The faces behind JCYC and the organization’s many programs and services are as diverse as the City of San Francisco. All are committed to making JCYC one of the most innovative and effective children and youth organizations in the Bay Area.
JCYC’s staff is comprised of dedicated individuals who are committed to improving the lives of children, youth and families. Each brings unique talents, skills and experience that contribute to the vitality of the organization.
Our Leadership Team
Jon Osaki is a native San Franciscan and has served as the Executive Director of JCYC since 1996. During Jon’s tenure as Executive Director, JCYC has grown to become one of San Francisco’s most successful youth organizations, annually serving over 7,000 children and youth from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Under Jon’s leadership, JCYC’s programs have received national recognition for achieving outstanding outcomes for youth and the organization is frequently called upon by the City of San Francisco to implement new initiatives for children and youth.
In addition to overseeing the implementation of JCYC’s current programs, Jon continues to be active in public policy development and local planning efforts focused on creating new and expanded services for children and youth. In 2006, Jon was honored by the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel for providing outstanding support and guidance in efforts to restore funding for education at the federal level. In addition, he was the recipient of the KQED/Union Bank of California Asian Pacific Heritage Month Local Heroes Award. In 2007, Jon was chosen to receive the Silver SPUR award from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR).
Julie Matsueda began working at JCYC in 1986 and has been the catalyst for developing many of the organization’s current programs. In addition to being the original founder of Chibi Chan Preschool, she has been an integral factor to the program expansion at JCYC; including establishing AACE Upward Bound, Japantown Youth Leaders, AACE Talent Search-Daly City, and developing services for youth in foster care.
In her current capacity as Deputy Director, Julie is responsible for the oversight of all JCYC programs.
Human Resources Manager
Emily Thayer is a Bay Area native and studied History at Humboldt State University before joining JCYC in 2011 as an Educational Advisor for the San Francisco College Access Program. After holding various roles within JCYC’s College Access Programs, Emily joined the JCYC Admin Team in the Spring of 2015. In her current role, Emily oversees all Human Resources functions and manages JCYC’s Scholarship Program. In her free time, Emily enjoys learning about botany and mycology, going to museums, and watching Giants baseball.
Shemika Lilly was born in Los Angeles, raised in San Francisco and currently lives in Oakland. Shemika graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Business Administration. She has been in non-profit finance for 20 years and has worked at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Living Goods. Growing up in San Francisco, Shemika participated in JCYC’s Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP), Upward Bound, and Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP), so she believes working at JCYC is like returning home. Shemika is continuing to build on the effectiveness of JCYC’s Fiscal Department, while continuing to create systems that allow for more growth and youth development.
Program Director of Youth Development
Erika Tamura is a former program participant and began working at JCYC in the early 1990’s. She has worked with a variety of programs including the JCYC Summer Daycamp, Asian Youth Substance Abuse Project, Integrated Services for Asian Youth and San Francisco YouthWorks. As Director of Youth Development Programs, Erika currently oversees the Asian Youth Prevention Services (AYPS) program, Japantown Youth Leaders, Nikkei Community Internship Program, and the Tomodachi Summer Program.
Associate Director of Asian Youth Prevention Services
Debbie Irawan is a former program participant of the JYL (then JAYS) and AYPS programs. Debbie started working with the AYPS program as a Peer Intern while attending San Francisco State University. Upon graduating, Debbie transitioned into the Program Assistant and the Prevention Program Coordinator positions. Debbie is excited to continue her involvement with the program she grew up with in her current role as Associate Director of AYPS. Debbie likes to travel, try different foods, and go to comic conventions across the US.
Director of Child Development Programs
Shana Kanzaki is a native San Franciscan and former program participant of JCYC. After earning a degree in Child Development from San Jose State University, she was hired as a teacher at Chibi Chan Preschool. In her capacity as Director, Shana has been the creative and driving force in the preschool’s overwhelming success. She has been involved in planning the physical environment of the site, the expansion to serve toddlers, and the development of cutting edge, age-appropriate curriculum for 2 to 5 year olds.
