Staff Team

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Staff Team2022-06-24T13:11:56-07:00

Leadership Team

David Heitstuman, MPPA, Chief Executive Officer

David Heitstuman, Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Region’s oldest and largest LGBTQ+ organization, is recognized as an imperturbable and results-driven political and communications team leader. He received the Stonewall Freedom from Fear Award in 2016 for his transformative work in the Sacramento LGBTQ+ community. Before coming to the Center he was chief consultant to California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and had served four prior speakers over 12 years in the Assembly including Toni Atkins, John A. Pérez, Karen Bass, and Fabian Nuñez. He also served as trip director for Assembly Democratic Campaigns, operations director for Steve Westly’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, advance team lead for Hillary Clinton 2008, Kerry-Edwards 2004, Howard Dean for America, and the Democratic National Committee. He started his career as a communications aide to Governor Gray Davis.

In addition to his statewide and national professional career, he is active in the local community serving as Chair of the Sacramento Parks & Recreation Commission and has served as President of the Sacramento LGBT Center Board of Directors, Member–at-Large on the Sacramento Valley Gay & Lesbian Softball League Board, and as Chair of the Sacramento City Special Events Ordinance Review Committee.

David holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Administration from CSU Sacramento and a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations and business from Gonzaga University. He is also a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business LGBT Executive Leadership Program and the Equality California Institute Leadership Academy. He is well known for his event production prowess including bringing the Sacramento Red Dress Party to life in 2012. He enjoys volunteering for LGBTQ+ activist causes, weightlifting, softball, international travel, and dinner parties at home. He grew up in the Yakima Valley of Washington State and moved to Sacramento in 2001. He and his partner Spencer reside at the intersection of Midtown/Oak Park/Curtis Park.

 E-mail David | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Koby Rodriguez, Chief Program Officer

Koby Rodriguez (he/him/his) serves as the Chief Program Officer at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Within this capacity, Koby leads a department of 20 staff providing client-facing services to the LGBTQIA community in Sacramento, California. These client-facing services include Health Programs, Latinx Outreach, Community Resources, Youth Programs, Housing, and the Outreach & Training Institute. Prior to his appointment, he spent the previous fourteen years in higher education, most recently serving as the Associate Director of the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center, working with scholars and student staff to advance social justice and intersectionality programming in one of California’s largest university cultural centers. Before arriving to UC Davis, he led campus diversity, inclusion, residence life, and housing programs at the University of Redlands.

Koby’s radical social justice philosophies are informed by his Mixed-Latinx Queer identities. He also has experience as an instructor, conference presenter, and trainer, and currently serves as Past-President of the California Council Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE), a network of social justice educators and practitioners in California. He also previously served as the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community Region VI Representative.

Both his undergraduate (Race and Ethnic Studies) and graduate (Higher Education) work took place at the University of Redlands. Koby resides in Natomas with his partner (Mikey), corgi (Konah), and shiba inu (Bao).

E-mail Koby | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 106

Corrigan Gommenginger, Chief Finance Officer

Corrigan Gommenginger (He/Him/His) joined the Sacramento LGBT Center as Chief Financial Officer in April 2020, he has previously served in executive leadership positions for nonprofit, health care and human services organizations for fifteen years. Corrigan’s tenure with the LGBT+ community started in 2002 when he volunteered for Tacoma United For Fairness (TUFF) an early bell-weather referendum for a statewide Equal Employment Protection and Housing & Healthcare Access initiative. Corrigan has served on numerous Board of Directors, including GLSEN Washington State, and Equal Rights Washington whose mission for Marriage Equality succeeded.

Corrigan was awarded the ACLU of Washington’s ‘Youth Activist Award’ for his advocacy to get Gay-Straight Alliances equal access to educational spaces in Seattle area high schools. Corrigan was awarded “Forty Under 40” from the Seattle Business Journal- for his work expanding access to quality healthcare. Corrigan studied Accounting, and graduate studies in Management & Leadership at City University in Seattle and received a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Washington. Corrigan is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) as well as several healthcare leadership certifications.

In his spare time, Corrigan can be found training for a half-marathon or cycling along the American River, sailing in the East Bay, weightlifting, reading, camping, meditating, and traveling, all usually with his corgi, Duke

E-mail Corrigan | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Robynne Rose-Haymer, Deputy Chief Program Officer

Robynne Rose-Haymer serves as the Deputy Chief Program Officer for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. With over twenty years of workforce development, program development & implementation, and leadership experience, Robynne’s continuing passion is helping young people obtain the education and skills they need to pursue their goals. Robynne began her career as an ‘on the ground practitioner ‘ working directly with low income families and communities of color on health & well-being and education issues. As local school district employee and leader, she planned the implementation of the WIA & Adult Career Technical Education programs districtwide. Focused on making an impact, Robynne extended her range to include consulting and grant writing for non-profit organizations seeking to build new programs or shore up existing ones seeking to serve community.

