Meet Our Team

Gerardo “Charlie” Rodriguez 
Executive Director

Charlie is originally from Merced, California but spent 10 years living in the Hollister area. He studied at Bethany University, and has served the central coast in various non-profit agencies. Charlie has 15 years of experience with youth and 10 years in executive non-profit management. His passion is to identify, develop and empower students who will become our leaders. He enjoys spending his time with his wife and love of his life Stephanie, and their two children Sienna and Titus. His passions are education and sports! Something that empowers Charlie day to day is one of his favorite verses: Philipians 4: 13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  

Jenna Rodriguez 

Director of Operations 

Originally from San Pedro, CA, Jenna moved to Watsonville at a young age and spent many of her childhood years in the Pajaro area where her Grandparents lived. Jenna attended Rolling Hills Middle School, and Pajaro Valley High School, where she was a four-year varsity athlete in Volleyball, Basketball and Softball. She attended UC Santa Barbara as a freshman, but after returning home for the summer she realized how much she missed her hometown, and decided to attend Cabrillo and join their honors program, where she also played softball. After a year, Jenna transferred to San Jose State University where she got her BA in Communication Studies with a minor in Chicano Studies. As someone who spent her high school years as a volunteer in the nonprofit sector, Jenna always enjoyed being part of a dedicated team that pursued equity for those in her community. Jenna worked in the corporate advertising world for 7 months before arriving to Youth NOW. “Working at Youth N.O.W. has allowed me give back to my community in many ways. I have always had a passion for youth, because as someone who grew up in this community, I understand how important it is to have adults outside of your home who believe and motivate you to be your best in all that you do. I have been blessed to have such an inspiring mom, who has taught me the value of hard work, as well as coaches and grandparents who served and continue to serve as mentors to me in my life. I am grateful to be a part of a team that shares this same passion!” A fun fact about Jenna is that she has an adorable Yorkie named CupCake and is a sports fanatic!

 

Lizette Ramos 
Office Manager 

Lizette was born and raised in Watsonville, by two immigrant parents who have worked, and continue to work in agriculture. Being a first generation Latina, motivated her to break down the barriers to provide a better collaborative system within communities. “I have seen the community factors that can impact youth, both negatively and positively. One of the key reasons why I decided to focus on working with youth in the Watsonville community.” Lizette received her B.A. in Collaborative Health and Human Services, with a concentration in Social work and Community Health. She enjoys working at Youth NOW because of its mission and vision, focusing on helping the youth of Watsonville and making an impact in the community. Seeing how students feel connected and are able to interact with others who are from various backgrounds, and have built a family within the center excites her. “It truly is an honor to be able to work at a place where I am able to interact with youth and provide guidance and services that will benefit them!”

 

Somer Bobbitt
Accounting Manager

 Somer was born in the Bay Area. Her family came to Watsonville when she was just three years old, and has been a resident of our beautiful community ever since! Somer is a Watsonville High School graduate. After the birth of her first born, she returned to school at Cabrillo College. She graduated from Cabrillo with honors and obtained her Associate’s degree in Business. She has a business background in payroll tax, accounting, and account management. Somer has recently returned to the workforce after being a stay-at-home Mom for the past several years. She is excited to be a part of the Youth N.O.W. family!

 

Mary Cabriales

Volunteer Coordinator

Mary Cabriales, was born and raised in Watsonville. As a first generation college student, she was determined to earn both her Associates Degree and Bachelor’s Degree. Once she received her high school diploma from Aptos High School, she decided to move to down town San Jose to attend San Jose State University. However, after her first semester, she realized how much she missed the Watsonville Community and decided to move back home to attend Cabrillo Community College where she obtained three separate Associates degrees over the course of four years. As of December 2017, Mary now holds Associates degrees in Sociology, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Women’s Studies, along with her Bachelor’s Degree from CSU, Monterey Bay in Humanities and Communication Studies with a concentration in Women’s Studies and a minor in Sociology.

At first, Mary thought she wanted to major in Early Childhood Education, however, that had changed when she realized her compassion, dedication, and faith when it comes to achieving equality and justice for all, community building, community empowerment, and community awareness. Mary takes great pride in being a trustworthy ally and advocate for persons dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as for the LGBTQ+ community, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and for helping to achieve the liberation and empowerment of all minority communities. Mary not only identifies as an advocate for these diverse and unique groups, but she also has intense passion in reversing the school- to- prison pipeline, which is why she believes that Youth N.O.W is one of the best non- profit organizations to be a part of. Generally, Mary hopes to create more community bridging by being a peer educator, positive influence, role- model, and by empowering our youth in getting them more involved within school and community service.

