Get to know our incredible 2020 Conference speakers!
Rev. Dr. Charles Lee-Johnson, M.S.W., D.Min.
Bio: Rev. Dr. Charles Lee-Johnson is an Assistant Professor at Cal Baptist University and the Chair of the Social Work Department. Dr. Lee-Johnson also serves as the Senior Pastor of The Life Church in Riverside, and is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Family Life and Education Center, a social service agency that provides a nationally recognized “Rites of Passage” program for at-risk kids and families. Dr. Lee-Johnson has received numerous commendations including the State of California, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, Compton Unified School District, King Drew Medical Hospital, UCLA Dept of Social Welfare and Public Policy, Ohio Abstinence Campaign, California State Legislature, Alaska’s SouthCentral Foundation, National Fatherhood Initiative, Indiana Black Expo, National Association of Social Workers, Department of Children and Family Services, and most recently, Mr. Lee-Johnson was inducted into the Library of Congress’ “Who’s Who”. Dr. Lee-Johnson has worked collaboratively with the White House (Office of the First Lady) for the Helping America’s Youth Conference series, and his programs were recognized as “best practice” models for engaging challenged families Dr. Lee-Johnson took his message to the international community in Nigeria, Malawi, Belize, Egypt, Jamaica, Bahamas, and more, speaking for a series of Family and Youth Conferences throughout the respective countries. Dr. Lee-Johnson was selected by the National Association of Social Workers, Region H, as the 2010 Social Worker of the Year.
Dr. Lee Johnson is unequivocally committed to the positive development of young people, families, and communities across the world. In a very short time, Dr. Lee-Johnson’s work has touched parents, children, and organizations throughout the United States. His ability to integrate his professional knowledge with practical skills enables him to effectively work with diverse populations. Dr. Lee-Johnson’s enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge makes him one of the most dynamic and inspirational social workers in America.
Don Powell, Instructional Services Administrator, Educational Services Division of RCOE
Bio: Don Powell is an administrator for Instructional Services at the Riverside County Office of Education where he provides professional development to educators. Prior to that, Don served as an Assistant Principal at Upland High School and was a classroom teacher for the Victor Valley Union High School District for over ten years. When Don’s not working, he can be found playing all manner of board and video games with his two boys and girlfriend.
Ann Ortega, Education Director, ADL Los Angeles
Bio: Annie has worked in the field of Public Health and Community Education for 16 years. Having worked with diverse communities in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, she has expertise in delivering both evidence-based classroom curricula, and design and delivery of innovative education programs. She has provided services in English and Spanish related to Kinship Care, Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Mental Health, Anti-Bias Education, and Bullying Prevention. As Education Director for ADL Los Angeles, Annie directs all aspects of the A WORLD OF DIFFERNCE® Institute, by marketing, designing, and coordinating training programs for educational anti-bias training programs and initiatives, as well as recruiting, training, and supervising a cadre of trainers.
Gustavo Hurtado Jr., Mental Health Education and Outreach Coordinator, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, Pronouns: He/She/They
Bio: Gustavo Hurtado Jr. has 10 years of experience in youth organizing, grassroots project management, and LGBTQ+ mental health, in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. They works as the Mental Health Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance for four years and is the Lead Facilitator for their Source Group. Gustavo grew up in the Inland Empire and has two degrees from the University of California Riverside, a BA in Anthropology and a BA of Biology. Gustavo is a gender non-binary, pansexual, and a taco lover. They use mixed pronouns (he/she/they) and is Latinx.
Dr. Kathleen Sarmiento, DSW, LMFT
Bio: Dr. Kathleen Sarmiento is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and currently works for Riverside Unified School District. Dr. Sarmiento’s educational background includes a bachelor of arts from the University of California Riverside, Masters of Science from the University of La Verne, and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California. She is passionate about working in the mental health field to ensure healthy development for all youth and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of over 12 years. She has experience working with diverse populations, such as at-risk adolescents, foster & group home youth, probationary youth, couples, families, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and LGBTQIA youth.
Dr. Sarmiento has contributed to creating Suicide Prevention Protocols and instructional manuals for Riverside Unified School District and the county of Riverside. She has extensive training and certification in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, crisis intervention, and running evidence-based groups. Dr. Sarmiento founded and currently directs the S.U.P.E.R. (Students Utilizing Peer Educational Resources) Peer Counseling Program© which was piloted at Ramona High School and has demonstrated a significant decrease in suicide attempts the past 3 academic school years. This program was created as a school-based program designed to empower youth to help and support their fellow classmates. It is a peer support program infused with mental health training, virtual reality meditation, and peer counseling curriculum. It is aimed at decreasing suicide attempts and deaths as well as decreasing the stigma around mental illness within the education system. It is an innovation created to disrupt social norms within the education system and create a culture of connectedness on school campuses.
James Woods, Dat Yoga Dude, M.F.T Masters in Counseling and R.Y.T Registered Yoga Instructor
Bio: James Woods has a passion for sharing the tools he has learned on his personal journey to wellness. He has a degree in marriage and family therapy and is a registered yoga teacher, speaker, mentor, author, organizer, teacher, and active community member. He was raised in Corona and found roots in Riverside through community relationships. As president of FEEL FREE 2 FEEL FREE, a health and wellness organization that provides wellness programs and services, James directs all aspects of the programming. He speaks, trains and holds workshops on self-care, yoga, meditation, mindfulness and wellness. Timmy Tut is the first book from James that fulfills his passion of sharing wellness tools through a literary experience to better serve youth. James is also the founder of Million Man Meditation, a wellness resource event featuring all Black men. James is a willing servant and believer in building a better future. You can find him at www.datyogadude.com and on Instagram @datyogadude.
Rilee Hillman, Prevention Coordinator, Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, Pronouns: She/Her
Bio: Rilee is the Prevention Coordinator at the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center where her goal is to educate the community and empower youth to use their voice to prevent sexual violence. She wants to break the stigma around sexual violence and ensure that everyone knows they have people there to support them. Rilee received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and her M.A. in Forensic Psychology at California Baptist University. “I believe that education is the foundation of prevention. Educating people on these difficult topics is the first step towards ending sexual violence.”
Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre
About: Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre (ET) has served Southern California since 1986. ET inspires children, teens, and adults to make informed decisions about their health and build stronger communities. All programs are free and funded by Kaiser Permanente Community Health.
Kaiser Permanente’s Adolescent Bullying Awareness program complements and supports Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for students grades 6-8. It emphasizes maintaining healthy friendships, processing emotions through journaling, building resilience, and engaging with adults for help.