As a graduate of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP- Class VI), Robynne took her leadership skills to the next level by strengthening her boardsmanship and program management skills. Additionally, since Robynne completed the Prosperity Now Platforms for Prosperity Fellowship in partnership with Bank of America, Robynne has become a champion for financial capability integration into workforce development programming. In 2018 she graduated with a master’s in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness and started the journey for a doctorate at the University of the Pacific. Of all her accomplishments, her greatest is being a proud Mimi to two fabulous grandchildren and parent of three successful children.

E-mail Robynne | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 126

Tim Johns, Chief Development Officer

Tim Johns is originally from Lima Ohio and has an MA in non-profit administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has worked for two Planned Parenthood Affiliates for the last 15 years, most recently with the Utah Affiliate headquartered in Salt Lake City. While with Utah’s Planned Parenthood, Tim oversaw a dramatic diversification and expansion of private fundraising dollars to underwrite comprehensive reproductive health care services and education for Utah’s fast-growing populations. Tim also oversaw the affiliate’s political fundraising to help encourage candidates that support reproductive choice and other progressive policies at Utah’s Capitol. In 2015, Utah’s affiliate received the affiliate award for excellence from Planned Parenthood Federation of America due to the rapid expansion of the fundraising program in Utah. Under Tim’s leadership, the number of donors has quintupled, and fundraising dollars increased by 361%. Planned Parenthood’s emergency reserves increased by $10 million dollars. Lastly, over $2 million dollars in legacy giving commitments were received from the newly created Planned Giving program.

Tim has also served on the Utah Pride Center’s Board of Directors for the past six years. During this time, he was Secretary of the Board, and he also chaired the mental health committee and volunteered each year at the Utah Pride Festival and Parade which attracts over 60,000 individuals from Utah and neighboring states. While serving on the Board of the Utah Pride Center, Tim realized that his heart lies in helping LGBTQ+ individuals to succeed and stay healthy and quickly applied for the open External Affairs Officer position at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Tim is eager to work with the diverse populations of the Sacramento region and diversify and grow the fundraising revenue streams as he has done for several organizations throughout his 25-year career in fundraising and marketing.

E-mail Tim  | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Lanz Nalagan, Annual Corporate and Giving Director

Lanz Nalagan is honored to serve the LGBTQ+ community in his capacity as Annual and Corporate Giving Director for the Center. Over the years, he grew passionate about campaign finance and philanthropy in the political and non-profit sectors, and he is grateful that his current work reflects that. After immigrating from the Philippines, Lanz grew up in the East Bay area and attended school in the beautiful Central Coast- earning a B.A in Political Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He also lived in Washington, D.C before settling down in Sacramento, CA.

He’s a former board member of  the Stonewall Democratic Club and currently serves on the board of directors of its  newly created Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento. Lanz is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and hopes to earn his CFRE- Certified Fundraising Executive- in the near future, to continue funding causes he’s passionate about. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, tennis, skiing, spa days, reading (especially self-help books!), watching anything from Legally Blonde and West Wing to Star Trek and Ocean’s 11 and listening to anything from Broadway showtunes and punk rock to Motown and Lady Gaga. You’ll find him chasing his naughty boy Teddy – an adorable chocolate labradoodle – around his house in Rancho Cordova’s Anatolia neighborhood.

E-mail Lanz  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 125

Alexis Sanchez, Director of Advocacy and Training

Alexis Sanchez, A Los Angeles native, got her start in activism in 2016 after the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. She participated in a project that went across the country to the site of different gun related hate crimes and culminated in a rally for common sense gun reform and increase hate crime protections for the LGBTQIA+ community. After visiting the spot where a transgender woman of color was murdered, she decided to dedicate her life to bettering the lives of the transgender community and pursing policy changes that will help to bring more opportunities to trans individuals – especially trans women of color.

Alexis’ background is in public health policy with a specialization in substance use disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community. She was a thought leader in her field and worked to raise awareness of how systems of oppression (such as housing discrimination or over-policing) lead to shorter lifespans and poorer health for marginalized peoples and how the only way to improve the health of marginalized communities is the dismantling of these systems. She also served on the City of West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board for 4 years and in this role worked to create numerous policy changes and campaigns to create a safer city for transgender people.

