Meet Our Staff

Liliana Soriano Garista

Liliana Soriano Garista

Director of Policy & Fiscal Affairs

About Liliana

Liliana (she/they) was born and raised in San Diego. She holds a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis on Race and Ethnicity from the University of California San Diego. There she worked on mutual aid projects and voiced support for policies that would advocate for opportunities for the youth, affordable housing, and equitable transportation. Liliana has past experience working in local government and leading youth in a non-profit organization. They interned with Youth Will in 2020, in which she mobilized voters to support affordable housing. Most notably, the values Liliana holds of community and youth power are based on the principles Youth Will instilled in her. 

liliana@youthwill.org

Claire Snyder

Claire Snyder

Director of Programming & Internal Development

About Claire

Claire (she/her) was raised in Sacramento and made her move to San Diego in 2016. She has a B.A. in Sociology from San Diego State University. During her time there, she was an active member of Planned Parenthood Generation Action and organized around reproductive justice. After graduating, Claire began her career providing services for system involved youth and youth experiencing homelessness. She has also been involved in mutual aid efforts and community organizing in San Diego since graduating. Claire combines her passion for supporting youth and organizing towards youth liberation and safe communities in her role as the Youth Organizer for Youth Will.

claire@youthwill.org

Tristin Beery

Tristin Beery

Youth Organizer

About Tristin

Tristin (he/him) was raised in Syracuse, Indiana until 2014, at which point he relocated to San Diego. He is a proud alumni of Monte Vista High School, Cuyamaca College, and San Diego State University where he studied Political Science with a minor in Humanities. Tristin interned with multiple social justice organizations where he worked on making San Diego more equitable for all by advocating for education, labor reform, and climate justice. He aims to operate on the foundation that the only way to guarantee an equitable future is to ensure our youth have every chance to flourish available to them.

tristin@youthwill.org

Meet Our Interns

Keala Minna-Choe

Keala Minna-Choe

Research & Policy Intern

Keala Minna-Choe (she/her) is a junior in high school at Canyon Crest Academy. When she is not playing beach volleyball, Keala advocates for climate justice and youth civic engagement. Keala formerly held the position of the Youth v. Oil lead as a part of SanDiego350, and now serves on their board. Keala is currently the co-lead of the San Diego Climate Reality Project’s YEA Pod and is the Youth Ambassador for the San Diego Green New Deal Alliance. Keala is passionate about uplifting youth voices and improving opportunities for youth to take action. 

Join Us and Become a Youth Member

Sign up here to get informed of action team meetings for community impact initiatives and how you can be a part of our movement.

Meet Our Youth Leaders

Jesus Martin Gallegos-Munoz

Jesus Martin Gallegos-Munoz

CA Opportunity Youth Network (COYN) Fellow

Deeq Ahmed

Deeq Ahmed

TechHire Intern

Victoria Dinov

Victoria Dinov

Programming and Organizing Associate

Chloe Cohen

Chloe Cohen

Monét Panza

Monét Panza

TechHire Intern

Brittany Holman

Brittany Holman

Communications Intern

Hayley Rico

Hayley Rico

TechHire Intern

Khadijah Abdulmateen

Khadijah Abdulmateen

Resources & Organizing Ambassador

Oscar Rendon

Oscar Rendon

TechHire Intern

Sydney McKenna

Sydney McKenna

Resources & Organizing Ambassador

Tyler Sepulveda

Tyler Sepulveda

Communications Fellow

Joshua Piedra

Joshua Piedra

Resource Ambassadors Program Coordinator

Laila Del Rio

Laila Del Rio

Resources & Organizing Ambassador

Thomas Konrad

Thomas Konrad

Policy Fellow

Carlos Torres

Carlos Torres

TechHire Intern

Yvania Rubio

Yvania Rubio

TechHire Intern

Subrein Damanhoury

Subrein Damanhoury

Resources & Organizing Ambassador

David Islas

David Islas

TechHire Intern

Xzaveon Alvarez

Xzaveon Alvarez

TechHire Intern

Kathryn Poeschel

Kathryn Poeschel

Policy Fellow

Precious Letchaw

Precious Letchaw

Resources & Organizing Ambassador

Danielle Bongulto

Danielle Bongulto

Resources & Organizing Ambassador

Meet Our Mentors

Paul L. Watson, Jr.

