FAYE ALTOBARDirector of Operations

Education 
MSW, University of Southern California, 2014
BA, California State University, Dominquez Hills, 2002

I am an MSW with over 15 years experience working in Human Services. Prior to social work, I have 8 years of management experience for several financial institutions, and I am now looking to focus my career by fusing my two passions: non-profit organizational management and community relations. I am passionate about empowering my community and helping others to reach their greatest potential. As an MSW, I have focused on macro social work practices, which includes fund-development, program development, non-profit organizations, advocacy, and community relations.
I am currently the Director of Operations at Visionary Youth Center (VYC), where I oversee all aspects of non-profit organizational operations, fiscal management, programming, and fund development. VYC is a non-profit start-up that I am fortunate to have been a part of from the beginning as I implement strategies to nurture the growth of this grass-root agency. I am dedicated to promoting healthy youth development and advocating for their higher learning. As an MSW at VYC, I’ve also had the opportunity to oversee BSW and MSW interns from CSULA and USC for as their Certified Field Instructor. 
I've have joined an amazing team at Reliance Hospice, whose focused on innovation while providing compassionate hospice care. As a medical social worker and community liaison, I am able to utilize my true passion for human service while involved in business development. I have also been employed with the Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis for the past 12 years, working with adults with severe developmental disabilities and their families. I am also co-chair of the Youth and Education Committee for the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council. In the past year, I have served as Director of Development at Housing Works, working with the homeless and permanent supportive housing services in greater Los Angeles.

CHRISTINE SHIAU, Program Manager

Education 
MSW, University of Southern California, 2016
BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013

Christine Shiau has earned a Master of Social Work with the concentration of Community Organization, Planning, and Administration from the University of Southern California in 2016.  She is passionate about serving disadvantaged youth.  She has mentored underserved students at a nonprofit, Little Lights Urban Ministries, in Washington, District of Columbia along with provided mental-health services to high-risk high-school students at a Green Dot Public School in South Los Angeles.  She is currently the Program Manager of Visionary Youth Center, in which she facilitates the growth of the organization, aids with weekly programming, and helps with the Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work internship programs.  As Program Manager, Christine Shiau utilizes macro-practice skills and knowledge of mental health issues, all in which she has developed through her aforementioned experiences, and her past roles as research assistants within the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and as an intern at the American Psychological Association.

(323) 454-6221 // fayealtobar@gmail.com

Dee Dee (Archelena) McDonald

My name is Dee Dee (Archelena) McDonald and I am currently in my final semester as an MSW student at USC. I obtained my bachelor's in sociology and my associate's degree in psychology. My long-term goal is to establish my own non-profit that serves foster youth and increases their rates of personal and academic success. As a former foster youth, I feel that I have a lot of great insight to offer in this particular field. In my spare time, I love to listen to audiobooks, workout (when I'm not making excuses) and go to church. Overall, I am grateful to have the opportunity to join the collaborative efforts in supporting the mission of the VYC, and I hope to bring invaluable knowledge to this organization.

Our interns are a collaboration with Cal State LA and USC. The Universities are located in the heart of Los Angeles. We have a diverse group of interns working toward their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW). Our interns come from all walks of life and with several different backgrounds. 

(323) 454-6221 //rohernandez4040@sbcglobal.net

MEET OUR TEAM

Call Us: (323) 454-6221

Michael Bonilla
Hello, my name is Michael Bonilla and currently, I’m attending Cal State Los Angeles for Social Work. I’m a senior and I’m close to obtaining my Bachelor’s in Social Work. My current goal is to pursue a master’s in Social Work to further my career and hopefully work in Mental Health or various communities. I’m an intern at Visionary Youth Center and help in both of their locations in the greater Los Angeles area. At the center, we work directly with teens and pre-teens to help them with various struggles of life and help them develop better coping skills to deal with life issues.

MEET OUR INTERNS 

Rachel Brenner
MSW Candidate, University of Southern California, 2021
BA, Penn State University, 2015
My name is Rachel Brenner, and I am an MSW Intern at Visionary Youth Center. I have a focus on Children, Youth, and Families and a passion for criminal justice reform. My areas of interest include juvenile justice, gang intervention, homelessness, grief and loss, severe mental illness, and recidivism. I have experience in the criminal justice field, and in working with vulnerable and special needs children. A long-term goal of mine is to put an end to mass incarceration, by tackling issues like racial profiling, police brutality, and the school to prison pipeline. One of my short-term goals is to effectively support and advocate for our youth, creating a healthy and safe environment for them to grow and learn.

