Kimberly Houston, AMFT

Kimberly (Kim) Houston is happy to be a part of the Contra Costa Youth Service Bureau Team. She completed her Associate of Arts at Merritt College, receiving a degree in African American Studies, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling and Administration at Notre Dame de Namur University. Following the struggles of racial disparities from her undergraduate journey, she was determined to achieve higher education by receiving a master’s in counseling psychology and a master’s in forensic psychology, with a certification in Informed-Trauma.

Ms. Houston has enjoyed her journey in community-based work, where she has learned a lot, and the result has humbled her in many ways.  She has enjoyed working within the dynamics of mental health and the unhoused communities for quite a long time. She has completed extensive training and educational endeavors that have provided a wealth of understanding, which she has utilized and applied to every lesson and aspect of this journey. 

Ms. Houston has the drive to serve the underserved populations and communities that have various challenges against them within racial, socio-economic, mental health, educational, medical, and many other unfortunate disparities that have crippled our communities. Ms. Houston’s journey has been difficult, but it’s been worth the disappointments and challenging lessons. She has learned that self-care is essential to continue serving others. M. Houston has a passion and enjoyment for basketball, reading, traveling with her daughter, being a foodie, taking long scenic drives, sitting near the water, and walking amongst trees. Her faith in God has kept her afloat. She enjoys other people’s successes and accomplishments.  Ms. Houston shared with us one of her favorite quotes:

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence.” ~~~ Colin Powell

Phoebe Watts, MSW

Ms. Watts’s background includes serving individuals of diverse backgrounds and populations. She has experience working with foster youth, Veterans, Re-entry clients, and families in crisis. She has a strong passion for serving underserved populations and possesses many years of experience in health, education, and employment. As well as being a strong advocate for personal sustainability and empowering those in need. Her employment history includes Northern California Family Center, Kaiser Permanente, Children’s Hospital Oakland, Urban League in Dallas, and Berkeley Food and Housing Program. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) and a Masters in Social Work (MSW). She is looking forward to being an asset to CCYSB and a team member of dedicated individuals. In addition, she aspires to develop a radical mentoring program to connect youth and professionals. In her free time, she enjoys participating in 5k Walks and traveling.

Melodee Robinson

Melodee Robinson (she/her) has over 20 years’ experience working with children, youth, and families in clinical, academic, and recreational settings. She obtained a BA in the Practice of Art from UC Berkeley in 2009. She obtained a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in Art Therapy from Notre Dame De Namur University in 2015. Melodee is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and is currently practicing as a Registered Art Therapist and is working towards becoming board certified through the Art Therapy Credentials Board. She enjoys working with people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds as well as the LGBTQ+ population.

Erendira Samano

Eren Samano is a California native who has been living in the city of Richmond, CA for 25+ years. Eren has demonstrated resiliency and commitment to her community by striving to bridge the gap between the community and their available resources at WCCYSB.

Ixia Vallejo-Perez

Ixia has worked at Mercedes-Benz of Walnut Creek, where she was promoted from Receptionist to People & Culture. She organized employee events and new hire orientations in that position and assisted with onboarding. In addition, she conducted interviews, reviewed resumes, and provided administrative support to the Internet Sales Manager and the GM of the store. She is fully bilingual and currently working at completing additional studies at Berkeley City College. She was named after a flower, which is fitting since she has grown into an avid gardener within the last couple of years. She enjoys making floral arrangements and growing fresh herbs for daily cooking. She spends time running with her dogs, roller skating and playing in the Bay Area Adult Soccer League on Friday nights. Her dogs Charlie and Luna are her trusty adventure buddies, and accompany her to the park, river trips, and hikes throughout the East Bay.

Yenny Garcia

Yenny is a warm-hearted, visionary, and joyful leader from Richmond, CA. She is known for building bridges between people with diverse opinions, opening doors, and positively influencing people to advocate, share information, and discover their strengths and solutions.

She migrated from Guerrero, Mexico, to Richmond, CA., at the age of six. She embraces her ancestral roots by weaving social justice issues to create balance and equity as an indigenous woman.

Most recently, she was the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director at The Latina Center in Richmond. She helped bring high-level support to the center, focusing on developing a social media presence and elevating tech processes, system organization, and employee engagement initiatives. In addition to a strong background in hospitality management, she served as the Chair in a mayoral-appointed commissioner role at the Richmond Community Police Review Commission (CPRC) since 2013. Ms. Garcia is also a member of The Friendly Richmond Rotary Club, currently serving as the Membership Chair, as well as serving as the Communications Director for the Kiwanis Club of Richmond.

Finally, for over ten years, she has loved helping plan the annual Sisters in Solidarity International Women’s Day Celebration in the city of Richmond, CA. She is invested in bringing Latino and female representation to as many underrepresented community spaces as possible and being the voice of those who can’t speak up for themselves.

Aside from being a fierce advocate and bridging people, she enjoys roller skating, dancing, and road trips, but her favorite is spending time cuddling with her two young daughters