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Amara Hazina Moody

Program Manager for LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative

olor photo of a light-skinned Black person smiling with medium-length curly hair and glasses, standing in front of a neutral background.Amara Hazina Moody is an interdisciplinary educator and facilitator. She independently studies medical anthropology, Indigenous studies, critical youth studies, and the history of Black Muslims in the U.S. She loves poetry, big earrings, and Studio Ghibli.

AT LYRIC, Amara Hazina is passionate about transformative justice, healing arts, and refusing adultism at the interactional, institutional, and curricular levels. Amara Hazina partners with San Francisco Unified School District’s LGBTQ Student Services, Huckleberry Youth Programs, and Health Initiatives for Youth to provide LGBTQQ students with activities that support healthy and positive identity development, community building, and connection with community resources.

Prior to LYRIC, Amara Hazina was a Community Health Worker offering HIV/HCV services in San Francisco and facilitated school and community-based programs in Boston. She has a background in Palestine solidarity organizing, is a prison abolitionist, and advocates for disability justice. In 2017, she received Fenway Health’s Audre Lorde Trailblazer award. Her past certifications include: Family Planning Health Worker, Best Youth Worker, and California HIV/HCV Testing & Counseling certifications. She studied nutrition and public health in Chile at the Universidad de Chile and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and graduated from Tufts University in May 2016 with a B.A. in Community Health and American Studies.

Amara Hazina (she/her/hers) can be contacted at 415-254-3542 or

Bishop Howard

Program Director

Bishop Howard is a Black Queer Non-Binary Femme born and raised in Detroit Michigan. After receiving a B.A in Psychology with a minor in LGBT Studies in 2014 from Michigan State University, Bishop began working with youth in an all boys residential facility, providing clinical and various supportive services. In 2015 Bishop moved to Chicago to start a graduate program in Social Work, where they continued their clinical work with youth while also interning in Queer and Trans youth settings providing one on one case management/therapy services and educational programming in the areas of housing instability and sexual health. A recent transfer to the Bay area and the west coast, Bishop was drawn to LYRIC because of its long history of serving the community and it’s commitment towards social justice and supporting young leaders, their families and allies. When not working Bishop enjoys movies, music, video games, meeting new folks to chat with about queer theory and sexual education, while also staying active and turning a sickening lewk.

Bishop (they/them/their) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x140 or

Jess Bender

Talent Development Manager

As a mixed, queer, trans San Franciscan with an academic background in Critical Theory, Jess has brought creativity, nuance, and structural critique into their work with a number of organizations. Passionate about drawing the best out of others, they have specialized in holistic, human-focused support for a wide range of teams. At LYRIC, they are excited to focus their passion and skill in the areas of recruitment, diversity and inclusion, career development, and staff training, directly back into their community.

Jess (they/them/their) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x132 or

Kim Nguyen

Data and Evaluation Director

Kim’s passion for youth advocacy stems from her experience as the Office Manager for the non-profit Youth Treatment and Education Center (YTEC). During her time at YTEC, she partnered with counselors and mental health practitioners who shared a common goal of youth advocacy through the provisions of behavioral health and academic support to juvenile offenders. Wanting to do more, she attended graduate school then joined the Bill Wilson Center (BWC) in Santa Clara County, a non-profit organization working to strengthen the community by serving marginalized and homeless youth and their families through counseling, housing, education, and advocacy. She is excited to be a LYRIC team member partnering with advocates working toward strengthening our beloved community. Kim received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Davis, and her M.A. in Research Psychology at Sacramento State University.  

Kim (she/her/hers) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x112 or

Mischa Freeman

Program Manager, Violence Prevention

Mischa grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida and moved to the Bay Area about 8 years ago. She has a background in linguistics, outdoor education, youth development, and college access. After more deeply understanding the importance of mental health in her and her clients’ wellbeing, she went back to school in 2018 to obtain a Master’s in Social Work at CSU East Bay. She is grateful for the healing power of relationships, resistance, art, and movement, and believes that queerness is as much about your political stance to the status quo as it is about your gender or sexual identity. She is currently the Program Manager of the Violence Prevention Program at LYRIC, working to provide community building, education, and support to transitional-age queer youth in order to reduce the likelihood that they experience violence. She enjoys riding her motorcycle and writing her story, as well as spending time with her partner and two cats.

Mischa (she/her/hers; they/them/their) can be contacted at 510-426-6014 or

Nikia Poché

Program Manager, Transitional Age Youth Leadership

As a queer, non-binary Black person with over 10 years of direct experience designing youth-centered programs, facilitating workshops, and developing programmatic processes in various organizations, Nikia was excited to bring their expertise to an organization that prioritizes the needs of LGBTQQIA+ youth and young adults of color.

Nikia attained their Master of Social Work Degree from The University of Georgia with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Nikia is an experienced community empowerment and program development specialist facilitating leadership workshops, liaising with community stakeholders, and designing and implementing high-impact programs improve youth’s understanding of what’s happening in the world, their communities, and what they can do to contribute to ongoing social change efforts.

Nikia is a racial and social justice activist, youth development advocate, writer, and cultural worker. Committed to challenging harmful social norms rooted in imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, Nikia is constantly re-imagining ways to normalize anti-oppressive practices and looks forward to expanding their reach by working with youth of color and QTBIPoC on a larger scale through their love of the arts and other creative projects.

