Provided vision & business strategy by leading strategic planning, business development and product management; prepared companies for growth with infrastructure in accounting, HR, and legal. Specialist in working with and developing first time entrepreneurs.
Meet our team.
Empowering individuals with the guidance, blueprints, and tools to bring their ideas and visions to life is a huge source of joy for Michele. Spending the majority of her career as a marketing and digital strategy consultant in the media and entertainment industry, her primary focus has been helping organizations refine and expand their brand, engage and build audiences, as well as forge new digital strategies and promotional opportunities to achieve their goals. She is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.
Marketing Strategist / Mindful Mom
As an educator and a mom, Mita is fascinated by how kids learn. To computationally understand how kids learn, she founded the education technology startup, Zapptitude. She is building new technologies for game-based assessment and learning in the 21st century, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Mita started her career as an Atmospheric Scientist studying air pollution and global warming, analyzing large data sets and building models for control and mitigation. She holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science and M.S. in Management of Technology.
Community Heroes Treasurer / Scientist / Entrepreneur / Lifelong Learner
Atashi has worked as a non-profit consultant, as the Member Engagement Manager at the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership in Marin, and as the Executive Director of Narika in Berkeley and has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit community with a focus on fundraising planning and disaster planning. She is a graduate of UC Riverside where she earned a BA in Economics & Political Science.
Nonprofit Executive / Fundraising Expert / Parent / Caregiver
Suzanne seeks to answer questions about human potential, fulfillment, and connection. She is an expert on adolescent development and cognition, and has extensive experience through her work both as classroom teacher and now in private practice providing custom strategies to all types of learners, including those with academic challenges and those with unique interests in learning and creating in the real world. As researcher, Suzanne directed a large study based in Jordan on the entrepreneurial mindsets and ecosystems of youth in nine Middle Eastern and African countries. She graduated with her second masters in education (2011) from Harvard University’s Mind, Brain and Education program with Howard Gardner as her mentor.