Clara Denise West, Ph.D., is the creator and owner of the Koko and Friends characters. She also is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Koko and Friends Foundation, Incorporated, She is a retired systems test engineer and a former educator.
West holds a Ph.D. degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She earned Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Business and Security Management from Webster University. She also received Bachelor degrees in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the University of Memphis.
West is the author of Koko and Friends: Born to Play – Destined to Win!; Koko and Friends: Friends??? Oh, Really!!!; The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together; and Standing Strong children’s books. She also created the Check Up!;, Check This Out!; and Check Point! magazines for elementary school-aged youth.
West developed Koko and Friends Anti-bullying Program; and The Last Straw “You Can’t Break Me!” Campaign for grades K5-12. She generated the Reality Check© booklets for middle and high school students that address the following topics: Gang Violence; Gun Violence; Teen Pregnancy for Guys; Teen Pregnancy for Girls; Dating Violence for Victims; Dating Violence for Abusers; The Race Talk—Racial Profiling, and Sexting and Sextortion. She is a co-developer of the Wise Up! Law and Order curriculum for grades K5-12 and The Ursery-West Whole-Student Learning Environment Model for grades K5-12..
West has conducted seminars and workshops around the country for youth and adults on the sensitive social topics that cause young people to make unwise and sometimes fatal decisions.
Daniel West is the co-developer and Program Director of the Koko and Friends Foundation, Inc. “Not on Our Watch” (N.O.W.) Community Outreach Program. He regularly serves as a mentor and tutor for youth.
West is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mass Communications-Recording Industry. He wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered all the songs and music for the Koko and Friends Musical CD.
West has twenty years of experience addressing the socio-economic needs of youth in low-income, underperforming schools. He has extensive experience in creating and maintaining partnerships with churches, universities, school districts, and other organizations that serve the needs of youth and their families.
West has conducted training camps for youth ages 5 to 15 under the City of Memphis Mayor’s Innovation Team Gun and Gang Violence Awareness and Prevention Program. He facilitated a series of "Lunch and Learn" workshops for parents and adults who work with disenfranchised youth through the Church Wellness Center in Memphis, TN.
West trained youth in conflict resolution and anti-bullying workshops for the Boys and Girls Clubs in Huntsville, AL. He trained and managed a student-volunteer pool of over 200 college students under the N.O.W. Program at J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville, AL. West has co-authored several publications for middle- and high-school students on gun and gang violence. He facilitated various anti-bullying workshops and train-the-trainer sessions for community and college-student volunteers.
West's dream is to create original music and music scores for Koko and Friends CGI animated films, and collaborate with major movie studios such as Pixar, to help bring the Koko and Friends vision to life. He is committed to making a positive contribution to the lives of youth, especially those from less-than-optimal backgrounds.