Our family – 40 dedicated staff members, 5 expert workshop leaders, over 500 committed volunteers, 13 qualified board members, and 15 inspiring high school mentors work collaboratively at Bresee to provide comprehensive after-school programs and family services that equip young people to pursue their education, achieve their full potential, and serve others.
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I remember well, my interview for a part-time Education Coordinator position at Bresee back in 1996 with Jeff Carr. It was in a tiny office, in a little youth center on the 3rd floor of the First Church of the Nazarene, just blocks from where I’d attended elementary school. He asked me where I saw myself in five years. When I returned the question and asked, “where do you see Bresee in five years?”, Jeff walked me to the window, and pointed across the street. He said, “you see that old LAUSD warehouse? We’re going to buy that, renovate it, and turn it into a first class community center, comparable to what they’d build in Beverly Hills, because the youth and families in this neighborhood deserve the best.” I caught the vision, fell in love with the mission, and immersed myself into the life of the center. Bresee has been my family, my home, and my life’s work ever since.
With 5 years of running programs, 7 years of directing programs, and now heading into my fifth years as Executive Director, I’ve had the luxury of wearing just about every hat here over the last 17 years. From my early days running homework labs, tutoring programs, administering scholarships, small group mentoring, coaching soccer teams, leading the 480-mile San Francisco to LA bike trip, to driving thousands of kids home in those beat up old busses and vans. To the middle years running staff meetings and training, creating program budgets, overseeing volunteers, helping to launch new programs like Goals for Life and the Youth Film Festival on Social Justice, restructuring our after school programs, and writing program reports. To the current days of board recruitment and development, grant writing, government contracts, strategic plans, organizational restructuring, crafting mission, vision statements, and communications plans, and organizing special events. Yet, even with all the non-profit experience, I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and have been fortunate to continue my own education through opportunities such as Annenberg Alchemy and City Scholars Foundation in recent years. In addition, sitting as Chair of the Board for Sunrise Community Center over the last six years and serving on the board of the LA First Church MCB for four years has given me a unique perspective on how to focus, involve, motivate, and educate our stakeholders towards facilitating our mission.
My two biggest responsibilities at Bresee are to cast vision and raise funds. I help chart the course as to where this ship is headed and help navigate how we’re going to finance that vision. I make it clear to our staff that although I’m the Executive Director, I am not their boss, and that the youth and families of this community that we serve fill that role.
At Bresee, we believe in the value of living where you serve. As such, my beautiful wife Dana, son Enzo, and daughter who is due in July, live in the local community of Echo Park. Thus, I have a vested interest, just like the parents of our youth, in improving the landscape of this Central Los Angeles community for my own family. It gives me great pride and satisfaction to come to Bresee each day, just a couple miles from where I live, and see former students, like Laura, Cristina, Jasmine, and Gabriel who were teenagers in the program during the 90’s, serving as long term committed staff and investing in the next generation of young people. That’s what it’s all about. Character driven, creative, college-educated alumni transforming this Central Los Angeles Community, one life at a time!!
Chief Operations Officer
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Though I grew up in Bresee’s area, I didn’t know anything about Bresee until my brother introduced me to it in 1987. My little brother was a basketball fanatic and I supported him wherever he played. The day that I attended his game at the Los Angeles First Church of the Nazarene was the day my life began to change for the better. That day, I met Jeff Carr (former Executive Director of Bresee) and I demanded that he provide volleyball as a sport for girls. I was feisty, but my determination earned me a mentor that has been with me for the rest of my life.
I started playing sports at Bresee, attending trips and camps. The most life-changing event for me at Bresee was when I participated in a college tour with Jeff, visiting Northwest Nazarene College (NNC). No one had ever attended college in my family and I was determined to be the first. One year after the college tour, I was accepted to NNC and became one of the first students to receive a Bresee Scholarship.
Now, I have over 25 years of experience working with youth. Prior to becoming a full-time staff member at Bresee, I returned every year to serve as a Bresee intern and work as a counselor in a girl’s group home. My first full-time position at Bresee was as an Outreach Worker. I then served as a Program Director for fifteen years. For the past four years, I have been the Development Director. Though I now contribute to Bresee in a totally different fashion, my passion remains the same. I take pride in developing meaningful relationships with stakeholders who help to make a difference in our community. I love networking and connecting new people to the organization.
In 1997, I received a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Social Work (BSW) and, in 2013, I received a Master’s of Science in Leadership and Management (MSLM). In May 2016, I will receive a second Master’s in Public Administration (MPA).
Grants Coordinator213 387-2822 x167
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Director of Programs
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Bresee Academy for Middle School (BAM)
- Blanca Orellana
Director of Middle School Program
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- Baltazar Hernandez, Lead Instructor- 8th Grade
- Xochilt Zelaya, Education Assistant
- Stephanie Ticas, Education Assistant
- Rosa Escobar, Lead Instructor- 7th Grade
- Randy Gonzalez, Education Assistant
- Edwin Zavala, Education Assistant
- Cinthya Coronel, Lead Instructor- 6th Grade
- Margarita Pando, Education Assistant
- Laura Sanchez, Volunteer Coordinator
- Gabriel Diaz, Technology Coordinator
- Nancy Grijalva, Activity Coordinator
- Christine Adams, Activity Coordinator
- Ryan Mouton-Moore, Activity Coordinator
- Griselda Maldonado, Snack Assistant
- Dunia Perich
Director of Family Services
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- Cristina Aviles, Case Manager
- Cinthia Calvillo, Case Manager
High School Team
- Chheav Em
Director High School/College Program
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- Jerold Kress, Multimedia Coordinator
- Margarita Lopez, Career Counselor
- Kathryn James Jolly, Alumni Services Coordinator
- Luis Alarcon, Education Assistant
- Bobby Kelley, Athletics Coordinator
- Anthony Cummings, Director- LAFC
- Jasmine Desenclos
Director of Prevention Services – GRYD
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- Pedro Espinosa, Outreach Coordinator
- Boris Villacorta, Sr. Case Manager – GRYD
- Andy Rodriguez, Case Manager
- Judy Castro, Family Case Manager
- Esther Angel, Participant Assistant