Horizons is not an Agency… it is a Family! We are reunited by a common passion and drive to serve our community and inspired by our youth whose strength and resilience serve as a model for our own growth. Collaboration and partnership form the crux of the services we offer, with each staff bringing a unique and crucial experience to the table. Our Staff Family is our everyday heroes and soldiers; fighting on the frontlines against an ongoing battle to bring about positive change in the lives of the youth and families we serve.
We are a Family of dedicated, resourceful, and unwavering professionals; humbled and honored by the sacred privilege to serve our community. And like a Family, we support each other in our challenges and successes, we break bread together, laugh together, and cry together in depths and the beauty of the work to which we have given our lives. We are family!
Meet Our Family
Celina Lucero · Shirley Maciel · Lynette Akiona · Nancy Abdul Shakur · Jorge Morales · Donna Saffioti-Johnson · Rebeca Baculpo · Gabriela Espinoza · Debra Camarillo · Hector Ramos · Carlos Aguilar · Phyllis Lozano · Vilma Herrera · Christopher James · Erin Rose Cruz · Angelique Leimelekule Kennedy · Alejandra Barcena · Christian Cuadrado · Valeria Varela-Romo · Berlin Sanchez Tecpile
Meet our Board of Directors · Meet Our Community Ambassador
Celina is living testimony to the power and impact that Horizons has on the youth and community it serves. Like many other Mission District youth, Celina joined the Horizons Familia over 25 years ago as a youth worker, and has since held several other leadership positions before being duly appointed Executive Director in 2015.
The youngest of 9 children, Celina brings with her an unmatched drive to excel, be of service, and create teachable moments. Graduating with honors from UC Berkeley in Sociology was much more than receiving a degree; it represented the opportunity to bring that degree back to her family and neighborhood, and excite others to pursue what they thought was impossible.
Her most prized possession (next to her son) is her innate ability to develop and maintain lasting relationships. When asked, her biggest achievement isn’t the countless awards and recognitions she has received, it is the family she has made along the way. “Being in the position that I am to truly bless others is really a double blessing. Not only am I able to bless those around me, but in reality, receive the ultimate satisfaction and blessing through giving.”
Shirley Maciel is a proud Mexican/Puerto Rican female. She loves walking on the beach, listening to oldies and salsa music and spending time with her grandkids. She is in recovery and that is how she found her passion in substance abuse counseling. She has been in this field for the past 11 years.
She is very compassionate, empathetic, caring, has a good sense of humor and a big heart. She prides herself in the work that she does to help guide her clients along their journey to change their lives and believe in themselves.
She joined Horizons in 2011, coming in as a Substance Abuse Counselor. She was then promoted to Program Manager and is now the Program Director of Treatment and Gender Specific Programs. She attended College of San Mateo and has her CATC II, RAS II, CSC certifications and credentials. She is passionate about helping the young men and women of our future, and will advocate for them in all areas to ensure that all of their needs are being met. It gives her pleasure and honor to see the youth turn their lives around and become successful, productive members of society.
Lynn Akiona comes from a big Hawaiian family (Ohana). When she and her parents moved from the Mainland, their first home was in the Mission District. She enjoys music, laughter, and her children.
She has overcome many obstacles in her life, which brought her back to the Mission District. She is committed to giving back to the youth through a lot of love, strength, hope and a better future. She recently achieved her CATC I certification and credentials while studying at San Mateo College in the Drug and Alcohol field. She is blessed to be a Senior Substance Abuse Counselor here at Horizons.
Nancy Abdul Shakur
Nancy was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. A self proclaimed non-profit baby, she comes to Horizons with over 20 years in combined experience in youth development and empowerment work, environmental justice youth organizing, and environmental service learning education. Nancy joined the Horizons family in 2010 as the MYEEP Program Coordinator focusing on finding Mission and Potrero Hill youth employment opportunities.
