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Photo of Laura Lala-ChávezLaura Lala-Chávez (they/them) brings over 25 years of experience in youth development, counseling, and nonprofit management to LYRIC. Previously, Laura served as Executive Director of a national organization focused on building empathy, compassion, and equity in school communities nationwide. They also served as Associate Executive Director for the Mission YMCA in San Francisco, supervising 90 staff across 7 school sites and working with primarily Spanish-speaking community members. Laura is a bilingual, Trans, Non-Binary immigrant, and First Generation American.

“When I think of LYRIC, I think of youth moving to San Francisco in search of support. I think of youth in the Bay Area who struggle to come out to their families or are navigating family rejection and the lack of stability losing your support system provides. I think of youth trying to survive in an unjust, oppressive world daily. I think of the collective power we have to create change as a place of healing, acceptance, love, and nurturance. I see this opportunity as a way to reimagine work in service to youth. I have seen the effects of trauma on youth in my time as a counselor, and as a result, I have become deeply ingrained in the city of San Francisco as a resident, advocate, director, and change-maker. I don’t think I could have dreamed of a better opportunity than this one to create a lasting impact for LGBTQQIA+ youth in San Francisco.”

Laura holds a Bachelor’s in Recreation-Nonprofit Management and a Master’s in School and MFT Counseling from San Francisco State University. They live with their wife Cheryl, two children, and dogs in San Francisco.

Laura (they/them/elle) can be contacted at



Photo of Aliyah BowmanAliyah Bowman is a young Black womanist and a first-generation college graduate, receiving her B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Queer Ethnic Studies. Originally from the San Fernando Valley, she moved to the Bay Area to attend San Francisco State University and has been here ever since. Inspired by her time at SFSU, Aliyah is dedicated to being a fierce ally and a productive community member. She is passionate about combining her sociological imagination and 4+ years of experience in data collection, evaluation, and visualization to guide her work.

In her free time she enjoys relaxing or going out with her family, friends, and cat, Keke.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ― Maya Angelou

Aliyah (uh-lee-yah) – she/her – can be contacted at



Photo of Freddie LambrightFreddie Lambright, III is a Black, gay, interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Oakland, CA. He is an audio-visual artist trained in illustration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Graphic design, murals, and DJing are also part of his artistic practice. After receiving his BFA in 2018, Freddie moved back to California in the summer of 2019 before joining LYRIC that October. Starting out as a Program Coordinator in the Sequoia Leadership Institute program, Freddie co-facilitated the paid social justice youth internship for almost two years before transitioning to becoming LYRIC’S Human Resources Manager.

Currently, Freddie is overseeing both the HR Department as well as the Operations Department as Director of People + Operations. Freddie’s mother, grandmother, and aunts have all worked in HR, so he’s excited to continue the family tradition. While he’s now working more closely with staff, working with youth will always be close to his heart.

Freddie (he/him) can be contacted at



Photo of Juanita UsquianoJuanita is a queer, first-generation Chicanx from Southern California. She has called the Bay Area home for the past 10 years and has worked for various local community-based organizations in San Francisco. Juanita has experience in non-profit accounting and operations and enjoys supporting the “behind the scenes” work that assists organizations in serving communities. At LYRIC, Juanita manages our portfolio of government-funded grants and is happy to be part of a team dedicated to empowering and uplifting queer and trans young people.

When away from work, she enjoys being in nature and cycling. Juanita previously worked at Pedal Revolution and is a proud member of the Bicis del Pueblo community in SF.

Juanita (she/her/her) can be contacted at 415-703-6150 x141 or



Photo of Kai WestKai West is an anti-racist white Queer, Trans, and Non-Binary, Human. They have worked in education and youth development for over fifteen years in a wide variety of roles at several bay area nonprofits in various roles such as public school teacher, Montessori guide, Environmental Educator, Program Leadership and Management. They have a BA in Queer and Activist Performance Art and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. He is a former LYRIC youth participant excited to return as part of LYRIC’s staff. Kai recalls former LYRIC staff being critical to their development as a young person and helping Kai discover what Queerness means for them personally.

Kai is drawn to LYRIC’s work of cultivating supportive communities that affirm identities, connect youth to programs and services, and build knowledge and skills for youth to do more than survive; Kai wants LYRIC youth to thrive and create positive social change. They commit fiercely to the vision of all youth being embraced for who they are and encouraged to be who they want to be.

Kai shops at thrift stores, reads queer literature and theory, loves avocados, and has many other tell-tale signs that he grew up in California and throughout the Bay. When not working, they love being outdoors. He enjoys board games, cooking, and traveling.

