Who’s Who? Learn what each 826 Valencia team is up to!
We’re dedicated to supporting under-resourced students with their writing skills and achieve this with the help of volunteers, our communities, and staff. Below, learn who we are and what we do at 826 Valencia!
Our communicative and gregarious Programs Staff are responsible for developing curriculum and working with students and volunteers at each of our three Writing Centers and at our partner schools. Here’s a bit more about each location and who you can expect to cross paths with when you visit us!
This Center houses both our treasure-filled Pirate Store and first Writing Lab! Here, students gather for:
- Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trips
- After-School Tutoring
- Workshops (e.g. journalism or short fiction)
- Sunday Tutoring
Meet our committed Mission Center Program Staff (who you should definitely say hello the next time you’re around)!
Camila Ceja, Programs Associate, is a student and organizer from the Bay Area who’s excited to join 826 again! She’s currently finishing her Ethnic Studies and Comparative Literature undergrad at UC Berkeley. Camila loves to hike, try new foods and spend time with her puppy Panda! Camila hopes to become a teacher.
Kendra Lappin, Programs Coordinator, is a Bay Area transplant and bibliophile. After earning a master’s in literature, she completed an AmeriCorps year with 826. She is passionate about social justice and empowering youth through storytelling. If she’s not reading, you can find her enjoying nature, baking cookies, or binging podcasts.
Lucie Pereira, Program Coordinator, began her 826 journey as a student and came right back after studying writing and publishing at Emerson College. She has a penchant for fun animal facts and all things chocolate.
Melissa Anguiano, Programs Manager, is a San Francisco native who studied at UC Berkeley, where she discovered her passion for education and working with youth. When not with students, she enjoys road trips and traveling.
Nohemí Torres, Programs Associate, is a San José native and an SFSU graduate, with a background in education. When not publishing books with 826 students, she enjoys exploring new places, and spending time with her family and pets — which includes her rabbit. When taking a break from her Paralegal Studies, you can find her working on her future children’s book.
We also host Elementary and Secondary In-School Projects in the Mission District where you can find our friends:
Ryan Young, Programs Director, taught fifth and sixth grades, founded a school newspaper, and started a guitar program, all while earning his MA in special education. When not at 826, he likes to navigate the trails of the Presidio and play the bass.
Stina Perkins, Programs Coordinator, first called herself a writer while a student at 826michigan. After studying Women’s Studies and American Culture at the University of Michigan, she’s thrilled to return to an organization she adores. Speaking of adoration, Stina also loves humming while hiking, reading on riverbanks, and sharing dinosaur facts.
Yareli Arreola, Programs Coordinator, is a passionate youth educator and community builder. She studied Sociology and Education at UC Santa Cruz. She loves all things mango flavored, writing, dancing and hiking through the redwoods.
One of these In-Schools Projects takes place at Buena Vista Horace Mann where you will find:
Ashley Smith, Programs Director, is a Bay Area native, taught reading and writing to middle school students in San Francisco and New York, where she earned her master’s degree. When not at 826, she enjoys eating her way through San Francisco’s many culinary offerings.
Diana Garcia, Programs Coordinator, is a Mexican-American California native from the mountainous Eastern Sierra. After studying History and Economics at UC Davis, she came to 826 to further her passion for empowering and educating youth. You can find her running, hiking, making playlists, skiing, or dancing to Maggie Rogers.
Over in the Tenderloin, students gather around our enchanted treehouse and recording studio-equipped Center for:
- Podcasting Field Trips
- After-School Workshops
- The Black Literary Achievement Club
Thanks to the following dedicated people:
Dr. Bunny McFadden, Programs Director, is a lifelong educator from Albuquerque. They come to 826 with a doctorate from the University of South Carolina in curriculum & instruction and a mountain of experience working on the ground with communities. Really! You might catch them sitting on the floor! In their free time, they tinker with words.
Nana Boateng, Programs Coordinator, is originally from Kentucky by way of Ghana. She is passionate about enhancing others’ social and cultural awareness through storytelling. In her spare time, she enjoys watching ASMR videos, listening to advice podcasts, and cooking new things.
Precediha Dangerfield, Programs Manager, believes her experience as an 826 Valencia intern in 2009 inspired her to pursue a career in education. She is a proud Oakland native with a love of music and a belief in our students.
