Meet the Trainers

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  • Patty Barahona

    They / Them

    Patty grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey where their family still resides today. Patty attended Rutgers University, Douglass College where they received their Bachelor’s degree with a focus on Women & Gender Studies. Patricia then pursued a Master’s Degree Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from the School for International Training located in Brattleboro, VT.

    Patty’s nonprofit leadership experience began as Public Education Coordinator at the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) working to support survivors of sexual assault and educate those who partner with survivors statewide. During their time at NJCASA, they developed curriculum with a focus on primary prevention and bystander interventions of sexual violence in the LGBTQ and Latino community. They trained professionals, advocates, community groups, college students and high school students across the state of New Jersey on primary prevention and bystander interventions. They participated on statewide committees including the Governor’s Council Against Sexual Violence, Education and Outreach Networking Group, and the Women of Color Caucus (WOCC) bringing together primary prevention professionals of color  focused on preventing sexual violence across the country.

    Patricia then joined Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice in Oakland (now known as Forward Together) where they worked with SAFIRE, a young women’s leadership development program, and developed a political education curriculum focused on young mothers and the criminal justice system.  They also supported a story collection project that shaped the Honoring Young Mama’s Day, and the larger Strong Families Network, and built relationships with allied youth organizations.

    Patty started their work at Youth Leadership Institute in 2011 as a Program Coordinator in Marin County working on projects related to school health, safety, and equity for LGBTQ youth and exploring the intersections of interfaith understanding, sexuality, and youth development. In this position, they worked in collaboration with the Spectrum LGBT Center of the North Bay. In July 2013, Patricia assumed a leadership role as the Senior Director of San Francisco Community Based Programs, visioning and directing programs and initiatives in San Francisco. They moved into the Chief People Officer role in July 2016, a newly formed position at YLI to directly oversee the Bay Area and Central Valley programmatic vision, delivery, implementation, and evaluation of programs. As CPO, Patty works towards programmatic success and also develops and maintains systems and policies to ensure a constantly improving workforce, evolving workplace, and sustainable organizational leadership. Their work demonstrates a commitment to social justice and the empowerment of youth and adults.

    Patty sits on the Board of Directors for Brothers on the Rise, a dual direct service-systems change organization which responsibly empowers male youth to achieve individual success, develop healthy relationships, and contribute to a more just and equitable society. Patty is deeply committed to working with youth to create safer and healthier communities.

  • April Hoogasian

    She / Her

    April Hoogasian is the Director of Training & Consulting Services and has been with yli for 13 years. April has a passion for partnering with youth and adult allies to build grassroots leadership and thriving communities and is an incredibly gifted facilitator. She has run hundreds of trainings in over 100 urban, suburban, and rural communities across the nation, reaching thousands of youth and adult allies. April is also a master certified professional coach, supporting folx to heal and connect to their best selves.

    She lives in Fresno, CA with her husband Matt and three daughters, River, Autumn and Aria, and loves making playlists, singing retro classics,  indoor and outdoor gardening, photography, and is learning to play the xylophone and concertina.

    April’s specialities include Human & youth-centered design, facilitating safe and inclusive spaces, healing and compassionate coaching, and embracing the awkwardness.

  • Yami Rodriguez

    She / Her

    ​​Yammilette “Yami” Rodriguez graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration, Marketing from CSU, Fresno and has her Masters Degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Fresno Pacific University. She has a Credential from Fuller Theological Seminary in Urban Youth work. Yami has Doctorate in Public Policy from West Chester University and her dissertation “Factors Contributing to the Success of Rising Latino Leadership in Central California.” 

    Yami has a background in the non-profit sector, policy advocacy and higher education for over 20 years. She been with Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) in the Central Valley since 2009.  She works to have youth voice at the table in community issues especially in making positive policy and social sustainable change in our communities. During Yami’s tenure as Director she expanded the youth development program work in Fresno and launched the Merced Office and Madera programming.  Some of the examples of youth-led projects include underage drinking prevention, healthier corner stores, healthy advertising and healthy eating, access to parks, access to youth jobs and youth civic engagement campaigns in Fresno, Merced and Madera County.  

    Yami and her husband Jim Rodriguez live in Fresno have two beautiful daughters in elementary school, named Lizette and Juliette.

    Yami’s specialities include Uplifting the natural talents of youth, adults and teams and managers by using the tool of CliftonStrengths as a certified coach and using her policy background to lead trainings on policy change, youth advocacy, working with decision makers, serving on boards and commissions, youth-led community change campaigns, and more.

  • Montze Garcia Bedolla

    She / Her

    Montzerrat, better known as Montze, is rooted in Southern California where their leadership stems from growing up in a low-income, immigrant Mexican family in Santa Ana, CA. Montze’s youth development and organizing experience roots back to joining her first youth organizing efforts at the age of 16. Montze lived 8 years in the Bay Area where she got her B.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 2015 and worked in our San Mateo County office as a Program Coordinator and Program Manager. In 2018, Montze moved back to Orange County as Program Manager for our Long Beach office and is currently our Southern California Director of Programs. Montze works in partnership with our SoCal offices in Long Beach and Eastern Coachella Valley to support staff and youth participants in leading community change efforts in their communities.

    Montze values community organizing, policy advocacy, and strategically working to better the livelihood of communities disproportionately affected by lack of investment and access to healthy resources. Over the past six years with yli, Montze has led several youth and community coalitions addressing health inequities in their communities through alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention work, financial and economic justice, transportation equity, and immigrant justice.

    Montze loves to run, hike (follow their hiking page on IG: @las_hiking_osas, and brunch during her free time. Montze is currently in her first year of her graduate program at CSU Long Beach pursuing a Master’s in Public Health. Go class of 2023!

    Read the Story of My Name here!

  • Wendy Pacheco

    They / Them

    Wendy joined the yli TCS team with over 8 years of facilitation, youth programming, and training experience with youth and adults. She is homegrown in East LA but moved to the Bay Area to pursue education at UC Berkeley. The Bay Area quickly became a second home and where Wendy discovered a deep commitment to justice and liberation. Based on her own lived experience with family members who are incarcerated and who struggle with addiction, Wendy is passionate about creating empowering and healing spaces based in compassion where youth and adults can use their voice, own their story, and shift power to create community based solutions for systemic issues. 

    Wendy’s specialities include Creating a space of compassion where youth and adults can bring their authentic selves to connect, build and heal collectively, Youth-Adult Partnerships, Anti-racism, Youth-Led Action Research, Policy Advocacy, and Dismantling Systems of Oppression.

  • Yante Turner

    He / Him

    Yante Turner is a fierce facilitator with a knack for joy at the forefront of his training & consultant role at yli. With six plus years of grass root organizing under his belt, Yante hopes that his commitment to community liberation and radical practices emerge from every pore of his work. Yante works to create high level, just and visually pleasing trainings to captivate people into change, reaching and centering communities like: BIPOC, immigrant, Trans and queer and other minority communities. Yante has expertise in transformative justice, trauma informed care work, conflict resolution, youth leadership and philanthropy, Black queer feminism and youth and adult partnerships. 

    Yante’s specialities include Community Based Building, Transformative Justice, Racial Equity, and LGBTQIA+ informationals & skill shares.

    Fun fact: Yante has a zoo of animals! With a whopping 10 animals living in his home, from cats to snakes and the occasional farm chickens!