Meet the Trainers

  • Patty Barahona

    They / Them

    Patty has been with YLI for nine years, starting as a Program Coordinator in Marin County before serving as the Director for the San Francisco office and the Chief People Officer and then becoming the Chief Executive Officer in 2019. Today, Patty oversees a staff of over 65 across the state of California and an annual budget of $9.1 million. Patty previously worked for Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and as a English Language Learner Teacher across K-12 schools in Vermont. They hold an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the School for International Training and a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University. Patty is known for their energizing and excellent facilitating and is a highly sought after trainer, having trained thousands of young people and adults on making equitable change in their communities. Patty is Board Chair of Alianza Coachella Valley and the Board Co-Chair for LYRIC, a San Francisco LGBTQQ organization.

  • 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!

  • Jen Daroya


    Jen Daroya is from Manila, Philippines. She worked as a customer support specialist for nine years and was able to acquire a lot of skills and experiences. Her focus was to help clients who are genuinely seeking to improve their business and achieve excellence.  

    Jen can focus on the job at hand while maintaining a professional manner, even under extreme circumstances. She is able to exceed expectations by providing personalized creative solutions tailored to individual needs. She excels at multitasking and aims to use her intuition, judgment, motivational techniques and personal leadership to become an integral element of supporting an executive’s professional agenda. Jen is constantly improving in anticipation for the next challenge of her career.

    Jen loves to cook and is also a musicophile. She has two dogs and enjoys taking them out for a walk every morning, which also serves as her form of exercise. Jen has two kids, who are her inspiration to work, and securing her family’s future is her greatest goal.