Friends of Gina’s Team
Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman is recognized as one of the most inspirational athletes of our time. She won a stunning upset victory at the 2000 Sydney games when she came from behind to break the American record and win the 200-meter butterfly. Recognized as a pioneer in the sport for her innovative underwater dolphin kick, she won 13 U.S. and five NCAA national titles. Her knowledge of the sport, gained from two decades of competitive swimming for two of America’s top swim coaches, coupled with her friendly and encouraging personality, have made her one of the country’s leading swim instructors. She currently offers personalized and private coaching at The Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley, AZ. She also hosts clinics and camps throughout the United States. As a motivational speaker, Hyman helps athletes, students, and corporations alike set and reach seemingly unattainable goals.
Gene Barnes and Karen Spenser-Barnes
Several years ago Karen was invited to attend a class at Perryville Women's Prison. She was curious; yet, went reluctantly! That 90-minute exposure changed her life! She met women with life experiences way outside her comfort zone. When she listened to their lived experiences, she began to wonder how different she would have reacted with all their trauma, abuse, mental health challenges and various addictions. She returned home with a quandary! How could a 70 year old woman seeking to live out her Christian faith respond to women living behind barbed wire? She also got her husband Gene involved with Gina's Team. Being involved with, and financially supporting, Gina's Team is part of it. Another part is helping Gina's Team in their collaborative work with ATHENA International in teaching the ATHENA Lead From Within series at Perryville. Gene writes poems for the classes he co-facilitates. Another part involves coordinating a prison ministry at their church which started with pen pals and now helps and mentors women both inside Perryville Prison as well as after their release. Gina's Team is making a difference in women's lives. I invite you to become a "friend" of this non-profit too!
I began my involvement with Gina's Team in September of 2011, by attending the ATHENA leadership training classes at Perryville prison to gain knowledge and subsequently became a facilitator for the Give Back principle. Myself and Romelle Durand organized and facilitated the Welcome Back program (helping released women with reentry) for nearly 5 years. We provided clothing, food, bus passes, hygiene and transportation on the day of release. We also encouraged and mentored over 175 women. I have also been active in the prison book club program since its inception. Myself and a small team of volunteers made 750 mini desserts for a fundraising event held at the Scottsdale Historical Museum in 2013.
I have been sober now 9 years and love being of service. The foundation of my sobriety in AA has been service work. I have my own residential cleaning business of 8 years and owe my success to being sober. I am new to GT and I appreciate the opportunity to go to the Perryville Prison. I have not experienced being incarcerated but only by the grace of God. I was a single mom of 3 children and I do know the struggle and challenges that come with that life also while drinking.
I am truly grateful for my life and would like to be available to encourage other women any way I can.
BOOK CLUB VOLUNTEERS
Board and Friends
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Is the Co-Founder of Five Rings Financial-Arizona a Financial Services Company, along with a combined 19 years of experience in Domestic Violence Programs for offenders and as the Director of an Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program for the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Bill also piloted a Domestic Violence Offender Program in San Quentin Penitentiary in the early 1990’s that is still in operation today, as well as in many of Northern California’s jails. His previous Board experience is with the Boys and Girls Club of America and NAZCARE here in Arizona. Bill’s experience also comes from being in Recovery for over 28 years and he is retired from the Department of Defense. Bill is currently the President of Superstition Toastmasters.
Chris and Diane Panetta-Vice President
Are Gina's parents, and the co-founders of Gina's Team, named in her memory. Gina was the youngest of three girls, her sisters are Rebekah and Shannon. They moved to Arizona in 1977 from Southern California. Chris worked for the City of Peoria, City of Phoenix and the Town of Queen Creek for over 30 years and is now retired. Dianne worked for Lucky's and ABCO food stores for over 26 years before retiring early to care for Gina's children.
Both have served on the Board of Directors and the Leadership Council. They have gone back to Perryville for some of the programs Gina's Team has done, and also went to Mingus Mountain Academy twice a year to tell Gina's story to the girls there. Since 2013 the Panetta's, with Gina's children, have put on an annual car show to raise funds for Gina's Team. This January Dianne was blessed to go the The White House as a guest for the president's State of the Union Address representing Gina's Team, a trip she will never forget.
It was Chris' sister Barbara who came up with GINA standing for Getting, Inmates, Needs, Addressed.
Martha Mayhood Mertz
Is the founder of ATHENA International, a thirty-five year old non-profit organization that seeks to support, develop and honor women leaders. The program inspires women to reach their full potential and strives to create balance in leadership worldwide. She is an author, international speaker, and entrepreneur. Martha was first invited to teach the ATHENA Leadership Model in Perryville prison in 2011. She never expected that the initial program would continue, grow and impact so many - including herself. Martha has served as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors.
Is an esthetician with a combined 30 years of medical and esthetic experience and owner of About Face, an honored therapeutic skincare business. She has been on the Board of the National Association of Women Business Owners for seven years and served their President in 2015. In recovery from multiple addictions for over 25 years, she is passionate about recovery and women trying to change their lives. She is currently the Secretary of Gina's Team, and leads some of the ATHENA classes in Perryville.
Is the founder of Sterling Financial Services, LLC and brings over 30 years of IRS an accounting experience to Gina's Team. He earned his Bachelors of Business Administration on Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and specializes in non-profits, giving back to the community through his accounting and business skills. Outside of the day-to-day accounting work, Marc serves as a public speaker at numerous events and has written for industry publications, including Skyward Magazine, Master Wealth, and for various Chambers of Commerce.
Is the co-founder of Wings of Hope, LLC (currently pursuing their 501(c)3 status). Though Wings of Hope she has provided a library to a recovery facility for women in memory of Gina’s daughter Mariah. She hopes to continue the building of libraries at recovery facility throughout the valley. She is bringing her personal experience, a mother of a recovering addict, that evolved to being an addition advocate to those in recovery and to the families of addicts. Ana is also a leader for Team Hope a homeless ministry dedicated to helping our homeless here in Arizona.