Paul L. Watson, Jr.

Power-Building Mentor

About Paul

Formerly Executive Director of the Training and Research Institute for Residential Youth Centers in New Haven, CT; San Diego Youth and Community Services; and Watson and Associates International. Paul began his career as a youth organizer at the age of 17. He has a Master’s degree from Springfield College. He began a consultant organization in 1998 and specialized in Community Development, Youth Development, Child Welfare, and Organizational Development. He successfully completed International projects in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan), The Netherlands, Brazil, Jamaica, and Egypt. He is a national trainer in Youth Development and a member of the Community Youth Development Design Team. He was trained as an ICA Participatory Facilitator. Paul has also served as faculty at Springfield College, New School of Architecture and Design, San Diego City College, and UC San Diego. Paul has won numerous awards and has published both books and articles.

Khea Pollard

Khea Pollard

Policy Mentor

About Khea

Khea Pollard (she/her) is a Justice Program Manager for the National Association of Counties, County Innovations Lab, serving County governments across the United States. Khea’s work focuses on the intersection of behavioral health; criminal justice reform; and equity, supporting counties participating in NACo’s flagship initiative “Stepping Up” to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in county jails. Prior to this role, Khea was the Health and Human Services Policy Advisor and Community Representative for County Supervisor Greg Cox, advising the Supervisor on issues pertaining to children and youth, child welfare, juvenile justice, safety net and eligibility programs, behavioral health and the County Probation Department. She coordinated the Neighborhood Reinvestment and Community Enhancement grant programs on behalf of Supervisor Cox, allocating millions of dollars to community-based organizations over the course of six years. A native San Diegan, Khea graduated from the University of San Diego (USD) with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Ethnic Studies. She held multiple leadership positions during her time at USD and is a recipient of the prestigious Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges, an award recognizing academic excellence, leadership in extracurricular activities, citizenship and services to the school, and potential for future achievement. She obtained her master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at the University of San Diego and has worked on numerous nonprofit consulting projects in the areas of finance, strategic planning, civic engagement, human resources and more. Khea’s passion project is her coffee shop co-owned by her and her mother, Cynthia Ajani. Café X: By Any Beans Necessary’s mission is to build a sacred space that nurtures Black cultural heritage in San Diego while creating generational wealth for its members and surrounding community. Blending advocacy with organizational precision, Café X is connecting people throughout the San Diego region, developing a shared vision to improve the quality of life in marginalized communities – one cup of coffee at a time. Khea also serves on the Executive Committee of the Black Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (BWILD) and is a proud RISE Urban Leadership Program Alumni.

Tareq Haidari

Tareq Haidari

Development Mentor

About Tareq

Tareq Haidari (he/him) has ten years of government and non-profit sector experience. He has acted as a direct lobbyist and political organizer for nonprofit organizations focused on community development and transportation. Tareq has researched and drafted white papers on a wide range of public policy issues including juvenile criminal justice reform, public transit investment, and youth development. He has a strong understanding of the state and local legislative process, and public budget development. Tareq obtained his BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and MA in Public Administration from San Diego State (SDSU).

Meet Our Advisory Board

Ashley Rodriguez

Ashley Rodriguez (she/her) is the Director of Development at Voice of San Diego. Originally from Northern California, she’s made San Diego her home after receiving her B.A. from San Diego State University and an M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from University of San Diego. She is passionate about the nonprofit sector and serves as the President of the Sherman Heights Community Center, Programming Chair for the San Diego Leadership Alliance, and member of the Victory Fund Campaign board. Ashley spends her free time bopping around San Diego with her two small dogs.