Alexis is an alumni of the Equality California Institute Leadership Academy, and has participated in many initiatives that train underrepresented minorities to run for office. She serves on the Board of Directors for Still Bisexual, a national bi+ advocacy organization.  Alexis was named Woman of the Year 2020 for CA-28 by Representative Adam Schiff. She spends the bulk of her free time trying to improve her community through volunteering, community organizing, and media advocacy to help normalize trans identities.

E-mail Alexis  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 115

Simone Thomas, Director of Housing Services

Simone Thomas stands rooted in honesty, transparency, hard work and empowerment.  Her passion for serving Sacramento’s youth emanates contagiously.  As a strategic planner and executor, she is able to see the bigger picture and zoom into each programs’ framework to ensure quality, effectiveness and advancement.  Simone’s accredited leadership development makes her decision making reputable and respected by the organization and community. As a futuristic leader, Simone has the vast ability to energize others to fortuitously tackle feats with an unequivocal mindset.

As the current Director of Housing Services, Simone develops collaborative relationships with community leaders, businesses and advocates to meet the needs of the region’s transitional-aged youth.  Simone strives to supply young adults with fundamental life skills, employment readiness, medical/ mental health resources and education opportunities.  Simone’s love for learning and development began during her undergraduate studies where she learned various facilitation styles to promote cohesive group dynamics.  Simone believes in the idea that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’. Therefore, capacity building is at the forefront of her training goals while empowering all staff to use their distinctive talents and to appreciate the talents of others.

Born in Jamaica, Simone grew up in New York and Pennsylvania and is the youngest of eight children. Simone and four of her siblings are first generation college graduates. She and three of her siblings earned their BS from The Pennsylvania State University. Simone went on to be the first in her family to receive a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management specializing in Organizational Leadership and is currently pursue her PhD in Organizational Management.  Her primary focus of research is to assist small and large organizations in fostering positive, structural change while redeveloping its core mission and values. Simone currently lives in Midtown Sacramento and enjoys experiencing the diverse community promotions Sacramento offers through art, music and food.

E-mail Simone | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 107

Michael Diaz, Director of People & Culture

Michael Diaz joined the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as Director of People & Culture in April 2022. He brings with him over 20 years of Human Resources experience. Michael has worked for both private and public sector organizations across a wide variety of industries. He is beyond excited and grateful to join Sac Center and to begin his journey with LGBTQ+ advocacy and activism. Michael is very passionate about the field of Human Resources and is an active member of the HR Community. Michael’s goal is to help create and maintain a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive work environment, one where everyone feels a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Michael was born and raised in the Sacramento region and still lives in the community with his husband Ryan, their 4 dogs, Tank, Chloe, Pebbles and Roxy, and their cockatiel. On the weekends you can find Michael & his husband off roading, working on their cars, going on adventures, and planning their “off grid” retirement dream!

Email Michael

Manuel Serrato, Assistant Director of Youth Programs

Manuel (Manny) Serrato is proud to join the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as the Assistant Director of Youth Programs. Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, he is eager to empower LGBTQ+ youth in the community.

After earning his bachelor of science degree in chemistry at UC Davis, Manny pursued work in environmental and analytical laboratories. Throughout this time, he volunteered as a tutor at the Sacramento library where he grew passionate about youth education. In 2015, Manny left laboratory work to earn his teaching credential and master’s degree in education at UC Davis. After graduation, he taught science at various high schools in the Sacramento region as well as coached for academic competitions including Science Bowl and Academic Decathlon. In 2022, Manny made the difficult decision to leave education to pursue opportunities to more directly serve LGBTQ+ youth. He is incredibly excited to be a part of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center!

E-mail Manuel

Valerie T. Mayweather, Grant Finance Manager

Valerie T. Mayweather

 E-mail Valerie 

Jason Alviar, Communications and Marketing Manager

Jason Alviar (he/him/his) joins the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as the Communication and Marketing Manager, bringing over ten years of digital marketing, communications, and public relations experience to the role. He has a passion for visual storytelling and finding innovative solutions to overcome challenges and obstacles that face most nonprofit organizations.

Jason started his professional career during his time as a student in the Public Relations program at Sac State, where he led large-scale student-driven awareness campaigns and events. Upon graduating he would eventually find work freelancing as a social media producer, providing digital support to small local organizations, chambers of commerce, and school districts. His work would eventually lead him to the California Coalition for Youth where he found his passion for nonprofit marketing and communications as well as freelancing as a digital content creator for the Rainbow Community Center in Concord, CA.

