The REACH Ashland Youth Center is operated by Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Alameda County staffs are on-site to provide support and work together to provide programming with partner agencies.


Pedro Naranjo

REACH Executive Director

I work with young people, their families, and our partners to create an environment where young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential and be happy. I do this work because I know that young people are our greatest asset. I believe that every young person has the same right to reach his/her full potential.

My family and fatherhood has significantly shaped who I am. I strive to be a better man and person for them. I meet people where they are and I accept people for who they are. I believe that everyone has something to contribute to their community and strive to find ways to bring those gifts to my work. I want to be small town while at the same time being worldly. I got here by making a commitment early on to support efforts that contribute to improving the health & wellbeing of all people.

I love spending time with my family and enjoy seeing my two daughters grow up. In my free time, I love to participate in recreation activities. Seeing people outside being physically active brings me a lot of joy.
My favorite food is Mama’s Enchiladas de papa with a side of steak and a few Doritos.


Vassilisa Johri

Associate Director, Health and Wellness

 If I do my job, my hope is that young people at REACH will feel like they can grow into who they are; that being in their questions is as important as knowing answers; that they can explore a lot of options and be over full with joy, possibility and belonging; and they will feel a big net of love and care around them when they get it right and even more so when they don’t.

To me, health and wellness is justice.   It includes healthcare for all, but also safe schools and communities, more choice and possibility, jobs and housing, solutions that support learning and not punishment, an end to discrimination, reparations, young and oppressed people being seen, heard, and believed, and a whole lot of dance and play.  I do this work because hate is easy.  Love is the revolution.

I came with my family to the US from India when I was 3.  Through my father’s job, my family got a lot of opportunities and I was fortunate enough to get an amazing education, and grow as an athlete, a musician, an artist.  I had the space to explore ideas and grow my confidence to challenge what was unjust.

Joy: laughing with my people, dancing in my kitchen, feeling grateful for my people and how I’ve been saved a hundred times, my dog, chai, wiggling around or snuggling up to me, young people being creative and themselves and figuring themselves out, our big loving and creative hearts against all the odds we face, the places where mountains and bodies of water meet, loving and being loved.

Breakfast is the best meal ever.  If it’s got bacon, even better.  If you wanna show up with a breakfast sandwich, in whatever cultural  form (burrito,chapati, bagel, roti…), you got me.  Yep, it’s just that easy.




Jamie Yee Hintzke

REACH Community and Public Relations Manager

I really enjoy working with youth. I want to be part of creating space for young people to be able to make the world a better place by realizing their own dreams and goals.

I was born in Oakland and am first-generation Chinese and grew up with all the traditions.  I feel like I have the best of both worlds – grounded with my heritage but living the American life. I had my grandmother till she was 100 years old. She lived through some very difficult times, but she always had a great attitude: nothing was ever bad enough that a good party could not cure. “Get your party dress and high heels on – let’s go” I like to think I live my life with the same spirit.

Some of my happiest moments are when I meet someone for the first time and we have a connection. I am very interested in all people. I believe that everyone has something really interesting to share – and I want to hear it. I love it when my husband and kids are having a deep and engaging conversation. I get to learn about their thoughts and what is important to them. It makes me happy.

I love food – when I have time, I love to cook, but I cannot bake. If it requires more than a cup of flour, I make bricks. I love cheese and anything that goes with cheese. I like to garden, go to museums, cars, politics and volunteering.  A favorite quote – “Social Justice is Love in Public”.



Veronica Villegas

Membership Coordinator

I was born and raised in the East Bay. I grew up in Newark, California. I am the youngest of two children and after graduating from high school I moved to Ashland in San Leandro. I attended Western Career College where I became a Certified Medical Assistant.

I serve as the Membership Coordinator at REACH.  I am super excited to see REACH make a difference in our community.

There’s nothing nicer than seeing other people happy. I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and love watching my twin daughters play their sports.  I love the country and being around horses. I listen to Mexican music and enjoy all things Mexican.

I love all kinds of food, but if I had to choose I would say seafood.



Michael Alexander

Youth Counselor

Greetings, my name is Michael Alexander and I’m a youth counselor here at REACH Ashland Youth Center. I’m originally from the state of Alabama and was raised in the Atlanta area. Before moving to the Bay Area in June 2011 I lived in Philadelphia and worked as a School Social Worker. I attended and graduated from Clark Atlanta University and University of Pennsylvania where I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work respectively. I’ve always been passionate about Social Justice and its impact on young people. I’ve also focused a lot of my free time addressing issues regarding sexism, racism, patriarchy, and other concerns facing people of color. In my free time I love spending time with my wife, travel, and spending quality time with friends and family. I’m also an avid reader, a huge music collector and also love Thai, Ethiopian, and Indian cuisine.



