Meet the Operation Jump Start Team.
Irene joined Operation Jump Start in 2009. She received a dual Bachelor 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 almost two decades 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.
Outside of OJS, Irene enjoys hosting dinner parties for friends and family, spending quality time with her fun-loving husband and three children, as well as traveling!
Connect with Irene: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria joined the team in February of 2015. She is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach where she received her Bachelor 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. When Maria first joined the team as the College Access Program Manager, she demonstrated early on her talent and ability to lead programs, later managing and playing a critical role in the expansion of the College Success Program.
Now as Operation Jump Start’s dedicated Program Director, Maria oversees both OJS Programs. She effectively leads the programs team, assuring the overall quality and execution of our programs, while monitoring the academic progress and success of all OJS scholars (8th-12th grade and college students). She is also the preceptor for master’s and bachelor’s Social Work interns. She is passionate about working with youth and believes a successful college experience exposes deserving students to high-quality opportunities.
When Maria is out and about she enjoys coffee shops, reading, family time, tropical vacations, and recently has found her love for fitness. Her current favorite authors are Erika Sanchez and Rachel Hollis. Look them up, they are amazing!
Connect with Maria: email@example.com
Maria joined Operation Jump Start in March 2019. She began her outreach work with youth right after graduating Poly High in 2003. A transfer student from Long Beach City College, Maria graduated from the University of California, San Diego where she majored in Sociology with a concentration in Social Inequalities. Maria is a strong mental health advocate, so she promotes wellness and healing amongst marginalized communities and strives to break the stigma of therapy. She admires the work of Angela Davis, bell hooks, and Gloria Anzaldua. As the Volunteer Coordinator, Maria is responsible for the recruitment and retention of all volunteers and leading community outreach efforts. She also provides support in managing OJS scholars’ ongoing academic progress as it relates to their attendance to the Learning Resource Center.
When Maria is not in the Learning Resource Center she spends her time with her three children; Jayla (5), Jayce (3), and Julio (2). She loves learning about mental wellness, interior design and anything in the Arts.
Connect with Maria: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 received her BA in Social Work and minor in Sociology at California State University, Long Beach. Sandra provides support for our Programs Team. She coordinates effective student events and workshops.
Connect with Sandra: email@example.com
Rebecca joined Operation Jumpstart in February 2020. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a double major in Communication Theory and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies and a minor in Education. As the first in her family to attend college, she is passionate about providing all students with access to higher education and about the imperative need to support them throughout their journey.
In her free time, she loves to craft, work on ceramic projects, cook, and spend time with her cat, Luna.
Connect with Rebecca: firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Leadership Intern (OJS Alumna – Class of 2014)
Emily joined the OJS team in February 2020 as a Youth Leadership Intern. As an OJS Alumna, Emily first started in OJS as a 9th grader in 2010 and is excited to return to the organization that gave her so many memorable experiences. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies at Cal State Long Beach. Emily serves as the staff liaison for the Youth Leadership Ambassadors, aiming to create an inclusive and positive learning environment that gives OJS students the opportunity to grow as leaders.
When not at OJS, you can find Emily enjoying an outdoor run, hiking near the mountains, and camping.
Connect with Emily: email@example.com
Mayra Alvarez, LCSW
MSW Intern Field Instructor
Mayra is an OJS alumna, class of 2004. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles and went on to receive her Master’s of Social Work degree from California State University, Long Beach. She attributes her desire to become a social worker to the influence and support that OJS provided her with during a pivotal moment in her life. Since 2010 she has worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health providing individual, family and group therapy to children and adolescents. She became a licensed clinical social worker in 2014. She is excited to be a part of OJS again as the new MSW Intern Supervisor.
Whenever possible, Mayra loves to travel the world with her husband and two young boys.
Connect with Mayra: firstname.lastname@example.org
Retired, Disney Executive
Board Vice President
Associate Director of Operations, Southern California Pixar
Director of Global Recruitment,
Retired, City of Long Beach Administration/Finances
President, Social Work Abroad Program
Marketing Consultant, Private Practice
Controller, Tessie Cleveland Community Services Corp, Inc.
Sr. Communications Specialist, The Walt Disney Company
Diann and Walt Zenda
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