Our People

Leadership Team

Marilyn McGinnis (Co-founder and Curriculum Director) has been a mom and a teacher for many years. Teaching primarily within Atlanta’s home schooling community, she has come to understand how vital it is for kids to gain an appreciation for the hard work that has been done over time to guarantee us certain rights, and for the hard work that remains to be done so that all may enjoy these rights. By introducing Peacebuilder Campers to amazing individuals who are making a difference in our world, and by encouraging them to think deeply about social justice issues, she hopes to inspire young people to accept the challenge to be part of the next generation of peacemakers.
Jonah McDonald (Co-founder and Administrative Director) is an activist, teacher, storyteller and wilderness guide. Formerly a teacher at a Montessori school, Jonah continues to teach in non-classroom settings and particularly enjoys working with middle schoolers. His service on several non-profit boards and work towards Middle East peace have demonstrated to him just how important education is in peace work. He believes the Peacebuilders Camp can help kids develop their own beliefs about the world and in turn catapult the campers into action that betters the world.
Mario Burton pic Mario Burton (Program Director) is a student and scholar. He is currently a PhD student at Antioch University where he is studying social justice leadership. His passion for social justice leadership has followed a career working for various nonprofits over the last 8 years. While serving in these capacities, he has utilized mindfulness, motivational interviewing, restorative justice, and various other client-centered intervention strategies to resolve conflict and empower individuals to make more informed choices for themselves.

2017 Summer Staff

Julia Cornick (counselor) was born and raised in Atlanta and will be a freshman at Smith College in the fall. This is Julia’s second summer working at Peacebuilders, and she can’t wait to get back to Koinonia and explore human rights topics with more wonderful campers. Julia is passionate about human rights, with a particular interest in LGBT+ rights, women’s rights and reproductive justice. She also loves reading, writing, arts and crafts, baking, and having picnics. Julia is involved in multiple activism groups in her community, including the Planned Parenthood Teen Action Group and her school’s gay-straight alliance. She isn’t quite sure what she wants to do when she’s an adult, but she hopes it involves helping and educating other people.
Elysee Fachet (counselor) is originally from Congo Brazzaville. He recently transferred from Georgia State University to North Dakota State College Of Science where he is studying robotics, automations, and mechatronics technology. He’s passionate about just about any social justice issue you can think of and he believes in the Ubuntu philosophy which says, “I am because you are.” As a result, he’s been volunteering since 2012 at Shalom’s Children Ministry which is a program that provides a safe place to play and learn about God for any child living in the Clarkston area. He enjoys helping others and standing up for what is right! Elysee served as a Micah Corps intern in 2015 in Nebraska and Kansas. Micah Corps is an eight-week internship program designed to help young adults link their faith into social justice issues such as poverty, the environment, and peace and nonviolence, which was his focus area of social justice while he was working there. This summer will be Elysee’s second time serving as a counselor at Peacebuilders Camp and he says there’s nothing better than joining hands with others to help make this marvelous earth a safer place in which to live.
Edgar Ortiz (counselor) was born in Guerrero, Mexico and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been participating in activism since the age of 19 with Freedom University. With Freedom University, he has organized sit-ins and disruptions at colleges and universities that ban undocumented students from higher education in Georgia. Aside from this, he has been a public speaker on the experiences of undocumented youth at colleges and universities around the United States. Currently, he is a sophomore at Berea College in Kentucky with the intention to major in biology and minor in chemistry and peace and social justice. Edgar loves science, likes to play the violin, and his favorite book is The Conquest of Bread.
Carla Valpeoz (counselor) is originally from San Antonio, Texas, but has been living in Detroit, Michigan for the last four years. She originally moved to work with the Arab community, but soon found out that the Latino community was in need of her competencies as well. She prides herself on working cross-culturally and easily adapts to difference, always being inclusive to all social identities and backgrounds. This journey began in college when she started studying the Arabic language eventually giving her the opportunity to study overseas in the Arab world. Being of Latina background, she realized that she needed to know more about her roots and once that discovery was made, she began finding how these two ethnic groups were so interconnected, eventually leading her to understand how she can easily live easily among difference. Not having a clear vision of what she wanted to do when she graduated, she decided to take the next step and go to graduate school, leading her to enroll in an program focussed on social justice and conflict transformation which completely changed her life and gave her the vision she had been looking for. In her travels and education, Carla has found ways to use her experiences and knowledge to fight for social justice, as well as raise awareness about important issues among different communities. She continues to speak out against injustices, and play a significant role in her community working to unite people of all sorts. Carla believes knowledge is wealth and must be shared, and that we can all learn from one another if just given the chance.
Medinah Rashid (counselor-in-training) is a rising senior in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an African-American from Maryland and grew up in Dubai, UAE. She enjoys reading, drawing, playing the piano and traveling to new places. Medinah is interested in human rights and the promotion of human rights, particularly in developing countries. She wants to become a civil engineer when she gets to college, loves tiny houses, and hopes to build one, one day to promote green living. She is really excited about being a camp counselor-in-training and is looking forward to learning more and being able to teach about social justice and human rights.
Madison Werner (counselor-in-training) is a graduating senior from Calhoun, Georgia. She is currently a writer for Affinity Magazine, which is an online Millennial upstart social justice publication. Madison is interested in a wide range of social justice issues, particularly issues surrounding women’s rights and reproductive justice, the advancement of minority and LGBTQ rights, the epidemic of teen dating violence/domestic violence, and the importance of music in today’s sociopolitical climate. In her free time, Madison enjoys watching Vice documentaries, going to concerts, and eating cheap sushi. This fall, Madison will begin attending the University of Georgia, where she hopes to figure out what she wants to do for the rest of her life.