Peoria Proud

Meet Three Locals Who Aim to Make Peoria an Even Better Community

Article by Angel Fuchs

Photography by Christine Andert—Picture Lady Photography LLC

Originally published in North Peoria Lifestyle

American author Margaret J. Wheatley once said, “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Meet Jesus Pineda, Shelby Duplessis and Amanda Shafer, three Peoria residents, community leaders and business owners—all from various walks of life—who have made it their mission to improve the city they call home and beyond. 

The Motivated Maverick 

Jesus Pineda, 37, is the owner of Legacy Avenue, LLC (, an investment strategies and insurance solutions firm. He has called Peoria home since age five. Growing up here instilled in him the importance of making a difference where you live. He is raising his children with those values.

Pineda is a member of the West Valley Mavericks Foundation, a non-profit that develops and supports programs that improve the community. It has raised over $518k to benefit 88 charities throughout the West Valley.

“It's an honor to be a part of this group of men who use their talents and connections to bless others.”

The Steadfast Servant

As a mother, business owner and president of development for Empire Group of Companies (, it doesn't seem like Shelby Duplessis, 50, would have much time for anything else. However, she is involved with at least eight organizations, including past president and board member of Leadership West, board member for Stand Up Speak Up Save a Life and co-founder of West Valley for Change. She also serves on the City of Peoria Board of Historic Preservation Commission.

“It excites me to live in a city with a great foundation and to be a part of such smart growth,” says Duplessis.

Initially attracted to Peoria for its affordability, Duplessis grew to love it for the family-oriented feel. She's proud to be a part of the city's remarkable growth. 

PULL QUOTE PAGE 2: The more you give in life, the more you get back. You just need to follow your heart and be a part of the solution.

The Warrior Mother 

Amanda Shafer, 42, is a mom and owner of Summer Lovin' Spray Tan ( Originally from Salt Lake City, Shafer moved to Peoria in 2001 when her husband, Brad, was stationed at nearby Luke Air Force Base. 

Schafer comes from a long line of community servants. “My mom was very involved in the community,” she said. “She taught me the importance of being active and involved.”

In keeping with her mother's legacy, Shafer is involved with Mother's Without Borders (, an organization committed to strengthening communities in developing countries, and Operation Underground Railroad (, a non-profit working to eliminate trafficking and exploitation. 

Closer to home, Shafer worked with other moms to get new playground equipment for their local community park. She also headed fundraising efforts to have much-needed grass laid in the quad area of her children's school.

Shafer also works with, a landing site where people can find volunteer opportunities. 

“It’s easy to sit home and complain, but it’s another level to shoulder the will and make changes,” Shafer said. “If you want to make the world a better place, go out and do it.”

PULL QUOTE PAGE 3: People underestimate the power of moms who want to make a difference.

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