Meet Our Team
Wells began his career as a high school history and psychology teacher before beginning an award-winning media career spanning three decades as an artist/animator, writer-producer, news director, project manager and communications consultant. The one constant throughout the years has been his commitment to use his talents and influence to serve the community.
Don was instrumental in the early formation of Just in Time for Foster Youth and used his leadership position at KGTV/ABC10 San Diego to help produce the My First Home Extreme Makeover segment, giving JIT much-needed visibility in its infancy. Since then, Don has been a consistent supporter of Just in Time, joining the board in 2009 and assuming the duties of Executive Director in 2010.
As the current JIT Development Director, Diane’s responsibility is to ensure the financial sustainability of the organization.
Diane is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Hudson Institute of Coaching, and was formerly a senior account representative for First American Title Insurance Company in Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar, California.
Youth Services Director
While working and going to school, Vanessa became a licensed foster parent with Casey Family Programs and worked tirelessly to provide the stable, loving home for her sisters that she had never experienced.
Professionally, Vanessa’s passion for public speaking and community education has opened up many doors for her. During her tenure at Wells Fargo Bank, she taught financial literacy courses to nonprofits and has also volunteered her time with Casey Family Programs.
Investor Relations Manager
Michele has more than 14 years experience in nonprofit management, philanthropy, and community development for health-focused organizations working in marginalized communities. She is a strong program leader and project manager that focuses on workflow optimization to meet and exceed goals. With her work spanning grassroots community based organizations to multi-million dollar funders she is a successful communicator across stakeholder constituencies and has a robust understanding of San Diego’s philanthropic landscape. Her previous work has focused on the underserved, whether through food systems, the Peace Corps in El Salvador, or immigrant worker health issues. Michele received her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in City & Regional Planning and master’s degree from Brandeis University in Sustainable International Development.
Michele considers herself fortunate to be combining her passions, skills, and experience to increase investments and further engage a caring community to help transition-age foster youth achieve self-sufficiency and well-being. When she is not at JIT you can find her with her husband, boys, and new puppy in the mountains, camping and hiking.
Director of Volunteer Services
Monica’s desire to serve foster youth began over 20 years ago when she served as a CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, where she was dedicated to a foster child’s case and advocated for their best interests. Following her corporate career, Monica served as a child care worker in a Riverside County group home, trained foster parents and later recruited foster parents. Monica is passionate about connecting volunteers with JIT youth to help them become Confident, Capable and Connected.
Director of Operations
It was serving young adults during his Psychology practicum that John connected with this population and their well-being. He knew at some point in his future there would be an opportunity to fully draw on both his service experiences and his business acumen, and Just in Time was that opportunity. In his Operations role, he sets out to sustain and strengthen the organizational foundation that enables the JIT staff to deliver amazing results and fulfill the organization’s mission.
John is a native Californian who is well-rooted in Carlsbad with his wife and three kids. When not focusing on Operations, he can be found, wrench in hand, under an old Volkswagen or in the ocean enjoying local surf.
After high school, Reshae enrolled herself into San Diego Job Corps to start the process of getting on her feet. She has been a speaker throughout the years with College Connection and spoke on the panel for Foster Care Changes in Sacramento with Karen Bass and Darrel Steinberg. She has worked as a child care worker in San Diego with New Alternatives, has been with Just in Time for Foster Youth since 2016 and is currently studying for her MBA.
Impact & Systems Strategist
Collaboration is the cornerstone of Trish’s approach, which she leverages to empower volunteers and integrate them into the organization.
Trish earned her MBA from the Yale School of Management. She holds three coaching certifications and has served as President of SANDAPT (San Diego Chapter of the Association for Psychological Type). Trish’s career in the for-profit sector spans 20 years and includes employment at American Express, Lexus, iCrossing, Toyota Financial Services and North Star Coaching.
