Staff

Haydée Cuza

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Haydée has an unwavering passion for integrating youth-led advocacy into systems that serve young people. Her love for and commitment to members comes from her lived experiences with homelessness and foster care and as a mommy, Lita (grandma), queer, multicultural womyn.

Joy Anderson

MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT COORDINATOR
Joy is the Mental Health Project Coordinator after first working with CYC as Policy Coordinator. Prior to that, Joy spent 7+ years as a member of both CYC and YTP.

Jeannette Brock

ADMIN COORDINATOR
Jeannette currently supports the Regional Coordinators and Operations department at California Youth Connection (CYC) as an Admin Coordinator. After taking a nearly 20 year hiatus she made the decision to continue her education while raising her three children. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from the Adult and Professional Studies Program at Azusa Pacific University.

Kenneth Brown

FAR SOUTHERN REGIONAL COORDINATOR
Kenneth first joined CYC as a member in 1989. Kenneth was inspired by the idea that youth could have influence and that he could make changes which could benefit his sister who was still in foster care.

Vanessa Hernandez

DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND TRAINING
As a child welfare advocate, Vanessa is most passionate about honoring the commitments made to underserved populations through practice, policy and legislative change.

Makayla James

FAR NORTHERN REGIONAL COORDINATOR
Makayla is a former member of the Butte Chapter, which she became involved in during her time as a college student. She was drawn to California Youth Connection due to her interest in policy and her passion for creating change within the foster care system.

ChristiKetchum_cropped

Christi Ketchum

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
As a staff member since 2011, Christi has been instrumental in supporting the leadership development of members, interns, and working collaboratively with supporters and community partners.

Meribe Martin

POLICY TEAM ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR
When Meribe joined CYC , she was impressed right away to see people working together collaboratively on a common goal. Youth were involved at every step. Shortly after she joined, Meribe was able to be a facilitator at the conferences, and since then she has always been a facilitator rather than a participant at events she's a part of.

Zahra Martinez

TRAINING COORDINATOR
Zahra is a former member of the Fresno Chapter and has held many roles in CYC throughout the years. She has served our mission as a Chapter leader, Advisory Board Representative, Legislative Committee Representative, Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project Trainer, and has even served on the Board of Directors.

Blade Oestreich

CENTRAL VALLEY REGIONAL COORDINATOR
Blade has joined the CYC team in his new role as policy assistant after being a member for the past eight years. During that time, he served as chair and Advisory Board representative for the Merced chapter as well as on the organization’s internal legislative committee.

Christina Parker

POLICY COORDINATOR
Christina is a California State University San Bernardino Graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Language, Culture, and Literature. She is a spoken word artist, motivational speaker, advocate, and photographer.

Elisha Reid

DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS
Elisha has served and mentored homeless and foster youth for the past several years. She joined CYC as the Director of Member Engagement in May 2017. Prior to CYC, Elisha served as the Employment and Education Program Director at Covenant House California, a homeless shelter for transitional aged youth.

JORDAN SOSA

POLICY COORDINATOR
Jordan Sosa is a former member of the Orange County Chapter and has served several roles as a Chapter Chair, Legislative Committee Representative, Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project Trainer, and Advisory Board Representative. His passion for youth voice in child welfare comes from his younger siblings growing up in foster care, who gave him the motivation to advocate for all youth in care.

Kate Teague

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Kate has been with CYC since 2006, first as the Bay Area/Central Valley Outreach Coordinator, then the Bay Area Regional Coordinator, and now the Community Engagement Manager. Kate first became involved with CYC as an Americorp intern at the Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara County when her then supervisor, Deryk Clark (a former CYC board member), told her that part of her job would be to attend CYC meetings.