19 in 2019 Features
#1 – Dr. Daniel Kimbley
When we embarked on our 19 in 2019 campaign, we wanted to solicit stories from within our community that embodied Dana Point’s motto of “Harboring the Good Life.” These people may work, live, or volunteer in the community, and are nominated by someone in Dana Point familiar with their positive endeavors and community spirit.
Dr. Daniel has given back to the Dana Point Community by sponsoring the Dana Hills High School girls basketball team, donating and participating the Taste of Dana event, and volunteering for the Dana Hills Grad Nite event. He and his wife Heather, also regularly volunteer for The Just Like Me Foundation events, the Dana Point Lobster Fest, the Doheny Blues Festival, the Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon, and the Boys and Girls Club Holiday Homework Drive. In addition, they are active sponsors and participants in the John Malcolm Elementary PTA and helped sponsor the first ever Healthy Kids Running Series in Laguna Niguel. All of this while being in their first year of business.Our first profile is Dr. Daniel Kimbley, who not only lives in Dana Point but his business – Nexus Family Chiropractic – is less than a mile away from his home in the Lantern District of Dana Point. In addition to living and working in the community, Kimbley has volunteered for numerous events with the Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club, is an Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce, and supports a number of professional organizations inside of the chiropractic profession and locally in Dana Point.
“We loved the people, the beaches, the surf culture, and the lack of big-box or chain stores in the area. We knew without a doubt this is the community we wanted to not only have a business in, but contribute to as much as possible, and raise a family in.”
Kimbley has more than a passion for helping people with their physical ailments. He has a distinguished career guiding the young minds of America. With a degree in Secondary English Education from Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis, Kimbley began teaching at the largest high school in Indiana, where he grew increasingly interested in the brain, childhood stress, and its implications on how kids learn and become successful as adults.
He began developing new teaching strategies that taught soft skills, focusing on grit, willpower, curiosity, and creativity. As he started implementing concepts that had never been done in a classroom setting, administrators began asking him to mentor other teachers. He became the AVID Coordinator for the high school, taught 10th-grade honors English, and an inclusion American Literature class with juniors.
As all of these changes in his teaching career were happening, he was simultaneously learning more about the chiropractic care he had just experienced as a patient. What he discovered is that the same part of the brain he was learning about to make a greater impact with his students in the classroom was the same part of the brain that was highly influenced by the chiropractic adjustment.
The longer he taught, especially in his students with autism, ADHD, and other learning disabilities, he began to ask the question, “What if these students were under chiropractic care to increase academic performance and further influence the part of the brain responsible for success?” He then had the epiphany that to create a lasting impact in entire communities and generations of people, he needed to become a Doctor of Chiropractic to provide the care he so desperately knew his students needed. His goal was to teach these principles about the nervous system, learning, and success to entire families.
In 2014, Dr. Kimbley resigned from teaching, took the summer off and then began working on his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He and his wife Heather began to look for a permanent home for their practice. They had two prerequisites: water and a warm year-round climate. That left them looking to either Florida or Southern California. Two years in a row, they traveled the coast of California and fell in love with the small-town vibe of Dana Point.
In December of 2017, Kimbley graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia earning the Clinic Excellence Award for outstanding clinical skills for his graduating class. He was also awarded a Core Proficiency Award for Relationship Skill and Communication Theory.
Kimbley created Nexus Family Chiropractic because he had a passion for educating and supporting whole families by improving connections and relationships, health and healing, as well as giving back through many volunteer opportunities. The Kimbleys always choose to shop local and support local businesses as much as possible. All of this has been by design to serve the community they live in.
#2 – Wayne Penn-Schafer
Surf legend and Capo Beach icon Wayne Penn-Schafer has been a part of Dana Point’s small-town surf history since the 1950s. Friends with Hobie for over 40 years, Wayne and Hobie tested the first ever Hobie Cat on the beach in front of Wayne’s Beach Road home. Since then, Wayne has become a Director of the Hobie Memorial Foundation, a contributor to the Surfing Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, and a member of an informal Surf Club called Poche, along with other Dana Point legends like Walter Hoffman. Wayne still surfs and paddleboards in his late 80s.
Wayne Graduated from North Hollywood High School and went on to attend Los Angeles City College for two years, where he would be introduced to surfing by a group of Veterans who returned from serving our country on the GI Bill. Little did he know his life would change forever. Wayne’s new friends spent their weekends surfing at San Onofre, which sparked Wayne’s interest in the sport. He went from being a “Valley kid” to hanging out in Hobie Alter’s garage.
