Araceli Nunez Lee, Program Coordinator, Araceli hails from the mountains nestled in the outskirts of Mexico City and migrated to Redwood City, CA in 2003. As someone who is grateful to have strong bonds to their communities, Araceli is committed to grassroots organizing specializing in immigrants rights. They have been committed to bringing popular education to youth, families, communities, and organizations who hope to be at the service of undocumented and LGBTQ people. Their work at LYRIC is focused in the Sequoia Leadership Institute’s internship program of UndocuWorkforce, which supports undocumented youth by teaching them the skills to navigate systemic oppression as well as cultivating vigorous communities. As an undocumented person themselves, Araceli hopes to continue on supporting the brilliance and resilience of undocumented LGBTQ youth. Araceli may be contacted at (415) 703-6150 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Alex Vila, Learning and Development Associate, Alejandra, or Alex as all her friends call her, embodies the passion and devotion of the youth development field. A product herself of the youth development process, development was her calling and she made it her career. Alex has over 25 years of experience in the field youth developed and education. Alex career encompasses working first as a youth minister for the Catholic Church, a counselor at a shelter for youth runaways, a community gang specialist, an executive director, a youth advocate and finally as a field consultant and trainer.Alex understands the need to serve and educate youth populations that are disfranchised by the system such as gang-involved youth; children with disabilities; recent immigrant, non-English speaking youth; gay/lesbian families and homeless youth. She has a passion for community collaborations and inclusion, as well as leadership development. As a programmer, she exposed her teams to the newest youth development principles and techniques. Over the last two decades, Alex has established a relationship with other youth agencies in order to help serve high-risk youth and to effect change within the systems of influence to enhance the lives of kids. As a director, Alex also built alliances and goodwill among local politicians, other community based organizations, and all of the larger mainstream groups that work in the community. Finally, Alex brings her theories of change, work ethic, charisma and passion to the youth development movement. As a proud, bi-lingual Latina Lesbian immigrant former undocumented female, she also reminds the youth development movement of the important role that human diversity plays in fashioning youth development strategies and leadership that is inclusive, tolerant, and responsive to the communities we serve. Alex is married to her partner of 12 year Patricia, a fellow youth developer, they live in Oakland with their dog Yo-yo and their elder cat Chula. Alex can be reached at 415.703.6150 x111 or email@example.com
Chad Ngo, Youth Advocate, is a queer, first-generation Vietnamese American invested in public health, social justice, and being a decent human being. He grew up in San Jose, CA and then completed a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Policy from UC Irvine and a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from CSU Fullerton. Prior to moving up to San Francisco, Chad worked with people living with HIV/AIDS, survivors of sexual assault/domestic violence, first-generation students of color, clients with co-occuring disorders in a county-funded drug and alcohol rehab, and gay/bisexual/transgender individuals incarcerated in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Men’s Central Jail. He hopes to bring a public health perspective to his work as a Youth Advocate providing culturally competent support for LYRIC youth. Overall, his long-term career goal is to earn his doctorate and be a leader in the field of LGBTQ+ health and policy. Chad can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cris Pajatin Youssef, Data and Evaluation Manager, is a queer, Egyptian/Filipino/Japanese trans man from Southern California, where he created culturally competent workshops, discussions, and support for LGBTQQ youth. Raised in the L.A. area, he moved to San Francisco to attend SFSU and get his M.A. in Social Psychology, focusing on prejudice and discrimination toward those who identify as and/or experience being on the trans and/or gender non-conforming spectrum. As a former LYRIC intern and participant, Cris rejoined the LYRIC team as a Youth Advocate and gave back to the community that helped him so much when he first moved to the Bay Area. He then transitioned to the role of Data Analyst then to his current position, and is excited to combine elements of his experience in research, evaluation, and direct service work. Cris is involved in HIV/AIDS activism and research focused on health and well-being. When he’s not focused on work, Cris is usually spending time with his animal children, stuffing his face with good eats, and enjoying artsy fartsy things. Cris can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x 112 or email@example.com.
