Board Members

Athletes for Education 2013 Board of Directors

Mariana Figueroa -  President
Being civic-minded is just who Mariana Figueroa is. For years she has worked for Calvary Christian Academy, first as the Community Outreach Coordinator and now the Events Coordinator & Assistant to the Junior High/High School Principal.

As a married mother of two teenage boys, she knows firsthand the importance of teaching children strong values and giving them hope for an amazing future. She would see other youth on her sons’ football teams not as fortunate who seemed to against all odds make positive choices. That was Mariana’s impetus to reach out to AFE to help these hard-working student-athletes find a positive role model. They found him in Steven Haynes and AFE.

While Mariana is a fiercely private person, she has a heart of gold and is always seeking to expand AFE’s reach into the San Diego Community. Today, she proudly holds the role of President of the AFE Board of Directors as we move into our 20th year of existence. Having personally experienced the positivity created by Steven and AFE, her goal is to recreate it through her leadership in honor of Steven’s legacy.


L. Jeannette Hernandez – Treasurer 2004 – Present
Jenny Hernandez is an attorney whose practice focuses on the needs of small businesses, in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, working with clients from the formation stage through compliance with corporate requirements, to the various legal issues that businesses face on a daily basis.
Jenny is active in the community and has been involved with multiple nonprofit organizations, having served for two years on the Planned Giving Committee of the La Jolla branch of the YMCA, and for over seven years as a member of the Board of Directors of Athletes for Education.

In addition, she is a member of the California Bar Association, American Bar Association, San Diego County Bar Association, and has an MBA in Marketing as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.


Don Smoyer- Vice President I
Don is a retired fishing captain for El Gato Dos Sportfishing based in San Diego. After 35 years of running tug and fishing boats off the coast of San Diego, he has dedicated his life to many philanthropic causes. Don has been on the Board of Directors for the Dickinson Foundation for the past 10 years.

As a cancer survivor,, he supports local charities that provide recourses for cancer patients, survivors and their families. He has been a friend of AFE for over 15 years and believes that all of the AFE programs help children develop strong life values that help shape their future.


Tony Castro- Vice President II
Affectionately known as “Fat Tony”, Tony Castro first joined the AFE Family in 2005 when volunteering for one of our fundraisers. It was a natural fit between AFE and Tony as he loved to help Steve Haynes with the heavy lifting as well as designing the amazing graphics, logos and artistic pieces for AFE events and programs.  As a through-and-through Chargers fan, Tony has also relished his opportunity to chaperone kids in the Community Corner for home games over the years.

Today, Tony is a business owner running – Fat Tony Promotions – as he proudly shares his artistic gift with the public.  Given his long history with AFE, it was a natural fit for Tony to join the AFE Board in 2013.


Ysabel Giacalone- Secretary
Anyone that has ever met Ysabel knows that she has an undeniable strength of character!  She is a two-time cancer survivor that first started volunteering with Athletes for Education in 2007 as a Program Director for Tra Battle’s Battle for Success program.  Ysabel and Tra first connected when he signed on with the San Diego Chargers.  She had forged a great working relationship with the Chargers organization as Pearson Ford’s Manager of the Rental Car Department, where she worked for more than 20 years (until they closed their doors in 2009).

The more Ysabel volunteered with AFE, the more she felt as though she found her calling in life.  When her job ended with Pearson, she looked at it as a door opening for her to follow her dreams and expand her positive influence on the San Diego community that she loved so dearly.  For years she worked side-by-side with Steven Haynes as they changed the lives of hundreds of San Diego children.  Today, Ysabel remains an active member of the San Diego community running her own AFE Program, Ysabel’s Pink Angels, as well as acting on the AFE Board of Directors.  Her passion, drive and empathy for others shines through in everything she does.


Programs