Board & Staff

UFC's widely diverse team of staff and board members are qualified, caring people who connect with the youth and maintain the highest quality service levels.

  • Robert A. Daly, Jr.
    Board Chair
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    Morgan Stanley
    Founding Member, the Junior Committee for the Stephen D Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

    Rob Friedman
    Co-Vice Chair
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    Entertainment Media Executive

    One of my passions is bridging the entertainment and nonprofit worlds; I founded two programs at Lionsgate, Lionshares and Impact Day, which allow employees to give back and connect more deeply with their communities. In my off time, you can find me engaged in any number of outdoor sports, skiing and fishing in Sun Valley and scuba diving any chance I get. I’ve been diving since I was 18 and have logged over 80 excursions.

    Ande Rosenblum
    Co-Vice Chair
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    Board Member, University of Southern California School of Social Work
    Member, EveryChild Foundation

    Clare Yorkison
    Treasurer
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    Certified Public Accountant

    Jaye Toellner Rogovin
    Secretary
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    I enjoy working on the UFC Board because the Members are incredibly talented and committed. I also am wowed by the capable and dedicated staff, and inspired every day by the kids of UFC! I love spending time with my family – husband John and two daughters, Hattie and Eva; I have minor obsessions with my dogs, travel, crossword puzzles, and reading. I have a major obsession with Hamilton! The Musical. Who knew I’d take to hip-hop in my 50s!

    Preston Brooks
    General Counsel
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    Partner, Cox, Castle & Nicholson
    Green Advisory Council, California League of Conservation Voters
    Board of Directors, GreenWish
    National Brownfields Association
    National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
    California Building Industry Association (CBIA)
    Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Alicemarie H. Stotler of the United States District Court, Central District of California

    Mia Riverton Alpert
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    Mia has worked as an actor, writer and producer, appearing in numerous TV shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm and in films including Spare Parts for Lionsgate. She co-created a TV pilot for CBS based on Red Doors, an award-winning independent film that she starred in and produced, and is currently developing an animated series for Skybound Entertainment. Stage work includes Voices We Remember at the Geffen Playhouse and the Ovation-Award-winning world premiere of Bare. Originally from Indianapolis, Mia was named a Presidential Scholar by Bill Clinton and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University. While in college she ran the Mission Hill Afterschool Program, which provides educational support and mentorship to socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and middle school students in the Roxbury area of Boston. Upon graduating, Mia founded Harvardwood, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening ties between the arts, media, entertainment and education through community programs and online resources. In addition to her ongoing work on the Harvardwood Board of Directors, Mia currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Advisors for the UCLA Lab School. Mia lives in Los Angeles with her husband, producer/media entrepreneur David Alpert, and their two children.

    Tremale Berger
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    Project Manager, DPR Construction
    Co-Founder, Gentlemen’s Agenda Foundation

    Judy Billings
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    Board Member, the Theodore Forstmann Foundation

    John Campisi
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    Agent, Creative Artists Agency
    UFC holds a special place in my heart, as I was at Nancy Daly’s kitchen table as a 12-year old boy when UFC was created. Having been an agent at CAA for the past 25 years, it was my relationship with Nancy’s son, Bobby, that officially brought be back into the UFC family.  A native of Los Angeles, I currently live in Santa Monica with my son, Sam.

    Linda Daly
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    Linda is a longtime activist for children’s rights, environmental activist, and defender of equal rights. She was a Special Ed teacher from 1987-1998: Lab School in Washington DC, teaching assistant at Children’s Museum in DC, MacLaren Children’s Center, Help Group, Westmark, Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Linda raised her children from 1998-2003 and then stepped into the role of Family Ranch Manager from 2003 to 2010. Beginning in 2017- current she oversees employees, care of animals, project manager, and serves as garden master. Other experience includes:

    • International Medical Corps- Development 2006-2008

    • Staff Writer: Philanthropy My Time (Internet startup that didn’t start up) 2007-2009