When not working, you can usually find Jason behind a camera shooting award-winning short films and taking photos of friends and family. He can also be found performing improv comedy at local theaters in Sacramento and writing sketches with his comedy troupe. Jason is also a connoisseur of bad cinema, enjoying classic films like “The Room” By Tommy Wiseau, “A Talking Cat?!” by David DeCoteau, and “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” by James Nguyen. But what Jason enjoys the most is spending time watching reality competition shows with his partner, Priya and his chihuahua-pug, Bandit.

Jason holds a BA in Public Relations from California State University, Sacramento and joined the Center in April of 2021.

E-mail Jason  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 104

Hosna Mohabbat, COVID-19 Vaccination Manager

Hosna Mohabbat is excited to serve as the COVID-19 Vaccination Manager at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. A daughter of immigrants, she holds a depth of understanding in the numerous healthcare barriers faced by minorities. With this insight, she is committed to justly serving the underserved through culturally and linguistically sensitive care. Hosna is looking forward to making a positive impact on this richly diverse community. Having previous experience working at a nonprofit clinic for the medically uninsured within the Greater Sacramento Area, Hosna is looking forward to bringing her skillset to work toward bettering health outcomes and providing excellence in care.

E-mail Hosna 

Frederick, Community Engagement & Volunteer Services Manager

Frederick, Originally from Knights Ferry, a tiny, rural town in the foothills, Frederick is new to Sacramento and is excited to explore! They earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish, Women’s Studies, and Linguistics from San Diego State University, and a Master of Arts in Gender & Peacebuilding from the UN-Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Passionate about language accessibility and fluent in Spanish, Frederick is reconnecting with their ancestors and rejecting colonization by studying Irish; previously they’ve dabbled in Turkish, Dutch, Mandarin, Polish, Arabic, Russian, Nahuatl, and Miwok.

Frederick, with their loving partner and adorable doggo in tow, comes to the Sacramento LGBT Community Center from Out Youth in Austin, Texas, where they served as the Advocacy & Education Manager and the Texas GSA Network Coordinator since 2018. They have extensive experience in nonprofit organizations supporting LGBTQIA2+ folks, helping survivors of domestic violence, and assisting individuals accessing reproductive healthcare.

Fiercely bisexual and genderqueer, Frederick is working to destroy the gender binary… and capitalism, white supremacy and ableism, among other systems of oppression. When they’re not engaged in activism and social justice work, Frederick loves to write, read, travel, eat, explore their family tree, and dance with friends. They consider themself a semi-professional booper of snoots, and yes, they do want to see a picture of your furbaby.

Email Frederick

Collin Lourenco, Event Manager

Collin is pleased to be joining the Center as an Event Manager and lead on Sacramento Pride. Collin comes to the center with a unique background of mixed experience in organizing, planning and promoting events; including HIV/Aids relief fundraising events and LGBTQ+ centered community events in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. An artist by nature, Collin plans to bring a creative eye to the roster of events produced by the center annually in hopes to create magical and memorable experiences for all those we serve. As a Northern California and Central Valley native, Collin hopes to develop new traditions and activations that enrich the lives of his community. When not working Collin enjoys spending time with friends and loved ones, attending Drag shows, sewing and crafting and watching scary movies. Collin looks forward to being a resource and sharing a connection to the Sacramento LGBTQ+ community with the priority of creating events that are inclusive, affirming and representative to all – and of course, a blast to attend!

Email Collin

Camille Adams, Event Manager

A creative force recognized for her eye behind the camera and command of a microphone, Camille Adams is known both on and off stage for her dedication to social justice and cultural equity. As founder of The Darling Clementines Burlesque and Drag Show, Adams has created spaces for queer performers of color and celebrated gender identities and body types across the spectrum since 2013.

Originally from Las Cruces, NM, Ms. Adams holds a Bachelors in Gender Studies from New Mexico State University. At her core, Adams’ passion and purpose live at the intersection of creativity, building community, and helping others cultivate self-love and acceptance. She has produced over 300 events and served on both the strategic planning committee at the Mondavi Performing Arts Center and the board of Folsom Street Events in San Francisco. She believes sex work is work and has become a dedicated voice in the fight for the legitimization of sex work and safety of sex workers organizing community events including Take Back the Night and RAINN events.

In addition to leading, producing, and directing The Darling Clementines, Camille Adams Photography has helped people explore the beauty in themselves for over a decade. Most well-known for her intricate portrait work, she has photographed some of the country’s most talented performers and continues to support Sacramento’s up and coming LGBTQ+ Black and brown talent with professional photography and videography.

