Call Us: (323) 454-6221

Syuzanna Shirinyan
My name is Syuzanna Shirinyan and I am from Glendale, California. I earned my BA with honors in Sociology from the University of Southern California. In the fall of 2018, I began my Masters in Social Work at the University of Southern California. I am expected to graduate by the year of 2020 with a MSW degree (emphasis in Social Change and Innovation). Upon graduation, I want to work towards becoming a LCSW and ultimately offer my services through my own private practice.

My hobbies include spending time with my puppy (Nina) and interior designing.

CHRISTINE SHIAU, Program Manager

​​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.

Mark Magaña
My name is Mark Magana and I am a 2nd year Master of Social Work student at the University of Southern California. I lived in South Los Angeles for about 12 years and currently reside in San Pedro (where I’ve lived for 15 years). I attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where I obtained my Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology. I chose to pursue a career in Social Work to address the injustices and hardships my family and friends have experienced (e.g. poverty, substance abuse, lack of opportunity, etc.). Additionally, I’ve developed an interest in employee rights and public assistance policy. In my free time, I enjoy watching basketball and American football and trying new foods.

FAYE ALTOBARDirector of Operations
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 the 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.

ROBERT HERNANDEZ, Founder & Executive Director
Robert Hernandez received his MSW from the University of Southern California and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the USC School of Social Work, where he teaches Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice; Policy and Practice in Social Service Organizations; Social Work Practice With Families, Groups and Complex Cases; Social Work and Law; and Adolescent Gang Intervention. 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. He has focused addressing violence-related trauma through violence reduction, prevention and intervention strategies. He also served on the Community Engagement Ad-Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development, headed by then-District 6 Councilman Tony Cardenas. He contributed to the creation of “Two Prong Approach,” the city's community-based gang intervention model. Hernandez serves on the National Juvenile Justice Network, composed of coalitions and organizations that advocate for juvenile reform. Much of his work centers on community violence prevention and intervention. He also is co-founder and executive director of Visionary Youth Center, Inc.

Jessica Y. Martinez

Hi everyone! I’m Jessica Martinez, Social Work undergraduate student from California State University, Los Angeles. I am a first-college generation student. I was born and raised in South Los Angeles. I enjoy watching television series and variety shows, going to amusement parks, and spending time with family and close friends. I am excited to be an intern at Visionary Youth Center. I am looking forward to a successful and engaging year.

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Jimmy Guevara
My name is Jimmy C. Guevara and I was born and raised in East Hollywood. I went to LeConte Middle School and earned my high school diploma from Hollywood High School. I lived in the neighborhood throughout my school years until I left to the Marine Corps in 2002. After the Marine Corps I earned a double bachelor in Psychology and Central American studies. I am currently working on my Master of Social Work from University of Southern California (USC) in the Social Change and Innovation (SCI) department. I aspire to lead a non-profit organization that works with teens or veterans returning home.

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. 



Carlos Martinez
My name is Carlos Martinez and my home town is Los Angeles, California.  I was born in San Salvador and came to the United States for better life opportunities.  I have an AA degree in Sociology, and Social Behavior & Self Development, as well as an AS degree in Fire Technologies.  My undergraduate major is Social Work and I am a senior at Cal State LA. The reason I have chosen social work is because I enjoy working with people and helping those in need. I am hoping to complete my Masters in Social Work to become a License Certified Social Worker, with the purpose of opening a non-profit organization and helping the youth that has been institutionalized by the prison system.  In my spare time I am a volunteer Firefighter and I try to give back to the community by providing public service. During my down time I like to exercise and walk my Husky/Alaskan Malamute 6-10 miles a day.

Carlos L. Alvarado Jr.
North Hollywood, Ca.
BA Sociology/Minor Public Administration
University of Southern California
Carlos Alvarado grew up in the San Fernando Valley in an underserved community with limited options and opportunities. Carlos spent most of his adolescent and adulthood judiciously involved. Today he is dedicated to giving back to his community. He is a graduate student at USC, Currently working on a Masters degree in social work. He also works as a case manager guiding vulnerable Youth And young adults affected by many of the same conditions that affected him over 20 years ago.

Rose IsountsProject Manager
My name is Rose Isounts and I am a 2nd year Master of Social Work student at the University of California. I grew up all around the San Fernando Valley and attended California State University, Northridge where I obtained my Bachelor's of Art in Psychology with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies. I fell into social work because I have always been passionate about social justice and policy reform. I spent
my first year of my graduate program field work at VYC and I am excited to be back for another year. During my free time I enjoy watching films and exploring LA.

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