Jerry Tello is an internationally recognized authority in family strengthening, therapeutic healing, cross-cultural issues, and motivational speaking. Over the last forty years as a noted therapist, author, performer and program developer, Mr. Tello has incorporated his real life experience, together with research-based knowledge, and indigenous, culturally-based teachings, to engage all in a reality-based healing and growth-inspiring experience.


Mr. Tello is the author of children’s books, professional publications, culturally-based curricula, motivational CD’s and other media. Mr. Tello has received numerous awards including the Ambassador of Peace Award and Presidential Crime Victims Service Award.




Sara Bazan, MA, MFT is the team supervisor of the Children’s Mental Health Clinic for SB County Department of Behavioral Wellness. She has worked in the Children’s system of Care for over 20 years. She has a passion for social justice and has devoted much of her time to developing knowledge and skills to address diversity issues as they affect the well being of the Santa Barbara community. Since her time at Behavioral Wellness she has had extensive experience addressing the needs of suicidal youth and believes deeply in the need to support our youth in the changing landscape of our society in order to create a better future for everyone.







Ali Cortes is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, emphasis on Latino Mental Health. Since 2009, she has rooted herself personally and professionally into Santa Barbara. She attended the University of California Santa Barbara. After, she fell in love working with public mental health agencies to empower vulnerable youth in the Santa Barbara county. She has provided case management, advocacy, mentorship, mediations, workshops, and counseling to teens for 6 years. Currently, Ali works through the Santa Barbara School District as the Youth Outreach Worker. Also the Co-Chair of the Service Provider Network.  Her passion continues to empower young lives by bringing out their strengths and creating positive paradigm shifts.






Sally is the co-founder of Hope Refuge, an anti-trafficking organization in Santa Barbara, where they host wellness retreats for sex trafficked minors. They are in preparation to host a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program at their beautiful facility on the mountain. With a background in Education and the Entertainment Industry Sally works diligently to bring awareness and training around the issue of sex trafficking to first responders, professionals and the general public. Sally lives on the mountain with her husband Chuck and their 4 year old son, Josiah






Barb Finch is the Director of Children and Adult Networks for the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services. As Director of the KIDS Network, the Child Abuse Prevention Council, the Grants Consortium and the Adult and Aging Network, she engages community stakeholders and facilitates communication, coordination and collaboration on behalf of children, youth and families, older adults, and people with disabilities. She has been a local champion and catalyst for launching the Santa Barbara County ACEs Connection. Barb has over 25 years of direct service experience in Santa Barbara County, and she worked for two years as a Project Specialist with Strategies, providing statewide training and technical assistance for the California Department of Social Services Office of Child Abuse Prevention. She is passionate about building connections that strengthen individuals, families and communities.






René García Hernández has been a mentor and advocate for students and their families for 8 years. As the Early Education and Support Family Engagement Liaison René supports school sites with the implementation of a comprehensive Literacy Program that is aligned to the District’s Framework to improve and increase parent involvement in education. His passions include empowering youth, supporting undocumented scholars, helping first- generation students and families achieve higher level education, fostering change, and sharing knowledge with families of the importance of Education.





Saul Serrano currently serves as the Coordinator for the South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety, a regional collaboration administered by Community Action Commission (CAC) of Santa Barbara County. Previously, Mr. Serrano was a case manager and health educator for over ten years for the Los Compadres Program at CAC, which serves youth throughout Santa Barbara County. Mr. Serrano grew up in the San Fernando Valley and attended UC Santa Barbara, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Mr Serrano is an alumni of the Future Leaders of America Program, El Congreso de UCSB, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Compadres, Leading from Within, and Casa de la Raza . Mr. Serrano has served in various community initiatives focusing on youth safety, gang prevention and intervention, ethnic disparities in systems, data and evidence based practices. Mr Serrano believes in creating healthy community networks that help youth thrive in their communities.



Event M.C. and Host



Mr. Ricardo Venegas, Neighborhood and Outreach Services Coordinator II and Franklin Neighborhood Center Facility Manager,  has been facilitating programs and services for over 20 years to help strengthen families, and improve outcomes for children, and youth. He continues to be committed to creating a stronger and safer community by facilitating partnerships that help meet the most basic human needs of our most vulnerable populations. Mr. Venegas, who is an alumnus of the University of California at Santa Barbara where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Chicano Studies is most passionate about mentoring youth to help them develop the life skills needed to make positive decisions for healthy and successful lives.