Ana Aguirre

Director, Youthsource & Education Department

Ana Aguirre is Director of the YouthSource & Education Department (YSED). YSED operates youth workforce development initiatives in three areas: Pacoima/San Fernando, East Hollywood, and Pico-Union, and serves over 600 youth annually, providing case management, college and career support, academic services, and personal development opportunities. The frameworks used to support youth utilize trauma-informed practices and a youth-centered approach, both incorporating a strength-based perspective. The values of the department are knowledge, empathy, and youth-centered, and the overall goals are academic success and placement into employment, college, and careers, with the long-term goal of self-sufficiency.

Marguerite Avé-Womack

Senior Director of Community Development

Marguerite Avé-Womack is Senior Director of Community Development. She oversees the new TechHire program, a signature initiative of the White House to launch innovative training and placement models for developing tech talent. Previously, Marguerite was the Director of Workforce Development at Jewish Vocational Service (JVS). At the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Marguerite served in roles as the Director of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Director of Operations.

Karina Favela-Barreras

Senior Director of School Impact and Integration

Serves as a results-driven leader in the education and human service sectors, Karina Favela-Barreras has worked with young children, families and community members for over 15 years. As the Youth Policy Institute’s (YPI) Senior Director of School Impact & Integration, Karina is responsible for the short and long-term coordination and implementation of cradle-to- college-and- career services for communities across Los Angeles, advancing economic and social equity with an emphasis on improving access to quality education. She manages a $15 million annual budget and oversees a team of full and part time staff members who serve as directors, assistant directors, managers, coordinators, and advisors at 35 school sites. Karina coordinates cross sector partnerships between community-based organizations, local schools, elected officials, and community leaders and residents to implement collaborative solutions to transform communities into vibrant communities of opportunities and develop a strong college-bound culture at school sites. Karina began working with YPI in 2006 as the Assistant Director of Youth Services providing oversight to over 50 school sites. In 2008 she established the School and Community Partnerships department, which housed the Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS), AmeriCorps, Carol White Physical Education Program, and the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood planning grant. Before joining YPI, Karina served as the School Readiness Program Coordinator for Los Angeles Education Partnership.

In this capacity she supported with a community needs assessment process and implementation of school readiness and health awareness programs to supported families with children 0-5.

Enrique Villagrana

Director of Learning & Development

Enrique Villagrana is the Director of Learning & Development for Youth Policy Institute. The Learning & Development Department provides training to 1,500 employees. Previous to obtaining his current position, Enrique was the Director of the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program, where he was instrumental in growing the program from serving 300 students during the first year to close to 3,000 students annually. In the past 11 years, he has supported with the implementation of AmeriCorps, VISTA, and other tutoring intervention grants at YPI.

Heather Fukunaga

Director of Grants Development

Heather Fukunaga is the Director of Grants Development for the Youth Policy Institute and has a leading role in fundraising for the organization from a range of local, state, and federal agencies, including the US Departments of Education, HUD, Labor, Justice, HHS, Agriculture, and Corporation for National and Community Service.

Angelica Martin

Director of Workforce Development Department

Angelica began her community-based service career over 20 years ago, supporting and managing workforce development programs. As early as high school and partially through college, she served as a Youth Employment Specialist for the Employment Development Department (EDD), State of California under the Youth Employment Opportunity Program (YEOP).

Diana Rodriguez

Director of Expanded Learning

As Director of Expanded Learning, Diana is dedicated to carrying out the agency’s commitment to provide technology, training, and resources to youth and adults across Los Angeles. In her four-year tenure, Diana has managed a portfolio of technology related projects totaling more than $9.8 million dollars, the most notable being a BTOP Public Computer Center (PCC) Grant that enabled YPI to deploy over 1,700 workstations across 83 PCCs throughout Los Angeles County.

Aissa Zapata

Director of Early Head Start

Aissa Zapata is Director, Early Head Start, for Youth Policy Institute. The Early Head Start program provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families. The focus of the program is on Education, Health, Nutrition, Mental Health, Disabilities and Parent, Family & Community Engagement. These principles are designed to nurture healthy attachments between parent and child (and child and caregiver), emphasize a strengths-based, relationship-centered approach to services, and encompass the full range of a family’s needs through a child’s third birthday. The YPI Early Head Start program is funded to serve 89 infants and toddlers in a center-based setting in Hollywood and surrounding areas.

Shawn Bolton

Director of the Health & Wellness Department

Shawn Bolton is Director of the Health & Wellness Department (H&W). H&W operates wellness initiatives in three service areas: San Fernando Valley, East Hollywood, and Pico-Union, and serves over 8000 youth annually, providing physical health, social-emotional learning, mental health services, nutrition education, community food access and active transportation. The Health & Wellness Department delivers youth-centered services while also providing wraparound services to the entire family. The values of the department are guided in the spirit, action, mission and resilience of our community. The Health & Wellness Department stands on five core values: Social Responsibility, Community, Holistic Wellness, Social Justice and Cultural Competency.

Enrique Rodriguez

Director of Community and Family Support

Enrique Rodriguez has been been in community development and empowerment throughout his career. He has developed programs providing gang intervention and prevention services for families in Watts and South Los Angeles, helped create a juvenile reentry strategy and program for youth in the Los Angeles juvenile justice system, and founded a small high school in Santa Ana, CA. He now serves as Director of Community and Family Support for YPI, overseeing the Hollywood FamilySouce center and other community development projects.

Eftihia Danellis

Director, Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood in the Promise Zone

Eftihia Danellis is the Director of Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood in the Promise Zone ; serving 8 schools in Hollywood and the Pico Union districts. She values work that gives her a strong sense of purpose and looks forward to applying her experience in the classroom, in non-profits, and in running a school to implement wrap-around services in a community schools model to support her Promise Neighborhood schools’ students and families to thrive.

Sonia M. Torres

Director of Communications

Sonia Torres is the Director of Communications for Youth Policy Institute, heading up the team responsible for developing and implementing strategies to tell YPI’s story in an effective and engaging manner. Sonia’s professional passion has been helping mission-driven organizations achieve their strategic communications goals to positively transform lives. Previously, Sonia served as Director of Marketing & Communications for Summer Search, a national youth development organization, and Communications Manager for Room to Read, an international nonprofit working to improve global literacy.