Speakers

Robynne Rose-Haymer
Robynne Rose-Haymer
Director of Housing Services for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center
Robynne Rose-Haymer serves as the Director of Housing Services for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. With over twenty years of workforce development, program development & implementation, and leadership experience, Robynne’s continuing passion is helping young people obtain the education and skills they need to pursue their goals. Robynne began her career as an ‘on the ground practitioner ‘ working directly with low income families and communities of color on health & well-being and education issues. As local school district employee and leader, she planned the implementation of the WIA & Adult Career Technical Education programs districtwide. Focused on making an impact, Robynne extended her range to include consulting and grant writing for non-profit organizations seeking to build new programs or shore up existing ones seeking to serve community.
As a graduate of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP- Class VI), Robynne took her leadership skills to the next level by strengthening her boardsmanship and program management skills. Additionally, since Robynne completed the Prosperity Now Platforms for Prosperity Fellowship in partnership with Bank of America, Robynne has become a champion for financial capability integration into workforce development programming. In 2018 she graduated with a master’s in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness and started the journey for a doctorate at the University of the Pacific. Of all her accomplishments, her greatest is being a proud Mimi to two fabulous grandchildren and parent of three successful children.

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Cynthia Williams
Cynthia Williams
Recipient of the Mark Pearlman Outstanding Service Award
Cynthia Garcia Williams, Lead Peer to Peer Support STRTP, Altadena CA. Cynthia is the proud mother of 4 amazing children, which have suffered from extensive trauma. In 2000 Cynthia’s children were returned to her after living within the system for some time, they subsequently began a journey of healing that has spanned over 20 years. These experiences brought Cynthia to Peer Support at Hathaway Sycamores in 2009. She feels very fortunate to have worked with countlessfamilies over the past 10 years. She is an active member of the recovery community, has obtained her master’s degree in human development, is an award-winning screenwriter and just directed her first short film.

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Kevon Lee
Kevon Lee
Senior at California State University, San Bernardino
Kevon Lee is a senior at California State University, San Bernardino. He enjoys exercising and motivating people. He has helped many people reach their potential through health and fitness, but also through mindset training. His main goal in life is to leave a presence that not only motivates others but empowers them. Kevon is determined to receive a PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Student Development.

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Scott Graves
Scott Graves
Director of Research, California Budget & Policy Center
Scott Graves joined the Budget Center in 2002 and has served as director of research since 2014. In this role, he oversees the Budget Center’s analytical work, conducts research and analysis related to health and human services and corrections, and is the organization’s lead analyst on the state and county budget processes. Scott has covered a number of other policy areas at the Budget Center, including child care, preschool, and housing, with a focus on both the state and federal levels. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Scott worked as a researcher in Austin, Texas, for the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, Consumers Union, and the Public Policy Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin. He also was a California executive fellow and worked as a reporter for newspapers in Arizona and California. Scott received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in government and journalism from California State University, Sacramento.

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Laura Tancredi-Baese, LCSW
Laura Tancredi-Baese, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer, Home Start Inc.
Ms. Tancredi-Baese has been an asset to the San Diego nonprofit community for more than 30 years. After earning a Masters Degree in Social Work at San Diego State University, she became a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Her extensive experience also includes managing child and youth development and transitional living programs for underserved youth, plus executive leadership.

As a recognized leader in her field, Laura is the founder of several transitional living programs in San Diego for transition-age homeless youth (aged 18-24). Since May of 2007, Laura continues to be a passionate force to promote our mission and vision that every child in San Diego live in a safe and nurturing home. Through her efforts, Home Start has opened the doors to our Maternity Shelter Program providing support to pregnant or parenting young women and their children facing homelessness, and founded our Thrift Boutique/ social enterprise to support these families.

Additionally, Laura serves as a director on three boards – California Coalition for Youth (CCY), the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, and El Cajon Collaborative/LH Avocado. She has mentored several formerly homeless young women to become full time paid staff as well as board members for both Home Start and CCY.

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Marcella Middleton
Marcella Middleton
Co Director, A Way Home America
Marcella Middleton (she/her) based in Raleigh, North Carolina is a connector, motivator, and survivor. Determined to challenge the stereotype that “people mostly do what they see and not what they hear”, Marcella dedicated her life to traditional ideas of success such as school and a career. It is through personal and professional experiences that Marcella has gained the confidence and knowledge to challenge society’s ideals of success. Her evolution through consistent adversities has shifted her values which empowers greater self awareness and awareness of the world around her.

Marcella is a Black mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend fighting everyday for freedom, equity, and protection for herself and those just like her. Marcella is book smart, street smart, and everything in between. She has a degree in Social Work and has advocated for 15 years for youth in foster care and other nontraditional living arrangements. Marcella’s advocacy started in 2005 at an organization called Sayso where she advocated, mentored, and worked on behalf of youth that are or have been in substitute care. After being introduced to the work in 2005 she went on to continue work as a social worker, social work trainer, and member of Hope Centers Board of Directors. Her work on the National Forum on Homelessness empowered Marcella to center her lived experiences to help guide the transformation of the youth homelessness system.

