About Us

Our Mission: To spotlight and support local heroes in education.

Origins

Having spent more than half of my life as an educator, working with incredible people in schools around Los Angeles, I am always amazed at how dedicated, passionate, and hard-working this community is. That includes teachers, administrators, support staff, and students.

Beyond the work these folks perform as part of their regular school day, it is astonishing to see projects many take on in their own time, often on their own dime, making their organization and the world a better place.

When asking someone what they do at the school, it is not unusual to hear a response like, “Well, I wear many hats” before describing a litany of roles played on campus. “I teach history and coach the girls’ softball team. I offer a free yoga class after school and tutor on the weekends. Oh, and I head the committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion.” For teachers, in particular, they may also have yard duty, carpool supervision, and often sit with the kids at lunch. And don’t forget the faculty meetings after school.

Then there are those whose passion takes them further.

  • They provide after school English language classes for parents in the neighborhood who may have recently arrived from another country.
  • They host a maker space after school for kids whose parents work late so that students can design, create, and tinker using recycled materials gathered from the community.
  • They enjoy hiking as a personal passion, so they organize trips to take kids outdoors and onto hiking trails that these young people didn’t know existed in L.A.
  • They are students who feel strongly about social justice and take it into their own hands to organize a march or bring in speakers to share their stories and engage peers in powerful conversations.

These kinds of stories are abundant and sparked by heroes who do their work, not for recognition, but because they understand the value it brings to those involved. They do it to make the lives of the people they impact better in some way.

At LumenSparQ, we are on a quest to support these heroes and to bring their stories to life. We hope they inspire others to do the same.

John Umekubo, Founder

Meet Our Team

John Umekubo

Founder, President

With 30 plus years in education, John has served in various roles for public and private schools and nonprofit organizations throughout Los Angeles. He finds inspiration through the everyday heroes with whom he’s been fortunate to work. Read more here.

Katya De los Rios

Founder, Treasurer

Katya currently works as an adjunct professor in the community college and Cal State University systems. As an immigrant and an educator, she is passionate about the importance of community and how one person can make a difference. Read more about Katya, here.

Armando Franco, Secretary

Armando Franco

Secretary

For the past twenty-seven years, Armando has dedicated his life to being a teacher and mentor to the students at Lennox Middle School. He is a member of the award-winning Physical Education Department at Lennox Middle School. Read more…

Christine Franco

Board Member

Christine Franco is a wellness educator who has worked to support, empower, and learn from the students she serves for the last 27 years.  She believes that addressing students’ emotional needs and creating a classroom where students feel safe, connected, and valued is the key to supporting academics. Read more…

Isabel Umekubo

Teen Advocate

Isabel is currently a senior at Da Vinci Communications High School and serves as Editor in Chief of the school newspaper, the Vitruvian Post. She hopes to pursue a career in Journalism. She enjoys writing and photography and is passionate about social justice and human rights.

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