Oscar de la Torre | Founder | Director
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.
Selina Rodriguez| Program Director
Ms. Selina Rodriguez was born and raised in Tucson and moved to the City of Angels to receive her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA. While at UCLA, Selina served as Co-Director of the student group, Planners of Color for Social Equity (PCSE) and worked as the General Graduate Mentor for the Academic Advancement Program.
In these positions, Selina outreached to first-generation, low-income students and provided one-on-one counseling and assisting students in the process of preparing for, selecting, and applying to graduate and professional programs. Prior to attending UCLA, Selina attended the University of Arizona, where she majored in Sociology and minored in Mexican American Studies.
She is a proud alumna of TUSD’s Mexican American/Raza Studies where she took her first class at Cholla High School and later worked throughout her undergraduate years for the Department as the Academic and Community Specialist. During these positions, Selina served as a mentor returning back to the schools she once attended.
While her journey in Los Angeles, Selina has been able to explore various youth community development initiatives. She enjoys the diversity and excitement of Los Angeles. Selina’s professional goal is to work with youth in the realms of economic development, education attainment and empowerment opportunities.
Ramon Romo | Graphic Designer
Ramon Romo was born in the city of Santa Monica, CA. In his senior year of high school he became involved with the Film and Graphics course at the Pico Youth & Family Center. He was intrigued by the design software and became motivated to continue his education in the art media direction .
In 2009 he enrolled in the Art Institute of Los Angeles, California and graduated in December of 2011. Ramon now teaches the Graphic Design and Motion Graphics course at the Pico Youth & Family Center.
He teaches youth all the design, motion and animation software such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, Flash and After Effects. Ramon also designs the center’s flyers for all their yearly events such as the Dia de los Muertos, Cesar E. Chavez day, and the Hope and Unity Awards Gala.
Natalie Hernandez | Case Manager
Natalie was born and raised in the city of Huntington Park. Attended Bell High School and continued on to attend Humboldt State University where she majored in Sociology.
While attending Humboldt State Natalie worked as a Latin@ Peer Mentor where she mentored first generation upcoming freshmen thought their first year at HSU. She also worked for the MutiCultural Center (MCC) as a Latin@ Community Coordinator where she brought cultural awareness and events to the HSU and Humboldt County Latin@ community.
Natalie expanded her experience to help serve the greater community of Humboldt County by working as a Youth Employment Specialist for the Employment Development Department of Eureka. She worked with at risk youth ages 15-25 by helping them meet their educational and vocational goals.
While living in Humboldt Natalie remained involved by beginning apart of M.E.Ch.A. and the MCC. Beginning a member of M.E.Ch.A. and the MCC she was granted opportunities to put on events, start new cultural traditions on and off campus, and network throughout Humboldt County. Being part of these organizations has given Natalie all the tools needed to succeed not only as a student but in her career as well.
Her participation in these organizations has ignited her with leadership and passion for spreading cultural awareness and encouraging youth to confidently strive to dream big and make their dreams come true. Which ultimately contributed to making her dreams come true, that is why she is honored to now be apart of the Pico Youth & Family Center.
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. Alex Aldana’s life long goal would be to open up his own cultural and art center in the most needed areas of Los Angeles.
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.