Grace's story begins when she was bullied from kindergarten all the way to her 8th-grade year. During her 7th grade year, Grace began to cut herself. Grace hid her cutting from her family and friends. Grace would cover herself up with bracelets, long sleeve shirts, and at times sweaters. Grace's parents would ask why she was wearing clothing with long sleeves in Arizona. Grace would use the excuse that her classrooms were always cold. Grace kept her grades up and had great relationships with her friends and family. This also masked her secrets. The school counselor wasn’t alerted about Grace’s cutting until a close friend noticed some of the scars on her arms.
Grace was able to get the appropriate help and was able to recover from her bout with self-harm. During the transition between her 7th and 8th-grade years, Grace had a small relapse but again with the help of her loving, supportive and now more knowledgeable family she was able to recover. During Grace's 8th grade year she was selected to participate in the school district's Superintendent's Student Council where she was also a student member of the school districts governing board.
Grace continued to thrive and along with her success came more bullying. This time she became the target of a cyberbully when someone made Vine videos about her. Grace was prepared this time with the coping skills she gained through therapy and was determined to bring about change. With the support of her teacher, friends, and the assistant principal of her school, Grace decided to use this negative attention to create a positive shift in school morale. Grace organized and presented an anti-bullying assembly for her peers.
In 2017, Congressman Raul Grijalva recognized Grace for her leadership efforts to prevent bullying after being the youngest graduate from Valle del Sol’s Connect2Lead Youth Leadership Program, awarding her with the Congressional Certificate of Recognition. Grace is currently a thriving sophomore in high school. Grace loves music and is a member of her high school's choir. Grace continues to be an advocate for children that are victims of bullying, and supports suicide prevention, and other youth social initiatives such as the Speak Up Stand Up Save a Life Youth Conference, Westview High School Student Ambassadors, and March for Our Lives.
Gina Godbehere is the Bureau Chief of the Northwest Valley Bureau in the Community Based Prosecution Division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. She has over two decades of experience both as a trial attorney and in assignments with a wide variety of bureaus, including Pretrial, Juvenile, Gang, and the Repeat Offender Unit, during which she has tried every type of felony case including first degree premeditated murder. Throughout her twenty years of service with MCAO, Gina has played an integral role in developing the first Juvenile Drug Court, in implementing the Juvenile Transfer Offender Program, and is the Co-Author and Creator of the Ultimate Trial Research Notebook used by prosecution agencies throughout Arizona. Gina is Maricopa County’s designated Bias Crimes Prosecutor, and she actively trains prosecutors and law enforcement officers throughout the state. Gina was born, raised, and currently resides in the West Valley. She graduated from Cactus High School, before receiving a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies and a Juris Doctorate degree from Arizona State University's College of Law in 1995.
Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux
Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux was born in New York, N.Y. where she attended elementary school and two years of high school. Her family then moved to Isabela, Puerto Rico where she completed high school and college. Lily’s educational preparation includes degrees in Elementary Education (BA), Educational Leadership and Supervision (MA and PHD), all from the University of Southern Mississippi and a BA in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico. Her experiences are varied and include serving as a teacher, elementary principal, middle school dean of students, assistant superintendent, adjunct university professor, English as a Second Language Instructor, director of religious education at a military base, business owner, and community volunteer. Lily owned a technology company for six years before returning to her true love: education. Dr. DeBlieux was appointed as the first bi-lingual, Latina Superintendent of the Pendergast Elementary School District in May 2014. Dr. DeBlieux is involved in community organizations including: The Hispanic Leadership Institute, Glendale West Rotary, Leadership West Class XX11, City of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission, Glendale Chamber of Commerce, and others. Lily is sought after as a motivational speaker, and in 2015 she founded the organization Si No Yo, Quien? LLC, to provide training to empower women to reach new heights in their personal and professional lives. She is married to Earl, a retired chaplain who served 30 years in the United States Air Force. She has two children; Joel, a Network Engineer and business owner living in Fort Myers, Florida and Dr. Linda, a Pharmacist living in Tucson, AZ. She is also the proud grandmother of Evangeline.
Jennifer Vogel Rogers
Jennifer Vogel Rogers graduated cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University. Rogers began her career as an on-air reporter and sports anchor for CBS in Washington state, and continued to work on-air for NBC in Lubbock, Texas. The next move was back to her hometown in Phoenix, Arizona where she worked as a reporter for NBC. She was featured on MSNBC and nominated for an Emmy Award. Rogers hosted and executive produced a 30-minute show on Fox Sports Houston for the Astros called, “Here’s the Pitch,” and was hired as executive producer and host of “Anything That Rolls” on Channel 39 in Houston. While producing these shows, Jennifer created a successful social media video company. Rogers grew her brand to Arizona and began consulting for companies in Public Affairs, Media Affairs, and Business Development. Jennifer has run successful, award-winning, campaigns for companies such as Central Recovery, Angel MedFlight Air Ambulance, and the City of Buckeye, earning her the title of "Marketer of the Year" from the Phoenix Business Journal. Jennifer and her husband, Kyle, former pitcher for the Texas Rangers organization, now live back in Arizona, and grew their family with a son and daughter.
And a special thank you to all of our amazing Planning Committee Members:
Pastor Jeff Armor; Tracey Beal, School Connect; Beth Beringhaus, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Erin Callinan, Mental Health of America; Eric Conrath, Pinnacle High School; Jen Copeland, Maricopa County Community Colleges; Linda Garcia, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Dick Geasland, MIKID; Tracy Grewe, Montessori Kingdom of Learning, L.L.C.; Evelyn Hernandez, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Gerry Hills, Phoenix Public Libraries and Arizonans for Gun Safety; Dr. Jennifer Johnson, Grand Canyon University; MJ Johnson, Leadership West; Ivy Kusler, Chartwells; Courtney Lonergan, Partners In Participation; Johnny Martinez, Pendergast Elementary School District; Rhiannon Miett, DMB Community Life; Timesha Moore-McHarris, MIKID; Norma Parra; Kerry Pohlmeyer, Pendergast Elementary School District; Raymond Pohlmeyer, Pendergast Elementary School District; Kristi Riemer, GCON Inc.; Sande Roberts, Crisis Intervention Operation Shockwave; Tanya Rouintan, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Sarah Ruf, Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council; Nedda Shafir; Pendergast Elementary School District; Denise Springer, Sped Coaches; Ezra Williams, Pendergast Elementary School District; Amanda Steele, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Regenia Robles, Pendergast Elementary School District.