We help financially vulnerable kids (and their families) flourish through active discovery.
Active Discovery consults with people who work with financially vulnerable kids every day. We create products that turn into active experiences for the kids, helping them discover things they love (and are good at) and setting the stage for them to flourish.
We believe that we can help level the playing field by giving financially vulnerable kids and their families opportunities they don’t currently have.
We believe this can lead them to grow in how they see their future and give them a pathway to progress regardless of their current circumstances.
Mary Ann Sprague-Denison
Founder and Executive Director
Mary Ann feels right at home at the helm of Active Discovery as her coaching career of over thirty years has been dedicated to promoting strong lives on and off the court, and strong efforts in the classroom as well. Coaching NCAA college volleyball, developing youth sport programs and running fitness classes for seniors have kept Mary Ann busy, but through it all, her greatest passion is found in building community and culture through sport (play!). Mary Ann’s college teams regularly earned AVCA’s highest national academic award and won the conference Sportsmanship Award nine times. Her players have graduated and gone into the world as business leaders, professional athletes and loyal family members. Mary Ann received her MBA from University of Missouri and is a USAV CAP Certified Coach and ACE Group Fitness Instructor.
Relocating to California was an easy decision for Mary Ann, as it brought her closer to her daughters and has been the perfect location to begin her non-profit work. Mary Ann believes that everyone is more prepared to prosper with regular activity in their lives. She shares that “every product we give has activity included, because research shows students who are physically active (even for just 10 minutes a day) tend to have better grades, school attendance, memory, and on-task behavior”. Our products lead kids and families in the right direction with toys, equipment, games, videos and snack-sized workouts, all of which foster a higher and more regular level of activity. Mary Ann shares, “I feel confident that every child or adult that has incorporated regular activity in their lives is happier for doing so.
Meet the Team
Liz Bayardelle - Web, Graphic Design, and consultant
Dr. Liz Bayardelle lives in Aliso Viejo, California with a cumulative 200 pounds of furbaby, three human kids, and her (incredibly patient) husband.
Liz has a BA in psychology, a MA in criminology, and a PhD in business psychology. At night and during naptimes, she works as an author, speaker, and digital consultant.
Liz serves as Active Discovery's resident internet nerd and is responsible for website development, graphic design, and any other tasks that require the wrangling of electrons.
Kerstyn Pocklington - Social Media
Kerstyn is currently a fitness instructor teaching Pilates and spin classes at local studios in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also has her Master's degree in Educational Counseling and spent her years in Newport Beach California as a high school counselor. She also has a business that helps high school students transition to the next step after high school - whether that's college, trade school and beyond.
Kerstyn spent two seasons as an assistant volleyball coach under Mary Ann, competed in triathlons, and runs social media accounts for local studios in Grand Rapids Michigan. Kerstyn’s personal mission aligns with that of Active Discovery. She's excited to witness the wonderful ideas behind Active Discovery come to life and into the hands of as many children and families as possible through the power of social media.
Kerstyn is excited to work with Active Discovery and help build strong communities through social media and other channels. Kerstyn has 4 active children who give her plenty of ideas for ways to implement Active Discovery kits and Snack-Sized workouts into their daily lives! As somebody who has cherished activity and movement for her lifetime, Kerstyn's work with Active Discovery is a perfect blend of her passion for education, children, adventure and movement.
Jamie Williams Sloan - Board member & Expansion Champion
Jamie is a midwestern gal who currently lives in IL with her family. Her life work has been in human development through a Montessori lens. Working with students (and adults) of all ages and backgrounds, and perhaps most notably as a mother to two, now 17-year-old daughters, Jamie has gained a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and the gift of opportunity. Her daughters, one of whom was born in China, have both attended Montessori school, been home-schooled, attended an International IB school in China, and attended public and private high school in the US. Jamie’s involvement along the way has taught her that human development is a journey unique to every individual, and one key is passion.
Active Discovery has found a way to open the door to passionate engagement for kids who may not have the same opportunities afforded to others. It is her privilege to champion the mission of Active Discovery.