Ms. Adams is Sacramento’s radical Latinx, queer, feminist, dancer, filmmaker, fashionista, photographer friend to call whether going to the club or the protest.

Email Camille

Staff Members

Aaron Armer, Lead Sexual Health Testing Counselor and Case Manager

Aaron Armer (they/them) is a 23 year old whose advocacy is focused on decolonizing internalized messages of white supremacy and they believe we have to be just as committed in dispelling stigmas surrounding Black, Brown, and queer communities as society is at perpetuating narratives that cause harm to our strong already very vulnerable communities. They want to re envision a world where those who are most marginalized have sufficient resources, legislation and love allocated to protecting their livelihood.

E-mail Aaron  | ☏ (916) 442-1120 ext. 201

Andy Cha, Youth Outreach Coordinator
He/His, They/Them

Andy Cha (He/Him/They/Them) is more than excited to serve as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Growing up gay, Andy always wanted to be part of a community that loved and supported him. Now, Andy is committed to using this opportunity to strengthen the voices of our LGBTQ+ youth, to provide the necessary resources for the community, and to inspire everyone to spread love throughout the world.

Additionally, Andy graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Labor Studies. During his time at UCLA, he learned how social structure affects us all disproportionately, so he became involved in various organizations that promote social justice and equity.

One of his favorite memories was serving with the Youth Empowerment Program, where he mentored and tutored students from underserved communities in Los Angeles. Another favorite memory includes being part of the Association of Hmong Students at UCLA and promoting higher education to Hmong youth from all over California. Andy says, “It is rewarding to see the students I mentored get accepted into their dream colleges, especially when they think they couldn’t, but they did. Many students would reach out to thank me, but the truth is that they were already intelligent and capable. They just needed someone to believe in them.”

Along with Andy’s identities, life-stories, experiences, and education, he grew a passion for advocating for diversity, inclusivity, accessibility, and equity for all. He strives to create a brave space to inspire hope for others and to empower the community. Andy hopes to continue giving back to the community overall.

Lastly, Andy wants you to know:

You are strong.
You are capable.
And most of all,
We all belong here.

E-mail Andy Cha

April Ray Flores, TLP Case Manager

April Ray Flores (She/Her) serves her community as the TLP Case Manager at the LGBT Community Center. In her role, April Ray supports queer youth who have been victims of crime and homelessness by providing personalized self-development plans and services. She is a firm believer that while personal development is self-led, it is essential to request and accept support when needed. The LGBT Community Center provided support to her after she came out as a transgender woman in early 2017 through support groups, transgender services, and community events. It was through these events and services that April Ray found a sense of community, purpose, and her chosen family.

April Ray takes pride in motivating her community to take agency and control of their lives so they can find themselves where they want to be. Specifically for youth, she believes it is vital to not just invest in one’s self, but to explore one’s curiosities as a way to learn who they want to be in life.

After almost 10 years of moving all across Northern California, April Ray and her family settled in Sacramento in early 2001. Since then, she grew up all across the Greater Sacramento Area before settling in Midtown in 2018. In that time, April Ray developed her professional skills in sales, customer service, hospitality, and management. She’s supported multiple small business owners get new businesses off the ground in multiple management roles. It was in these roles that she learned how to lead teams, manage projects, organize, and stay resilient during tough times. She hopes to use and share these skills to motivate her community, especially youth, to reach their fullest potential. Integrity, diligence, and respect are the values in which April Ray draws from to be the best person she can be for herself and her community.

In her spare time, April Ray enjoys cooking, exploring the local food and art scenes, tattooing, gaming, karaoke, drag shows, and making hot sauce. She hopes to one day open a sober safe space in the form of an inherently queer café as not just a safe place for the community to gather, but for queer youth to develop career building skills when entering the workforce.

E-mail April Ray 

Breana Herndon, Host Homes Resident Case Manager

Breana is excited to start her journey serving the LGBTQ+ community. She is very passionate about being of service to others. She began to help out locally by doing volunteer work of all kinds. Breana enjoys assisting/guiding others to become their best and reach goals all while sustaining great mental health. She has earned degrees in Behavioral Science, Mass Communication, Allied Health, and Administration of Justice. Although she has a wide range of passions the core of all of them remain overall human wellness. She is optimistic that her long-term career will be in behavioral health.

