Elena Chvany – Executive Director, Co-founder
After graduating with honors from Radcliffe College, Elena had a successful career of more than 20 years in philanthropy, raising money for major institutions – among them, Dartmouth College and Harvard University.
She also offered independent – and often free -- consultation for non-profits throughout the U.S. serving many sectors of society - children and youth, the arts, women's issues, healthcare and wellness, nature and the environment, human development, and peace. This service brought Elena citations in "Who's Who of American Women" (12th Edition) and "Who's Who in the West" (Silver Edition).
Through her work, Elena was moved by observing and working with hundreds of people who contributed their talents and time, as well as money, to support the common good. "Kids Create Peace" invokes that generous spirit again. The program is unique in giving young people the understanding and skills required to create lives free of conflict. Continuing her service, Elena has recently been appointed to a seat on the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission.
Elena was fortunate also in raising three talented and well-balanced sons.
Christine Dura - Lead Facilitator ~ Music Video Director
Christine Dura brings unique styles of music to “Kids Create Peace”. It is her passion for music that brought her to One Voice of Peace in its pilot year (2012-13). From that she’s moved to become a facilitator of the weekly KCP Sessions.
A published singer/song-writer, Christine is also an experienced teacher. She has worked with pre-school children at the McCarthy Center, where she was known as “The Music Lady”. Here, she brought free dance, drums, free-style art, dramatic play, song-writing, journaling, and much more.
Christine has worked with children in one-on-one sessions, helping them discover their true selves, through music.
She’s also taught teachers of children how to bring music into the classrooms through varied learning and self-discovery techniques, such as drama play, dance, voice, drums, mirror work, and free-style painting
Christine’s approach to music encourages learning, promotes self-help skills and understanding of the power of words, and helps all who are involved recognize the connection between oneself and others.
Melinda Vida, Facilitator, Writer
Melinda is Founder & Director of GardenLife Wellness, and a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She strives to support and guide families, students, and youth how to lower stress levels, have more energy naturally, achieve their health & wellness goals and increase their overall happiness.
She sees food as universal, and a common ground for uniting humanity. She is committed to making a difference in the world by learning, loving, and healing. Her path has led her into the fields of holistic health, positive psychology, human development & empowerment, and Early Childhood Education. She received a Plant-Based Nutritional Coach Certificate from Cornell University through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and is currently finishing her undergraduate work in Positive Psychology, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Human Development.
She also gives youth workshops to schools around the Coachella Valley on health, sustainability, and nutrition through fun, experiential food-based education. She offers compassion, guidance and encouragement to each young person so that they may attain the skills and confidence necessary to express and contribute their unique talents to the world and their local communities. She is honored to serve with fellow Kids Create Peace allies and students to increase harmony and cooperation among all people.