Julian Ayala | Music Coordinator
Julian Anthony Ayala aka SoulReal (Former participant of the Pico Youth & Family Center) was born in Venice and raised in Santa Monica. Attended the schools in Santa Monica including Will Rodgers, John Adams, Santa Monica High, And Santa Monica College. He Also attended M.I. (Musician’s Institute) where he learn how to be proficient in standard music software and an efficient independent music artist.
Julian has passion for music and social advocacy and believes in the organization’s motto, peace,unity, and social justice. He has been creating music professionally since 2004 as a participant, he played a major roll in the creation of all the compilation albums that the PYFC has released thus far.Growing up in the Pico neighborhood and coming from a low-income family, he understands the importance of the PYFC and the music program. Hip Hop and the PYFC saved countless of lives, including this young man’s life. A proud member of the Pico Youth & Family Center.
Lawrence Palmer | Digital Media Coordinator
Independent Film Maker & Visual Designer Lawrence P, has been creating Music Videos,
Short Films and Visual Designs for over 20 years. He is currently running his own Film Production Company (EyeMagination Pictures) for which he has several projects in preparation for release.
Originally from Chicago, this Los Angeles Native has been servicing the Pico Youth & Family Center for almost a Decade. After pioneering the PYFC Music Program in his early days of work with this Santa Monica Non-Profit, Executive Director Oscar De La Torre invited Lawrence P to return to pioneer the Film & Visual Media Program.
After accepting his invitation, Lawrence P immediately got to work. After the Youth Center was defunded by the City of Santa Monica, Lawrence P had no other choice but to start a public funding campaign through KICKSTARTER. He entitled it: The Youth Behind The Vision. Within month of meeting their goal and grand opening the program with Santa Monica’s 1st Latino Mayor Tony Vasquez, they raised enough funding to buy the necessary film equipment to get the Film & Visual Media Services up and running. Within a year, several Youth Participants learned the basics of Camera operation, Video Editing and Visual Design. Several students graduated, received a Certificate of Training and are currently working on their individual projects. Through this entire process, the Youth learned that for any Vision to come to life, there must be Passion, Dedication, and most importantly, Sacrifice. Through Mentorship and Self-Empowerment, they all realize that while nothing in life is guaranteed, anything is possible when you truly believe in your Vision.
Alex Aldana | Outreach Specialist, Public Allies Intern
Alex Aldana, product of the Pico Neighborhood serves as PYFC’s Outreach Specialist. His relationship with PYFC began with his involvement in the Youth Leadership Council and coordinating various poetry slams and mentoring programs back in 2002 when the center opened.
Since then, Alex continues to enjoy working with the PYFC community and supporting the youth. In 2006, Alex and a collective group founded the One Nation Hip Hop Summit, which is now in its 4th year of existence (www.onenationhiphop.org). Mr. Aldana’s life long goal would be to open up his own cultural and art center in the most needed areas of Los Angeles.
Oscar de la Torre | Founder, CEO, President
Mr. Oscar de la Torre is currently the founder and director of the Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) in Santa Monica. Prior to founding the PYFC, Mr. de la Torre worked at Santa Monica High as an Outreach Specialist where he implemented tutoring programs, a leadership academy and violence prevention initiatives.
A lifelong resident of the Pico Neighborhood, Oscar founded the PYFC with the belief that youth violence is a product of various social and economic factors that contribute to feelings of inferiority, powerlessness and hopelessness.
His hope is that the PYFC provides quality services to youth and simultaneously works to develop the leadership capacity of low income communities so that the solutions of the people become institutionalized. Oscar completed his Masters degree in Public Administration at the University of Texas at Austin.
Mary Cornejo | Office Manager