Brenda Aguilera -
Director of Best Start Metro Los Angeles
Celeste Anlauf - Director of Major Gifts
Avery Bell - Director of Corporate Relations
Angela Capone - Director of Early Education
Hwesu Cobb-Phillips - Director of Finance & Contract Compliance
Yamileth Guevara - Director of Foundation Relations
Andy Herod - Senior Director of Family Services
Danette S. McBride - Director of Youth Development Services
Edith Medina - Director of Human Resources
Blanca Medrano - Director of Operations and Procurement
Sheena Nahm - Director of Senderos
Jorge Orozco - Director of Youth Workforce Services
Gina Papa - Director of Mental Health
Andrea Purcell - Para Los Niños – Gratts Primary Center Principal
Geovanni Rivas - Director of Information Technology
David Tanaka - Director of Facilities Services
Director of Best Start Metro Los Angeles
Brenda Aguilera is Director of Para Los Niños' collaboration with First 5 LA in the Best Start program, an effort to improve the well being and development of pregnant women, parents and families, and young children in Central Los Angeles.
As Director, Brenda facilitates communication and cooperation among the community organizations, parents, local residents, government agencies, and others involved in the Best Start program. Brenda has been involved with Best Start since 2011. Previous to joining Para Los Niños, she was served as co-manager of the Native Green Gardening Cooperative in Los Angeles. She also has served as a consultant to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and to the UCLA Labor Center, providing communications services.
Brenda holds a BA in Cultural Studies from UCLA. She also has studied contemporary Mexican and Latin American philosophy and sociology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City.
Director of Major Gifts
Celeste is responsible for securing major gifts from individual donors, and will also oversee our external communications.
Celeste comes to Para Los Niños with extensive fundraising experience in education, having been Director of Development for Park Century School in Culver City and St. Paul the Apostle School in Westwood. She planned and launched St. Paul the Apostle’s current $20 million capital campaign—the first comprehensive campaign in the School’s 75-year history.
Celeste also has served as development consultant for a variety of nonprofits, including California Special Olympics, The Arthritis Foundation and Heart of Los Angeles Youth. She is also a former teacher.
A native of Chicago, Celeste holds a BA in Theatre Arts and English from Colorado Women’s College in Denver and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University Los Angeles.
Avery Bell Avery Bell joined Para Los Niños in March 2008 as Director of Corporate Relations. In this role, he is responsible for the strategy, cultivation, and stewardship of corporate fundraising for Para Los Niños. Avery is the central point of contact to maximize corporate gifts and build multi-layered, long-lasting relationships with businesses to meet the agency’s overall development and financial growth.
Director of Corporate Relations
Avery brings to Para Los Niños over 20 years of corporate marketing experience in advertising, promotions, public relations, corporate alliances and sponsorships. His former employers include The Walt Disney Company, AT&T Broadband, Bally Total Fitness and Wasserman Media Group. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Pittsburg and University of Phoenix. Avery is an accomplished high altitude mountain climber successfully climbing the highest mountain on five of the seven continents during a 7- month trip around the world.
Avery Bell joined Para Los Niños in March 2008 as Director of Corporate Relations. In this role, he is responsible for the strategy, cultivation, and stewardship of corporate fundraising for Para Los Niños. Avery is the central point of contact to maximize corporate gifts and build multi-layered, long-lasting relationships with businesses to meet the agency’s overall development and financial growth.
Director of Early Education
As Director of Early Education, Angela will be the driving force in continuing Para Los Niños’ history of achievement by preparing inner-city preschool and pre-K students to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. In addition, she will be instrumental in supporting families with referrals as an added resource for the success of their children.
Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Angela was Senior Program Manager at Southwest Head Start in Phoenix, Arizona, where she was Site Director for EDUCARE Arizona and was responsible for supervising Child Development manager and overseeing the curriculum for Southwest’s 52 Head Start Preschool/Early Head Start classrooms. In addition, she was a faculty member with the Harris Infant-Toddler Mental Health Training Institute, a graduate level training for Infant/Toddler Mental Health Clinicians, Early Childhood professional and Family service professionals.
Angela has a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education from Pennsylvania State University, a Masters in Special Education from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and a B.S. from Westfield State College in Westfield, Massachusetts.
Director of Finance & Contract Compliance
Hwesu Cobb-Phillips brings an extensive background in auditing and finance to his position as Director of Finance & Contract Compliance at Para Los Niños.
