Board of Directors & Staff

Lisa Young – Board Chair

Lisa is a committed advocate for education, economic empowerment and human rights for all people. She has over 15 years of human resources management experience in employee relations, compensation, talent acquisition, performance management and organization/employee development. She's managed cross-functional Human Resource teams to support more than 35 business units with over 2000 employees with combined staffing budgets exceeding $50 million. In her current role, Lisa partners with more than 70 organization leaders and executives to ensure the alignment and execution of Human Resource (HR) strategies with initiatives and goals of the organization. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and holds two Senior Professional in HR certifications through the Society for HR Management and the Human Resources Certification Institute. She currently works with the Denver Public Schools System as the Human Resources Business Partner.

Rita Smith - Board Member

 Rita served in several local domestic violence and sexual assault programs and state coalitions as Program Supervisor and Director in Colorado and Florida. She was the Executive Director of the National Coalition against Domestic Violence for nearly 23 years. She has been interviewed by hundreds of newspaper reporters, appeared on many local and national radio and television news shows, including the Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey Show. In December of 2011 she was named Distinguished Alumnus of Polk State College, and in November of 2013 she was chosen by the Association of Florida Colleges for the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award. She believes that advocacy and social change are intricately connected, and cannot be done separately. She is currently one of the senior advisors for the National Football League, consulting with, and as a national expert on violence against women. She holds an Associate in Psychology from Polk State College and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Michigan State University. 

Ewomazino Magbegor, Esq. – Board Secretary

 Zino has a passion for the down-trodden and has always had the desire to work in the area of social justice. While in college, she participated in human rights events. She currently works with Magbegor & Associates, and also works as a Legal Consultant for small businesses including VOX Technologies, Seventh Day Adventist Church in Dallas, etc. She worked for Akwuruoha Law Firm in 2016. She also worked as a Legal Intern with the Employers Legal Resource Center representing some of the non-profits in Oklahoma City; and a Community Support Worker with Green Door in Washington DC. She received her Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Psychology from Oklahoma State University, and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in Law from Oklahoma City University Law School. 

Professor Christine White, Esq. – Board Member

 Christine is passionate about finding ways to help victims of crime, and fighting against juvenile injustice. She is a member of the Prince Georges’ County Human Trafficking Taskforce in Maryland. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. She teaches Criminal Law; Human Trafficking; Juvenile Delinquency; Race and Crime; and Drugs and Crime. She received her Bachelors in Sociology from University of Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in Law from American University, Washington College of Law. 

Dr. Samuel Momah – Interim Vice Chair

 Samuel is excited to bring to RPI his wealth of experiences in Organizational Leadership, Technology and Management as she fights to prevent human trafficking. He has served in various organizations and associations in Minnesota in the capacity of board member, chair, and president. These include American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Engineering Management, Mid-West ESRI Utilities User Group, Shakopee Public Utilities Safety Board, and other cultural associations. He has an undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering Technology from the University of Minnesota, and Information Technology in Management from Concordia University Saint Paul, Minnesota; MS in Engineering Management from University of Platteville Wisconsin; MBA in Technology Management and Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership both from the University of Phoenix. 

Lovetta Silcott, Esq. – Board Member

 Lovetta is an Attorney at Law. Since completing Law School she has worked as an Adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman Service in London. She moved back to the Caribbean island Montserrat, where she was born, and was admitted to practice law at the Bar there. She currently resides there and has held the post of Registrar of Lands. She is the co-founder of her Law firm (MNI Law). She is also the Vice President of the online legal blog She is the Chairwoman of Supervisory Committee of the Islands local Credit Union and also consults with various organizations both locally and internationally. She schooled in London where she obtained her Bachelors in Law Degree from the University of East London and an LLM from the University of London in International Corporate Governance, Financial Regulation and Economic Law. She also went on to complete Law school at the City Law School, in London. 

