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.

Marie Ary

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Marie Ary is a former foster youth and was an active member of the Sacramento County Chapter for over six years.

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.

Bettye Davis

PROGRAM COORDINATOR,
LA OFFICE

Bettye supports the administrative and programmatic functions of the Member Engagement Team. She also provides support in strengthening the Peer Mentor role as well as engaging former members through quarterly newsletters, social media, etc.

Vanessa Hernandez

DIRECTOR OF STATEWIDE POLICY
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.

Christi Ketchum

NORTHERN REGIONAL 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.

Jude Koski

COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Jude joined the CYC staff in 2002. Previously, he served as the Field and Chapter Coordinator at COLAGE and the Education Coordinator for Ozone House in Michigan.

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

POLICY ADMINISTRATIVE 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.

Elisha Reid

DEPUTY DIRECTOR
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.

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.