Pedro Naranjo is the executive director of the Ashland Youth Center Project. The key role of the Youth Center is to ensure that young people from the Ashland area and surrounding communities reach their full potential. Pedro considers it an important responsibility and a true obligation to represent populations that are often over looked and marginalized. He has made it his personal and professional mission to work in collaboration with other committed people to ensure equity for all. Pedro brings to the Ashland Youth Center project over 15 years of experience. Pedro has worked at the forefront of youth development as he has played an important role in the establishment of other youth centers in Sacramento and Oakland, always focusing on developing programs and services that meet the needs and interests of youth.
As an Adjunct Professor in the Health Science Department at San Jose State University, Pedro has taught undergraduate courses to students pursuing a health career. He has also delivered numerous lectures and presentations on developing and cultivating collaborative partnerships. As a Board Member of the Hispanic Community Affairs Council (HCAC), Pedro assists in efforts to provide college scholarship opportunities to Latino students in Alameda County. Pedro believes that young people are our greatest asset and will never miss a chance to empower youth to play a leadership role in ways that strengthen their communities.
Pedro is a proud family man. He enjoys spending as much time as possible with his family and loves watching his daughters, Liliana and Izel, grow up. Pedro enjoys running, hiking and is learning to play the guitar.
Jamie Hintzke has been working with Alameda County Health Care Services Agency – School Health Services for 4 years. In her county role, Jamie has helped to broker collaborative partnerships and worked with youth. She has also had the opportunity to work with all 17 Alameda County school Districts on a public health initiative for 7th graders.
Jamie is a long-time school health advocate, advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Empowering parents, bringing community partners together and giving youth a voice are elements Jamie believes will make a difference by tying access to quality adolescent health care to student achievement.
Jamie is also an active volunteer, splitting her time as a school board member (elected 2008), board member for the California State PTA and school board member for ROP. Recognized for her advocacy efforts, California State Assemblymember Hayashi (D-Hayward) selected Jamie as her 2007 Woman of the Year. Jamie is married and has 2 two children, one in middle school and one in high school.
Vassilisa Johri, LCSW is a social justice therapist who has been working with oppressed communities for over fifteen years in both crisis intervention and prevention/wellness capacities, blending clinical skills with a social activist perspective. Vassi has worked in Washington, DC, Baltimore MD, San Francisco, and Oakland on the multiple challenges of traumatized populations including, facing HIV/AIDS and illness, substance use, poverty, generational trauma and oppression, and trauma concerns in youth and adults. Vassi co-created The Sankofa Project at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, CA, a comprehensive mental health model dedicated to the merging of holistic healing, combating social oppression, and treating the entire traumatized community. Most recently, she was a therapist at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, girls’ unit. A graduate of Smith College School for Social Work, Vassi has been the recipient of numerous awards for leadership, social justice, and community service. After her training as a mental health therapist, Vassi began studying Generative Somatics when she found herself questioning the effectiveness of individualized talk therapy in healing ongoing trauma affected by oppressive social conditions. She continues this work to build a deeper cross section between social justice and effective healing work – namely developing politicized healers and embodied and transformative social movements. Her current focus includes the cross section of oppression, trauma, and intimacy; and the somatic, mental, and emotional aspects that influence oppressed communities’ ability to function and thrive. Vassi believes in family, community, and her dog, Chai. She believes hate is easy. And love is the revolution.
Robin Noel Morales comes to the Health Care Services Agency Administration and the Ashland Youth Center (AYC) team, as a registered marriage and family therapy intern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Justice from New College and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the Wright Institute. Robin has almost a decade of professional experience working with youth in clinical and advocacy capacities. She has worked with underserved and vulnerable populations, incarcerated and exploited minors, foster care youth and youth in transition. She has developed and supportive systems for them and assisted them in navigating institutions with more awareness and choice. She has provided clinical services and advocacy in and out of detention settings and supervised a clinical team. She also developed an expanded advocacy model for youth.
As the AYC’s first Clinical Case Manager, Robin will do direct service work in the community with youth and families, assist in the development of an innovative health & wellness model, and support the building of our youth leadership/involvement component at the center. She is rooted in strong social justice values and also demonstrates ability to hold a holistic perspective towards health and action. She is currently in training a yoga instructor with the Niroga Institute and believes that our most important tool toward wellness is remembering to breathe.