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Alicia Sutton
Alicia Sutton
Alicia “Ali” Sutton is the Deputy Secretary for Homelessness at the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. Prior to her appointment in 2019, she served as chief of the Housing, Homelessness and Civil Rights Branch at the California Department of Social Services since 2017. She was a senior advisor to the acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families from 2016 to 2017, where she was a policy advisor from 2012 to 2014. Sutton was a graduate student intern at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2015, a national programs and policy associate at Feeding America from 2010 to 2012, executive assistant to Madeleine Albright at the Albright Stonebridge Group from 2009 to 2010 and a field staff/director at Obama for America from 2007 to 2008. Sutton earned a Master of Public Policy degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Bianca Christian, MSW, ASW
Bianca Christian, MSW, ASW
Program Manager, California Youth Crisis Line
Bianca Christian has been working in mental health settings of varying kinds for over 6 years. She holds a Masters in Social Work as well as BAs in Psychology and History. In her free time, Bianca likes to play video games and watch a variety of shows, Bianca also enjoys singing and received classical vocal training for a few years. Bianca is also a bit of a foodie and enjoys wine and craft beer tasting.

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Levi Deatherage
Levi Deatherage
Recipient of the Oscar Maldonado Youth Leadership Award
Levi Deatherage has been an advocate for Youth Experiencing Homelessness since his first trip to Sacramento when he was 16. He became homeless as a teenager and was homeless off and on for several years. He is now a Program Manager for Family Assistance Program, the same agency that runs the shelter he stayed in as a teen. He often works with elected officials and nonprofit/ community leaders to improve the programs and policies that serve our young people.

Sessions

Ilinanoa “Lina” Suliafu
Ilinanoa “Lina” Suliafu
Recipient of the Sue Matheson Mentoring Award
Ilinanoa “Lina” Suliafu is an Outreach Consultant with the Chaffey Joint Union High School District (CJUHSD), coordinating services for students in foster care/system involved and students who are parenting. Her efforts also include students and families experiencing housing insecurity as identified under the McKinney-Vento Act. Lina has been with CJUHSD for fourteen years and is in her fifth year coordinating services in the Outreach Department.

Lina works within the community both personally and professionally to help remove barriers so that all students will have equitable access to education and opportunities. She strives to learn from, support, and encourage youth to use their voice to identify gaps and create change within educational and other local/state systems. Lina collaborates with many community agencies and serves on local committees and advisory boards. She has received recognition and several awards for her work with these at-promise youth and families, including 2015 Classified Employee of the Year (SBCSS), 2019 Recognition from SBCSS Child Welfare & Attendance, and 2019 Giving Heart Award (Give Something Back). Lina is also active within her own Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) community and works to ensure that this marginalized population has a seat at the table. She is dedicated and invested in at-promise youth and is committed to empower undervalued and underserved communities.

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Jevon Wilkes
Jevon Wilkes
Executive Director
“All of my life experiences lead me to this opportunity. To utilize my education, talents, passion, and lived experience to serve in a capacity to help California’s disconnected youth, get connected.”

Jevon Wilkes has dedicated over 15 years to CCY as both a Youth Board Member and as the Membership Vice-Chair for the organization. Jevon received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from the California State University Channel Islands.

Jevon’s passion for serving vulnerable youth populations comes from his lived experience with homelessness, the foster care system, and being a disconnected youth, giving him a wide understanding of the vital work CCY is doing. Jevon is excited to lead CCY forward and answer the call of thousands of youth in need of support and to spearhead the effort in advocating for public policies that improve their lives and help them learn how to empower themselves.

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Joe Stephenshaw
Staff Director
Joe Stephenshaw is the Staff Director for the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. Joe has worked on the state budget for approximately 16 years. He has served in prior roles as a consultant to the Budget Committees in each house of the Legislature. Joe has also previously served as a policy advisor for both the Assembly Speaker’s Office and the President pro Tempore of the Senate. Prior to joining the Legislature, Joe served as a Finance Budget Analyst for the California Department of Finance.

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Krysta Esquivel, MSW
Krysta Esquivel, MSW
Executive Director, YMCA Youth and Family Services
Krysta started with YFS 16 years ago, providing direct services to youth as a case manager. She steadily progressed through the organization, growing to lead and expand our funded work that addresses youth homelessness and development to ensure the success of transition age youth.

Her dedication to the growing social service practice of Continuous Quality Improvement ensures that we remain good stewards of the funds we receive while maintaining fidelity to services that make the biggest impact on the lives we touch.

She is a nationally recognized expert in her field as well as a visionary committed to advancing and diversifying our profile in critical areas affecting youth and families in our County. Krysta has a BA in Psychology and an MSW with an emphasis in Organizational and Community Practice.