Denny David is the Deputy Director here at LYRIC. He grew up in Seattle, WA and became involved in social justice issues at a young age, learning about labor issues, urban poverty, economic globalization, and U.S.-Mexico border policy. He attended Grinnell College, where he earned a B.A. in Religious Studies, continued to do work around globalization issues, and became involved in anti-sexual assault work. In 2002, he interned with LYRIC’s Health and Wellness Team and was hired as a Program Coordinator shortly after graduating from college in 2003. He was promoted to Program Director in 2006, and to his current position in 2009. He is passionate about anti-oppression issues and seeks to support young leaders who work for social justice. Denny can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Buenrostro, Finance Manager, grew up in Southern California, in a household that celebrated both its Mexican heritage and Latino culture. A son of Spanish speaking immigrants, Frank and his siblings were encouraged to speak their parent’s native language. As a child, Frank spent many summers in Mexico where he learned to read and write Spanish. He is proud to be the first to graduate college in his family and has encouraged his siblings to continue their education. While attending college, Frank worked with publicly funded nonprofit organizations providing services to foster care youth, shelter to survivors of domestic abuse, and organizations providing emergency shelter to homeless men, women and children. In 2011, Frank graduated from California State University Los Angeles, where he earned a B.S. in Accounting. During his work in South Los Angeles, Frank discovered his passion and strong desire to work with organizations combating social inequities. In an effort to expand his professional skill set, Frank accepted a tax auditor position with the state of California in November, 2012. As an auditor, he conducted sales and use tax audits, held small business sales and use tax seminars, and facilitated communication between Spanish speaking business owners and English speaking state employees. In June, 2016 Frank left his position as a senior tax auditor with the state of California to join the LYRIC team. When he is not at LYRIC, Frank can be found exploring nature trails during the day and enjoying the Bay Area nightlife in the evening. Frank is both excited to join LYRIC’s diverse team and thrilled to support the voices of youth leaders in the LGBTQQ community. Frank can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x117 or email@example.com
Gustavo Banuelos, Program Manager, is a Chicano Queer born in Los Angeles, California to Mexican/Salvadoran immigrant parents. His past experience is non-profit work in housing services for people with HIV/AIDS of San Francisco. Most work dealt with homeless individuals and individuals at-risk of homelessness. He hopes to bring his experience and passion for housing rights to LYRIC and advocate for housing needs of youth. As a self-taught artist he likes to spend his time making art and seeks to incorporate part of his identity and community in his art. He spends a lot of time with his dog, going for hikes and enjoys cooking. Gustavo can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hector Serrano, Peer Navigator bio and pic forthcoming
Jamil Moises Liban-Ortañez, Program Coordinator, a Filipino non-binary earthling born and raised in Daly City (“Litttle Manila”) CA. He graduated from CSU-Sacramento with an interdisciplinary arts degree (film, sculpture and art history). He wrote his thesis on ‘The Border Experience’ as ‘Absolute Syncretism’ which focused on highlighting the ways his own migrant, brown, queer artist communities resist, counter-map and re-imagine history. From 2009-2015, he worked at Sacramento State’s Centers for Diversity and Inclusion, where he cultivated a passion for popular education informed by Frierian pedagogy, which he brings to his current work in LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative. As a program coordinator at LYRIC, Jamil Moises is a part of the Sequoia Leadership Institute and works collaboratively to facilitate LGBTQQIAA support groups in SFUSD middle schools. Outside of LYRIC, he organizes with T4SJ, H.E.L.L.A. East Bay Teachers of Color, and the Trans Teachers Network. Some of his favorite things in the world are hanging out with his grandparents and reading good books on his front porch with his cats. His soulwork is rooted in: “The revolution starts at Home” 415.703.6150 x129 or email@example.com
Janique Banks, Peer Navigator, bio and pic forthcoming
Jodi L. Schwartz had the honor of becoming LYRIC’s Executive Director in 2005. She has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit work and an ardent commitment to social justice. During Ms. Schwartz’s tenure at LYRIC, she developed San Francisco’s first LGBTQQ youth-specific case management program and facilitated the formation of the Community Partnership for LGBTQQ Youth – a seven-agency continuum of services for LGBTQQ transition age youth (ages 16-24). Additionally, she led the launch of capacity building initiatives to promote LGBTQQ youth inclusion in San Francisco’s behavioral health and workforce development systems, in San Francisco’s public schools, and in youth organizations citywide. Ms. Schwartz is an invited participant in the prestigious Gap Inc. Leadership Initiative and Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder’s Leadership Program and was named a 2013 LGBT Local Hero by KQED/Union Bank. Before joining LYRIC, Ms. Schwartz was the Managing Director of Resource Development Associates – a consulting firm working to strengthen public and nonprofit efforts to promote social and economic justice for vulnerable populations, and the Executive Director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice – a private, nonprofit criminal justice organization she co-founded to reduce society’s reliance on incarceration as a solution to social problems. Throughout her career, Ms. Schwartz 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. Ms. Schwartz 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, Ms. Schwartz 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, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judy Jun, Youth Advocate, bio and pic forthcoming.
