The Board 2018-01-09T05:19:15+00:00

Eunice Menja

Co-founder, Director

Eunice attained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oklahoma State University (OSU), Stillwater. She also has an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Jomo Kenyatta University.

Robert Menja Karaya


Robert is a co-founder of Upendo Kids and is primarily involved in strategic planning, vision casting, and implementing the very diverse mission of the organization. He also has lead three mission trips to Kenya where several projects were implemented including; water pump installation and personal water filter distribution, solar panel installation in a church and school to provide energy for about two thousand members and students, and school supply distribution.

Julie Schneider

Board Member

Julie Schneider is a stay-at-home mom and very instrumental in the operations of Upendo Kids material support gathering process.  She has been on Upendo mission trips to Juja, Kenya in 2012 and 2013 and one of those she was accompanied by her oldest daughter.  The most rewarding part of volunteering for Julie and her family has been sponsoring Robinson since 2011 when he was just five years old.  They have developed quite a relationship with this almost nine-year-old.  Julie and her family are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond and reside in Edmond, OK.

Samuel Gitau

Board Member

Sam Gitau is the Upendo Kids US-Kenya liaison ensuring that the teams in the US and Kenya are working together to achieve the mission of the organization. He often travels to Kenya to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of most of the programs on the ground.

Sam has experience in audit and accounting gained while working for several leading accounting firms in the US for over 17 years.  Sam is currently a business executive and small business owner in the logistics industry.  He knows most of the children at the home in Kenya by name and they enjoy his company very much.  Sam is a resident of Edmond, OK.

Rilee Spence

Board Member

Rilee Spence first become involved with Upendo in 2012 when she heard about the Upendo mission trip to Kenya the coming June.  After going on the mission trip in June of 2012, she fell in love with the country of Kenya and everything Upendo was doing to help the children.  She has been on several other mission trips including spending 7 months in 2016 to do mission work on a deeper level.  Rilee currently lives in Edmond, OK and studying at the University of Oklahoma.  Rilee enjoys working with the children at the home in Kenya and looks forward to helping make their lives better.

Beth Hooper

Board Member

Beth Hooper first became involved with Upendo when the Menjas asked her Sunday school Class for housing volunteers in the Summer of 2015.  She and her husband, James, hosted seven of the Upendo children and have loved them ever since!  They started sponsoring one of the boys at the children’s home by the name of John and enjoy corresponding with and providing for him.  Hoopers also hosted five boys in 2017.  One day, she and James hope to visit the children in Kenya!  Beth is a Dental Hygienist and works at James’ Dental Office in Edmond.  Together, they give thanks to God for giving them this opportunity to serve Him through Upendo Kids.

Judy Mullins

Board Member

Judy Mullins graduated from Oklahoma Christian university 1980.  She is a member of Memorial Road Church of Christ.  Judy has four children and four grandchildren.  She is the sole caregiver to her son, Joel, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1996.
Judy became involved with Upendo in 2013 after her daughter, Jessica, returned from a mission trip to Kenya.   Jessica’s passion and love for upendo quickly spread through the family.  Judy’s other passions are adult brain injury camps and the Ronald McDonald house.

James Belote

Board Member

Julie Mahanay

Board Member

Julie Mahanay grew up in Edmond, OK and currently resides in Oklahoma City.  Her grandparents were missionaries to Kenya in the 1960s-70s, so Julie’s father and his large family have always shared about their times in Kenya.  Julie has always sought a way to carry on her family’s legacy and Upendo Kids is a perfect fit.  On the professional side, Julie is a Registered Administrative Assistant for several financial advisors in an investment firm in Oklahoma City and has held this position since 2010.  She and her family enjoy a round of golf from time to time.