In June of 1953, Wayne’s mother purchased her Capo Beach home and Wayne landed a job at Walt Disney Studios, where he was an assistant film editor. He commuted back and forth for a few years because working for Walt Disney himself was a magical time for Wayne.
Eventually, he put his life savings into Dana Point and purchased the last lot on Beach Road, right next to his family’s home. It was the start of Wayne’s 30-year career as a real-estate broker and investor.
There was no steady employment in Dana Point in the 1960s, so after his stint at Disney, Wayne took odd jobs here and there for a few years, lifeguarding in San Clemente and helping fishermen set traps. He also did side projects for Hobie as the company took off.
Wayne continued to invest in Dana Point by working with a friend from school who was an architect to develop two properties that he still manages today. The first was at the end of La Plaza by the Clock Tower and the second was an office building on Golden Lantern and PCH that was built in 1964. Both of which are home to local Dana Point businesses today.
Wayne Shafer still calls Capo Beach home, still manages his properties, and loves to share his story with locals and visitors who want to learn more about Dana Point.
#3 – Sandra Ackerman
Sandra Ackerman is a Dana Point resident who is most commonly recognized as being one of the original founding members of CASA Animal Shelter 37 years ago. In January of 1983, Sandra, along with other volunteers and the Fire Chief, began rescuing and housing stray animals – with no funding. After many years of hard work and effort by the volunteers, a permanent facility was constructed in 1996. Today, it’s known as CASA, the Coastal Animal Services Authority, and oversees animal sheltering and animal control services for the cities of San Clemente and Dana Point.
Sandra has always been generous with her time, supporting both the animals and the shelter. She currently works in the front office on a weekly basis, assisting the public, answering phones and promoting adoptable animals. Sandra has been a long term member of the Pet Project Foundation (PPF), providing financial and volunteer support for the animal shelter. Sandra has served on PPF’s Board of Directors as the President, Volunteer Coordinator, and has chaired many of their fundraisers throughout the years. As a Board member, Sandra was involved with the oversight of PPF’s role in shelter operations. She has contributed her time and opened her home to house hospice foster animals when needed – caring for as many as 6 animals at a time who are recovering from surgery or older pets that have a lesser chance of being adopted.
Sandra has played a key role in all of PPF’s annual fundraising events and continues to play an instrumental role in the success of the Pet Project Foundation and their relationship with CASA.
Sandra has dedicated most of her life to serving the animals who also call Dana Point home, and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. It’s people like Sandra that make our city a truly special community.When Sandra doesn’t have her hands full with our local furry friends, she spends time in Africa where she learned of the poor conditions of young children. This sparked Sandra, along with other Dana Point residents, to create a group called Sopa Kenya, which means hello in Maasai. They formed a 501(c)3 and started raising funds for bathrooms, desks, tablets and whatever the school principals in Kenya needed.
#4 – Anna Nemeth
There may be nobody that resonates with kids more than their peers. The Kids Helping Kids Club of Dana Hills High School led by President Anna Nemeth has been an inspiration to the RH Dana Elementary School community and students all year. While other high school students are thinking about what they are going to do with friends and what they are going to wear, Anna and her club members volunteer hours of their time to help RH Dana Elementary School, as well as, other schools and organizations in the Dana Point/Laguna Niguel area. As president of the Kids Helping Kids Club at Dana Hills High School, Anna made contact with Principal Kristen Nelson in the
summer before school started to offer tutoring help from club members. Anna and her peers go every Wednesday to offer tutoring, supervision out on the field at recess and mentoring of students. Having role models like Anna and her team means so much to these elementary school students. They look forward to their visits each week.
Anna and her club also decided that they wanted to give more to RH Dana than just their time. They began fundraising , holding different events throughout the community raising funds to support the elementary school. In total, they raised $10,000 for the school! Funds will be used to improve the library, PE program, outdated office, and provide much needed academic materials and equipment. Anna and the club members also helped organize a book drive to give students books to take home. Not only did they deliver thousands of books, club members took the time to read with the students. The RH Dana students are still talking about that special day!
