Jill Gurr – Founder and Executive Director

Jill Gurr, Founder and Executive Director of Create Now, has devoted the last twenty-three years of her life to mentoring more than fifty at-risk and high-risk youth. Through Create Now, she has matched hundreds of mentors with thousands of vulnerable children in the Southern California and Orlando regions. 

She published a comprehensive book called, Mentor Youth Now: A Guidebook for Transforming Young Lives based on these experiences that is available on Amazon. Jill published two additional books: Adventures with the Ancient Crystal Skulls, which was commissioned by Joky Van Dieten, and Dolphin Healing, an illustrated children's novel. 

Jill graduated with a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University, attended the City of London Polytechnic and received a Professional Producer’s Certificate from UCLA. After graduation from college, she spent several years traveling and living around the world, including throughout Latin America and Europe. She is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.

Jill is a produced screenwriter, having adapted the book Hit and Run by James Hadley Chase into the screenplay Rigged, which stars George Kennedy. This film was distributed internationally by Kodiak Films. She wrote Socrates, a PBS pilot for “The Immortals” series that stars Ed Asner. Several of her original screenplays have been optioned. She also has extensive experience (over 25 years) working with top celebrities on award-winning film and TV productions all around the world as a Script Supervisor. 

Jill was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in 2005, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° in 2007, locally on KTLA's "Heroes at Home," in 2010, plus NBC-TV, Fox11 News and ABC-TV in 2008, as well as in the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Jill was one of eight people in the country honored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to be part of a permanent exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles called “Everyday Heroes.” 

Jill was one of the first four Americans ever selected by the British Council to be part of a six-
week Global Xchange program in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Durban, South Africa in 2010, with 25 representatives of youth organizations from six different countries. She currently gives presentations to international diplomats through the International Visitors Council and the U.S. State Department. Email: jill@createnow.org.

Laura Kelly – Director of Programs

Laura Kelly began her professional career at UCLA and remained for many years as an editor, proofreader, and production coordinator, with a fervor for special events. During this period, she volunteered her professional skills toward peace in war-torn El Salvador. She worked full time at El Rescate, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that provided legal and social services and human rights advocacy for the Central American community. She managed an award-winning youth program for the young people of the community and also produced many high-profile fundraising events.

Laura continued her career in event production for years at the Hollywood Bowl and other prestigious venues and remained committed to youth and the arts as a committee member for a youth music nonprofit. In 2010 she put her career on hold to serve in AmeriCorps as a VISTA with a mission to eliminate poverty in the United States. To her delight, she was assigned to Create Now to help in resource development. After serving a term as the VISTA Leader at the Office of the Mayor, City of Baltimore, she returned to Create Now as our Director of Programs. Email: laura@createnow.org.

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Kelly Thomas - Director of Philanthropy

A background in youth services, along with her belief in all people's responsibility to fight poverty and injustice, fuels Kelly's career in philanthropy. She loves connecting people in unique ways to causes that move them. After teaching English to language learners in France, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Kelly transitioned into the development world. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), where she helped streamline development systems and led HOLA's first crowdfunding campaign. Following this, she worked in Donor Relations at Children's Bureau. There, she launched new initiatives to engage a broader community of donors, including a Young Professionals Network and Team all4kids, a peer-to-peer fundraising initiative.

Kelly is excited to join Create Now and help build a strong network of support to carry the organization another 20 years. She is also a fiction writer and loves being a part of Create Now's artistic community. Email: kelly@createnow.org.

Ruby Medina – Program Coordinator

Ruby’s career serving high-risk populations spans over a decade. She dedicated the first four years to Jovenes, Inc., an agency that serves homeless and emancipated youth. Taking a break to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and minoring in Sociology from San Diego State University, she later returned to Los Angeles to embark on her job with Create Now. 

Since 2008, Ruby has spearheaded several special programs, such as our Art Xchange program in Rwanda and the production of our Recording Studio. However, her true passion is finding opportunities and donations for our youth. Her hard work and dedication has secured thousands of tickets so that the children we serve are able to attend live events, plays, concerts, visit museums and enjoy other cultural experiences. 

Ruby is a lover of all things L.A and spends her free time with her husband and their daughter, exploring the best things the city has to offer. Email: ruby@createnow.org.

Danielle Carrillo - Program Assistant

Danielle Carrillo graduated in 2013 from the University of California, Los Angeles where she majored in Psychology and minored in both Gender Studies and Civic Engagement. Then, she headed off to Cambodia to serve in the Peace Corps as a Health Education volunteer. Her time was spent teaching maternal and child nutrition at the local village health center, as well as giving hygiene and sanitation lessons to children in the greater community.

Currently, Danielle is busy working towards her Master in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at the University of Southern California. She is excited to work alongside Create Now’s team of hardworking staff. To keep life interesting, she loves to attend music festivals and concerts, and adventure around Los Angeles. Email: danielle@createnow.org.