Ellen Hokanson


Ellen has a life-long commitment to understanding, and helping others understand, people from different backgrounds and cultures. This began with childhood summers living with her mother’s parents in Mexico, and led her to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Montana and then become a Candidate for the PhD in Anthropology from the University of California San Diego. Ellen carried out field research with Native Hawaiian teens and young adults who were reviving traditional styles of dance. She worked in book publishing, then earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Washington. Ellen taught elementary school in Aurora, Colorado, and after retirement served two years as a Consultant in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education for Aurora Public Schools. Ellen is a co-developer and trainer for the award-winning Aurora Natural Helpers program, which teaches people how to help immigrants and refugees become integrated into the community.


Bishop Israel Ade-Ajala – Honorary Board Member

Bishop Israel Ade-Ajala has a heart for the lost, and passion to help the poor and needy. Although he is a Man of God, he believes in giving physical food to the needy as well as spiritual food. He is the Founder & Bishop of Hands on Ministries and Ade-Ajala Ministries. He hosts a Live, Radio Program, “Get Connected with Dr. Ade-Ajala” on KLTT Radio 670 AM every Friday at 12:30 pm. He is the author of “Let Us Pray,” a Believers Guide to praying effectively. He is a profound expositor of the Word of God and a visionary Leader who empowers people for success. He served under Youth with a Mission, Tema, Ghana, and later joined Mercy Ships, a missionary ship traveling around the world providing medical assistance and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a graduate of economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and a Doctorate in Theology. 

Maxine Edja – Advisory Board Member

 Max has served in various board positions both as financial consultant and board member. He has passion for helping small non-profits with keeping their financial records at little or no fees. He is currently a Senior Business/Financial Consultant with DE Business Consulting. He has a combined experience in accounting, finance, tax, and banking that spans over 25 years. He delivers workshops, and comprehensive financial planning for businesses. He holds undergraduate degrees in finance and accounting, an MBA in Finance from the University of Houston and is a doctoral candidate at Walden University. 

Staff & Volunteers

Founder & Executive Director

EDITH OKUPA is the Founder/Executive Director of Restoration Project International. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland and her masters’ degree in Public Administration with concentrations on Domestic Violence (DV), Project Management and Policy Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado. She also received numerous trainings in Leadership, Organizational Management, Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, and Child Commercial Sexual Exploitation. During her career, she interned with the Montgomery County Police Dept., MD, Public Policy Intern with the Colorado Coalition against Domestic Violence (CCADV); DV Intern with the Denver City Attorney’s Office, and DV/Sexual Assault Intern with Colorado Organization for Victims Assistance (COVA). As a public policy intern, she did a research for CCADV which pushed for two legislatures in Colorado: SB227 (2013) and HB14-1162 (2014). Edith also speaks at conferences and participates in panel discussions on race, crime, and culture; human trafficking and domestic violence. She is striving to provide a safe space for victims/survivors; and engage communities/institutions in ending human trafficking, and systemic failures in addressing the plights of victims. She established and implemented programs to promote this awareness through conference, trainings and workshops. She is constantly seeking creative ways to restore hope for survivors. Currently, she has developed a dynamic curriculum targeted at empowerment of survivors. She is excited to facilitate programs that target sustainable restoration of survivors. 


Edith did not "know that she would one day stand with legislators at the state capitol to watch the governor of Colorado sign a bill into law to protect women and children. It was a bill that she helped to research, and a milestone in her personal mission to make a difference."

Angelia McGowan


GWENDOLYN ROBERTSON has been one of our volunteers and trained mentor since 2014.  She is a woman of faith who has experience with helping survivors. Her dedication and commitment to helping survivors endeared her to the Mentee she has been helping since 2014.  Although, officially, the relationship has ended, but she and the Mentee have built a rapport that they keep the lines of communication open to date.  This is the goal of our ASPIRE Mentorship Program - to continue to help survivors to an unimpaired state.

NEEDRA FREMAN is one of our community volunteers. She retired from the department of human services, although she currently works part time with them. She has over 30 years wealth of experience helping people navigate systems. She assist with our Programs.


Every so often, we get interns from Universities in the Denver Metro area. Most of them are required by the school to volunteer with a nonprofit organization of their choice.  We have been honored to have them do some of our administrative work.

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