We've assembled a talented, diverse, multidisciplinary team committed to our values of child and parent empowerment and building each relationship on love.

Jorie Das

Jorie Das

Interim Executive Director

Jorie Das

Interim Executive Director

Jorie Das was appointed Interim Executive Director of Friends of the Children – Los Angeles Chapter in October 2021.

For the last three years, Jorie has overseen large-scale growth of Friends LA programs, including doubling the number of young people served, launching a new satellite office in Antelope Valley, building strong partnerships with community-based organizations, and streamlining organizational processes for scaling our programs to new service planning areas. She is an experienced youth development specialist and Organizational Development Professional with a solid history of success in the child welfare landscape. As an executive leader, Jorie holds the lived experience and vision needed to lead Friends LA at this critical junction in its history.

Before joining the Friends LA team, Jorie has served the most vulnerable youth living in the Greater Los Angeles community, including work as Interim Executive Director at InsideOUT Writers, and served in executive leadership roles at Baby2Baby and Free Arts. You can reach her at jdas@friendsla.org.

Grace Weng

Grace Weng

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Grace Weng

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Grace Weng has a decade of experience as a youth and young adult pastor, trainer, and administrator. She earned a BS in Biology from UCLA in 2010 and a MA in Christian Formation from North Park Theological Seminary this past May 2021.

Grace believes in the impact that compassionate, consistent, and age-appropriate support can have for young people, particularly those from under-resourced or marginalized backgrounds. In her work as a pastor, Grace created safe space for young people to tell their stories, receive support and care, and take steps toward expanding their futures through weekly tutoring, mentoring, and vocational support groups. As a trainer for an international non-profit with staff in urban communities around the world, Grace teaches and equips staff members through embodied, praxis-based learning experiences in cross-cultural, bilingual, and international settings.

During the pandemic, Grace has hosted a book club, mentoring group, and study club for youth and young adults. When she has time, she also volunteers with a local market’s weekly grocery distribution.

Delani Delgado

Delani Delgado

Development Coordinator

Delani Delgado

Development Coordinator

Delani supports our team as our Development Coordinator, where she designs values-centered partnerships with individuals and entities who believe in our mission to create generational change one child at a time. Originally hailing from the East Coast, Delani obtained her Bachelor of the Arts in Communication in 2019 from the University of South Florida before diving into working for the nonprofit sector. Currently, Delani is enhancing her education as a Master’s of Nonprofit Management student at the University of Central Florida.

Her passion for working for youth-serving organizations was cultivated during the time that she spent as a “professional role model” at a YMCA residential summer camp. Though only expecting to stay for one summer, she enjoyed the engagement with her youth so much that she committed to working for an additional two summers. Delani learned about Friends of the Children amid the COVID-19 pandemic and fell in love with our mission and the intentionality of our programming. As the eldest daughter of a low-income household and two parenting high school youth, there were many systemic pitfalls that Delani could have fallen into -- but like our youth, because of the mentors that she had throughout the course of her life, she was able to rewrite her story.

Tyana Ingram

Tyana Ingram

Program Director Metro-South LA

Tyana Ingram

Program Director Metro-South LA

Tyana Ingram is a Los Angeles transplant originally from The Bronx, New York. After completing her BA at Howard University in 2009, she moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at the University of Southern California and began her career in Social Work. Tyana is currently an Associate Clinical Social Worker and has spent the last decade working in non-profit and government child welfare agencies throughout Los Angeles including St. Anne’s, LA County Department of Children & Family Services, and Olive Crest. Right before joining Friends of the Children, Tyana managed the development and services of an innovative and evidenced-based housing program for parenting former foster youth with First Place for Youth and successfully supported youth in achieving outcomes in education, employment, financial literacy, and healthy living.

Recognizing the racial disproportionality and disparity in child welfare, Tyana is extremely dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse and passionate about providing impactful supportive services to underserved children and families with a strong emphasis on equity. In her free time, Tyana enjoys traveling, spending quality time with her fiancé, friends, and family and working on her passion project, Soul Asana, a community group that focuses on encouraging people of color to take intentional time to care of their whole selves by creating inspiring social wellness events.

Grisel Vasquez

Grisel Vasquez

Program Manager, Metro-South LA

Christian Medina

Christian Medina

Professional Mentor

Christian Medina

Professional Mentor

Christian Medina received his B.S. in Criminal Justice at California State University, Dominguez Hills after transferring from Long Beach City College. While in college he worked for the L.B.U.S.D. as a college aide and as a Camp Director for the Lakewood Family YMCA before working as a program coordinator for Youth Mentoring Connection in South Los Angeles. Due to his experience working with youth, Christian found his passion for mentoring.

Christian believes that our youth should be recognized and uplifted for their unique gifts to share with the world. He is excited to be a Professional Mentor with Friends LA and partner with caretakers to improve the overall family unit by providing valuable resources and services.

Corey Long

Corey Long

Professional Mentor

Crystal Aguilar

Crystal Aguilar

Professional Mentor

Diamond Neal

Diamond Neal

Professional Mentor

Diamond Neal

Professional Mentor

Diamond Neal was born and raised in different parts of Los Angeles, mainly between Mid City and South Central LA. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology & Social Behavior from UC Irvine and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Before entering grad school, Diamond worked as a Special Education Assistant and found her passion for serving and advocating for the special needs population. However, as a former foster youth, her heart lies with helping foster youth build grit and resilience, which is why she is especially delighted to work alongside Friends L.A. She has personally overcome several adverse childhood experiences and would like to share her knowledge and tools with other youth who have experienced the child welfare system. Diamond believes that with the proper resources, encouragement and emphasis placed on equity and mental health, youth can use what they’ve learned to find happiness and dictate their own futures.

