In the fall of 2020, Los Angeles County was selected as an inaugural site for the Thriving Families, Safer Children initiative, a nationally sponsored effort promoting community-led systems transformation to achieve child and family wellbeing.
Join us on September 29th to hear a substantive update on Los Angeles County’s implementation of Thriving Families, Safer Children from the local team; highlights from their recent report, Priorities for Change from Community Visioning Sessions; and to learn about opportunities for partnership. We look forward to a robust panel, inclusive of representatives from community-based organizations and partners with lived experience.
We will also receive updates from the DCFS Director and Board of Supervisors.
Director of Economic Vitality, SBCC
Ely S. Fournier is the Director of Economic Vitality at Strength Based Community Change (SBCC) located in Wilmington, California. Ely has been on staff at SBCC for the past 15 yrs. serving in a leadership capacity by strategically building new community projects and rebuilding existing programs. Serving as director in the Economic Vitality Department and under the leadership of his executive director, Ely is launching and leading co- created ventures to address systemic inequality in access to economic opportunities and improve economic equality for people of color and low-income communities by Investing in the local assets of our neighborhood.
Ely has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and Religion and is currently working on furthering his education. Ely loves writing & recording music, playing basketball and making his kids laugh. He currently resides in the city of Carson, CA alongside his beautiful wife Oshi of 15 years & his beautiful kids Sophia Rose who is 11 yrs., his son Luca Kingsley who is 6 yrs. old and his daughter Valentina Jaime who is 2 yrs.
OYC Systems Change Project Coordinator, LA Opportunity Youth Collaborative
Brisia Gutierrez is currently the Systems Change Project Coordinator for the L.A. Opportunity Youth Collaborative at the Alliance for Children’s Rights and is the Co-Chair of the DCFS Director’s Advisory Council. Brisia graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a B.A. in Psychology and Political Science, and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Brisia is a former foster youth who is extremely passionate about uplifting the voices of foster youth and working with foster youth to shift power and leadership to those most affected by the system.
Vice President, Student and Community Services, Para Los Niños
Sam has been the Vice President of Student and Community Services for Para Los Niños since January of 2020. He leads a team of seven directors, and 100+ employees who work toward transforming communities, strengthening children and families, and supporting youth transitioning toward higher education and the workforce.
Prior to joining Para Los Ninos, I was the Director of the Magnolia Community Initiative (MCI). MCI is a voluntary social innovations network of 70+ organizations in partnership with community residents to improve child and family well-being in MCI 500-block catchment area.
As a result, attending to a broad range of neighborhood and family conditions, and equipping parents to understand and respond to their child’s health and developmental needs, are a hallmark of the Initiative.
Sam has worked with a number of partnerships in support of children and families in Los Angeles including the First 5 LA Best Start Region 1, USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation Steering Committee, Population Change Learning Community, National Academy of Medicine Culture of Health Initiative, All Children Thrive Equity Advisory Group, and Casey Family Programs, Thriving Families Safer Children (TFSC). He also serves on the board with the Center for Nonprofit Management.
Senior Director, Casey Family Programs
Justin Lee is Senior Director of Strategic Consulting for Los Angeles County at Casey Family Programs, the nation's largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care and building Communities of Hope for children and families across America. In his role as Senior Director of Strategic Consulting, Justin manages five-sector partnerships across Los Angeles County to improve the lives of children, families, and communities.
Commissioner, Commission for Children and Families
Jacquelyn McCroskey, Co-Director of the Children’s Data Network, is also Professor Emerita at the USC School of Social Work. She works with philanthropic, government and private sector partners to harness the potential of linked, administrative data to inform children’s programs and policies. Through her work with policymakers, organizational and community leaders, she has developed and assessed interagency collaboration and public-private partnerships across service areas to inform improvements to government and community systems serving children, youth and families. She currently serves on the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families, First 5 LA and Policy Roundtable for Child Care and Development.
Executive Director, Strength Based Community Change
Colleen has been the Executive Director of SBCC for 38 years. Colleen has provided leadership and vision to transform a small grassroots organization to a multi-faceted agency with a multi-million dollar budget.
Under Colleen's leadership, SBCC was introduced to the model of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). The core value of ABCD is the belief that every individual has gifts and talents to contribute and that together we build an equitable and just society.
"In keeping with my philosophy of action not talk, the one accomplishment you won't see on my resume is a college degree. I admire everyone who has the fortitude to invest 4 or 5 years in learning about the world and speculating about intellectual solutions to real life pain and disenfranchisement but I learned about solutions to poverty and lack of access to opportunities by experiencing that journey myself.
I have been fascinated by the renewed focus on resiliency and adverse childhood trauma. And all the money to be made through trainings, workshops and credentials.
I don't know anyone who has not experienced some trauma and I don't think they trained their way out of that experience. I think we all mobilize hope, reach out to friends, maintain a sense of community, and have the courage to get up every morning and fight back."
Father Rep, Fatherhood Program/SBCC
Jefte Villalta serves on the pastoral team at Revive Church in Southern California. He’s been serving urban communities for over 15 years, with an emphasis on Spanish-speakers.
Having lived in South LA and in Georgia, Jefte’s broad experiences with different communities allows him to diversify his approach to ministry.
He loves sports! When he’s not watching his beloved Lakers, Dodgers, or Raiders, Jefte is hiking, playing basketball or playing soccer with his friends.
Jefte Villalta loves is wife Yanira and is the adoptive parent of Joshua Obed Villalta and Jacob de la Cruz. They live in Los Angeles, CA.