 

Stacy Leon- Guzman
High School Program Specialist

Stacy was born and raised in Watsonville, she has grown to love and appreciate her hometown for its rich culture and hardworking community members. She graduated from Watsonville High and attended Cabrillo College where she obtained an Associate’s Degree in Sociology and another in Liberal Arts and Sciences. She will be attending CSUMB in the spring to further her education and will be majoring in Human Communications with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric along with a minor in Creative Writing and Social Action. Aside from a college education, Stacy recognizes the importance of being in tune with one’s body, mind, and spirit. To further her personal practice, she attended Mount Madonna Institute and obtained her Yoga Teacher Training certification. While in school, Stacy learned about the systematic inequalities and disadvantages communities with minorities faced. Seeing the beauty and fierce work ethic in her hometown, but feeling it hasn’t received the attention and care it deserves, has been her driving force to give back to the community. Believing that social change begins with the self, she feels it’s essential to teach the youth the importance of their worth, while also instilling values in them that can cultivate their growth and a sense of contribution to the success of their community.

“What drew me to Youth N.O.W. was their Vision, Mission and Core Values. It showed me that this was an organization that truly cares for and believes in our youth. Your early teen years can be a challenging time in which you’re growing into your own person and still trying to understand yourself in this big world. I want to offer my support and guidance to the youth, remind them that they are important and have a lot to offer this world.”

Emily Quiroz 
High School Learning Center Coordinator

Emily was born in Gilroy but raised in Watsonville. She takes great pride in the small town that watched her grow up and admires the fact that this community has large population of hard working agricultural families, her family being one of them. “I was fortunate enough to be raised by hardworking, humble and supportive parents who always instilled in me the importance in education. They knew education was the key to a better future; something they always envisioned for me. Through all their hard work, that vision translated to me and was my driving force to attend a four year University right after High School.” Emily graduated from California State University Monterey Bay and obtained a degree in Psychology. She became very passionate about working with and helping migrant youth who she feels are often bypassed by our educational system. Therefore, she states “it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work for and organization whose vision focuses on empowering youth and at the same time allows me to give back to my community.” 

Damaris Arciga 
Middle School Supervisor

Damaris grew up in Hesperia, CA located in San Bernardino County and moved to Watsonville 5 years ago. She graduated from Watsonville High School and attended Cabrillo College before transferring to CSU Monterey Bay. She has an Associate’s degree in Communications and Psychology and will be achieving her Bachelor’s in Psychology Spring of 2017. Damaris first began as a Youth Now volunteer tutoring at the middle school site. She soon realized how much she loved supporting the youth of her community and was soon brought on as a staff. She mentions, “My upbringing was not one that was filled with many resources, but I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful and hardworking mother and supportive and positive family and friends, which allowed hope to grow inside of me. Therefore, when I think of Youth N.O.W., I think of a network of people who provide resources for the youth of a community that has seen struggle and whose ultimate goal is to spark hope and create change.” 

 

 

Carlos Garcia

Middle School Learning Center Coordinator

Carlos was born in Santa Cruz, CA but raised in Wastonville. Being raised in Watsonville is something Carlos is very proud of because he states, “it is a community that is shaped with hard working individuals that strive for a better tomorrow.” Carlos graduated from Watsonville High and attended Cabrillo College where he obtained his Associate’s Degree in Sociology, Criminal Justice and Liberal Arts before transferring to CSU Monterey Bay, where he hopes to pursue a degree in Social Behavior and Science with a concentration in Sociology. Carlos was eager to join the Youth N.O.W. team because of its strong vision towards youth success. “Not only do I have the opportunity to give back to my community and mentor youth, but ensure that our youth are given the resources needed to achieve success in their academics.” Carlos enjoys spending time with his wife Ana who is his middle school sweetheart and their three beautiful children Carlos, Crystal, and Michael Angelo, “they are my everyday motivation and inspiration to give the best of me!”

 

Willy Bobo
Recreational Manager

Willie Bobo is originally from Bruce, Mississippi. He came to Watsonville at a young age and the very first school he attended was Linscott Charter. He graduated from Watsonville high school and attended Cabrillo College for two years. Willie spent most of his time on the basketball court. He retired from Safeway and joined the Youth N.O.W. team as our Recreational Manager. When asked what made him want to work at Youth N.O.W. Willie’s response was, “I love working with kids!” Willie’s hobbies include playing basketball and coaching. A fun fact about Willie is, he goes for a walk every morning at 7 am! Way to go coach Bobo!!

 

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