Kristina Armenakis, Program Manager, leads LYRIC’s Sequoia Leadership Institute for high school students and co-leads LYRIC’s Fellowship for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming young people. She has significant experience supporting LGBTQ youth who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, homeless or unstably housed, and/or working in street economies. Kristina originally hails from rural South Carolina, and obtained Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Washington, focusing on social justice non-profit management and public policy. Prior to working at LYRIC, Kristina honed her skills supporting LGBTQ youth in Seattle at the Northwest Network of BTLG Survivors of Abuse, Safe Schools Coalition, and American Friends Service Committee. In her free time, Kristina enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and hiking with her dog, Clarke. Kristina can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x121 email@example.com
Natalia M. Vigil, Communications and Development Manager, grew up in San Francisco and is the oldest of 6 in a family of Chicano artists and community organizers. She is excited to brings her expertise as a coordinator, writer and curator to her work at LYRIC. As a San Francisco youth, she was a youth leader through Peer Resources and has continued to work with youth in social justice non-profits. Before joining LYRIC she worked for Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and with a range of other work experiences including working with religious communities, running a women’s center, and assisting in organizing the first DREAM act lobby day and national conference in DC. In her work and art, Natalia strives to create moments of cross-racial/cultural/class collaboration. She is the co-founder of Still Here, a performance and community dialogue project that explores the experiences of Queer/LGBTQI individuals raised in S.F.Outside of work Natalia can be found dreaming and scheming with other artists, watching movies, and playing soccer with her little brother. Natalia can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priya Suman, Youth Advocate, previously worked as a Survivor Advocate with Manavi, a South Asian organization working to end gender based violence, for five years. During her time at Manavi she coordinated the crisis hotline, conducted support groups and worked with immigrant survivors of family violence and sexual assault, including survivors who identify as LGBTQI. She also coordinated legal clinics, participated in and conducted trainings for volunteer advocates emphasizing on issues of immigration, language access, disability rights and LGBTQI rights in the context of South Asian communities. She was faculty with the Advocacy Learning Center where, as a trainer, she provided technical assistance to participating national anti-violence organizations serving immigrant survivors of violence. Priya studied law in India during which time she worked with a criminal lawyer conducting legal research on cases involving issues of human rights and human trafficking. She has experience in activism and community organizing. She has worked on issues of sexuality and reproductive health and rights, illegal arrests of human rights activists and forcible displacement of indigenous communities. Priya can be contacted at 415.703.6150 x135 or email@example.com
Thom Matli, Operations Specialist, a Bay Area native, spent his high school years attending and working with various East Bay queer youth groups, running his school’s Gay Straight Alliance, and promoting youth activism. Prior to LYRIC, he worked for City CarShare, a Bay Area non-profit, for almost a decade, advocating for and assisting with the operations and logistics of efforts designed to provide transportation and resources to the ADA community with wheelchair-accessible vans, and subsidized programs for low-income Bay Area families. His free time is spent tickle-tackling his cat, and knitting for social justice and the deconstruction of gender norms inherent in clothing design, as well as a meditative exercise. Thom can be reached at 415.703.6150 x114 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.