Youth Services Coordinator
Although exiting foster care was not the smoothest transition, Nancy was able to get connected with various programs that provided the necessary tools to help acclimate young adults into the world of adulthood. With support from Change a Life Foundation, CSUSM ACE Scholars Program, Fostering Opportunities Dollars for Scholars, Just in Time for Foster Youth, My Girlfriend’s Closet, Promises2Kids Guardian Scholars Program and the YMCA, she was able to complete her undergraduate studies – debt-free!
As an advocate for youth to empower their voices, Nancy has also participated in several panel and speaking opportunities throughout the years with organizations such as Access, FosterClub, Junior League of San Diego and Promises2Kids.
Strategic Partnership Associate
Outside of the workplace, Nathan spends his time fostering his youngest sister, looking after his nephews and enjoys outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking and camping, as well as writing and reading.
Youth Services Coordinator
One of Steven’s biggest talents is his unique ability to relate to a variety of audiences on a personal level; he attributes this gift to working in the service industry for over seven years, supporting teens as a youth group leader in his church and growing up in the foster care system. Steven spent 10 challenging years in foster care, where he had to overcome many obstacles brought on by moving to 30 different homes before he turned 18. He believes by moving and interacting with so many foster families and group homes, he was made a stronger individual when it comes to dealing with hardships.
As a previous JIT participant, Steven can relate to our youth’s circumstances and knows how difficult it is to emancipate out of foster care with no resources to survive.
Youth Services Coordinator
After she graduated, Amanda received a job as a commercial coordinator at NBC Universal. She valued this experience and loved working in entertainment but realized that she wanted to dedicate her time to help and influence others in need. She had little financial support and at times, worked two jobs to support herself and graduate debt-free. Amanda takes pride in her financial responsibility and hopes to help others achieve financial security. She participated in multiple Just in Time programs and wants to spread awareness about the amazing opportunities and resources available through JIT.
When she’s not working or volunteering, Amanda is passionate about surfing, social movements, traveling and challenging herself to learn new things.
Youth Services Coordinator
When she’s not working, Allie loves to spend time in the kitchen creating delicious meals or to be in the outdoors with her family. She loves learning, and is committed to spreading love and positivity where ever she goes.
Youth Services Coordinator
Right after obtaining his Psychology degree, Omar worked at SAY San Diego as a Co-Facilitator for their foster/kin parent support group, Project Keep. He soon moved up to become a Facilitator, where he would run up to three groups at once throughout San Diego County. During his last months at SAY, Omar worked as a Student Advocate/Mentor at O’Farrell Charter School in Skyline.
Omar’s passions are exercising, psychology, skateboarding and playing the guitar, but what he enjoys most is helping others grow, strive and succeed. His passions for helping others and for psychology developed when his family got torn apart as a youth, causing him to be placed in foster care. Omar’s biggest belief is that with the right attitude, we can use life’s tests to grow and become stronger mentally, physically and spiritually.
Investor Outreach Coordinator
In 2014, Victoria connected with Just in Time for Foster Youth as a College Bound participant and later realized JIT offered many more services that would nurture and support her as parents would do for their children. Now she is on the Development Team as JIT’s Investor Outreach Coordinator, spreading awareness of life after foster care and how JIT has helped her become Confident, Capable and Connected.
Currently, Victoria is a senior at San Diego State University pursuing a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a double minor in Educational Leadership and Business Administration.
With personal experience in foster care, Victoria is passionate about advocating on behalf of underprivileged youth who are transitioning into adulthood without the necessary support and knowledge it requires. She loves sharing her story, as it allows her to see her progress out of care and into the independent young woman she strives to become.
Brand, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
While she loved her clients, coworkers and the creativity that went into working in an ad agency, Rachel didn’t feel entirely fulfilled in the advertising world. She wanted to use her talents in a way that more directly helped those around her while providing more life balance. She resigned from her position and began doing freelance writing and marketing consulting until she found the perfect position – which led her to Just in Time for Foster Youth.