Nikia (they/them/their) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x142 or

Nina Rubin

Program Manager, Youth Workforce Development

Nina Rubin is an East Coaster who migrated West a decade ago. She began working with youth by leading wilderness trips and intercultural learning trips abroad, and then turned to managing youth programs in science museum settings. She came to LYRIC to center her social justice beliefs and community experience in her work, while maintaining her focus on educational, youth-focused programs.

Nina is a proud cat parent, percussionist, art event goer, food lover, and indoor plant enthusiast.

Nina (she/her/hers; they/them/their) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x115 or

Rui Bing Zheng

Fund Development & Communications Director

Rui Bing is a non-profit professional with 15 years of experience in fundraising, communications, and program management. She is a longtime supporter and former board member of LYRIC, and is honored to apply her skills to advance the organization’s goals. Most recently, Rui Bing oversaw global operations for the Fair Trade USA’s Seafood Program, the first social and environmental certification program in the world to certify sustainable and ethically harvested seafood.  Prior to joining Fair Trade USA, she held fund development and communications roles for over a decade in Bay Area NGOs focused on equity, justice, and education.  In her free time, she enjoys swimming, biking, cooking, and spending time outdoors with friends and family.

Rui Bing (she/her/hers) can be contacted at

Toni Newman

Interim Executive Director

Toni Newman's headshot. She is smiling, wearing a violet scarf, jewelry, and a floral top.Toni is the former Interim Director for Employment Services at the San Francisco LGBT Center and a consultant for the Transgender Strategy Center. Toni is a graduate of Wake Forest University and current candidate for her Juris of Doctorate (JD). Toni served as the Executive Director for St. James Infirmary and the Director of Development for Maitri Compassionate Care, and previously served as the Interim Director of Development & Communications at To Help Everyone Health and Wellness Centers and as a Strategic Fundraiser, Volunteer Recruiter, and Legislative Aide for Equality California. Additionally, Toni is a best selling author, noted for her memoir I Rise – The Transformation of Toni Newman released in 2011, which is based on the poem I Rise by Wake Forest University Reynolds Professor, Dr. Maya Angelou.

Toni (she/her/hers) can be contacted at

Tori Harris Talavera

Finance and Operations Manager

Tori brings over 14 years of management experience in nonprofit operations and programming, with a focus on practical approaches to working with youth, and a proclivity toward empowerment, suspension of judgment, and creative expression as core principles for supporting young people and adults alike in living as our authentic selves. Tori oversees LYRIC’s accounting, operations, facilities, people and data functions. With her team, Tori maintains efficient and effective administrative systems, oversees day-to-day bookkeeping, prepares organizational financial statements, manages contracts and ensures that policies, procedures, and internal controls are maintained.

Tori (she/her) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x117 or

Jodi L. Schwartz


Jodi_LYRIC_Prof Photo

Jodi L. Schwartz is now LYRIC President, after serving as LYRIC’s Executive Director for 15 years (2005-2020). As President, Jodi is focusing on the “Flourish With LYRIC” Capital Campaign and Purple House Renovation to ensure LYRIC can embrace our growing community and be a fully welcoming and accessible community gathering space for LGBTQQ+ youth for years to come. Jodi has over 40 years of experience in nonprofit work and an ardent commitment to social justice.

During Jodi’s tenure as Executive Director, LYRIC developed San Francisco’s first LGBTQQ youth-specific case management program and launched capacity-building initiatives to promote LGBTQQ youth inclusion in San Francisco’s public health and workforce development systems, San Francisco’s public schools, and in youth organizations citywide. In 2015, she led LYRIC to be selected as one of 15 youth-serving organizations statewide to participate in an Edna McConnell Clark Foundation/William and Flora Hewlett Foundation three-year PropelNext California Partnership, providing a $400,000 grant and intensive capacity-building support to boost LYRIC’s impact on young people’s lives. In 2014, she co-led a successful community campaign to reauthorize San Francisco’s Children and Youth Fund, which included advocacy for an increase in the size of the fund, inclusion of disconnected transitional age youth and prioritized LGBTQQ+ youth in those who receive services supported by the fund. In 2013, KQED/Union Bank honored Jodi as an LGBT Local Hero. In 2011, LYRIC received Bank of America’s $200,000 Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Award, marking the first time an LGBT organization won this prestigious national award. Throughout her career, Jodi has worked with youth and their families in their struggle to disengage from the juvenile justice system, has been an advocate for youth to succeed in and out of school, and has supported youth in serving their peers and the broader community through civic activism and youth philanthropy. Jodi began working for social justice as a teenager, during which time she was fortunate to have mentors of all ages. These relationships solidified her belief that for true social justice to exist, every generation’s contributions must be seen as invaluable. Stemming from her life experience and personal values, Jodi believes that sustained achievement of positive social change must be a collective community effort, where everyone shares in leadership and visionary roles. She works to ensure that youth, in particular youth of color and queer/trans youth, are afforded opportunities to give voice to their stories and are supported as community leaders, now and in the future. Jodi can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x119 or

Jodi (she/her/hers) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x119 or