    • LA Times Magazine- Contributing Editor and Green Editor, Blog Writer for ‘Pretty in Green’ 2010-2012

    • Published Author 2013: The Last Pilgrimage: My Mother’s Life and Our Journey to Saying Goodbye

    • Featured Writer 2013-2016: AARP, Daily Cents, various publications

    • Owner/Manager Hen House Properties: home renovations

    • Cofounder K&L Staging Co. 2017- home staging and construction management

    • LA County Master Gardener 2009

    • Garden Master at Pathways 2009-2012

    • Founding Board member of Vintage Hollywood, Global Hunger Foundation

    • Past Board President of Caring for Children and Families with AIDS

    • Foster Parent 1991-93 • Mother of Leo and Julianna- most importantly

    • Parent to too many animals: dogs, cats, chickens, turtles, bunnies and koi.

    Mitchell Evall, Esq.
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    Partner, Venable LLP
    I have had the privilege of being involved with UFC for over twenty-five years, and throughout that time, I have always been humbled by the caring and gifted group of people at UFC who have devoted themselves to the plight of foster youth, and I have consistently been amazed by the resilience and strength of the youth we strive to serve.

    Marianna Fisher
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    Chairperson, Westside Children’s Center

    David Fisher
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    Chairman Emeritus, Capital Group International, Inc.
    Trustee Emeritus, J. Paul Getty Trust
    Board of Trustees, Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, Alternative Living for the Aging, California Institute for the Arts, Lowe Institute, and Harvard-Westlake School
    Advisory Board Member, UCLA School of Public Policy, International Monetary Fund Retirement Plan and Monetary Authority of Singapore

    Wendy Greuel
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    A working mom and lifelong Angeleno, Wendy attended LA public schools and graduated from UCLA. Wendy started her career in public service working for her mentor, former Mayor Tom Bradley, where for ten years she worked on a wide range of public policy issues including child care, senior care homelessness, housing, public health and education. While in Mayor Bradley’s office, Wendy was a leader in the creation of LA’s BEST, a nationally recognized after school program that provides a safe and supervised environment for children after school, and helped found the city’s first childcare center. Wendy’s commitment to affordable housing led her to Washington D.C., where she served in President Clinton’s administration as the Deputy Director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and later as the Southern California Regional Director at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1997, Wendy transitioned into the private sector, working for five years in the film industry as an executive at DreamWorks SKG. She provided strategic guidance in their civic and philanthropic efforts in the Los Angeles Region. In 2002, Wendy was elected to the Los Angeles City Council and quickly developed an impressive record of accomplishment by creating jobs, preserving open space and reducing traffic congestion. In 2009, Wendy was elected City Controller, becoming only the second woman in LA’s history elected to citywide office. As Controller, she brought a laser focus to examining government finances ensuring our taxpayer dollars were spent efficiently and she brought greater transparency to government. In 2013, Wendy was engaged by the Orange County Discovery Science Center to help open their new facility, Discovery Cube LA, in the San Fernando Valley. She is providing strategic advice on Board development, fundraising and civic engagement for Discovery Cube L.A. In addition, in 2016, Wendy was appointed as an Executive in Residence and Strategic Advisor at the California State University Northridge Nazarian College of Business and Economics. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the LAHSA Commission working on homeless issues, as Co-Chair of the LAUSD Task Force, as a member of the Women And Girls Initiative Governing Council, and on the boards of Emily’s List, Emerge CA, East Valley YMCA, Oakwood School, Discovery Cube L.A., Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, CAUSE, ABODE, Pico Union Project, Homeland Security Advisory Council, and on the L.A. Kings Business Advisory Board. Wendy and her husband Dean are the proud parents of Thomas, who is a high school freshman.

