Dear Friends,

With 2024 approaching, we’re looking forward to starting Exceeding Expectations’ 23rd year. Some of our kids were not yet born in 2001 and others are now adults in their 30s.

Many of you have been part of our EE family since the early days. You’ve watched and supported our kids as they’ve graduated from high school and college and gone out into the world, using their education to better their lives and the lives of their families. And today you continue to support our younger EE members as they develop, graduate from high school and take that next step into college, following in the footsteps of the older kids who have gone before them.

Speaking of footsteps: Here's an update on some of our older – and very successful – EE team members.



One day in December 2000, Nik Keller had skipped school. That was the day I first met the Cypress Elementary kids. Nik was a bright kid, bored with school, driving teachers crazy with his behavior. He heard about the program we started and joined, albeit a bit hesitantly. It took a while for him to believe this was a worthwhile endeavor, but when he did, he went all in. He graduated high school with honors, earned a Bachelor's degree from UC San Diego and today has a very important position with a company that makes pediatric surgical implants. (See photo below of Nik in the OR, where he guides the surgeon's use of the implants.)

Nik has not only bettered his and his family’s lives, he also established an EE scholarship program called Keller’s Kids. He personally provides substantial annual scholarships to our college kids. Talk about “paying it forward!"





Isi Ibarra tagged along with her older brother to an early EE running session and quickly realized that this was a good place for her. At 10 years of age, she ran 13 miles because her goal was to qualify to attend the Challenged Athletes Foundation event in San Diego. She’s attended CAF every year since. As well, she has a college degree from UC Riverside and is currently considering a Master’s degree program in the area of Communications/Speech Therapy. In the meantime, she’s using her business skills and her creative aptitude and charismatic personality to run a successful small business designing, creating and selling jewelry.

Isi is an extraordinary EE Ambassador. She has helped many EE kids through tough times, she is our go-to aide when we need a Spanish speaker to bridge the gap for us, and she enthusiastically promotes EE to anyone she speaks with.



Marlene was 7 years old when I met her at Cypress Elementary. It didn’t take long to see the challenges she was facing in her environment and the quiet determination she had not to fall into that trap. While there was chaos all around, she kept on a straight line towards her goal: to find a way to get educated and return to San Bernardino to help people like herself and her family. She never faltered and has more than reached her goal. She got into a program where she graduated high school and simultaneously completed her first 2-years of college. She then earned her Bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego where she met a wonderful man who became her husband and life-partner. Both Marlene and her husband Hilario received their Master’s degrees in Social Work and, according to plan, returned to San Bernardino to help those living in her old circumstances. She and her husband went to work in a well-recognized state forensic psychiatric hospital, and they now have 2 beautiful little girls.

Marlene is always quick to credit Exceeding Expectations for her improved life and she returns with me to Cypress Elementary School to talk with kids still living in a world that lacks opportunity, about how she broke out…and so can they.   




Nancy is a second-generation EE team member. By the time she and her siblings and cousins (of which there are 9) joined EE, they believed that getting an education to improve their lives was possible because they’d seen kids like Nik, Marlene and Isi do it. So, from the beginning, it was something Nancy strived for.

She got a degree from University of Redlands and, in very short order, was hired by a technology company in Silicon Valley. She packed her bags and moved North and is loving living in a new area and working in an industry where she’s valued and making good money.

Thus far, her sister and one cousin have followed in her footsteps – Fernanda at San Diego State University and Johana at UC Merced. You can bet the rest of Nancy’s extended family will be following in her successful footsteps.  



Over the years, you Exceeding Expectations supporters have been very generous, which has made it possible for us to use training and racing to help develop the kids while still making certain we have the financial means to assure that every EE kid has the opportunity to get a good education.

I thank Nik, Isi, Marlene, Nancy and all the other EE kids who have taken advantage of the opportunity to get educated and better their lives, for acting as role models for our younger kids.

And I thank each of you for the integral role you play in making this possible. 



I never want to overburden you, and at this time am simply asking for EE to be on your list of potential recipients if you are in a position to do any end-of-year giving. Our foundation is a non-profit 501(3)c, which means that your donation is fully tax deductible (Tax ID 20-4227809). If you choose to contribute you can do it by check, made out to “Exceeding Expectations” and sent to:

Exceeding Expectations
31855 Date Palm Dr., #3-505
Cathedral City, CA 92234-3105


Or, you can donate securely using PayPal (click) through our website, even if you don’t have a PayPal account. (


Happy Holidays and, as always, many thanks for your generous support.