Katie Carranza
My name is Katie Carranza, I am an undergraduate student at Cal State Los Angeles pursuing my Bachelor's degree in social work. I plan to obtain my Master's degree in social work as well. My areas of interest are to work with mental health adults or elders and advocate for low-income communities that lack support and resources. I am an intern at Visionary Youth Center, mentoring, helping build leadership qualities and empowering at-risk youth ages 10-18 years old. As an intern, I help create a positive environment and build relationships with the youth and I am honored to be a part of the Visionary Youth Center.


Victoria Reyes
MSW Candidate, University of Southern California 
B.S. California State University of Northridge 2018

As a Social Change Innovation focused intern, I not only work directly with the youth by establishing mentorship relationships but I work from a macro-level as well. I help empower the youth and help create a positive environment. My areas of interest are mental health, transitioning college students, domestic violence, and children facing challenges. One of my current goals is to create collaborations with other non-profit organizations. Another current goal of mine is to receive grants in which could provide more resources for VYC and the youth. With all the tools I am being given and also utilizing my public health background, I will continue to advocate for VYC and the youth.

Catalina Espinoza

My name is Catalina Espinoza Bajo, I am an intern at Visionary Youth Center. Moreover, I am an undergraduate BASW student from California State University, Los Angeles. As an intern, my job is to uplift the youth from negative impacts of trauma and violence exposure by creating a generation change and empowering the youth to grow and sustain thriving communities. My areas of interest are to counsel school children and youth who are experiencing challenges, children and youth with disabilities, and children and youth with addiction. In addition, I am honored that I have been placed at Visionary Youth Center it has shown me how much of an impact we interns have on the youth and I will cherish that forever in my career. 

ROBERT HERNANDEZ, Founder & Executive Director

Education 
DSW 2018
MSW, University of Southern California, 2007
BA, California State University, San Jose, 1999

ROBERT HERNANDEZ aims to educate and engage in practice-driven research to address critical areas of society that continue to hinder communities from flourishing. His areas of interest include vulnerable youth populations, adolescent social issues, adolescent gang intervention, strength-based/resiliency and youth empowerment models of practice. In particular, Hernandez's work examines risk and protective factors within communities that are associated with vulnerable youth populations residing in trauma-exposed communities. His focus is on advancing marginalized populations through a range of practical approaches addressing violence-related trauma through violence reduction, prevention, and intervention strategies. His area of emphasis is exploring violence related-trauma due to urbanization and rapid development and its impact on healthy youth development as well as the implications on urban communities as a whole.   

Jennie Covarrubias
My name is Jennie Covarrubias and I am currently studying at Cal State LA obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Social Work. I am an intern at Visionary Youth Center in the greater Los Angeles area. Growing up with disabled family members gave me early exposure to the amazing impact Social Workers can make in one's life through advocacy and support. I hope to one day make similar impacts in the lives of others by building relationships with the youth and uplifting their communities.

Sam Lozano
MSW Candidate, University of Southern California, 2021
BA, California State University, Los Angeles, 2016

At USC, my emphasis is in Social Change and Innovation department, my goal is to work with different programs and policies that help build bridges to self-sufficiency for communities in need. I am interested in working with communities and individuals facing challenges with mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, and other at-risk behaviors. Another area of interest is to focus on different macro practices like grant writing, meeting with policymakers, and collaborating with other organizations. Working with Visionary Youth Center offers me the opportunity to apply both macro and micro-practices working with the youth while also addressing programmatic needs. 

Yessenia Arevalo, Preceptor

Education 
MSW, University of Southern California, 2019 
BA, California State University, Los Angeles, 2017
Yessenia Arevalo, preceptor for Visionary Youth Center. As a preceptor, I provide group supervision for the MSW and BSW students. Ensure that daily functions are done and support the interns through their experience here at the Visionary Youth Center. My areas of interest include working with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, children and youth who are experiencing challenges with school, communication skills, and community mental health. My work is based on direct practice, assisting individuals to navigate their day to day challenges. My focus is early mental health intervention for children and youth.