From the moment Rachel read JIT’s values and mission, she knew she wanted to be a part of it – whether as a volunteer or a team member. As a new addition to the JIT team, she looks forward to sharing the amazing stories of the youth we serve – and learning a lot from them along the way!
Outside of the workplace, Rachel enjoys live music, singing, movies and art, and is a house rabbit enthusiast.
Youth Services Coordinator
In 2013, Janeth faced the decision of moving to San Francisco or San Diego. After finding out about Just In Time for Foster Youth, Janeth reached out and was offered the support and community she needed to succeed. This prompted her to make the drive and move to San Diego where she attended and graduated from the University of California San Diego with a major in Political Science and minors in Environmental Studies and Regional Specialization of Latin America and the Multi-Ethnic United States. Throughout her time at UC San Diego, Janeth went through several transformative phases; questioning the inequalities she’s faced, the social conditioning she’s been through and the beliefs she was attached to led her to change her diet, perspectives, behavior and outlook on life. Today Janeth prioritizes her purpose in life: to help herself and others. Her involvement with JIT, devotion to environmental stewardship and passion for humankind fuels her to do better, be better, fall and rise.
Youth Services Coordinator
Virgo has invested his time at SDSU as a voice to empower his peers in the former foster youth community. Through his student leadership positions in SDSU’s Guardian Scholars program and Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay men, he has learned how to represent his community and love his intersecting identities. His passion for leadership stems from his desire to establish brave spaces for his peers that are inclusive and encourages them to share their experiences.
Originally only drawn to Just in Time for the physical resources, Virgo has since learned the impact that can be created by a team with a shared vision. This impact motivated him to leave his previous employment as a dialysis technician and join the revolution that is changing the perception of foster care.
Kyra M Kurita
Youth Services Administrator
Prior to her engagement with Just in Time, she struggled with her identity as a former foster youth, however it is now her passion. JIT helped Kyra accept her history in foster care and advocate for those in her community. Her goal is to help every individual find their own voice and learn to express themselves; communication is the essence of human connection in her opinion.
Kyra has experience creating inclusive environments that support the growth of self-confidence having previously been a manager for a music school, a preschool teacher and a tutor. In all of those positions, she worked tirelessly with numerous individuals with compassion and patience. No matter what job she has been assigned, she assures that her work positively impacts the lives of those around her and she connects on a personalized level.
Volunteer Services Coordinator
Ren recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with distinctions from San Diego State University, with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication and minor in Television, Film, and New Media. She also received her Associate’s in Arts in Communication at Southwestern Community College. Her experiences and educational background has assisted her in the direction of leadership within non-profit organizations.
After learning about JIT’s success stories from her really good friends who were JIT participants, she knew she wanted to help in the process of encouraging former foster youth to become capable, confident, and connected. Now, she is excited to be a new addition to the JIT family!
During her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities, reading motivational books, and learning new things. She is an aspiring influential individual who hopes to inspire others to tap into their full potential and reach self-actualization.
Volunteer Services Coordinator
Determined to succeed, Ivan began working full-time for the Parks and Recreation Department as a Grounds Maintenance Worker and soon after promoted to assistant supervisor role as a Grounds Maintenance Worker. Ivan excelled in the problem solving aspect of work by creating a partnership with the City of San Diego Police Department and establishing clear roles to eliminate illegal camp outs in the Parks and Beaches. At the start of his new job Ivan enrolled in San Diego City College. A few semesters after registering for school Ivan began to work on his Associate to Transfer. After spending 3 years at the community college Ivan transferred to San Diego State University for his four-year degree. Due to commitments with school and internships Ivan parted ways with the Park and Rec department and began developing his professional career by interning at ICW Group, the County of San Diego and Just in Time for Foster Youth.