In her free time, she enjoys doing makeup, spending time with friends and family, and discovering new foods and desserts.

Edson Martinez

Edson Martinez

Professional Mentor

Edson Martinez

Professional Mentor

Edson Martinez received his B.A. in Studio Arts with a minor in Chicana/o Studies from California State University Los Angeles.

Using art as a tool, Edson has been giving back to his community by running different art workshops for youth, including M.E.C.H.A’s and C.A.U.S.A’s youth empowerment conference in 2019. Recently he served homeless and former foster youth by providing education counseling and life skills building workshops at My Friend’s place, a non-profit that serves youth in the city of Hollywood.

Recognizing barriers implemented within communities of color, Edson has dedicated himself to supporting and uplifting inner city youth by helping them realize their potential and developing their passions. He is excited to continue his work within youth development as well as build community within families as a Friend.

Jorge Pimentel

Jorge Pimentel

Professional Mentor

ReAndra Francis

ReAndra Francis

Metro-South Program Lead

Zinnia Moreno

Zinnia Moreno

Professional Mentor

Zinnia Moreno

Professional Mentor

Zinnia Moreno received her BA in International Development Studies with an African American Studies minor in 2016 from UCLA after proudly transferring from West Los Angeles Community College. A former high school dropout, Zinnia recognizes the importance of providing youth with the support needed to thrive against the odds. She is also an accomplished artist who has facilitated trauma informed art programming in LA County juvenile detention centers and schools. In her free time, she can be found gardening, writing, and creating.

Alan Arce

Alan Arce

Program Director Antelope Valley

Alan Arce

Program Director Antelope Valley

Alan Arce graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health Education and a minor in Applied Nutrition. Alan has worked with Antelope Valley Partners for Health (AVPH) a non-profit, in many different areas ranging from project coordination, project management, grant writing, community collaboration, coalition development, and program development. Alan has provided oversight to a Youth Services Department that helps youth in the Antelope Valley (A.V.) community grow by providing education, resources and creating a safe place. Alan dedicated 3 years to facilitating after school programs, assisting first generation youth, supporting individuals affected by violence and trauma and aiding schools in the San Fernando Valley. Alan has a great passion working with youth as he mentions that youth are among the most engaging and most intriguing audiences you can work with. They have the same rights to culture as adults, but their circumstances create challenges that can only be met with determination, creativity and integrity. He thinks it is the challenge that makes working with and for children and youth incredibly rewarding. Alan's goal is to be able to provide adequate programs to youth and to be able to support their needs. When not working, Alan enjoys going on hikes, enjoying nature, camping, and planning for the next adventure with his family.

Lora Cofield

Lora Cofield

Caregiver Engagement Specialist Antelope Valley

Lora Cofield

Caregiver Engagement Specialist Antelope Valley

Lora graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a BA in History. While attending Cal State Bakersfield, Lora began working in group homes that serviced a range of at risk/high risk and foster youth. Working with this population resulted in Lora pursuing and completing a MA from Pacific Oaks College: School of Cultural & Family Psychology in Marriage & Family Therapy with an emphasis on African American Family Studies. Lora began providing therapy to children and families throughout the greater Los Angeles area and became committed to providing culturally relevant and sensitive community-based clinical services. As a LMFT, Lora’s clinical lens has been shaped to recognize that parent and/or family engagement is one of the most effective tools in promoting growth and progress in children. Lora is passionate about supporting families in maintaining functional family structure in order to keep families together and thriving. As a mother of two, Lora is of the firm belief that it truly does “take a village to raise a child” and thus Lora is dedicated to supporting families in building and maintaining their village to support positive family outcomes.

Angel Garcia

Angel Garcia

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Ashakia Morgan

Ashakia Morgan

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

James Clark

James Clark

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Joaquin Canizales

Joaquin Canizales

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Kimberly Garner

Kimberly Garner

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Kimberly Pichinte

Kimberly Pichinte

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Kimberly Pichinte

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Kimberly Pichinte is from Palmdale, CA and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Administration. While in college she volunteered as a peer health educator and provided health education to under-resourced public schools across the San Fernando Valley. Due to this experience, she found her passion for health education and community wellness and is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health Education.

Kimberly is passionate about building healthy and stronger communities and is thrilled to be a part of Friends LA as it is an opportunity to continue advocating for health equity and improve health outcomes among children and families. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her family and loves going to the beach.

Macedonio "Max" Frausto

Macedonio "Max" Frausto

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Macedonio "Max" Frausto

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Max brings 10 years' worth of experience in the field of social services to the Friends LA team! He has a passion for working with youth. For the past five years, he worked as a substance abuse counselor for youth ages 14 through 17. Through this work, Max realized the challenges youth had internalizing healthy strategies for managing negative situations. He found that by age 14, youth had many years of negative exposure which created barriers to change.

Max joined Friends LA because of our long-term mentorship model. He is looking forward to working with his youth to help them identify and foster their strengths -- thus increasing resilience and their ability to navigate life stressors. Max is excited about collaborating with caretakers and brainstorming strategies that will help improve the family unit and increase access to services. His goal is to be an advocate for youth and improve the way communities view mental health needs!

Previously, Max attended Antelope Valley College where he earned two AA degrees in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Arts and Humanities and Liberal Arts and Sciences: Social/Behavioral Sciences, respectively. Currently, he is a student at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) seeking a Bachelors in Psychology. In the future Max plans to become a California Board of Behavioral Sciences licensed Marriage Family Therapist (MFT).