    Jarred Kennedy
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    Jarred Kennedy is the co-head of Global esports at Riot Games. A member of the Riot team since 2013, Jarred started his career at McKinsey & Company where he created strategies for consumer, technology, and media companies in the US and Europe. Since then, he has held several entrepreneurial positions across a range of businesses, including Encompass Digital Media, where he played a key role in scaling Encompass from a US-based startup into a global technology services company, and most recently Riot’s global merchandise business, which he launched. Jarred is a married father of 3, a lifelong gamer, and a huge LA Lakers fan. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

    Denny Luria, Ph.D
    Former Chair
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    I am a psychologist focused on helping girls and women develop their own voices and a stronger sense of self. I am proud to be part of UFC because we provide the relationships necessary to help our girls (and boys) do just that – grow into sturdy, resilient young adults.

    Mark Maron
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    Prior to co-founding The Latigo Group, Mr. Maron was a partner at Acre Investment Corporation, a Bay Area real estate investment firm focused primarily on commercial real estate. While at Acre, Mr. Maron was responsible for raising capital for Acre’s projects, including a number of properties anchored by 24 Hour Fitness that were subsequently sold for attractive returns to investors. Mr. Maron also created a multifamily division within Acre which later gave rise to the formation of The Latigo Group. Prior to his tenure with Acre, Mr. Maron was a cofounding member of Birchmont Capital Advisors, LLC, a real estate private equity firm located in Los Angeles, focused on multifamily investments, that has raised in excess of $1B of equity. Prior to founding Birchmont, Mr. Maron served as a Managing Director of investment banking in the Los Angeles office of Lehman Brothers, Inc. from 2000 to 2005. Previously, Mr. Maron was with Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation (CSFB) from 1983 to 2000 where he was responsible for managing the firm’s western region investment banking effort and coverage of CSFB’s financial institution clients in the western United States. Mr. Maron was also a Director at True Religion Apparel, Inc. (“TRLG”/NASDAQ) from 2005 until 2014 when the company was sold to a private equity firm. Mr. Maron currently serves as a Director at Anworth Mortgage, (“ANH”/ NYSE), a mortgage REIT located in Santa Monica, CA. Mr. Maron is also Chairman and a Director of Blushington Inc., a Los Angeles based beauty brand with 6 retail stores located in Los Angeles, Dallas and New York City, and soon to be in Brentwood, CA. Mr. Maron attended McGill University, where he graduated with a BA in 1978, and The Wharton School, where he earned an MBA in Finance in May 1982.

    Richard Merkin, M.D.
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    Founder + CEO, Heritage Provider Network
    Founder, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony
    Board of Trustees, California Institute Of Technology
    Board of Directors, The Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools

    Dinesh Moorjani
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    Dinesh Moorjani is a technology executive, CEO and investor. He is a Managing Director and head of the Los Angeles office for Comcast Ventures. Dinesh was the founder & CEO of Hatch Labs, where he co-founded numerous mobile enterprise software and consumer companies from the ground up. Dinesh co-founded Tinder in 2012. He has held leadership roles at IAC/ InterActiveCorp and Samsung Electronics in the US & Asia. He co-founded Saffronart, a Sequoia Capital-backed global fine art marketplace and auction house, where he continues to serve on the board. Dinesh is an active faculty member and adjunct professor at both UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and USC Annenberg. He sits on the advisory boards for Harvard’s California Research Center and Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship. Dinesh is an advisor to American Express, Assurant, and Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm. He serves as an independent board director at numerous companies, including Alight. Dinesh earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and his MBA from Harvard.

    Nadine Schiff-Rosen
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    Board Trustee, the Sundance Institute
    Circle of Friends of The Help Group
    Board Member, Maria Shriver’s Women’s Nation
    Member of Pacific Council

    Erin Mulcahy Stein
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    Partner, SDS NexGen Partners LP
    Board Member, Maria Shriver’s Women’s Nation
    Advisory Committee, Equality Now

    William Temko, Esq.
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    Partner, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP
    Co-Chair, California Committee South of Human Rights Watch

    Demonte “Tray” Thompson
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    Born and raised in Compton, California, Demonte “Tray” Thompson is one of 12 siblings. As a foster youth, Tray found his education to be a safe haven from the trouble in his family and community. Tray earned his B.S. in Finance from Cal State Northridge, where he served as the founding president for the Black Male Initiative organization that aimed to improve black males’ academic, social, and career success.