E-mail Breana 

Bren Torres, STEP Coordinator

Bren Torres (They/Them) is ecstatic to serve their community working with the Host Homes program. Having had years of lived experience with homelessness, they are very passionate about stopping queer youth homelessness. They have been apart of the LGBTQ+ community since 2005, from assisting starting their hometowns first GSA club to making motivating videos for the It Gets Better Project all throughout high school.

Bren is a proud latinx pansexual transmasculine Nonbinary person, and is a member of the leather community. They co-founded ART of Leather, an intensive educational program for alternative lifestyles. They are on the board and is the current Educational Director of the program. When Bren isn’t trying to change the world, you can usually find them hanging out with their chosen family and friends, snuggling with their 4 dogs and 2 cats and their life partner, Sam.

E-mail Bren | ☏ (916) 514-7157

Casey Maloney, Data Coordinator

Casey Maloney is so grateful for the opportunity to put his passion for and skills in data management to use for the LGBTQ Community. He’s been a member of the community for twenty years, having held positions at New Helvetia Coffee Shop and Hot Rods Burgers in his youth. When he’s not crunching numbers and nerding out on Excel, you’ll find Casey singing karaoke and playing table-top role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and Shadowrun with his wife, Shantra and son, Aaron. He looks forward to serving his community as Data Coordinator at The Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

 E-mail Casey

Erika Alvarez, Prevention & Intervention Coordinator

Erika Alvarez Erika has wanted to work at the LGBT Center since they were a baby gay moving to Sacramento from a rural, conservative community in 2014. They graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in theatre. They enjoy listening to Mexican and rock music, going on long drives, and belting out their favorite lyrics. They are stoked to have the opportunity to give back to the LGBTQ+ community that has supported them through their journey since coming out in 2014. They are passionate about their work and strive to be a reliable advocate and cheerleader for those in need. Erika will bring an upbeat attitude, sense of humor, and compassion to the team. They have years of experience in youth residential treatment facilities and in finding housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. Erika’s dream is to have a welcoming home dedicated as a safe place to outcasted LGBTQ+ individuals. They also hope to help create a world where that is no longer needed.

 E-mail Erika

Eli Smith, Community Engagement Assistant

Eli Smith Eli is excited to join the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as their 1st ever Community Engagement Assistant. Having been a dedicated volunteer for the past 7 years, Eli has been able to see the growth and trajectory of this organization before a blink of an eye. It was not long ago that he remembers being at the cute Victorian House, which was the Center.
In 2015, Eli began his volunteer services with The Center, after having come out as gay and wanting to get involved. From 2015-2020, Eli was given the opportunity to hold various roles within the organization, from Community Resources to Youth Services to Special Events. Having had the opportunity to take part in 3 Sacramento Pride’s, he began to evolve within his leadership. Both in 2018 and 2019, Eli had the honor of overseeing a group of event volunteers as a quadrant leader. In 2019, he was able to step up in a crisis response situation and assist in securing the festival of fence-jumpers and other various safety concerns while providing directive and delegation to a hard-working group of individuals volunteering at the festival.

It was in early 2020 that Eli joined the Development team to assist with events, fundraising, and community engagement. Eli was so fortunate to work under such an amazing Community Engagement Manager and Acting Chief Development Officer. He is so grateful for the amazing amount of autonomy that is entrusted in him to help make an impact on our community. That showed when he took over as the Volunteer- Volunteer Services Manager, upon resignation of the previous Community Engagement Manager to continue to recruit high quality talent and develop opportunities for volunteers and interns.

Previously, Eli served on Folsom High School’s Varsity Football Staff as the Team Manager and Film Coordinator from 2015-2018, where during his time, assisted the program to 4 SFL League Championships, 3 SJS D1 Championships, 2 CIF D1 State Championships and #8 national ranking in 2018. He had the opportunity to oversee the game film of the then to be the 11th, 1st round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

He is currently studying Biopsychology at Folsom Lake College, with hopes to transfer once the pandemic dies down.

 E-mail Eli

Halia Salinas-Collins, Youth Advocate

Halia Salinas-Collins is excited to join the Sacramento LGBT Center team and serve youth in her community. She was born and raised in Sacramento, CA and is pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature.  Halia has always been curious about the ways media and literature shape our communities’ values and beliefs. Her goal is to become a clinical social worker with an emphasis on mental health and education. She enjoys drawing, writing, and taking long naps!