She naturally transitioned into managing the LifeWorks Employment Program (LWP) which offers wraparound job readiness training, case management, and academic support to system involved youth. In 2018, she transitioned into the role of Program Director supporting the Employment and Prevention team. Along with her Directorship responsibilities, Nancy also co-facilitates Horizons’ Strengthening Families Program, and supports the Horizons Community Advisory Board. With the lived and worked experience she brings, Nancy hopes to help move Horizons into a new phase, that incorporates, deep rooted cultural humility, innovative programing, and youth centric leadership advancement work.
Nancy’s life mission has been to give back to the community that once gave so much to her and her family. She is a fluent Spanish speaker, merengue and cumbia dancer, who dabbles in art, and self-healing writing. She loves to travel and spend time with her husband Amir and reading revolutionary books to her son Zaire.
Treatment · Substance Abuse Counselor · Gender Specific · Program Coordinator JEEP
Jorge Morales is a proud Puerto Rican from Guayama, Puerto Rico. He loves to play baseball, watch boxing and football, listen to Oldies, Reggaeton and Salsa music, and also spend time with his grandchildren. He is in recovery and that is how he found his passion in Substance Abuse counseling. He has been in this field for the past 9 years. He is very caring, compassionate, understanding, has a good sense of humor, and also a big heart. He is very proud of himself for the work he does to help guide his clients along their journey to change their lives and believe in themselves for a better future.
He joined the family of Horizons in 2009, coming in as a Consultant for Substance Abuse Treatment. From there, he was promoted to Senior Substance Abuse counselor and Coordinator for Jovenes Education Empowerment Program (JEEP). He attended San Francisco City College and he has his CATC I certification. He is very passionate about helping the young men and women of our future turn their lives around and become successful, productive members of society.
Donna Saffioti Johnson began working at Horizons in March of 1988 in the HIV Prevention and Early Intervention Program. She provided comprehensive HIV education to Middle and High School students as well as for non-traditional sites such as Larkin Street, Hospitality House and YGC. Horizons’ HIV program was expanded to target two other groups that often fell through the cracks including injection drug using youth, which led to long-term collaboration with needle exchange programs and her founding of a youth specific site.
Her work with street affiliated youth led to a decades long partnership with CALLES/CRN and the establishment of Late Night programming for this marginalized population. She returned to school and received her CATC certification to provide Substance Abuse counseling to youth dealing with substance use and related issues. Currently she is a youth trainer for the SFP program, the EP program, a Joven Noble trainer and provides a 4-part educational series to meet school requests.
AWARDS: Mujeres Adelante | Heroes of the AIDS Epidemic | The Samuel Puckett Memorial Award | The Wedge Program’s Distinction Award | Concordia Award for Community Work | Cheyenne Bell Award | Mission Peacekeeper
Rebeca was born and raised in San Francisco. She attended San Francisco State University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She then attended San Jose State University and obtained a Masters in Social Work. Rebeca obtained a License in Clinical Social Work in 2014 and joined the Horizons team on November 17, 2015.
Rebeca is passionate about working with children, youth and families and she enjoys working out, backpacking and spending time with family and friends.
Gabriela was born and raised in the Bay Area, attended College of San Mateo where she obtained her AA in Social Sciences, and then moved on to SFSU where she graduated with a BA in Psychology. After graduation, she moved onto a research project that was designed to prevent the onset of cognitive decline in individuals who are cognitively healthy as well as slow down the progression of dementia in its beginning stages.
While she thoroughly enjoyed working on that project, her ultimate goal was to provide Case Management service. She recently started here at Horizons in February 2016. Even though she has not been here very long, she sincerely says that she is loving every minute of it! When she is not at work, she spend time with family and friends.
Hector Ramos joined the Horizons’ family in 2001. He started working in the Outpatient Program and later moved to Prevention Education when offered a Coordinator position.
Currently, he is the Principal Program Coordinator for EPSF (Environmental Prevention San Francisco) and SFP (Strengthening Families Program). Hector is also the lead instructor for Facilitators for the SFP program in San Francisco and is the CPR / First Aid Instructor for Horizons.