Kai (they/them; he/him) can be contacted at

LEX AJello


Lex AjelloLex Ajello is a queer, gender non-conforming person, dedicated to supporting youth in San Francisco. Originally from New York, Lex’s journey led her to the Bay during her college years, where she developed strong roots. She holds a BA in Environmental Earth Science from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Public Health Biology from Johns Hopkins University.

With over 6 years of diverse experience in various sectors, Lex has made a significant impact through both paid and volunteer work. Her expertise spans clinical health, nutritional development, HIV/AIDS education, and the governmental sector. Lex’s driving force is the pursuit of equitable healthcare access for all individuals, with a particular focus on BIPOC TGNC youth.

As the Program Manager, Lex leads the School-Based Initiative team. Her responsibilities include overseeing youth summer camps and facilitating school-based queer education groups. Her passion lies in connecting with youth and witnessing their journey toward embracing their authentic selves. Seeing young individuals find comfort and confidence in expressing who they are brings Lex immense joy and fulfillment. She firmly believes that her work empowers the next generation to become influential change agents.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Lex finds joy in planning her upcoming wedding with her fiancé, Liz. This new chapter in her life brings a sense of balance and fulfillment, complementing her dedication to her career.

Lex (she/her) can be contacted at



Jeannette Fervil is a first generation American from Haitian immigrants. Born in New Jersey, raised in Georgia but spent time in DC, Morocco and now California. These identities in addition to her passion for social justice and health inspired her to pursue an undergraduate in Public Health at the University of Georgia and later, a master’s degree in Public Health at Georgia State University. In the last 5 years, she has been able to work with youth in several capacities as it relates to youth development, sexual health/reproductive justice, and education, navigating health systems and accessing direct resources necessary for a healthy life.

As the Health Access Point Manager, Jeannette’s focus is engaging transitional aged youth (TAY) ages 18-24 in accessing health services in San Francisco. Jeannette does that through working in collaboration with San Francisco AIDs Foundation, Homeless Youth Alliance, and Huckleberry Youth Programs to provide integrated services, equity-focused, community centred, whole person care approach to integrated HIV, HCV, and STD Prevention Programs.

Jeannette has a deep dedication for people-powered organizing and advocacy. Jeannette thrives in facilitating spaces for people in the community to connect, fellowship, and educate in our fight for liberation. In her free time, Jeannette hosts a book club dedicated to BIPOC stories/books, perfecting recipes, and doing anything that brings joy.

Jeannette (she/they) can be contacted at



Photo of Lane CaseyLane is a queer, trans-masculine, pansexual icon. They have worked with, and for, the LGBTQIA+ community for over 7 years– both in research and in practice. He has received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University, graduating with summa cum laude honors for both degrees. Despite being born and raised in San Diego, Lane found his home in the Bay Area. Escaping the bigotry of small-town life and moving to a big city allowed him to express and explore his identity– ultimately shaping them into the proud, vibrant, fully-realized human they are today.

Being surrounded by an overwhelming amount of queer joy and a sense of belonging changed the trajectory of his life forever. The queer and trans community in San Francisco gave Lane a second chance at life, so he feels compelled to give back to the community in a meaningful way and is frequently finding new ways to do so. Lane believes that housing is both a basic need and a human right, leading him to be a relentless advocate for housing justice for queer and trans youth as the Housing Program Manager at LYRIC.

In their free time, you can find Lane at a movie theater (c’mon, film bros!), on a hike with his dog, Lolita, attending any and all concerts, thrifting, having a main character moment in the park, dancing at the club, or catching a local drag show. He is looking forward to continuing to spread queer and trans joy and instilling a sense of belonging into younger generations of LGBTQ+ folks.

Lane (he/they) can be contacted at



Madisen EllisMadisen is SoCal-born and a recent Bay Area resident. Madisen graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a B.A. in Philosophy with an emphasis in Law and Society. While Madisen doesn’t consider herself a philosopher, her philosophical background has trained her to approach everyday life with curiosity and consideration. Madisen brings this training to LYRIC, where she will use her youth career development experience to support young people in their employment journeys. As an ally to the LGBTQ+ plus community, Madisen believes that her most important role is to listen to and uplift LGBTQ+ voices. Madisen aims to help LGBTQ+ young people have transformative and empowering employment experiences.

In her free time, Madisen enjoys relaxing with her pup, Colby Jack, and finding new shows to binge on Netflix. She is an avid fan of anime, kdramas, and murder mysteries.

Madisen (she/her/hers ) can be contacted at (415) 236-0580‬ or .



