DIRECTORS

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Kristen Gates

Director of Advancement

Kristen Gates is YPI’s Director of Advancement. In this role, Kristen supports with agency-wide fundraising efforts and stewards gifts from start to finish. Kristen has worked with YPI since 2010 and served as an integral part of the Promise Neighborhood initiative in Hollywood before transitioning to the agency’s development team in 2014, where she focused on grant writing. Kristen holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA with a specialization in community economic development strategies.

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Deidre Jones

Director of Early Childhood Education

Dr. Deidre D. Jones is Director of Early Childhood Education (ECE), overseeing our birth-5 education programs.  The vision of the ECE Department is to reduce poverty and stimulate financial empowerment by ensuring all children have access to high-quality early care programs that support their cognitive, social-emotional, physical, and language and literacy development in a healthy and safe environment so they are ready to enter kindergarten. Prior to joining YPI, she directed and managed private, Head Start and State-funded programs.  She has over 10 years in the field and has additionally prepared and mentored teachers.

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Nicholas Wu

Director of GEAR UP

Nicholas Wu is the GEAR UP Director, serving almost 5000 students across 20 schools. YPI has two Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grants through the United States Department of Education, providing academic support, as well as college and career readiness services to cohort students and their families starting from middle school into their first year of college. Nicholas has been an educator his entire career, beginning as a classroom teacher and working with other non-profit agencies providing direct student services and managing academic programs. He earned his BA in Psychology and Social Behavior and Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from UC Irvine, and his M.Ed. in School Counseling and Pupil Personnel Services Credential from USC.