Schinnell Leake

Our Founder and Executive Director

Schinnell Leake has always enjoyed creating events that are special and unique—parties that both children and adults remember. 

As the former owner of Extra-Ordinary Moments, a for-profit entity that provided imaginative and unique children’s birthday parties, she set out to provide the same types of birthday parties for children who were experiencing homelessness in the Washington metropolitan area. 

As a mother, Schinnell knows how important it is for her children to feel confident and have self-worth. After learning that more than 2,000 children live in homeless shelters throughout the Washington, D.C. area, Schinnell started the nonprofit, Extra-Ordinary Birthdays, the only organization of its kind in the capital area that throws personalized birthday parties for homeless children to make them feel recognized and valued. Using her party-planning background, Schinnell has thrown more than 400 birthday parties and currently partners with eight homeless shelters in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Nikiah Wade

Our Associate Director

Nikiah believes strongly in the mission and vision of Extra-Ordinary Birthdays (EOB). Since inception she has served on EOB's Board of Directors and as Associate Director.  As a mother, who has delivered unique birthday parties for her own children, Nikiah highly regards the significance of celebrating the blessing of each year of life. 

As a District of Columbia (DC) native, she especially considers it an honor to be able to provide birthday celebrations for homeless children in the DC Metropolitan area. Nikiah's degree in psychology and professional experience has equipped her to plan engaging activities that meet youth needs and encourages healthy youth development. Her passion for helping others allows her to carry out EOB's mission with compassion and care for everyone the organization serves.

Our Board

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Lauren Bennett

Lauren’s passion for serving homeless children is rooted in her personal experiences with displaced families both in Texas and DC. Classroom experiences introduced Lauren, an educator, to the realities and perils of homelessness through shelter-bound students. She worked on the McKinney Vento Homeless Grant that provided resources and funds for local homeless families—and created outside-of-the-classroom experiences for children that their families or shelters could not afford for them. Lauren is furthering her investment and commitment to the homeless community by serving on EOB’s Board of Directors. A lover of life and the ongoing celebration of it, Lauren is proud to serve EOB in a capacity that best suits her background and personality.

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Arkelga Braxton

Boasting more than 20 years of accounting and auditing prowess, EOB Treasurer Arkelga—also a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Government Financial Manager—spends his days as an Assistant Director with a Federal Government agency. President, Treasurer, Board Member: Arkelga’s worn many hats—and racked up a surplus of experience working with not-for-profit organizations—rendering him a tremendous asset to EOB. 

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Julie Butler

A certified meeting professional, jack-of-all-trades Julie boasts a multitude of experience in meeting planning, program and project coordination, and digital events. As the Annual Conference Program and Exhibits Manager for a non-profit, she manages all aspects of educational program development, mobile applications, and digital education—in addition to managing a large exhibit hall. Julie has organized events as large as the Coldwater Reunion Music Festival and as small as her children’s birthday parties. She’s currently the co-president of her son’s school’s parent association and has managed her daughter’s soccer team. Julie worked as the Volunteer Coordinator for EOB, managing outreach, communication and fostering an engaged community of volunteer supporters. Her personal attributes of relationship management skills and ability to effectively adapt to change make her a valuable asset to the EOB’s mission and the community it serves.

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Anne Marie Marshall

With her finger firmly on the pulse of education, Anne Marie has dedicated much of her career—she has a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in education—to bringing equity, diversity, and empowerment to underserved communities. A former elementary school teacher within the Milwaukee Public Schools system, Anne Marie uses her decades of classroom experience to share age-appropriate ideas, themes, and activities for EOB celebrations. Currently, she works with children and teachers in New York Public Schools. 

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Jolene McNeil

Philly native and American University grad Jolene has paved a trailblazing career between the City of Brotherly Love and DC, where she currently serves as Senior Manager, Event Operations for Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). While she’s held a number of event leadership positions—including with the Child Welfare League of America and the Drug Information Association—Jolene’s real passion is community service. On top of multiple community service committee chair appointments, she’s a Girl Scouts troop leader and a DC Ronald McDonald House volunteer. She is the 2007 Greater Philadelphia PCMA

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Amanda Reed

Amanda joined Extra-Ordinary Birthdays as a Party Volunteer in January 2015—and quickly learned she wasn’t going to make it in the birthday party biz if she didn’t memorize all of the lyrics to Frozen’s “Let It Go.” When she’s not leading EOB dance trains, stuffing goody bags, or serving cupcakes, Amanda can be found at Foundry United Methodist Church, where she’s an ESL teacher—or FiscalNote in downtown DC, where she works as a Talent Specialist.

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Debbi Reid

Helping people change their lives through organization is Debbi’s specialty. With years of marketing and event planning experience under her belt, she longed to apply her expertise in the community: that’s where EOB comes in. As a Professional Partner of Extra-Ordinary Birthdays, Debbi has been instrumental in creating structure in the organization’s set-up that ensures all parties are orchestrated in a systematic and efficient way. Her experience as an event planner coupled with her role as a mom who relishes family time and believes in family engagement are additional components that she brings to the EOB Board. 

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Andrea Shearin 

A Compliance Policy Specialist with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Andrea is responsible for establishing supervisory policy regarding community reinvestment and fair lending laws and regulations. She is also responsible for developing bank examination procedures, examiner tools, and training, and providing guidance and clarification in these areas to examiners and the banking industry. A graduate of James Madison University, Andrea boasts more than two decades in the financial services industry and is designated by the Institute of Certified Bankers as a Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager. She has served on various boards and committees of organizations focused on community service and believes that EOB is building a positive future for homeless children.

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