    With a passion for money management, Tray started his career within CSUN’s Financial Aid Department, where he grew the Financial Literacy Program and presented to hundreds of his fellow Matadors about credit reports, loans, and budgeting. A er his stint at CSUN, Tray secured the position of Regional Marketing Associate at AIG. Staying active at AIG, he is the active President of the Los Angeles Young Professionals employee resource group, providing networking, volunteering, and community outreach events to members.

    Mr. Thompson continues to support organizations and causes that give black men, foster youth, and members of his community the opportunity and inspiration to seek a higher education. Currently, he sits on the board of directors for Cal State Northridge’s Alumni Association. Tray has goals to obtain his MBA and take a larger stage to advocate for foster youth and first generation college students.

    Kiko Washington
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    Executive Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, Warner Bros. Entertainment

    My first impression and exposure to UFC was through attending a Brass Ring Dinner. One of the speakers was a college readiness alumni who was a sophomore film and tv major.  She was incredibly impressive and passionate about her dream, to work at a major studio! Fortunately for me, I was able to get to her with an offer before other studio attendees, and she began working at Warner Bros. the next summer. That night, and the subsequent summer, led me to helping to expand the UFC/WB partnership, and I was lucky enough to be asked to join the UFC Board a few years later.

  • Matt Strieker
    Executive Director
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    Matt is the Executive Director at United Friends of the Children. A seasoned nonprofit executive, Matt has helped grow and strengthen direct service and social justice organizations working on behalf of youth, women, immigrants, and LGBT populations. Prior to joining UFC, Matt led the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit law firm serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Under his leadership, the firm grew by 50 percent, expanding and enhancing services for immigrant survivors.  Matt previously served as the Deputy Director of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, where he helped double the Institute’s budget and endowment, and raise the Institute’s profile among community leaders, policymakers and the bar. Earlier in his career, Matt was a staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and a research associate at the Institute on Race & Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School. He and his spouse are foster parents enjoying sleepless nights with their baby boy and early mornings with their school-age daughter.

    Dania Abraham
    Intake + Assessment Specialist
    Eda Acevedo
    Office Coordinator
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    I have been the receptionist at United Friends since February 2015 and am fortunate to be able to welcome our youth. Often they come in with a frown, but with time I see them walk back in with so much excitement and confidence as their goals are met and exceeded!

    Nicole Alexander
    Transitions Manager, Housing Program
    Jasmine Avilez
    Community Manager, Housing Program
    Allyson Brannon
    Property Management + Housing Coordinator
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    I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Los Angeles in 2014 after working as a Chicago-based United Airlines flight attendant for two years. Prior to joining UFC, I was an Assistant Manager for a 257 unit property in Whittier, CA.  Although I enjoyed the job, I wanted to pursue more meaningful work in line with my experience, passion and education background (B.A. Communications/ Sociology) and knew UFC was the perfect place to pursue my goals.  I enjoy concerts, camping, the beach, and traveling. My favorite movie is “The Burbs” and my favorite food is seafood.

    Michael Brooks, M.Ed.
    Assistant Manager, Scholars Program
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    Growing up in New England, I studied Psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Upon moving to Southern California, I served as a Correctional Deputy Probation Officer at East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility and understand the power and opportunity education brings to youth. I began serving foster youth at a level 14 group home and was drawn to UFC because of its relationship based model. As part of the UFC family I couldn’t be happier and in my spare time I enjoy listening to music and going to the beach. I’m inspired by creative, passionate individuals who live life to the fullest.