Hector is originally from Argentina, speaks both English and Spanish, and has worked with youth in San Francisco since 1995. His education includes a Bachelors and MBA from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA.
Carlos Aguilar (DJ Quest)
DJ Quest – Turntablist Mastermind, Co-Creator of The First Battle Record “Hamster Breaks” and one of the founding members of Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters/Space Travelerz), a pioneer group in the art of scratch music. He is the Originator of the widely adopted Hamster Style Technique and Architect of Jazz/Hip Hop Trio LiveHuman, renown for its improvisational use of the turntable as an instrument. Quest moved to San Francisco in the early 80’s where he was introduced to the sounds of Hip Hop and Electro-Funk and developed a life long musical obsession and exceptional interest in scratch music.
DJ Quest joined The DJ Project for one of the first collaborations and workshops around 2001 and became the full time DJ instructor a few years later. Passionate about the future and working with youth, he continues to practice and teach his craft – advancing its evolution by passing down the skills to the next generation.
Phyllis has a B.A. from CSUH and has been working in the corporate accounting field for more than 30 years.
She transitioned to the nonprofit financial area and began working with Horizons in 2012.
She currently shares her time with The Latino Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services and is happy to use her skills and time to support the Horizons’ Familia and its mission.
Vilma Herrera works in the Administrative Office as an assistant to Executive Director, Celina Lucero, and Accountant, Phyllis Lozano. She mainly handles the employee files and keeping them up to date, Credit Card Transactions, Check Requests, and organizing all paperwork
Apart from her office duties, she has recently taken babysitting for the Strengthening Families Program to a whole new level by incorporating a curriculum filled with engaging, hands-on activities for all ages. Vilma started at Horizons 3 years ago as a babysitter for the Strengthening Families Program and has since then worked her way up to her current position. She is passionate about helping families and children, and connecting them to helpful resources.
Erin Rose Cruz
Erin studied at San Francisco State University and graduated in 2016, earning her degree in Communicative Disorders and a minor in Special Education. Afterwards, she became a MYEEP employee at Buchanan YMCA in 2017, and transitioned into becoming MYEEP’s Program Coordinator at Horizons Unlimited in 2018.
Outside of work since 2016, she serves as a Filipino/Filipino-American Studies Teacher and Malong (Health/Wellness) Coordinator at Balboa High School through Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP). Erin’s different roles in the community help open opportunities and connections for her students at Horizons. Whether at work or not, Erin pushes to bring love and light to different spaces.
Angelique Leimelekule Kennedy
Angelique Leimelekule Kennedy
Females Against Violence
Senior Program Coordinator
Angelique Leimelekule Kennedy
Angelique is proud to be of Puerto Rican/Hawaiian/African-American descent and grew up biracial in San Francisco. She is attending San Francisco State University and with the goal of becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Having been raised with addiction in her household, she has always aspired to break the cycle of violence within her life. Years later she has successfully become the 1st person in her family to go to college and wants to encourage and empower all youth to do the same by breaking the cycle of oppression.
She is the Senior Coordinator of Females Against Violence and sets out to engage, motivate, and empower young women to be the best they can be in a misogynistic world and break the glass ceiling. She values the family that comes with being apart of Horizons Unlimited and the sisterhood that comes with being in FAV. She uses real life experiences and lessons learned to help meet any youth where they are at and get them to wherever they want to go while encouraging them that there is no limit to what can be achieved.
Jovenes Education & Empowerment Program
Senior Program Coordinator
Alejandra is from Los Angeles and moved to San Francisco in pursuit of her graduate studies. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in History (Latin America Concentration) with minors in Education and Political Science from UC Davis. She is currently studying at the University of San Francisco, working on her Master’s in Human Rights Education.
One of her goals moving to the Bay area was to become part of a family that would align with her commitment towards the advancement for social justice. She believes in cultural wealth and comprehends the importance of integrating a curriculum that is not solely based on the struggles of a community, but on the existence and resistance that makes the community a transformative social factor for change.