 E-mail Halia

Haley Betschart, STEP Housing Navigator & Case Manager
She/Her They/Them

Leslie Parada, Sexual Health Testing Counselor and Case Manager

Leslie Parada, (She/Her/Hers) is honored to be serving as the Sexual Health Testing Counselor and Case Manager at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. She is a Latinx lesbian woman with a passion for public service and education. She graduated from Sacramento State University in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Leslie has volunteered and worked on congressional campaigns, food banks, after school programs, and the LGBT Center! Doing so has given her a greater grasp of the community she serves and the knowledge and skills to be able to help the undeserved and underrepresented groups in Sacramento.

In her spare time, Leslie loves to take her rescue Pit Bull Terrier, Brent, out for hikes on mountainous trails and scenic walkways. She loves to read up on history, sociology, and culture. Leslie also has an affinity for learning languages.

Leslie’s goal is to eradicate the stigma surrounding sexual health issues in the Black and Brown local queer communities and to promote health education and wellness.

 E-mail Leslie

Lizethe Rodriguez, Bilingual Community Resource and Outreach Coordinator

Lizethe is excited to join the Sacramento LGBT Community Center team to as the Bilingual Community Resource and Outreach Coordinator. Although they are a recent Sonoma State graduate, Lizethe was born and raised in South Sacramento as a Latinx Nonbinary person. They graduated with a degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Studies with a Development Concentration. Lizethe hopes to work to eliminate many stigmas in their cultural communities, especially the views regarding gender and sexuality in their Latinx heritage. They want to create more inclusion and belonging in this community that has taken care of them since even before they came out in 2018.

Lizethe has volunteered at the Center in the Adult Respite program and was a co-director in Sonoma State’s Vagina Monologues whose goal is to end gendered violence. Their time at the club was what really ignited their passion for social justice issues and with intersectionality as they noticed that many spaces seemed to only acknowledge how systems oppress marginalized identities as a single rather than many identities are tied together and therefore affected together.

During their spare time, you can find Lizethe hanging out with their friends and partner whether in person or Discord voice chats. They also love listening to Bad Bunny and dancing.

E-mail Lizethe

Marcy Basila, Community Resource & Groups Coordinator

Marcy Basila is a recent Sacramento State University graduate. She was an intern at the center before she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.  In the Fall 2018, she will be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration on LGBTQ issues, Seniors, and Veterans.

Marcy is a mother of four children and has a grand-pup named Sunny. She is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and is a parent to an LGBTQ+ youth. Her hobbies include cooking, shopping, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. Self-care is an important part of being a Social Worker and Marcy enjoys movies and popcorn.

Marcy’s experience from interning with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center has brought meaning and compassion with her work. Her passion to help the most marginalized has taken her advocacy work to the California State Capitol lobbying for LGBTQ+ rights.

She would like to thank the Sacramento LGBT Community Center in giving her the opportunity to be a part of their team, helping the LGBTQ+ community thrive.

E-mail Marcy

Merlin Foxx, STEP Housing Advocate

Merlin Jude Storm Foxx is passionate about serving, and being a part of, their LGBTQ+ community. Having many years of service work doing cancer research fundraising and blood drives in their youth, Merlin has a foundation of giving back and supporting those that might need an extra helping hand. Being a homeless LGBT+ youth themselves at the age of 18, and again at 22, Merlin brings knowledge of a lived experience to the table, and works hard to make sure others experiencing homelessness know that there is hope for a future.

Merlin is proud of all of their Queer identities; Nonbinary Trans, Neptunic, and Polyamorous. Merlin is also honored to be a member of the Leather community and Board Member of A.R.T. of Leather. They are Secretary and Educator in the program, their focus on consent education.

When Merlin isn’t working hard to help others, you can find them enjoy a session of Dungeons and Dragons with close friends. Making candles for their Etsy shop, Foxwick Candles. Or taking care of their 4-year-old puppy Arya, and spending time with their chosen family.

E-mail Merlin

Monaliza Ibanez, Receptionist/Community Resource Aide

I am highly organized, detail oriented, and consistently meet deadlines. I like a clean workspace and a logical filing method. I find this increases my efficiency and helps the rest of the team stay on track. I thrive on setting goals for myself that are essential to my personal growth and professional success. I always challenge myself to learn new skills that will help me to improve myself, do better work and ensure quality and positive outcomes. I am dedicated, loyal, and above all passionate about my work. Because I love what I do, I am naturally motivated, committed, and driven to do my best.