Joshua Piedra

Joshua Piedra (he/him) joined the Board in 2022. Growing up in a working-class immigrant family, Joshua learned the importance of community from a young age. His lived experiences have shaped his values of empathy, compassion, and justice. Personally, he is committed to empowering his community as a grassroots organizer and advocate for public policy that centers on social and racial equity. Professionally, he has worked in both labor and local nonprofit work.

Margie de Ruyter

Margie de Ruyter (she/her) is a coordinator with the San Diego County Office of Education’s College and Career Readiness department, providing career technical education support to K12 school districts and the County’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools. She participates on the community college regional consortium’s Strong Workforce Program workgroups to help inform priorities and goals for K-12 funding and provides support to the College and Career Readiness team in developing strategies to enhance and develop career pathways for K-12 districts. In addition, Margie has over 20 years of experience in the administration and oversight of workforce development funds for the San Diego County region. She led the design, development and implementation of youth and adult workforce training programs, managed procurement processes, monitored annual performance accountability and provided workforce board support. As a consultant with the Public Consulting Group, she led projects within the public workforce development domain, providing subject matter expertise to state and regional clients, designing and implementing best practice solutions. Margie is a workforce development coach for CA Workforce Development Board’s Workforce Accelerator Fund grantees. Margie currently serves on the board of Youth Will and Harmonium Inc. She has a B.A. in Human Services Administration from Springfield College, an Executive Management Certificate from UCLA, and will complete her MPA from Univ of Mass Global in June 2021. Margie enjoys travel and exploring the outdoors hiking throughout SD county.

James Halliday

James Halliday (he/him) is currently the Executive Director of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), a creative youth development nonprofit and community arts center located in National City, CA. In previous roles, James was Regional Manager of Collective Shift/LRNG, an MacArthur Foundation-funded education technology platform focused on credentialing out-of-school learning; before that, he was Program Director for the Education Synergy Alliance, where he advanced excellence and equity in school districts across San Diego. After graduating from Stanford, James completed graduate studies abroad, then worked as a journalist for a decade in Eastern Europe and Turkey. James is a serial social entrepreneur; a member of the Rotary 33 chapter in San Diego; board member for the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation and Youth Will; and sits on the City of San Diego’s Citizens Advisory Board on Police-Community Relations. When he’s not working, he’s cooking. When he’s not inside, he’s on hiking or playing tennis. When he’s not here, he’s across the border, in Valle de Guadalupe or at a Xolos match.

Imani Marshal

Imani Marshall (she/her) was raised in Chicago and now lives and works in San Diego. Both cities have taught her about identity, power, health, and place, which she studied as a Political Science major at Amherst College. As a Bill Emerson Nation Hunger Fellow, Imani developed programs and conducted research to improve low-income mothers’ access to breastfeeding support and healthy foods and WIC’s national participation and retention rates. Now, as Mid-City CAN’s Evaluation and Learning Analyst, Imani applies her research, data analysis and evaluation skills to support Mid-City CAN’s programs, organizing, and advocacy. This work builds off her past community organizing experience with President Obama’s reelection campaign and contributes to continued local advocacy & community organizing efforts. She is passionate about working at the intersections of healthcare, public policy, and research to promote well-being in communities that are surviving systemic racism and oppression.

Ellen Nash

Ellen Nash (she/her) is a lifelong San Diego resident. Ellen is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Ellen considers herself a life long learner with a BS degree from San Diego State University and extensive graduate work. She brings an extensive background serving in academic Human Resources institutions. Specializing in Recruitment, selection, compensation and employee/employer relations. Ellen is retired and tirelessly serves the San Diego community. Particularly advocating for the Black and Afrikan communities. Ellen spends her time traveling, socializing with lots of friends and shopping. Ellen is passionate about lifting up young people. Young people are our leaders of today and it is important that we provide our young people the tools to succeed in this ever progressive community and world we live in.

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