"I am extremely excited and honored to continue to expand and innovate the critical work at YFS. I have big shoes to fill and am so grateful to our staff and leadership for entrusting me with this very important role. It takes a village to do this work and it needs the dedication and fortitude that our staff consistently displays, even on the toughest of days,” Krysta said. “YFS is such a special place to work and I hope to continue to foster a culture where our staff feel valued and are supported in providing vital services to our clients and participants. Again, I’m so grateful to be a part of the YFS family and look forward to the opportunities ahead!"

Under the YMCA of San Diego County, the Youth & Family Services (YFS) branch works to ensure that all people have a safe place to live, a reliable support system, a sense of direction and connections to the resources needed to flourish. YFS programs focus on three primary areas: mental health and support, family preservation and support, and transitional housing and youth development.

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Rebecca Wu
Rebecca Wu
Recipient of the Jim Levine Youth Leadership Award
Rebecca Wu is a current high school junior who is heavily involved in her school and community. She found her passion for civic engagement through competing in speech competitions, interning for Stop AAPI Hate, and participating in community events. She hopes to study political science and economics in college to pursue a career in government.

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Jody Ketcheside
Jody Ketcheside
CCY Board Chair & Regional Director at Turning Point of Central California, Inc.
Jody Ketcheside has been deputy regional director at Turning Point of Central California Inc. since 2012. Ketcheside was Transitional Living Center manager at the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission from 2009 to 2012, where she was shelter manager from 2007 to 2009. She was residential administrator at Genesis Family Center, Fresno from 1999 to 2007. Ketcheside is chair of the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care Executive Committee and Board Chair at the California Coalition for Youth

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Kim Lewis
Kim Lewis
With more than 15 years of legislative

and lobbying experience, Kimberly

focuses on a wide range of issues from

technology and broadband, workforce

development, education and afterschool, healthcare, human services and youth issues. Ms. Lewis played an instrumental role in bringing high-speed broadband to all of California’s public libraries, creating California's dual-generational CalWORKs home visiting program, and ensuring that parent engagement became a statewide priority in the Local Control Funding Formula. Kimberly has secured over $500 million in state funding for a variety of state-wide and local programs through the State Budget process. Ms. Lewis provides strategic advice and coalition building as well as manages the firm's legislative tracking system, plans events for clients, including lobby days and receptions, and coordinates all clients' services.​

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Walter Philips
Walter Philips
Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Youth Services
Walter has been at the helm of San Diego Youth Services as our Chief Executive Officer since July of 2000. He has worked in San Diego County as a social worker for three decades, including more than 25 years in leadership positions.

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Lydia Johnson
Lydia Johnson
Recipient of the Jim Levine Youth Leadership Award
My name is Lydia Johnson. I moved to San Francisco and my baby brother when I was 3 years old, and I have been here ever since. I am the mother of two beautiful children. One daughter is 23 years old and a son who would be 28 years old now, but unfortunately, he was murdered 5 years ago due to gun violence. I have experienced many things in my life, but losing my son was one of the most difficult things I have had to face. This has and drives me to help youth with life skills by giving them resources and tools to achieve all their goals. Working in this field has helped me immensely with the grieving process and has allowed me to give back to my community in more ways than one. I have turned my life into a testimony, and I am determined to plant seeds of hope, faith, and love into those that I come across so that they can do the same. I am a believer that we all have a tree inside of us. We just need someone to water us, give us a little sunshine and fertilizer, and make sure that we are planted in the right environment so that they can grow and flourish. Well, I am the water, sunshine, and sometimes the fertilizer. I try to be what they need me to be for them to see that they can trust me to be there to help them grow into that tree that I see inside of them.

Most of the youth that we serve are lost and need guidance, and I find great comfort in helping them find their way to the light and being that voice of wisdom to explain the dos and don'ts of being on your own. I often see youth struggling to find their place in the world, and they act out to get attention which often is in the wrong way. In fact, one of my superpowers is to seek out and deal with the more challenging clients that most people find hard to reach or have thrown their hands up at. I try my best to meet them where they are at in their process by allowing them to have their feelings of anger, frustration, and self-doubt and assist them with finding ways to channel those emotions to reach their goals. The youth at Larkin Street Services, where I have worked for the past four years, often do not understand that taking advantage of the services we provide would give them time to have a much sturdier foundation before they must be on their own. Here at Larkin Street, we have 4 major components that we assist the youth in laying the groundwork for that foundation which is Housing, Education, Employment, and Health and Wellness. Because as we all know, many young people are at-risk and lack a strong support system. So, it is with this compassion to help people I believe has made me the best at my role as a program manager at working with young adults. Helping them get off the streets and find stable housing is what I strive for every day.

My most important goal is to be successful in everything that I do to better the community in any way possible. To end homelessness with the youth population.

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