Irene joined Operation Jump Start in 2009. She received a dual Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology and International Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a Latina born and raised in an underserved community, she is indelibly passionate about the work done at Operation Jump Start. With over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector focused on serving families and children, her passion for the students OJS serves and the organization’s mission is second to none. She works closely with the agency’s Board of Directors to oversee all office operations including human resources management, technology, marketing, enrichment and academic programming, fundraising efforts as well as financial management systems. Irene has the proven skills as a manager and the vision as a leader to take OJS to new heights in achieving its mission. Under her executive leadership, our agency has successfully evolved from serving 55 youth annually in 2009 to serving well over 400 in 2016.
Brittany King-Pleas joined OJS in 2013. In 2017, she was promoted to the post of Associate Director. In this leadership role, Brittany works closely with OJS graduates to ensure they are able to access on-campus resources and graduate from their respective universities—as well as stay connected to OJS. As a first-generation college student, Brittany is passionate about not only helping students get into college, but also encouraging them to be open to all of the opportunities a college-education can provide (study abroad, clubs, professional internships, intramural sports, etc.). Brittany identifies incoming College Success students; recruits guidance counselors (MSW interns) to serve as their mentors, and manages students’ academic progress to ensure high college retention rates. Brittany is a proud OJS alumna who become a Posse Scholar in 2009 and now holds a Bachelor degree from Kalamazoo College in Psychology and a concentration in Women, Gender and Sexuality and will soon earn a Masters degree in Social Work from Cal State University, Long Beach.
College Access Program Manager (Lead Case Manager)
Maria is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. She believes education is the foundation to build a better community. Maria herself is a first-generation college graduate who attributes her success to mentoring. As Operation Jump Start’s dedicated College Access Program Manager Maria oversees the academic progress of students 8th through 10th grade. Her roles include academic advising, records keeping, managing effective mentor-mentee matches and workshop facilitation. She is passionate about working with youth and believes a successful college experience exposes deserving students to high quality opportunities. In 2016, Maria became the agency’s lead case manager overseeing event quality assurance and evaluation of ongoing academic success across all agency programs.
Learning Resource Center Coordinator
Lawrence oversees all aspects of Operation Jump Start’s successful on-site tutoring program known as the Learning Resource Center. He works closely with dedicated tutors, volunteers, OJS’ program managers and the executive team to ensure students receive extensive academic support. Under Lawrence’s guidance as event lead, students have participated in many firsts including the first-ever traveling college tour to Stanford University in Northern California and first-time snowboarding excursion to Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake. Additionally, Lawrence oversees the agency’s web-design and information technology systems. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach as well as a long-time OJS volunteer mentor.
Communications and Development Manager
Yanira joined Operation Jump Start in 2011 as a Program Assistant. Throughout the years, Yanira’s taken on roles of increasing responsibility and professionally blossomed. She is currently the agency’s Development and Communications Manager responsible for coordinating and executing fundraising events and leads all agency communication and marketing efforts. Yanira received her undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach. A proud alumna of OJS, she profoundly believes all youth deserve equal access to a college education. Yanira is an invaluable asset to the OJS family.
Sandra started her tenure as a BSW intern in 2016. An internship that was supposed to last a period of 10 weeks ended up turning into a summer internship and eventually becoming an official position at OJS. She currently attends California State University, Long Beach where she is finishing her BA in Social Work and minor in Sociology. Sandra provides administrative and clerical support to both our Communications and Development Manager and Lead Case Manager. She coordinates effective tracking systems and maintains proper data entry. In addition, she is in charge of maintaining office supply budgets, tracking accounts payable, and assisting in daily operations.