Photo o Mar BalcitaMar is a Mexipino Non-binary Queer who was born and raised in San Francisco. Mar has 20+ years of experience in organizational development, program implementation, staff coaching, grants management, fundraising, policy advocacy, and building partnerships with people representing school districts, government agencies, foundations, nonprofits, youth, and adult communities. Mar has direct experience supporting youth in the areas of LGBTQ+ issues, adolescent sexual health, relationship and hate violence, food justice, adolescent sexual health, out-of-school programming, and youth organizing.

Mar is happy to return to LYRIC as a former participant and staff member to support current staff experiences that are rooted in justice so we can all serve young people to the best of our abilities.

Mar (they/them/their) can be contacted at 415-323-0612‬ or



Nerrissa is a non-binary queer POC and first-generation American. Born and raised in San Francisco, Nerrissa is no stranger to nonprofits. They started working as a teen at YMCASF and, from there, worked in the education and community sector for a combined 12+ years with youth aged 0-24 years old. Their other work expertise is in event planning, social media strategy, and supporting roles in administration and operations.

At LYRIC, Nerrissa manages our special projects, from events to construction, and acts as a liaison for external facing partners, while also assisting the Executive Director in day-to-day tasks. Nerrissa finds their joy in being part of a community that creates a safe space for queer BIPOC youth to exist, learn, and succeed. In their free time, Nerrissa enjoys exploring green spaces, museum-going, thrifting, and cuddling with their cavapoo, Gizmo.

Nerrissa (she/they) can be contacted at (415) 212-8414 or



Rachel ShippeeRachel Shippee comes to Lyric with over ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working in programming, development, and operations. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health and is finishing her MBA at CSUEB. She currently serves as Lyrics Contracts Manager.

Originally from the Midwest, Rachel moved to the Bay Area for a job opportunity, the weather, and the queer community in 2018. Outside of work, she is an avid outdoors person, enjoying cycling (training for her 2nd Aids/Lifecycle event), tennis player (working toward a 4.0 rating), and anywhere there are dogs. Rachel currently fosters dogs through Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.

Rachel (she/her/hers ) can be contacted at .



Photo of Sammy Maramba-FerrellSammy Maramba-Ferrell has deepest roots in Oakland and Berkeley, where they were born and raised by a network of godmothers and dad whose parenting ethos evolved out of their activism for racial justice, 3rd wave feminism, and internationalist struggles. Sammy’s multiracial identity was always destined to intersect with class consciousness, setting the stage for their queer awakening at the turn of the century. Finding connection and purpose among sibling QPOC communities was pivotal to surviving life and academia, with time spent at Laney Community College and U.C. Santa Barbara (Global Studies and LGBTQ Studies).

Sammy served 4 years as Program Coordinator at the Outlet program on the SF Peninsula, connecting services to a vast LGBTQQ+ youth population across Santa Clara County. They helped extend the program further into underserved areas of San Mateo County and solidified TAY services as a core program before leaving to attend grad school. Sammy obtained their Master’s in Social Work from NYU with time at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and worked for 7 years as a Prevention Coordinator/Counselor and Social Work Intern at the New York LGBT Community Center’s youth program, where they obtained their LCSW and is now licensed in California as well.

Inspired by the queer and diasporic traditions of building chosen families, Sammy is passionate about promoting spaces and opportunities which bloom non-traditional family structures and community bonding/support. They also believe that community centers like LYRIC serve not only as avenues for healthy identity development but are often a springboard to one’s healing mental health journey.

Sammy (they/them/all pronouns welcome) can be contacted at



Photo of Sparkle WilsonSparkle was born and raised in San Francisco and was an active LYRIC youth in high school. After graduating from the Youth Leadership Internship Summer in the City, she returned as a youth facilitator for LYRIC’s community group HONEY.

Sparkle obtained her associate’s in Psychology and transferred to San Francisco State University to finish her Bachelors in Child Development. Prior to joining LYRIC as a staff member, she worked for Child Protective Services of San Francisco City and County, where she cared for and monitored the physical and physiological care of foster children in between home placements.

Working as a coordinator and manager for the Youth Leadership Program she participated in as a youth has been rewarding and fulfilling. She wanted to give her youth the same community and empowerment she experienced in the Purple House, and she knows she has accomplished that.

Sparkle loves cooking meals for her huge family with her mom, planning vacations with her friends, and going on long walks with her dog Mojito. She is excited for her new role as Director of Youth Wellness and cannot wait to get LYRIC back in the community!

Sparkle (she/her) can be contacted at