Outside of work, she is a student ambassador for the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, and works alongside other educators in support of undocumented students, as well as serving the Latinx population at school. Alejandra is bilingual (Spanish and English) and Mexican. She loves food, especially Mexican spicy food. On her spare time she is most likely napping, researching and studying for her program, hiking, reading, or binge watching films.
Chris Cuadrado is a writer, artist, poet, producer, and cultural organizer, originally from Inglewood, CA, currently based in the Bay Area. Chris uses words, sights, and sounds as a means of empowerment, with the hope of offering tools of healing and liberation through creativity.
Chris has been using the arts to work with system impacted youth of color, from media programs, to cultural programming in juvenile halls, to the environmental prevention and event coordination programming with Horizons Unlimited. Chris is committed to using the arts to further strengthen the rich cultural foundation of the Mission District.
Valeria Varela-Romo was introduced to Horizons at the age of 16 as a participant and has been given the opportunity to become part of the Horizons’ Staff Familia by working in the program that helped her so much. She is Xicana and a San Francisco Native, majoring in Criminal Justice at our own San Francisco State University. Valeria hopes to pursue a law career, being the first to go college in her family and law school.
She takes much pride in being able to represent her roots and give back to the community. Valeria hopes to inspire other youth of color to find themselves and unite with one another to achieve their dreams and make their roots and ancestors proud.
Berlin Sanchez Tecpile
Berlin was born in Astacinga, Veracruz, Mexico, raised in Long Beach, and currently based in San Francisco. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and Latinx Studies. Her approach to every day is to ground herself in service to her community.
In 2018, she was introduced to Horizons as the Program Coordinator of LifeWorks Employment Program. She is also a Youth Co-Facilitator in the Strengthening Families Program at Horizons. She also likes to think of herself as a poet and essayist who loves to think and write about the uses of love.
Meet Our Board of Directors
After five years as an employee of Horizons Unlimited, serving as a Program Coordinator for The DJ Project, Environmental Prevention, and Strengthening Families programs, Matthew Moretti is thrilled to continue to contribute to the Horizons community as a member of the Board of Directors.
Matthew earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA, where he studied World Arts and Cultures and was involved in on-campus concert production through the University’s Cultural Affairs Commission. Upon graduating in 2009, he began his employment at Horizons, and spent his time outside of work promoting Bay Area hip-hop music as a Project Manager and Freelance Writer at Thizzler.Com.
In 2014, Matthew enrolled in the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he is currently pursuing his Juris Doctorate with a concentration in Intellectual Property Law. Matthew is an Editor on the Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, and a member of the Association of Communications, Sports and Entertainment Law. He expects to earn his degree in the Spring of 2017.
Virginia L. Tapia is a highly versatile, results-oriented active California CPA with over 25 years of combined Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Telecommunications and Insurance industry experience and diverse background in areas of Accounting, Finance and Controllership. She currently works at FibroGen, Inc. as the Director of Accounting and Financial Reporting. Recent projects involve the implementation of ASC 606 – New Revenue Recognition standard and ASC 842 – New Lease Accounting standard.
Virginia received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from San Francisco State University and her MBA – Finance from Notre Dame De Namur University.
Virginia is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The California Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Donna Amador is…
Native San Franciscan, Fillmore-born, Mission-bred
Mother of 3, Grandmother of 8
Master of Education in so many different realms
Nature lover, Ocean worshiper
Voracious Reader, Thinker, Truth seeker
Activist, San Francisco State strike 1968
Fighter for Ethnic Studies – even still necessary in 2016
Los Siete de la Raza 1969
Mission Childcare Consortium Board 1974-1986
Horizons Unlimited – Gracias for children, grandchildren
Time for her to return the favor!