Anna Nemeth is an exceptional leader and a person who constantly is giving back to our community. The students in the Kids Helping Kids Club of DHHS are kindhearted and want to make a true difference in the lives of others. They know that their actions can make a true difference. As a community, we are very lucky to have these types of young people in our midst and being such a great example of what it means to live a life of service in Dana Point.In December, the club coordinated a holiday celebration complete with art activities, food and hot chocolate. The entire club showed up, and the students were greeted at their recess with holiday cheer that put a smile on faces that will long be remembered.
#5 – Rachel Coleman
One of the main things our youth and many people well into adulthood struggle with is body image. From how they look in a mirror, to obsessing over body shape and clothing sizes, people can become overwhelmed by these feelings and fears that can lead to a lot of unhealthy habits. Rachel Coleman is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Certified Dialectical Behavior Therapist (DBT) who has done extensive training in the Intuitive Eating dietetic approach. She also holds a position on the Board of the Orange County chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP). She is continuously researching, consulting, and learning more about eating disorders so she can remain fresh, informed, and confident in her healing approach to the Dana Point community.
She recently joined forces with the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital to increased education to the top Endocrinologists about Diabulimia, an area expanding in its understanding. She was on the Board of Directors for the OC IAEDP for 5 years (serving all local ED Professionals), helps with OC NEDA walks and sponsors (last year was located in Laguna Niguel), and is involved in the Outreach Ministry and Childcare Ministry at a local church, Mariners South County on the border of Dana Point/SJC on a monthly basis.
Rachel has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over ten years, treating women of all ages and their families navigating recovery from an Eating Disorder. After watching her cousin develop a severe eating disorder that led to years of living out of state for treatment and watching her dad support her uncle while he grieved his daughter’s condition, she dedicated her life to better understanding what drives young, beautiful, intelligent girls to sabotage their bright futures with such a deadly disease.
She uses humor and authenticity to connect with the most resistant, depressed, suicidal, and medically compromised teens and encourage their families to help guide their daughters to healing. She has spoken to students all over Orange County, ranging from middle school to graduate school about body image, Eating Disorder prevention, and treatment. She is passionate about encouraging the next generation to banish diet culture, embrace their bodies, and be more educated about how the beauty culture works to manipulate their minds.
Not only does Rachel spend her time working with our youth, but she and her family are also a Host family through the non-profit organization Safe Families, which is a branch of Olive Crest social services. They take children in that are at risk for being taken from their parents by CPS and need to be cared for temporary so their parents can utilize resources and stabilize their lives and living arrangements. They have taken in six children to their Dana Point home over the past two years. Their stay is anywhere from five days to six weeks.
Rachel and her family are very active and enjoy many local activities such as paddle boarding in Dana Point harbor, hiking the Headlands Trail, surfing at Doheny, and riding the trolley during the summers while exploring new restaurants! They love browsing at the Farmers Market, Mermade Market, Tall Ships Festival, and having picnics during the summer concert series. Rachel and her children are regular attendees at Dana Point storytime, participate in Dana Point Baby Boot Camp on a weekly basis, and Rachel loves to do SUP Yoga in the harbor with I Heart Yoga. On the weekends you can find them eating with their kids at Lupes, Harbor House Café, or getting ice cream at Rita’s or Baskin Robbins.
#6 – Elsa Stuart
Elsa Stuart was born and raised in Dana Point and has been growing Orange County’s health and wellness community for over a decade. Originally trained as a fitness coach, Elsa expanded her health practice as a certified Yoga instructor and started a small community yoga class outdoors in Dana Point just a few days a week with friends and family. 10 years later, iHeartYogais Dana Point’s #1 Yoga Studio, as voted by Dana Point Times readers, and Orange County’s largest yoga community. IHeartYoga offers 60+ classes per week, events, boutique fashion, international yoga retreats, and of course, iHeartYoga in the Park as the flagship class providing donation-based yoga overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Dana Point Harbor every day for over 10 years. Elsa and the iHeartYoga instructors reach over 50,000 students per year.
Elsa partners with local businesses to connect the growing health and wellness community of Dana Point with unique, mission-aligned brands and influencers in order to promote the importance of practicing and sharing healthy habits and living a positive and enjoyable life. You’ll see iHeartYoga and Westwind Sailing offering SUP Yoga classes, Frisby Cellars hosting iHeartYoga’s Vino and Vinyasa class, Marriott Laguna Cliffs partnering with Elsa for visiting guests interested in Dana Point’s fitness scene, and collaborating with VisitDanaPoint and local leaders to make Dana Point the #1 health and wellness destination in the U.S.