    Ryan Burke
    Database Assistant
    Essie Calderon, M.A.
    Manager, Scholars Program
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    I’ve been with UFC for a little over two years and absolutely love and believe in the work we all do. When I’m not working I enjoy taking my dog Max to the beach, hiking, and The Grove!

    Tracey Calderon
    Development + Grants Coordinator
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    With passion, Tracey has dedicated her time and efforts to working closely with underserved communities, including populations in homelessness, prison, migrants, and refugees. Her life-transformative experiences in India and Haiti drove her to earn a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College. Believing in United Friends of the Children’s vital work and mission, Tracey is excited to advance United Friends’ zealous commitment to foster youth. Tracey enjoys the quiet of early mornings, the scenery of long runs, and the element of scrumptious surprise when tasting different cuisines.

    Jae Cañas
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Danielle Cameron
    Advocacy Counselor, Housing Program
    Monique Cardona
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
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    I’ve just celebrated my first full year at UFC and couldn’t be happier about it. I love what I do and am grateful for the chance to work with so many inspiring youth and their families. When I’m not trying to leave the world in better shape than I found it, I enjoy the beach, playing with my dogs, and ice cream.

    Angela Carter-Blackshear, MSW
    Senior Director of Housing
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    Working within the field of human services and nonprofits for over fifteen years, Angela has extensive managerial experience in the non-profit sector and a record of success in getting initiatives off the ground and flourishing. She is currently working as the Director of Housing at United Friends of the Children, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and support services for youth transitioning out of the foster care system.

    Throughout the numerous leadership positions she has held throughout her career, she has been blessed with a variety of opportunities to help support the development of communities, organizations and individuals. B ’Empowered Consulting is an agency that Angela co-founded that specializes in nonprofit development with small to midsize nonprofits. Her experience within the field of nonprofit development extends from front-line case management to executive level leadership. She has experience in fund development, organizational management, in addition to program development and evaluation.

    Angela has extensive experience as a grant reviewer and evaluator of programs. Serving in the role of peer reviewer for the federal government, she has reviewed over one hundred (100+) grant proposals; including: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquent Programs (OJJDP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Department of Justice (DOJ).

    Her career has been dedicated to organizations and initiatives that have worked to provide innovative, evidence-based programming and services for underserved and highly at-risk populations. Angela holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications from California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

    Cassandre Castanon, M.L.I.S.
    Logistics Coordinator, Scholars Program
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    I’ve worked for United Friends for 6+ years and have a bachelors in History/Political Science and a Masters in Library and Information Science. I am a history nerd and make sure to incorporate that into any vacation I take. I love books and spend my time spoiling my nieces and nephew.

    Jennifer Cardoza
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Monica Dearing
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Sean Duren
    Community Manager, Housing Program
    Dan Gallagher
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
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    I recently joined the College Readiness team, but one of my favorite things about working at UFC has been getting to know all of the wonderful staff, youth, and families. Outside of work, I enjoy exploring LA, hiking, and going to the beach.

    Stacey Gallaher
    People + Operations Coordinator
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    I am enjoying working for an organization that supports such an amazing cause.  I can relate to the foster youth in that I was adopted, probably for different reasons, but nonetheless, I received the love and support from individuals who cared for me deeply.  I’m Central American (from Belize), so I have been blessed with the exposure to different cultures and to people from different walks of life, so I can appreciate diversity.

    Jose Godoy
    Systems + Database Coordinator
    LeiJuana Hardy
    Property Management + Housing Coordinator
    Josie Heiman
    Assistant Director of New Initiatives + Special Events
    Frank Hoang, M.S., PPS
    Manager, Scholars Program
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    I first started at UFC as a College Counselor and I now have the honor of managing the service area I started in with an amazing team. I have lived in Los Angeles for the last 13 years and I get to share my experiences with my wife and puppy. I love to travel, I love my family, and I love what I do.

    Kita Hutchins
    Office Manager
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    For 15 years I have been at United Friends, the first non-profit organization that I’ve worked for and it has been a great and rewarding experience.  In my free time I enjoy reading John Grisham books – one of my favorites is “The Racketeer”.

