Meet our team at Friends of the Children–Los Angeles.

Thomas Lee

Thomas Lee

Executive Director

Thomas Lee

Executive Director

Thomas Lee serves as the Executive Director of the Friends of the Children—Los Angeles (Friends L.A.). Friends L.A. is a part of a national nonprofit based in Portland, OR with the mission of breaking the cycle of generational poverty and systems involvement by giving vulnerable children within the child welfare system the ability to create a new story. Friends L.A. provides children impacted by the foster care system with a long-term, salaried, professional mentor, from kindergarten through graduation, no matter what.

Prior to joining Friends L.A., Lee led the Alliance for Children’s Rights’ L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative which works with community partners to create a launching pad for foster youth to overcome barriers to success. Lee also spent more than a decade building strategic partnerships, advocating for and serving foster and probation youth. As the division director for transition-age foster youth at Hillsides Youth Moving On, his team built a comprehensive support system that included a multi-dimensional housing program, mental health services, a drop-in center, and a workforce development program with post- secondary education supports.

An educator at his core, Lee taught high school English and world literature at San Gabriel High School and King Drew Magnet High School in Watts, Calif. for five years. He majored in English at Cal State University of Los Angeles, and he holds a M.Ed. from National University. A husband and father of three, both Lee and his wife Noemi, a therapist, have dedicated their careers to empowering youth to reach their full potential.

Jorie Das

Jorie Das

Chief of Staff

Jorie Das

Chief of Staff

Jorie is a certified youth development specialist and a former interim-executive director with over a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector. Jorie started her career working directly with youth, running social service and civic engagement programs. She has expertise in people management and development, and is seasoned in program design, strategic planning, and arts-for-social-change projects. Jorie loves building and improving systems and is deeply committed to the power of data and evaluation to enhance program outcomes and generate external support.

As Chief of Staff, Jorie provides overall strategic and operational leadership for Friends LA staff, and supports the codification and development of systems to support the organization's expansion efforts, and execution of its mission.

Jorie holds a BA in both Ethnic Studies and Art from the University of Oregon and an MA in International Affairs and Business from Chapman University. She also served in the Peace Corps as a community health agent in Niger while working on various community projects.

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.

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.

Chessa Latifi Donaldson

Chessa Latifi Donaldson

Director of Development

Chessa Latifi Donaldson

Director of Development

Chessa comes from a decade-long career in the humanitarian aid industry, working with an international non-profit in the world’s hardest-hit areas. Originally from the East Coast, Chessa earned her undergraduate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master’s degree at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy. Upon completion of her education, she lived and worked in Iraq and Haiti, supporting a variety of programs, including livelihood training, emergency relief, primary health care, and more. In the last few years, she led the deployment of emergency teams responding to hurricanes, typhoons, infectious disease outbreaks, and more before joining Friends LA in 2019.

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.

Joclyn Goss

Joclyn Goss

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Joclyn Goss

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Joclyn is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where she double-majored in Graphic Design and Photography. After working in the design field for 9+ years she decided, after the senseless murder of a friend’s son, to work with at-risk youth in Philadelphia’s inner city as an Art Therapist/Counselor. Shortly after entering the social work field, she became a graduate student studying Counseling Psychology. She has 30 years of non-profit experience and 12+ years of counseling, social work, organizational training, life coaching, and co-therapy experience. Her years of nonprofit experience have given her the ability to work in many areas of community development, administration, and positions where cultural sensitivity and diversity are crucial. She has made it her life’s work to understand the important social, emotional, and intellectual intelligence skills of listening, observing, understanding, and transforming people and situations.

Joclyn is a published author along with her daughter Lauren-Joy Goss of their current book, “A Million Woven Pieces.” This book discusses the importance of developing and sustaining empowering relationships between mothers and daughters.

Joaquin Canizales

Joaquin Canizales

Professional Mentor Antelope Valley

Ever Yael Ceballos

Ever Yael Ceballos

Professional Mentor Antelope Valley

James Clark

James Clark

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Janie Escalle

Janie Escalle

Professional Mentor

ReAndra Francis

ReAndra Francis

Professional Mentor

Angel Garcia

Angel Garcia

Professional Mentor Antelope Valley

Kimberly Garner

Kimberly Garner

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Victor Pinzon Gonzalez

Victor Pinzon Gonzalez

Professional Mentor

Ashakia Morgan

Ashakia Morgan

Professional Mentor, Antelope Valley

Jorge Pimentel

Jorge Pimentel

Professional Mentor

Grisel Vasquez

Grisel Vasquez

Professional Mentor

Marquis Williams

Marquis Williams

Professional Mentor

Elizabeth Wolf

Elizabeth Wolf

Professional Mentor

Jose Zelada

Jose Zelada

Professional Mentor