Elsa spends a growing portion of her time volunteering at the Studio and with its members to raise awareness for charitable causes. A portion of profits is donated to local and national charities including Be The Match bone marrow donor program, school clothing and supplies collections, and Rancho Las Hermosa Orphanage in Baja California which fosters dozens of abandoned children throughout Mexico.
Elsa and her husband John (and soon to be baby daughter) are proud members of the Dana Point community and rapidly growing health and wellness movement in Orange County. Elsa’s passions are focused on promoting the variety of healthy activities available in Dana Point Harbor, our beautiful beaches, local parks and merchants, and everything the surrounding Orange County community has to offer.
#7 – Lyndcee Barragato
Lyndcee Barragato found her passion for serving the special needs community when she was a student at Dana Hills High School.
During her sophomore year, she served as a teacher’s assistant for the STEPS (Special Education) class, and the experience changed her life forever. After befriending and getting to know many of the students in the STEPS class at DHHS, Lyndcee found that the majority of these students didn’t have many social opportunities outside the hours of school.
Once Lyndcee graduated from DHHS in 2013, she headed off to CSUSM to pursue her degree in Communications, while at the same time, doing research on how to start a non-profit that would benefit the special needs community. On February 22, 2017, and during her junior year of college (at 22 years old), Lyndcee launched the Just Like Me Foundation (JLM)When Lyndcee came to this realization, she began dreaming of a program that would provide year-round activities for her community members with special needs.
Based in Dana Point, JLM is a non-profit organization that provides year-round activities and events for teens and young adults with special needs. Over the years, Lyndcee has built a partnership with city leaders in Dana Point and with members of the Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club (MBSRC). These partnerships have given Lyndcee the ability to organize more frequent activities in Dana Point.
#8 – Bethany Zelasko
Bethany Zelasko was the first Dana Point Surf Club- DHHS scholarship winner last year and was chosen not only because she is an outstanding surfer for Dana Hills, but she also got really good grades. Bethany is also very active in the community through her church service. The Club wanted to recognize Bethany as a great ambassador for Dana Point since she travels the globe to hang 10.
Bethany Zelasko is also a brand ambassador for Killer Dana Surf Shop and is a dynamic and powerful young female surfer who has won titles in Southern California and Canada. Bethany is a dual citizen of the US and Canada. She was born in San Francisco and now calls Dana Point home. She was born and raised in the US. BZ is a Canadian citizen because her Mom was born in Canada and all children of Canadian-born parents can become citizens of Canada. She embodies a team spirit and is always willing to give a helping hand without being asked.
Some of her recent accomplishments include being a member of the Canadian NationalOlympic Team, 2019, and she is the second seed in July 2019 Pan American Games (direct qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games).Bethany’s primary focus is to qualify for and win the gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Bethany is the second seed in the Pan American Games and will be surfing at the 2019 ISA World Championships.
Bethany is driven to be the best, her dedication and discipline to perfecting her craft as a surfer is a testimony to how much she wants to win an Olympic Gold medal. As much as she wants to get better at surfing, having a wholesome, professional, and healthy attitude is just as important to Bethany. Rooted in a solid foundation, she is a force to be reckoned with.
Dana Point is proud to have Bethany represent our community and wish her the very best luck on her journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
#9 – Brittany Casey
Born and raised in Dana Point, Brittany Casey has been an active member in our community her entire life. As a young child, she quickly found her love of the Arts and began to hone her craft through private vocal lessons, local choral groups, dance classes, and theater performances.
During her time as a student at Dana Hills High School, Brittany was a featured performer of the South Orange County School of the Arts (SOCSA) program, an auditioned-based visual and performing arts academy held within the traditional Dana Hills High School setting.
Upon graduation (class of 2000), Brittany attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and earned her BA from the school of Theater, Film and Television (class of 2003) and quickly returned home to Dana Point to begin working at DHHS/SOCSA as a walk-on performing arts coach.
In 2006, Brittany was hired as a full-time teacher and director for Dana Hills and continued to provide experiences for her students, giving opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.
Over her 12 years in the classroom, supported and inspired by her mentor teacher, the great Ray Woods, Brittany directed over 30 musicals and 20 dance concerts, among many other shows and live arts events produced by the SOCSA staff. She has taught English, Dance, Theater, Theatrical Production (stagecraft), and Musical Theater! Additionally, she co-directed the Associated Student Union for 6 years and helped it grow from 35 to well over 100 members.