    Elsa Jaimes
    Advocacy Counselor, Housing Program
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    I am incredibly humbled to work with such an inspiring group of people and fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful family here at United Friends. I love spending time with loved ones, watching my nephew/godson grow up, and anything sweet I can get my hands on.

    Porscha Johnson
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
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    I am extremely passionate about social work! However, it can be a stressful career field. An ideal social work agent must possess skills in engaging in strength-based practice. As a social work agent at UFC, in the role of a College Counselor, it is pivotal that I see things from scholar and caregiver perspectives in order to empower them and truly understand their feelings. Consequently, the fact that I have an opportunity to empower and build close relationships with clients, led me to a fulfilling career at UFC. Two fun facts about me: I secretly love singing out loud when I think nobody is around. Also, I am in love with nature and I have a massive interest in human behavior.

    Asha Jordan
    Advocacy Counselor, Pathways Program
    Joe Jones, MFTI
    Community Health Manager, Housing Program
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    I have been employed at United Friends since February 2012. I am blessed to work with such great young people and a terrific team/staff. I am married and I have a 16 year old son. I enjoy bowling and listening to jazz  music. I am passionate about basketball and have been a coach for over seven years! I also enjoy spending time with family and friends and taking Caribbean vacations.

    Katherine Kasserman, MSW
    Advocacy Counselor, Housing Program
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    I am grateful to work in partnership with the mission driven, smart and caring team members and youth of United Friends.  Our intentional community setting encourages me to develop meaningful connections and to be innovative in creating opportunities for growth.  In my personal time, I enjoy the LA weather, try new food and plan weekend getaways.  I am originally from Chicago and spend all my vacation time flying back to visit my family. 

    Elizabeth Kesner, M.A.
    Director of People + Operations
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    Supporting our youth and staff members over the past 8 years has been a huge growth experience and continues to fill me with inspiration and joy. As a West Virginia native, I enjoy living the year-round sunshine dream in Los Angeles with my amazing spouse and two delightful, mischievous cats.

    Carol Larkin
    Coordinator, Scholars Program
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    Passionate for children’s causes, I began working at United Friends after completing a master’s degree in forensic psychology from the George Washington University. Currently, I work as our Scholars Program Coordinator ensuring we are able to recruit as many youth into our program as well as being a liaison for our community partners. A fun fact about me is that I am obsessed with cats but particularly with the Sphynx breed (hairless cat) – they’re just so adorable and soft!

    Megan Levitan
    Director of Education
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    I feel honored to have seen our scholars’ journey from middle school through college graduation over the past ten years. When I’m not at work getting inspiration from the amazing students we serve and the incredible staff that support them, I keep busy hiking the trails of Debs Park in my neighborhood, cultivating a California native plant garden, and trying to build a relationship with two cats that I’m fostering.

    Yesenia Lopez
    Youth Advocate, Housing Program
    Carolyn Lumpkin
    Director, Clinical Support
    Irina Magidova
    Assistant, Housing Program
    Nesli Marin
    Grants + Compliance Coordinator
    Maria Mendoza
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    View Bio

    As a counselor, I enjoy learning about the future aspirations, discussing college selection, and ultimately working as a team to measure whether we are reaching our goals. My role at United Friends allows me to be a part of a scholar’s academic and personal journey, and I feel honored to reflect and affirm all their strengths.  In my free time, I continue to support the work of my local community center, serve as an active alumna of my fraternity, watch the Dodgers, and enjoy fun dates with my creative and loving niece.

    Antoinette Moreland-Carter
    Manager, Scholars Program
    Danielle Morgan, MA
    Director of Impact + Evaluation
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    As the Director of Outcomes and Evaluation, I have the pleasure of collaborating with staff, leadership, and stakeholders. I joined the UFC team because of the emphasis on relationships as the key to positive outcomes and am passionate about closing the gap between research and practice and advancing strategies that increase impact for foster youth. I love logic models and data visualizations….and hiking.

