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 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: email@example.com
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 talents in 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
(OJS Alumna - Class of 2009)
Yanira first joined Operation Jump Start in February of 2011 as a Program Assistant. Throughout the years, Yanira’s taken on roles of increasing responsibility and professionally blossomed. She currently handles operations and is also 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.
Connect with Yanira: email@example.com
MSW Intern Field Instructor
Connelly Jenks joined OJS in the summer of 2018, she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 6 years in practice. After completing her MSW in 2012, Connelly became a Clinical Social Worker, providing psychotherapy to children, adolescents and adults; in individual and group settings. Connelly’s work in private practice utilizing a holistic, eclectic approach, allows her to both teach and work collaboratively with our master’s level social work interns. She works with our interns to provide our students services in a multitude of therapeutic modalities and teaches them to practice from a strength-based perspective. Connelly is a down to earth caring therapist who is a natural teacher. She possesses the compassion, empathy, background and skills that make it easy for her interns to feel safe in a learning environment.
Connect with Connelly: firstname.lastname@example.org
(OJS Alumnus - Class of 2017)
Axel joined the OJS team in August of 2017 as a Development Assistant. As an OJS Alumnus, Axel has an intimate understanding of what OJS does for students, and now he aims to contribute to the amount of heart and effort the OJS staff puts into each and every event, student, and mentor-mentee matches. He is currently pursuing a BA in English Education at Cal State Long Beach. Axel currently serves as the staff liaison for the Youth Leadership Ambassadors, maintains computers and general tech in the OJS office, and provides support to the Development and Programs teams.
Connect with Axel: email@example.com
Development Support AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer
Parisia first joined OJS February 2019. She is a recent graduate of Hampton University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a focus on Incarcerated Women and Disenfranchised communities. Parisia considers herself a student in every aspect of her life. With a passion and experience in mentoring, she has taken her ability to support others cross-culturally from South America, Africa, to Europe, and now Long Beach. She is excited to be apart of the lasting development of others within her own local community. As Operation Jump Start’s newest Development Support AmeriCorps VISTA, Parisia is fundamental further developing the agency's fundraising efforts, brand development, and external communications.
In addition to creating content for OJS, Parisia is a writer and author for her own blog. She enjoys utilizing writing and storytelling as a form of healing and connecting with herself and others.
Connect with Parisia: firstname.lastname@example.org
Masters of Social Work - Counseling Interns
Yasmilet Yanez Velasquez
CSU Dominguez Hills
CSU Long Beach
CSU Dominguez Hills
CSU Long Beach
Retired, Disney Executive
Mary Lou LaLonde
Retired CEO, LaLonde Equipment Company
Associate Director of Operations, Southern California Praxair
Director of Global Recruitment, MaxLinear, Inc.,
President, Social Work Abroad Program (SWAP)
Retired, City of Long Beach Administration/Finances
Marketing Consultant, Private Practice
Controller, Tessie Cleveland Community Services Corp, Inc.
Sr. Communications Specialist, The Walt Disney Company
Diann and Walt Zenda
Interested in board membership?
Contact us: email@example.com to learn more.