Currently, Brittany is beginning her 2nd year as an Assistant Principal, still proudly serving her alma mater and hometown community of Dana Point where she lives with her husband, Ron and two sons, Geoffrey, and Oliver in her childhood home.
Brittany is a proud product of Dana Point and honored to be continuing to serve and build her school and hometown community.
#10 – Will Campisano
If you’ve ever been to Salt Creek Beach, you’ve probably seen Will Campisano in the tunnel playing guitar and singing for passers-by until the sun goes down. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, he plays his favorite music as surfers, dog-walkers, bikers, and families smile and listen.
Will is an 18-year-old musician and songwriter who grew up in New York and learned how to play the piano when he was six. He moved to Dana Point in 2013. He took up guitar his freshman year of high school at Dana Hills High School (DHHS) when he was asked to learn how to play for “A Very Potter Musical.” Since then, Will hasn’t put the guitar down. DHHS was a place where Will’s musical abilities flourished. He was in multiple choirs, bands, and music classes that taught him everything from digital audio production to music theory. He was fortunate to have his teachers, parents, and friends support him through this time in his life, as it was very transformative for him.
Will has been playing in the tunnel for two years now and has had the wonderful opportunity of playing local birthday parties, marriage proposals, and weddings. He finds it to be one of the most rewarding activities he’s ever had in his life and would say the tunnel and the people he sees there every weekend are a part of him. Playing in the tunnel just started as a fun hobby with friends singing barbershop quartet songs at night. But as Will began taking his guitar there alone, he was asked to play for a wedding. From there, things got serious. He started going every day on the weekends at sunset, and since then, he hasn’t stopped.
A lot of Will’s inspiration to pursue guitar and songwriting came from influences like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Anyone who’s known him for more than ten minutes knows just how obsessed he is with John Mayer’s songs, guitar playing, and musical abilities. Will even wrote and released his first single “Weatherman,” which is now on Spotify and Apple Music!
Will just graduated from DHHS and will be attending NYU as a Music Business Major in the fall. He hopes to continue being a live performer in NYC and release more music as an independent artist in the future. Will will always remember where he started – right under the tunnel at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point.
#11 – Manny Jurado
Dana Point has a team of very important people that serve our community every day as a part of the Volunteers In Police Services program, more commonly referred to as our local VIPS. The work done by these individuals helps save the City of Dana Point money each year in Police Services. One very important VIP is Manny Jurado.
Manny lives in Dana Point with his wife Rebecca and works all of the City’s special events, front counter, van patrol, and helps to train all of our new volunteers. He’s a go-to for everything and has given back a total of 5,745 hours to Dana Point!
The first few years, Manny did bike patrol, van patrol, and some front desk duties to learn all the requirements of the VIPS jobs. He especially took an interest in the front desk position at it seemed more challenging and interesting for him.
He then quickly became involved with the special events including summer concerts, Festival of Whales parade, getting up at 4:00 a.m. for the annual Turkey Trot, Winter Fest, Coffee with a Cop, Tip a Cop, National Night Out, etc. He does set up and break down, assists in the overall security assignment, as well as work Crime Prevention and Dana Point Police Services promotions. Manny also is very handy. He repairs and maintains the VIPS and CSU bicycles.
Currently, Manny averages 60 hours a month of volunteer time between van patrol (with his wife Rebecca, they call it “date night”) and the front desk. He commits a minimum of 36 hours, plus monthly training to TIP. In addition, he also responds on special calls where a Spanish speaker is required. He even has a special clearance which allows him to respond to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County calls.
Manny has also been a part of Big Brother where he advised and assisted teen boys and young men in a high-risk area of La Puente. In many of those cases, he helped with family, school problems, and general life situations.
He has also worked for the Special Olympics for the last three years volunteering for the track and field events and logistics. He can always be found cheering and encouraging participants too.
That’s not all.
Manny served as a call taker on the public information call bank for the 1994 World Cup. He was selected due to his language skills in German and Spanish. He was especially helpful since the World Cup is an international event. He also made a public appearance as “Stryker”- World Cup mascot.
Manny’s long legacy of service began as a Draft Board Appeals member during the Vietnam War and later on as the Draft Board became passive. He helped to provide emotional first aid to war veterans to ease their immediate suffering and facilitate their healing and long term recovery.
Manny is truly an outstanding citizen of Dana Point. Despite facing some of the toughest challenges in his volunteer work, he is always willing to lend a hand with a huge smile on his face.