After graduating from SDSU with a Bachelor’s of Science in General Business Administration, Ivan obtained a job at ICW Group as a Claims Processor where he learned the value of data integrity and customer service. However, he soon discovered his position would be relocating. Rather than picking his whole life up and moving like he had so many times during his decade in foster care, Ivan committed to staying in San Diego.
During Ivan’s Job search, we came across an opportunity that felt like destiny. Just in Time for Foster Youth was looking to fill a new position as a Volunteer Servicers Coordinator. His time spent as a JIT participant, combined with the professional skills he gained during his internships and time at ICW Group, made Ivan a perfect fit on the JIT team. He recently started as our Volunteer Services Coordinator and is taking the lead on recruitment for My First Home along with other services.
Outside of work, Ivan loves listening to podcasts and hip-hop, soccer, Mixed Martial Arts, watching live sporting events and spending time with his cat Meela.
Our Support Team
Investor Stewardship and Events
Previously, Karen worked at USO San Diego in development. She has been a volunteer, board member and president for various organizations in San Diego County including St. Germaine Children’s Charity, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, San Diego County Federation of Republican Women, La Jolla Republican Women, Federated and the La Jolla Opera Guild. She has also chaired the major fundraisers for all of the above organizations.
Karen and her husband have had six AFS exchange students – students in their senior year of high school. Their “children” live in Denmark, Chile, Germany, Slovakia and Italy. Their daughter from Ukraine immigrated to the US in 2003 and is now an American citizen. Through Just in Time, the Millers now have another daughter – Victoria, a former foster youth and welcome addition to their family!
Prior to her work with nonprofits and volunteer organizations, Karen was a Senior Buyer at San Diego Gas & Electric. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in Foreign Languages, majoring in German and minoring in Russian.
Changing Lanes Auto Access Advisor
Cori previously volunteered with Promises 2 Kids as a mentor in their Guardian Scholars program. In 2012, she and her husband became foster parents through Angel’s Network to their now adopted 6-year-old daughter. They also have two boys, 8 and 10 years old. Cori enjoys watching her oldest son play soccer and both boys practice Martial Arts, and her daughter loves ballet, tap and hip-hop dance.
Cori exited the mortgage business in December 2017 to pursue working full-time with foster youth. She is excited to combine her passion in serving foster kids with her professional knowledge and experience in lending and finance to help young adults gain auto financing access within Just in Time’s Changing Lanes program.
Chief Financial Officer
As an experienced auditor and consultant, Gayle has helped organizations achieve best-in-class finance and accounting functions through the implementation of enabling technology, re-engineered processes, redesigned procedures and training. After leaving PricewaterhouseCoopers and settling in San Diego, Gayle spent the next few years as Controller for the Information Technology division of Sony Electronics. She thought about retiring but after reading an article about Phillip Rivers, his Rivers of Hope Foundation and its assistance to youth at Just in Time for Foster Youth, she volunteered on the Audit Committee of JIT and was soon asked to be its part-time CFO, which she gladly accepted in 2012. Fully committed to the JIT mission, Gayle uses her skills and experience to help keep the finance and accounting functions running smoothly so everyone else can do what they do best in order to serve JIT’s youth.
Lori’s relationship with Just in Time for Foster Youth began in 2009 when she was contacted and hired as bookkeeper by one of JIT’s founding members. In those early days at the Casey Family Programs Building, there was only one office and one staff member. As JIT grew, Lori helped it evolve with its transition to QuickBooks Online and customized the accounting process, researched payroll and insurance needs, and implemented new filing systems to better serve JIT’s specific business model as a non-profit organization assisting transition age foster youth.
Lori has been a constant at JIT for almost a decade, reconciling accounts, making sure the bills are paid, and managing the financial tasks of accounting and record keeping with strict attention to detail. Lori appreciates JIT’s mission, loves working with the young people on staff and seeing the youth served become better prepared to go out into the world on their own. Her dedication has helped JIT become the strong organization it is today.