Our Founders & Staff

Gerald Blog Photo
Gerald M. Williams
Co-Founder and CEO

Gerald is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of Directed Initiatives for Youth, Inc. A Non-Profit organization that is committed to serve the youth of New Orleans through Summer programs, Enrichment programs, and athletics. He is an ordained Minister and currently serves as Pastor for TCANOE (The Church at New Orleans East)  in New Orleans and also serves as an assistant High School Basketball Coach and Middle School Baseball Coach at Isidore Newman School. He has also worked as an Advertising and Marketing Professional for over 25 years.

He received his education at Vanderbilt University in Economics and English, at Tulane University for General Studies, and Isidore Newman High School.  As a Youth Development Professional since 2006, Gerald is certified as a Youth Sports Administrator by The National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) and is an accredited high school coach by the LHSAA and NFHSC. Gerald’s mission is to help kids discover and develop the values that define true victory in the game of life. To teach a new generation what it means to play to win.

Penny Williams, CD
Co-Founder and Executive Director

As Co-Founder and Executive Director of Directed Initiatives for Youth, Inc., Excite All Stars,  Penny works as a Youth Development Professional to serve youth in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina. She has been Director of all programs for Excite. In addition to running day to day operations, Penny has developed our programming to include physical fitness, academic enrichment, cultural enrichment, and spiritual growth. . Penny is also a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of a Marketing/Consulting firm–Lagniappe Promotional Planet, Inc. ,with her husband, Gerald.  Previously, she worked as Executive Director of Youth Development for Building Better Communities, Inc. responsible for developing and implementing summer programming. Penny has also worked as a reading interventionist with the St. Bernard Parish School System, working with elementary school children with reading deficiencies. She graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La with a degree in Psychology, focusing on Organizational Development.


Nate LeJeune

 Program Advisor

Nate LeJeune has been leading, teaching and coaching students for the past 13 years as a Student Pastor and motivational speaker. Nate uses his story to help motivate and encourage young people to find their true passions and gifts. Nate also serves as the Program Manager for the national non-profit, Up2Us and has a background which extends from fundraising as a Fundraiser Consultant, to being a small business owner, as the owner of Pets World. Nate mixes his passion for his family, people and sports, along with his story, to humorously communicate principles that help you find your greatness.

LG headshot
Gerald M. Williams II
Program Director

Gerald M. Williams II
Program Director

Gerald M. Williams II, affectionately known as LG has been with Excite since its inception. LG started as a Junior counselor in 2007 and has worked in all phases of the Excite Program including Assistant Coach, Coach, Discipline, extended care and more… LG has led program activities such as the Chess Club and our Musical Theatre and Dance classes. LG graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans and is currently a senior at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La where he is majoring in Musical Theatre and Dance and is on the Dean’s List and has been selected to the National Honor Society.


marquez_-_headshotMarquez D. Williams- Director of Operations

Marquez D. Williams, known as “ Kaz, is a sophomore at Spring Hill College, and has been with Excite for 9 years. Coach Kaz has worked as a junior counselor, assistant coach, coach, and special project leader at Excite. Kaz manages equipment and camp operations for Excite.  In addition he leads special programming for youth.  On the “Hill”, Kaz is majoring in Business Management and is a Spring Hill Ambassador and member of Legacy Chapter of Men of Color Council, Inc.  At De La Salle, Marquez served on the Student Counsel and played Basketball, Baseball, and ran Track. Marquez was also Senior Class President, Class of 2015.


2016-17 Staff  


ebony_eEbony Edwards- Up2Us Coach – After Care Director

Ebony is a freshman pre-med major at Xavier University in New Orleans and has been a staff person for three years, after being a camper at Excite for a number of years.  Currently Ebony is serving as an UP2Us Coach at Excite and is the lead coach for Excite After School @ Fannie C. Williams Elementary School.  Ebony has been one of our lead coaches during our Excite Summer Experience and in addition Ebony will serve as Aftercare Director for the 2017  Summer Experience.


Donny Henry, Jr.  –  Intern- University of South Alabama

Donny  is a graduating Senior at the University of South Alabama, majoring in Sports Management.  Donny is serving as an intern with Excite All Stars, working in a coaching capacity at Fannie C. Williams Elementary School and as program support for special events and Super Saturday programming.  Donny has aspirations of becoming a Sports Agent after graduation.