 E-mail Mona

Neil Jahn Capulong, Gender and Sexual Health Coordinator
He/Him They/Them

Neil Jahn Capulong is thrilled to join the Center as the Gender and Sexual Health Coordinator! They obtained a B.S. in Microbiology at UC Davis and has been working in the clinical lab during the pandemic before realizing their desire to give back to the people that provided him the queer healing that he needed. By using their skills, knowledge, and life experiences in infectious disease and diagnostic testing, Neil hopes to alleviate the health disparities that the LGBTQ+ community experience in Sacramento, particularly in gender and sexual health. He envisions a future where queer people, especially trans and nonbinary BIPOC, feel comfortable seeking medical care without fear of being turned away, being misgendered, being mistreated, and/or having to educate their providers about their identity.

Neil hails from the culinary capital of the Philippines: Pampanga, and immigrated to Stockton, CA with his family. In their spare time, they enjoy reading, playing volleyball at Land Park, singing at karaoke nights, cooking and baking, going to concerts, volunteering, and playing video games.

E-mail Neil

Rae Billeci, Office Coordinator

Rae Billeci is excited to join the team as Office Coordinator. Sacramento is Rae’s hometown, and she has been involved in local activism since she was a teenager. Rae also serves on the board of directors for Sacramento Take Back The Night, which aims to resist sexual and gender-based violence through community-led action. In her spare time she enjoys backpacking, concerts, and crafts. Please let her pet your dog!

E-mail Rae

Refugio Pantoja, Mental Health Clinician

Refugio Pantoja joins the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as a Mental Health Clinician to help meet the mental health related needs of those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community in the Greater Sacramento area.  Before starting at the Center, Refugio worked in providing direct mental health services to children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as providing crisis intervention to children throughout the state of California at the California Youth Crisis Line.  Before returning to graduate school in the fall of 2016, Refugio worked at the California Coalition for Youth working to support advocacy work and outreach to help empower homeless, foster and runaway youth, including participating in legislative advocacy at the state level.  Since starting their training as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 2017 (Licensed in August 2020) Refugio has provided psychotherapy services to children, families, groups, and couples both in English, and Spanish.

Refugio holds a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from CSU Sacramento, and is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) in Marriage and Family Therapy at CSPP at Alliant International University expecting to graduate in summer of 2021.  During his time off, Refugio can be found spending time with friends, traveling, running, playing video games or reading.  Refugio was born and raised in Monterey County, moving to Sacramento in 2010 where he has lived since, recently moving to the Natomas neighborhood in 2019.

 E-mail Refugio

Sabrena Taylor, Facilities Coordinator & Custodian

I am the new Facilities Coordinator & Custodian. I’m from round here born and raised in the City of Trees. I look forward to being a part of something so paramount as the Sacramento LGBT Center. Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

E-mail Sabrena

Tia Martinez, STEP Housing Advocate

Tia Martinez is most at home among books, dogs, and all things spooky. She’s a storyteller at heart with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Library and Information Science with an emphasis in youth services through San José State University. She’s passionate about young adult book diversity and inclusivity, and fights her ironic reluctant reader nature every day to continue doing what she loves.

E-mail Tia

Thienthy Nguyen, STEP Housing Advocate

Thienthy Nguyen (she/they) is grateful for this chance to join the STEP program as an On-Call Housing Advocate. Having recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Psychology, she is excited to return to the town she was born and raised in to serve the LGBTQ+ community here.

She spent the majority of her time at Cal being involved in the queer community on campus. She focused on exploring the intersectionality between being LGBTQ+ and Asian, serving as the Secretary & Finance officer of Cal Queer & Asian. In addition, they served on the planning committee for Cal’s annual QACON, a conference dedicated to bringing queer Asians nationwide to Cal to participate in workshops and a variety of activities. They are excited to bring their experiences and perspectives to the Sacramento LGBTQ Center.

At the moment, she aims to return back to graduate school for a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. She hopes to become a licensed counselor who can provide mental health support to the LGBTQ+ communities. In their spare time, they enjoy reading, watching cat videos and anime, and playing video games and D&D.

E-mail Thienthy

Viselda Martinez, Host Homes Coordinator

Viselda Martinez is honored and excited to be contributing to the mission of Sacramento’s LGBT Community Center as Host Homes Coordinator. They recently graduated from Sac State with a BA in Sociology and am also a Sierra College grad. They are most at home with their family, two sons, their partner Amber, and the family pittie, Monita. School has kept them busy so they look forward to contributing to the center and spending time with their family.

E-mail Viselda

Volunteer Coordinators & Leads

Nearly 800 people volunteer with the Center annually as board members, council members, program coordinators, event organizers, facilitators, writers, designers, receptionists, resource specialists, youth mentors, advocates, artists, HIV testers, and so many more roles we couldn’t possibly list them all here. A very special group of volunteers provide leadership of key areas, giving time and talent year-round.

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