Jeff Pocklington - Expansion Champion
Jeff lives in Grand Rapids, MI with his family. He’s worked for the last 10 years in Marketing Research and
Strategy roles at the Amway Corporation. Jeff's kids regret his decision to leave his sales career at The Hershey Company before they were born. "You mean you got free candy whenever you wanted" his eldest daughter once exclaimed! Jeff has also enjoyed positions over the years as a substitute teacher, summer camp counselor, tennis coach and now AYSO soccer coach volunteer. Jeff is passionate about youth development; whether on the field, court, lake, or in the classroom. He holds a B.A. in Marketing from Western Michigan University and a Masters in Marketing Research from Michigan State University. His hobbies include playing pickleball and introducing his kids to new activities such as hip hop, rock climbing, water-skiing, pickleball, soccer, art and music. He realizes his aspirations of becoming a professional tennis player are behind him, but has considered dedicating himself to becoming a national pickleball coach and 5.0+ level player.
Amanda Weitman - Board member
Ms. Weitman is a wealth advisor located in the Corte Madera Wells Fargo Private Bank office. She is responsible for working with high-net-worth clients to effectively manage their wealth, first by identifying each client’s unique goals then coordinating a team of specialists to implement custom, comprehensive wealth plans to help accomplish those goals.
Ms. Weitman began her career with and has been with the firm since July, 1983.
Ms. Weitman earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Economics from Principia College. She received her MBA from Golden Gate University and she earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy designation from American College.
Ms. Weitman received a Masters in Philanthropy from the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in 2020.
Ms. Weitman is a native of Marin County. She serves on several local non-profit boards.
Logan Layn - Board member
A social worker with a strong commitment to serving disadvantaged youth and adults. Experience working for non-profits alongside children with trauma, at risk youth, and families in crisis. Exceptionally skilled at coordinating teams, managing projects, and developing individuals. A compassionate and empathetic individual with the desire and training to love and serve the most vulnerable of our population.
Family Navigator, Families Forward
Family Resource Coordinator, Christ's Haven for Children
Recreation Manager, Christ's Haven for Children
Division I Collegiate Athlete
Trust Based Relational Intervention Certified
Gina Lindquist-Bailey has over twenty-five years of experience in nonprofit management. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Adventure Unlimited, a national youth-focused organization that offers camp experiences, outdoor education, leadership training and community building for both Christian Scientists and secular groups. Her current focus is on creating collaboration among groups with different needs and growing to encompass more diverse constituencies. In all of her roles she has worked closely with young people, empowering them to become servant leaders. Gina holds a B.A. in Environmental Communications from Drake University. She resides in Denver, CO, serves on several non-profit boards, and enjoys skiing, hiking, cycling, golf and just being in the great outdoors.
Mindy McGrath - Board member
Mindy played college volleyball for Mary Ann, and then became her assistant coach for several years before taking over her own programs. Mindy has been teaching Physical Education and coaching for the past 20 years at independent schools in the northwest.
Through teaching she hopes to encourage confidence in students through physical activity and create a space where all individuals feel supported to explore their own abilities regarding health and wellness.
From Mindy, “I have two amazing teenagers that have been my best teammates. They have put up with my crazy coaching schedules and have become extended family to whatever community I am a part of.
My daughter Gracia was born with Hydrocephalus. While this is not the only part of our story it is certainly a big piece of it. She had brain surgery when she was 6 months old and had a VP shunt placed. For the past 13 years of her life, she has battled many challenges and continues to face adversity with a smile. My son and I have been along for the ride and have learned a great deal more about patience, kindness, empathy, and resilience.”
Mary Ann has this to say about Mindy, “Mindy is a true character educator. She has a way of immediately getting through to kids (and adults) with her creative ability to pivot and find a better way. Mindy traveled to British Columbia with me to be a part of the camp team to lead a camp for Ukrainian refugee children, and Mindy became passionate about Active Discovery’s mission and was brimming with ideas. She has always been a consultant for me, and I’m grateful to have her on the Board now!"