Lamont Thompson

Community Health Outreach

I was born in Oakland and I lived out there for a few years and then I moved to Ashland. I don’t really know what year it was, it doesn’t matter because I was too young to care anyway. I went to Edendale Middle School then San Leandro High for a couple of years until I moved to San Lorenzo where I attended East Bay Arts High. There I got involved in theater and music. I began to develop a sense of culture and a pride in community as well as caring for others, which led to me wanting to get involved in community, organizing and social change.

I first started working with an organization called the Youth Leadership Counsel (Y.L.C.). There I honed my skills as a community organizer, but that wasn’t enough for me. I then began wanting to reach out to the youth in my community whom I felt, at the time and even still today didn’t have anyone in their age bracket who could really listen and understand how it is to be a young person in today’s society. So I went on to create a PowerPoint presentation entitled “THINK’’. This allowed me to go from school to school in the San Lorenzo School District and present not only my story but it also allowed meet and engage with the students and really get a clear idea of what they are going through.

I’ve been involved with the Reach Ashland Youth Center, hosted numerous community events, spoken out at meetings and been involved heavily with the youth in Ashland as well as other communities since 2007. I am proud to be part of the REACH staff; I will continue my work as an advocate for the youth and a voice for the community.


VanessaVanessa Rodriguez

Community Health Outreach

I was born and raised in San Francisco and I am full Mexican -I love my homeland dearly. I’ve lived in the east bay for about 4-5 years now. My most important work in SF; doing community outreaching for an organization named CHALK -focusing on empowering at risk youth in San Francisco. I was a teen staff at The Colombia Park Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco, there I would coordinate and manage events, programs, and training. I also worked at The Children’s Waiting Room in the San Francisco Court House.

I had a point in my life where I was struggling and I reached out to a mentor, who I am still connected to since I was 15. She gave me an opportunity to explore myself professionally -my needs and wants.  She also hooked me up with an internship at Beats Rhymes and Life (BRL).  It’s a mental health organization that uses Hip Hop to heal and strengthen young people of color.

I love working with young people, I want to be part of a change in the decisions young people make. I want for young people to excel to their fullest potential -in every aspect possible. Plan for their future, fulfill their dreams, be loved, be, educated, be understood, be supported. Not only will I be able to do all of that but also better myself -be a great role model and grow along the way with these youth. There is no limit in learning!

I am very much a music junkie. I love all types of music but underground Hip Hop is pretty music my thing. I travel north, south, east, west of the country to be a part of great music festivals, concerts and music experiences.  Music is definitely my healing! Writing is also my thing. I always had it in my head that one day when I’m over and done with in this life time of mine -someone will come across my writing and put stuff together and call me a philosopher or something one day.


Shawna Hernandez

Health and Wellness, Administrative Assistant

I grew up in the East Bay my whole life, in a little neighborhood called Decoto on the outer end of Union City. My family came from Mexico to the East Bay and I am second generation Mexican-American.  I am very proud of my heritage and community. I come from a big family of three older sisters, one older brother and one younger brother.  I enjoy and truly value working with youth.  I want the youth to understand the power of knowledge and participation, there is nothing like be involved in our world.  I want to support the youth in opening up to education, logic and their senses.  I hope to show youth the importance of respect for others and themselves.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to work at REACH and fulfill my purpose.  In my spare time I love to hang out with my three nephews, who keep me young and active.  For the past three years, my family and I have been coaches for the Union City National Little league where we all played ball growing up.  I am pleased to have 7 aunts because I have a bunch of cousins, nieces and nephews. There’s a reason to get together to celebrate every other weekend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I also adore going to sporting events my favorite teams are SF Giants, Oakland Raiders and the LA Lakers; yes, I know I am all over California when it comes to sports.


Ashley Cobbs

Community Health Outreach

Sam McNeal

Site Coordinator



Information Systems Specialist

I have always had a passion to work with technology. I completed my Masters in Computer Science. I was born and brought up in India. Before I moved to the U.S, I was teaching Computer Science in a High School. Prior to working at REACH I was working with the Alameda County Library. At REACH, I am working as an Information Systems Specialist. I enjoy working with the staff and youth. My goal is to keep REACH up to date with the latest technology. I like to spend time with my family, travel and watch sports.







The Bite - CafeThe Bite – A Fresh Start Café

The Bite is an independently owned and operated café.

True Tadesse