    Julio Munguia
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Norbert Negrea
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Kim Nguyen
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Miguel Oaks
    Advocacy Counselor, Housing Program
    Hannah Olade, M.A.
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
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    I have been with United Friends of the Children since 2006 and I continue to be inspired by our mission and vision to empower foster youth. What makes me tick is seeing others discover their passion, walk in their purpose, and create meaningful, impactful lives. I believe every person regardless of circumstances has something great to contribute to society. My goal is to help them develop their talents and become confident as well as successful in who they are as individuals. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, creating, learning new things, arts and crafts, DIY projects, and following current employment and educational trends.

    Dawn Omori, MS, PPS
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
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    Gardena native and Bruin alum! I am passionate about youth and educational advocacy, and I’m inspired daily by the resilience and strength of our United Friends scholars. I enjoy watching the NBA, baking and spending time with my partner and our sweet pup.

    Stefanie Orea
    Advocacy Counselor, Housing Program
    Sandra Paglinawan
    Advocacy Counselor, Pathways Program
    Carla Palmer
    Senior Manager of Corporate + Community Engagement
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    I have been with United Friends for 14+ years and I enjoy the work as much as I did the first year I started working here. The strength and resilience exhibited by the young adults in our programs never ceases to amaze me. Things I enjoy most are spending time with my 18 year old son, training for a Spartan Race or half marathon, boxing, hiking, cycling, traveling the world and inspiring former foster youth to live their best life.

    Fred Payo
    Advocacy Counselor, Pathways Program
    Damaris Pereda, M.Ed.
    Impact Manager, Scholars Program
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    I am a former teacher, lifelong learner, and usually feel better about life after having a cup of coffee, or enjoying a great meal and quality time with wonderful people in my life –  including our youth and families! My favorite time of year is graduation season – it’s such a great time to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of our youth! It is a privilege to get to work alongside our youth as Impact Manager of the Scholars Program at United Friends.

    Rafe Perry
    Consulting Chief Finance Officer
    Eduardo Rios
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Mariangela Ruiz-Hernandez, MSW
    College Counselor, Scholars Program
    Jamila Russ, MSW
    Assistant Manager, Housing Program
    View Bio

    I’ve been a part of the UFC family since February 2015 and continue to enjoy the work with the population we serve. Every day, I am inspired by my coworkers’ creativity, intuitiveness and genuine care in all aspects of the job. The continued team work is irreplaceable. In my free time, I enjoy my quiet time and improving my health through weight training, cardio and boot camps.

    Eric Shamp, MBA
    Assistant Director of Development
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    I’ve enjoyed being with United Friends for over 6 years and have seen so many of our scholars achieve their college and life dreams. When I’m not in the office, I’m usually enjoying the outdoors with my wife and our 4 kids

    Lia Spriggs
    Executive Manager
    Ann Spurgeon
    Assistant Director, Strategic Gifts
    Romana Vera
    Youth Advocate, Housing Program
    Eclasia Wesley
    Youth Advocate, Housing Program
    Alesha Walker
    Experiential Learning Coordinator
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    I have always been passionate about service and how we, as a community, can work to support one another and create a healthy home. Working at UFC and having the chance to interact with our scholars first as a College Counselor and now as the ELC continues to open my eyes and heart to all of the work that has yet to be done as well as all of the amazing achievements. And, with my background in education and my belief in the problem-posing model, I am honored to build dynamic curriculum for our scholars. In my down time, I love to volunteer with puppies, explore Los Angeles, and read all of the books that come my way.

    Francisco Zamudio
    Manager, Scholars Program
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    I’m a Los Angeles native, coming to UFC from Rutgers University where I was most recently Director of New Student Orientation and Family Programs. I’m excited to be back in LA and to help United Friends lead their college success work.

LA County is home to 30,000 foster youth
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