BOOST Conference Panel Sessions


Wednesday, May 1

10:30AM - 12:15PM

Promising Practices: Youth Voice & Leadership
Moderator: Amy Smith, Chief Giving Officer, TOMS, Los Angeles, CA
Panelists: David Hogg, Co-Founder; Matt Deitsch, Co-Founder, March for Our Lives, Parkland, FL; Rachel Iribe, Co-Director, March for Our Lives, Irvine, CA

Learn how to engage the leaders of tomorrow, today. In this panel session, participants will learn from programs that authentically partner with youth to create meaningful opportunities to plan, implement, and evaluate program activities that will impact themselves, their families and their communities in order to build a brighter future.   
*This workshop will end at 12:00pm

2:45PM - 4:45PM

Promising Practices to Support Homeless and Foster Youth
Moderator: Kara Allen Soldati, MSW, Ed.D, Chief Executive Officer, UMOJA, Chicago, IL
Panelists: Dee Hankins, Inspirational Speaker, Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Ramiro Montiel, Digital Media + Growth Marketing, HBO, New York, NY; Rita Naranjo, Youth Advocate, Oceanside, CA

Every year, thousands of young men and women age out of the foster care system lacking the stability and life skills to prepare them to live as productive adults. Many of these youths will find themselves without a high school degree and unable to secure gainful employment, which can lead to homelessness, poverty, and entry into the criminal justice system. In this session, participants will hear foster youth share who and what has helped them find success in the journey. Participants will also innovative approaches organizations are taking to protect foster care children and youth and provide hope to those who find themselves rapidly aging out of the foster care system.

Thursday, May 2

10:00AM - 12:00PM

Innovative Practices in Workforce Development
Moderator: Rico Peralta, Director of Professional Development, California Teaching Fellows Foundation, Fresno, CA
Panelists: Bill Fennessy, Director of Community Partnerships and Work-Based Learning, Think Together, Santa Ana, CA; Sonia Toledo, President & CEO, Dignity of Children, New York, NY; Sterling Williams, Educational Consultant, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Los Angeles, CA; Aleah Rosario, Senior Specialist, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Sacramento, California

A well-educated, highly skilled workforce has become the most important ingredient to strengthen economies and ensure a high quality of life. In this session, participants will take a close look at innovative workforce development programs that have been recipes for success for local economic development. While these programs vary from community to community, they have in common the goal of helping ensure that skill sets are matching current employer expectations, in order to get youth ready for the workforce.

1:15PM - 2:30PM

Welcome Home: Practices to Support Families Resettling in America
Moderator: Ghulam Kehar, Regional Director - West, Islamic Relief USA, Los Angeles, CA
Panelists: Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Director, Support for Immigrant and Refugee Students, Californians Together, Long Beach, CA; Nicholas Sandoval, CEO, Create Purpose, Tijuana, Mexico; Miry Whitehill, Founder, Miry's List, Los Angeles, CA

As our government continues to debate the future refugees and displaced people living in this country, BOOST will tackle the issue head-on. In this session, participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the people most impacted. It will focus on access, inclusion, and academic and cultural learning for refugee youth in both in-school and out-of-school time. A diverse set of panelists will discuss current opportunities and obstacles faced by new arrivals in our communities.

3:45PM - 5:15PM

Best Practices: Family Engagement
Moderator: Stanley Anjan, Director, Student and Parent Engagement, Centralia Elementary School District, Buena Park, CA
Panelists: Lilia Mitre, Director of Parent Partnerships, Equitas Academy, Los Angeles, CA; Justine Gonzalez, Human Rights Advocate, Los Angeles, CA

Engaging families as part of the solution illustrates the importance of shared responsibility in family and community engagement. Participants will listen and learn from a dynamic panel about innovative family engagement practices currently working within their communities, with the goal of improving students’ education.

Friday, May 3

9:15AM - 11:15AM

Promising Practices: Partnerships & Sustainability
Moderator: Megan Dow, Assistant Director of Youth Programs, Goodman Community Center, Madison, WI
Panelists: Nathan Beck, MOST (Madison Out-Of-School Time) Coordinator, City of Madison, Madison, WI; Brisa Huerta-Price, Expanded Learning District Coordinator, Calexico Unified School District, Calexico, CA; Becky Shultz, Director of Expanded Learning, Whittier City School District, Reach for the Stars, Whittier, CA; Sidd Vivek, President and CEO, Junior Achievement of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

Together is better. In this BOOST Panel session, we invite you to listen and learn from leaders that have developed and continue to improve successful community partnerships that sustain the out-of-school time programs in their communities. Participants will leave this session inspired and with strategies on how to communicate, connect, and advocate for a sustainable partnership in their community.


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BOOST Collaborative | 1286 University Ave #739 | San Diego, California 92103 | 619-23-BOOST (619-232-6678)