We also have partnering schools in the Tenderloin where you can work alongside:
Olivia Cunningham, Programs Coordinator, is originally from Seattle and was an intern for 826 in 2013. In 2020, she returned as an AmeriCorps member and is now Programs Coordinator. In her free time she enjoys cooking, eating, true crime podcasts, making jewelry, and taking road trips in her car, Blanche.
Mission Bay Center
Onto our three year old, the Mission Bay Center! Here students enter a Woodland Creatures-filled space where students attend:
- Magical Adventure Field Trips
- After-School Tutoring
…and that all happens along with the help of our devoted team made up of:
Nesley Rojo, Programs Coordinator, came to San Francisco from Wisconsin, and has since become the first person in her family to graduate from college with a sociology degree. Nesley is committed to social justice and empowering urban youth. In her spare time she is a doting plant mom, skincare advocate, baker, artist, and distance runner.
Shelby Urbina, Programs Coordinator, was born and raised in SF, and graduated from SFSU with a BA in creative writing. Shelby has a passion for writing, art, and working with youth. In her free time you’ll find her drawing, pointing out cute dogs, or re-reading Harry Potter.
In addition, work done with partnering schools near the neighborhood is coordinated by:
Michelle Espinoza, Programs Coordinator, a California native, has a passion for working with youth, which led her to earn a degree in Liberal Studies from CSU Stanislaus and discovering 826 Valencia. In her free time, Michelle enjoys rooting for the Lakers, listening to music, traveling, and being with friends and family.
If you’d like to join us at any of our three Centers, apply to volunteer or reach out to our Volunteer Engagement Team.
Volunteer Engagement Team
Our lively and multifaceted Volunteer Engagement Team manages volunteer and intern recruitment, training, retention efforts, and oversees our volunteer partnerships. They are also Salesforce superheros and meet DOJ requirements to ensure student safety.
Cléo Charpantier, Volunteer Coordinator
Daniel Mata, Volunteer Coordinator
Kavitha Lotun, Volunteer Director
Lila Cutter, Volunteer Manager
These fine, organized, and knowledgeable people are to thank for having our ducks (and woodland creatures and enchanted forest fairies) in a row, our work-life balance, personal development, and safe, accessible environment. They are also to thank for keeping us moving forward as an organization, no matter the obstacles that come.
Benita Tsao, Human Resources Manager Bita Nazarian, Executive Director Christina Villaseñor Perry, Associate Director
Luis Sepulveda, Administrative Coordinator
Nick Parker, Finance Director
Virdell Hickman, Operations Manager
Next, we advance to our articulate Advancement Team! This team is involved in all aspects of fundraising and communications including donor stewardship and amplifying student voices. If you attend any public 826 Valencia events, you’re sure to find this team there!
Emily Chacon, Development and Annual Fund Coordinator
Gabi Trujillo, Communications Associate
Ginnie Redmond, Grants and Development Coordinator
Kate Peltier, Director of Institutional Gifts
Lauren Hofmayer, Director if Individual Philanthropy
Maya Makker, Communications Manager
Miranda Ling (they/them or she/her), Director of Advancement
Our design team is a powerful group of 4 who strategize, design, and illustrate whimsical and imaginative collateral for all initiatives, events, and our Annual Report. They also bring our students’ words to life in all our publications, over 3,000 books printed a year!
Elizabeth McConaughy-Oliver, Design Associate
Lucy Gosline-Ratliff, Design Associate
Tony Manalo, Design Coordinator
Vivian Sming, Design Director
What’s in store with the stores team? Well, lots! Our Stores Team manages events, store budgets and inventory, and oversees our community outreach. They are to thank for the hand-knitted octopi, pirate spyglasses, and beautifully displayed student writing which you can find here and in person at 826 Valencia Street.
Byron Weiss, Stores Director
Ambrose Meade, Stores Associate
Brandon Pipersky, Stores Associate
Cam Mudd, Stores Associate
Jonathan Kendall, Stores Associate
Zacharie Angstadt, Stores Associate
This team of friendly faces and diligent work ethic include:
Ana Gil, Mission Bay Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Andre Douglass, Mission Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Angela Iton, Tenderloin Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Christopher Avalos, Mission Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Diego Hernandez, Tenderloin Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Emily Lam, Mission Bay – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Joshua Abrego, Mission Bay – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Julia Sweeney, Mission Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Lori Gregg-Hammer, Mission Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Morgan Azevedo, Mission Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps
Wendy Liu, Tenderloin Center – BAYAC AmeriCorps