Hwesu has provided comprehensive financial management services to community-based nonprofit organizations and corporations in Los Angeles for over 10 years. Hwesu comes to Para Los Niños from Harrington Group, a CPA firm that exclusively audits nonprofit organizations in the state of Cailfornia. He also served as a Senior Associate auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, working with clients in retail and manufacturing with revenues ranging from $15 million to $250 million.
Hwesu graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Spanish. He is an avid reader, supporter of the local public library, and a certified AYSO coach for his young daughter’s team.
Director of Foundation Relations
Yamileth Guevara joined Para Los Niños in February 2013 as Director of Foundation Relations. In this role, she is responsible for the strategy, cultivation and stewardship of foundation giving for Para Los Niños.
Yamileth has an impressive background in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Yamileth was a program officer with the California Community Foundation for five years, where she oversaw the foundation’s affordable housing portfolio and initiatives designed to ensure that low-income families and individuals have safe, affordable places to live. Earlier, Yamileth served as the Director of Homeownership Programs at the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) for five years. In this capacity, she was responsible for overseeing five distinct programs, including homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, and financial literacy. Before working at ELACC, Yamileth was a researcher, parent organizer and program coordinator at the Community Coalition in South Los Angeles, where she organized parents to advocate for their children and improve the conditions in their schools.
Yamileth earned a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in Education and Latin American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Senior Director of Family Services
Andy joined Para Los Niños in August of 2009 as Clinical Program Manager of Family Preservation. Today, he serves as the Director of Family Services and is responsible for managing all administrative, programmatic and financial aspects of the Family Service division, including developing and implementing strategies to ensure programs are addressing community needs.
Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Andy worked as Manager of Residential Services for Boys Continuum, Peninsula Village, a Residential Treatment center for treatment resistant teens, where he provided clinical leadership and directed over 60 employees through co-facilitating and directing multi-disciplinary treatment teams.
Andy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Biola University and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary's School of Psychology. Andy is also a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT).
Danette S. McBride
Director of Youth Development Services
Danette S. McBride serves as the Director of Youth Development Services and oversees Para Los Niños’ Youth Development Services. With over six years of experience in managing family services and adoption programs, Danette is developing and launching Para Los Niños’ newest program to assist youth in foster care.
Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Danette served as a program manager at Children Uniting Nations where she managed and developed collaborative partnerships throughout Los Angeles County to provide youth residing in foster care with mentors. She also has previous experience with Excel Family Intervention Programs, and the Dangerfield Institute for Urban Problems.
Danette has always had a passion for learning and teaching. She holds a bachelor degree in Psychology from Tuskegee University, Alabama, and a master of social work and public administration from the University of Southern California.
Edith Medina A native of El Salvador, Edith was born in La Libertad and moved to Los Angeles with her family at the age of 11. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and has completed coursework toward a certificate in human resources management through UCLA Extension. She is a member of Professionals in Human Resources and an active member in the community. Edith resides in North Hills with her husband and their two children.
Director of Human Resources
Edith Medina, Director of Human Resources, began her work with Para Los Niños in 1989. She began her professional career in the insurance industry and discovered Para Los Niños as she searched for a meaningful way to contribute to the community. Edith oversees the human resource department, and addresses issues such as recruitment, orientation, professional development, benefits, employee relations, compensation and payroll. Crediting the powerful impact of Para Los Niños, she enjoys seeing firsthand how the organization enriches the lives of its clients, as well as its employees.
A native of El Salvador, Edith was born in La Libertad and moved to Los Angeles with her family at the age of 11. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and has completed coursework toward a certificate in human resources management through UCLA Extension. She is a member of Professionals in Human Resources and an active member in the community. Edith resides in North Hills with her husband and their two children.
Director of Operations and Procurement
With over 10 years of operational experience, Blanca is responsible for developing and implementing PLN company policies and control procedures for all purchasing, contracting and procurement practices. Blanca joined PLN in 2007 as the Operations Manager and is currently training in the field of strategic negotiations. Before joining PLN she worked for Hoy, a Tribune newspaper publication. Blanca lives in East Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
Director of Senderos
Sheena Nahm joined Para Los Niños as Director of Senderos in September 2012. In this role, she collaborates with promotoras, community residents, and parents to develop, implement, and evaluate sustainable strategies for transforming neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Senderos is a program that engages parents and family members, and supports them in the process of becoming leaders and change agents for their communities.
Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Sheena worked in policy, communication, and research and evaluation for various nonprofits and educational institutions in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and abroad. She has also taught at several colleges in the US, and served as a mentor and preceptor.