Cristina Corona joined the Horizon Unlimited Board in the summer of 2015. She enjoys being part of the Horizon Board which allow her to stay connected with the community and passionate about youth development. Cristina believe in Horizon mission to engage, educate, and inspire our youth to be GREAT!
She is currently a member of other non-profit boards in the bay area and is a certified talent advisor within the Corporate Leadership Council. She has held multiple positions in within her ten years of experience in Human Resources/Talent Acquisition within the corporate sector. Cristina enjoys planning events, interior decorating, volunteering, and spending time with her family.
· Over seven years of experience in big data, healthcare fraud and forensics and project management specializing in high level, data driven projects based on criminal organizations.
· Over seven years of team building and team management.
· CEO and Co-founder of TicketDM, a safe, mobile ticket exchange application focused on the music festival community. Worked with my co founders Christian Ceaser, Stedmon Bates and Louis Ceaser IV for over two years.
· Recipient of the Stanford Alumni Association Class of 2010 Award of Excellence
· Recipient of Sigma Nu Fraternity Stu Campbell Award for Extraordinary Service
· Board Member, Horizons SF – We provide substance abuse, mental health, gender specific and employment services to Latino and other youth of color and their families in San Francisco.
Distance Traveled: I am a first-generation college graduate and first-generation entrepreneur. I was raised by an amazing single mother who worked tirelessly to provide a stable upbringing as I moved nearly every year and attended four middle school and three high schools before high school graduation. I attribute my entrepreneurship journey to my family, my church, and the life changing support systems I gained at Stanford University. Upon graduation, I spent 7 years working as a project manager/ team leader for Healthcare Fraud and Forensics / Big Data based projects. I also worked as a growth marketer for campaigns amassing over $8 million revenue for my clients. Over the last 12 years, I have been a leader and community builder both professionally and socially and I sought to create my own company that solved a complex problem based in community building. After attending numerous music festivals, I launched TicketDM for the music festival community with my co founders with whom I have worked for the last two years. We bootstrapped, launched and developed the TicketDM app in September 2018.
Differences as Strengths: I have spent most of my career using agile methodology, big data based decision making and strategic relationships to tackle complex problems. My biggest challenges today are finding key mentorship creating the necessary relationships in the tech community and music festival community make TicketDM the first tech savvy, mobile, millennial focused C2C exchange tool.
The most important thing I learned in my experiences thus far is how to use big data, human behavior and technology to create tools and platforms that are current and efficient. I learned how to make evidence based workflows and data driven assumptions to accomplish goals. With the data intact, I could extend that knowledge and build on everything I helped create with confidence. I learned how to disrupt traditional industries with limited resources and limited supervision.
Isabelle Plessis Boin
Isabelle’s work focuses on developing and implementing effective policies for responsible corporate behavior. Her work has spanned responsible sourcing initiatives to online privacy and financial transactions at major international companies. Prior to her move to the Bay Area, Isabelle was at the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO), the Canadian government, and various international research institutes.
Isabelle holds two Masters degrees as a Fulbright Scholar in International Affairs from Columbia University and Science Po (Paris), a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, and is fluent in French and German. She is passionate about intercultural exchange, empowering stronger communities locally and globally, and ensuring access to justice for victims of human rights abuses.
Bianca Faddis, a San Francisco native, spent most of her adolescence in the Mission community. At the age of 14 years old, Ms. Faddis joined the Horizons Unlimited program as a youth participant. Her involvement in the Horizons workforce program inspired her career in community work, specifically serving young people facing obstacles to success.
Ms. Faddis is the first former program participant to fill a seat on Horizons’ Board. She is very proud to be a voice that represents the numerous young people who, like she, experienced numerous struggles but persevered. She not only speaks for herself but she speaks for many youth in the community who have relied on the vital services like those offered at Horizons.
Ms. Faddis is currently working as the Senior Administrative Assistant at Bay Area Community Resources, a local multi-service agency. Ms. Faddis received certification as a Medical Assistant at Bryman College. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Human Resource and Management.
Meet Our Community Ambassador