Catrina DaCosta McAfee, Executive Director

Cat McAfee was born and raised in Attleboro, MA. After completing high school, she moved to Atlanta and attended Kennesaw State University. After a year, she transferred to Dekalb College where she received an associate’s degree in business administration. She then transferred to Georgia State University to continue her undergraduate in finance. After college, she started her own corporation, 13 Stories, LLC and toured all over the US for over a decade as the lead guitarist for 13 Stories.

McAfee also worked for Fundraising and Management Counsel as a Program Director in charge of management and execution of capital campaigns for non-profit organizations for nearly ten years. In 2000, she began working at The Gym at Peachtree as the Director of Skating and Roller Hockey and created one of the most successful hockey programs in Atlanta. Until 2005, McAfee taught skating to the LaAmistad children and helped find scholarships for the most advanced participants to attend camps or play in competitive leagues. In 2005, she became the Director of Athletics for LaAmistad.

In August 2007, McAfee became the Director of LaAmistad. She continued to study Spanish and has completed more than 300 hours of study at an accredited Spanish School, Instituto Chac-Mool in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In July 2012, McAfee was promoted to Executive Director of LaAmistad, Inc. Her responsibilities now include future growth planning, program replication, team leadership, fundraising, and management of volunteers and classrooms. Using what she has learned from her certification in Developing Capable Young People, her studies of Teach for America applications, and her experiences in fundraising, McAfee continues to take LaAmistad to even higher levels.

Her passion for the students, the families, and service to the community fuel her continued study and research of effective avenues of communication
and learning between different cultures. When Ms. McAfee is not at LaAmistad, she loves playing guitar, salsa dancing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and hockey.

Wesley Dennard, Development Director

Wesley Dennard was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, having attended Peachtree Presbyterian Church, LaAmistad After School’s original location, since childhood. Dennard graduated an Alpha Omega from The Westminster Schools in 2002. After high school, he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to attend the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science after inclusion on the college’s Dean’s List.

After his schooling at the University of Virginia, Dennard moved to Asheville, North Carolina where he served as Education Liaison and After School Program Group Leader at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Buncombe County. He was responsible for the reconstruction of the organization’s website, analysis of student measurables, and the scholastic performance of elementary school students.

In 2009, Dennard volunteered at LaAmistad After School @ Peachtree Presbyterian Church for several months and fell in love with the program. After moving back to Atlanta from Asheville in March 2012, Wesley joined LaAmistad, Inc. to serve as Development Director.

Leigh Ann Griswold, Business Manager

Griswold grew up in Kentucky and graduated from Eastern Kentucky University where she received her Associate of Arts degree in Office Management. In 1987, she moved to Atlanta and graduated from Georgia State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

She worked as an administrative assistant in the internal audit department at Ashland Oil. While attending Georgia State University, and after receiving her degree, she worked at Flamingo Joe’s Restaurant. Starting as a waitress, her job evolved into cashier, floor manager, and finally to assistant general manager over the course of six years. She began working at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in 1996 for Recreation Ministry and is currently the Business Manager for The Gym at Peachtree, where she is responsible for all financial aspects of the organization. At its inception, Griswold began working as the Business Manager of LaAmistad, Inc., also.

In her spare time Griswold enjoys being with her family and friends, teaching Sunday School, and volunteering at her children’s school and with Family Promise.

Angharad Chester-Jones, Program Director

Angharad Chester-Jones joined LaAmistad in the Fall of 2012 as The Program Director for LaAmistad Atlanta, Georgia. She has recently relocated to
Atlanta from Charleston, SC. Prior to her position with LaAmistad, she worked in Marketing and PR for a Child Advocacy Center in Charleston and before that she spent the majority of her professional career in Charleston working for the exclusive Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. In this capacity she managed the food and beverage marketing for the hotel, created and managed some of the hotel’s community outreach involvement, and assisted in overseeing all aspects of the Gourmet and Grapes yearly food and wine fundraising event for the Hollings Cancer Center.

Chester-Jones spent quite a bit of her free time volunteering for a variety of non-profit organizations in the Charleston, which also allowed her to maintain her public relations and communications skills, and interest in non-profits, arts, and culture. Prior to working at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Chester-Jones resided and worked in Greenwich, CT. She worked for the Historical Society of Greenwich and as an assistant to an interior designer, covering projects for Arabian, Egyptian, and French clients. Previous to this, Chester-Jones worked in marketing for several financial companies in Barcelona, Spain.

Angharad graduated from the College of Charleston in 2003 where she earned both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in Media Communications, and minored in Latin- American Caribbean Studies. She spent 5 years living and working abroad in such locations as London, Barcelona, Santiago, Chile; and Deia, Majorca. During this time she immersed herself in learning about other cultures, taking in the arts, fashion, languages, and architecture that flourished in many of the cities she lived in.

Chester-Jones is a dual citizen of the United States and Great Britain. In her spare time she enjoys running, dancing, yoga, tennis, swimming,
paddle boarding, and reading both serious and light fiction and non-fiction.

Jennifer O’Pry, Site Director

O’Pry was born and raised in Woodstock, GA, located 30 minutes north of Atlanta. She attended the University of Georgia and received her Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education from Kennesaw State University, which was all possible due to her receiving and maintaining the HOPE Scholarship.

She went on to teach 3rd grade for a Title I school in Bartow County, and was later offered a position teaching 1st grade at Roswell North Elementary in Fulton County. After a year of teaching, she returned to school at Brenau University to receive her Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education. While teaching at Roswell North Elementary, O’Pry received extensive training in literacy development, and trained fellow teachers on how to incorporate creative writing throughout the curriculum. O’Pry also worked as a private tutor for several students, and volunteered her time to improve literacy amongst children from low income families.

After teaching for six years in a traditional school setting, O’Pry decided to pursue one of her passions in education: incorporating technology into the curriculum. She worked for one of the largest virtual public schools in the nation, the Georgia Cyber Academy, until August 2013. O’Pry was drawn to LaAmistad, Inc. after seeing the positive impact it has on families, and she knew she wanted to be a part of this award-winning program. O’Pry accepted the position as Site Director for LaAmistad in August 2013 and works directly with Westminster Presbyterian Church and Garden Hills Elementary to oversee LaAmistad After School at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

In her free time, O’Pry enjoys spending time with her family, working and gardening in her yard, studying to improve her Spanish, traveling, and reading.