Sheena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Basis of Behavior and in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Public Health from Drexel University, and an M.A. and Ph.D in Socio-cultural Anthropology with a Critical Theory Emphasis from the University of California, Irvine. Sheena has been a principal investigator for several studies including an impact evaluation of innovative communication strategies for social change and an ethnographic study of the role of local and global peer networks of child and family therapists.
Director of Youth Workforce Services
Jorge Orozco joined Para Los Niños in February 2005, working in Youth Workforce Services. He began as a Program Coordinator, later became an Employer Specialist, and in May 2008, was promoted to Director of Youth Workforce Services. In this position, Jorge’s responsibilities include: overseeing daily operations, ensuring that all contractual obligations are completed in a timely and effective manner, conducting site visits to monitor contract compliance and quality of services, and serving in the Equal Opportunity Compliance Unit for Para Los Niños and Power of One. He also provides direct supervision to Youth Workforce Services staff, is responsible for all reports to government and private contracts, and monitors subcontractor activities and services to ensure quality effectiveness.
Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Jorge worked for Maravilla Foundation’s Workforce Services as a case manager/job developer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles and several certificates, including as a Disability Service Specialist and an Equal Opportunity Compliance Officer.
Jorge brings to Para Los Niños outstanding management skills, great enthusiasm, extensive experience in workforce development, and a vast network of employers and community partners.
Director of Mental Health
Gina joined Para Los Niños in July of 2010 as Clinical Supervisor. Today she serves as Director of Mental Health Services, and is responsible for managing all administrative, programmatic and financial aspects of the Mental Health division, including managing our School Based Mental Health Program and developing and implementing strategies to ensure programs are addressing community and school needs.
Prior to joining Para Los Niños, Gina has been working in the Mental Health field for 20 years, as consultant for the Foundation of Early Education Head Start Programs, The Early Childhood Center, Primary Prevention Program for children ages 0-6, at the Department of Psychiatry of Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and as a Child Therapist and Developmental Therapist in Private Practice.
Gina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Education, a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with an emphasis in Child Development from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She received her training from The Early Childhood Center Foundation associated with Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Child Therapy and Infant and early childhood Mental Health. Gina is a Clinical Member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), and the National Association for Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Andrea Purcell Andrea Purcell accepted the position of Principal of the new Para Los Niños – Gratts Primary Center in 2010. In this role, Andrea will lead the operation of the LAUSD campus of 360 K-1 students and 24 staff members.
Para Los Niños – Gratts Primary Center Principal
Prior to being named Principal, Andrea served as an educational consultant for Para Los Niños and was responsible for developing the Public School Choice proposal for PLN – Gratts and was a key player in developing the partnership between Para Los Niños, the Gratts community and LAUSD. Her background as a classroom teacher, charter school developer, and instructional program consultant has prepared her for leading her staff in implementing a program that will provide a solid academic and socio-emotional foundation for our students. A dedicated academic and educator, Andrea has both Ph.D. and Masters degrees in Educational Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts in American Literature, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.
Andrea Purcell accepted the position of Principal of the new Para Los Niños – Gratts Primary Center in 2010. In this role, Andrea will lead the operation of the LAUSD campus of 360 K-1 students and 24 staff members.
Director of Information Technology
Geovanni Rivas, Para Los Niños’ Director of Information Technology (I.T.), began his career at Para Los Niños in 2000, and has since held several positions, within the I.T. capacity, including Network Administrator and Manager of I.T. He has been the project leader for most of our I.T. projects, such as WAN/LAN design and implementation, as well as previous data storage upgrades, and our datacenter design. He has a certificate with Microsoft MCSE, Cisco CCNA, and a Graduate Certification in Information Technology Management from University of California, Los Angeles.
Director of Facilities Services
David Tanaka, who joined Para Los Niños in May 2012, is responsible for ensuring that its facilities are safe, secure, and comfortable for our clients, their families, and members of our staff.
As Director of Facilities Services, he manages maintenance programs, oversees new construction and renovation projects, is responsible for the organization's vehicles, and manages relationships with vendors. Earlier he worked for SunGard, a company that provides international business recovery services. He also was employed by Grace Test Electronics of Fountain Valley, where he created online sales and marketing campaigns.
David holds a BA in Psychology from San Diego State University and an MBA in Global Management from University of Phoenix. He holds a business emergency response training certificate from the Santa Ana Fire Department.
David has always been passionate about preparedness and holds an Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. So naturally his motto is "be prepared."