Site Director at Chibi Chan
Lisa Ma is a former JCYC program participant and began working at the organization in 2000. She has held several positions with JCYC including running an after school program for elementary age children, serving as co-director of the Tomodachi Summer Program and serving a as a teacher at Chibi Chan Preschool. In her current role as Associate Director of Chibi Chan, Lisa supervises the teachers and supports the day-to-day operations of the preschool.
Site Director at Chibi Too
Jennifer Yip is a graduate of San Francisco State University’s Early Childhood Education Program, where she specialized in Child and Adolescent Development. Jennifer joined the JCYC team in 2004 as a Chibi Chan Preschool Teacher. She was a teacher in the three to four year old classroom for four years before becoming a Lead Teacher in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom in 2008. In 2014, Jennifer was honored and awarded the First 5 San Francisco Preschool for All Excellence in Teaching Award. Since then, Jennifer has mentored and coached fellow teachers through the Professional Learning Community (PLC) project approach.
Director of Youth Workforce Programs
Alvin Woo is a native San Franciscan and has been working at JCYC since 1997. He is a product of the San Francisco public school system and a first-generation college graduate of the University of California at San Diego. He served as a member of the first AmeriCorps class, a national ambassador for the Corporation for National Service, and a trainer for AmeriCorps Program Directors. Initially hired as a support staff member for the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP), Alvin was eventually promoted to the position of MYEEP Director and in 2014 transitioned into the role of Director of Youth Workforce Programs where he now oversees all of JCYC’s youth employment programs.
Associate Director of Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP)
Born in Tokyo and raised in Los Angeles, Ayako Sawanobori received her degree from Tufts University in International Relations. Ayako has been living in San Francisco for 9 years now! She previously worked as the Director at a Boston-based financial service firm. She has also been volunteering as a coach for youth girls for the last seven years in East Palo Alto and the Excelsior District in San Francisco. An interesting fact of Ayako is after recovering from a spinal injury that nearly left her paralyzed, she became an avid outdoorswoman and runner, often during marathons and endurance treks. Moving her body (aches and all), makes her the happiest!
Associate Director of SF Youthworks
Nicole Rodriguez grew up in a border city named El Centro, CA, where they discovered their passion for human rights advocacy specifically within immigrant communities. Nicole attended UC San Diego where they majored in Ethnic Studies with an emphasis on Race and Sexuality and minored in Dance. After graduating college in 2015, Nicole moved to San Francisco to gain more access to the non-profit sector and youth work. Before becoming the Associate Director for SF Youthworks, Nicole served youth in San Francisco through AmeriCorps, Youth Art Exchange, MYEEP, and Upward Bound. In their spare time, Nicole likes to play sports, workout, and hang out with their pet newt.
Special Projects Manager
Ailed Paningbatan-Swan was born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood. Ailed studied Sociology with a minor in Education at UC Berkeley, and has worked in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds as a Training Manager, MYEEP Coordinator for OMI, and most recently as Director of Community Engagement at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. In her free time, Ailed loves spending time with her toddler and new baby, and as a self proclaimed foodie, loves discovering new restaurants in the city.
Administrative Director of College Access Programs
Emalyn Lapus has had a long and distinguished career at JCYC. During her tenure, JCYC’s College Access Programs have grown exponentially and is currently the largest provider of college access assistance in San Francisco. In addition to serving students in San Francisco, Emalyn successfully led an effort to expand services into Daly City.
In 2012, Emalyn was honored by the San Francisco Asian Pacific American Heritage Foundation when she was chosen to receive their Community Leadership Award. In 2013, she was also honored by the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel in recognition of her dedication to educational equity and access.
Program Director of College Access Programs
Gina is an alumni of JCYC’s College Access programs as well as a recipient of the organization’s scholarship program. During her last year of college Gina was hired as an Educational Advisor for JCYC’s San Francisco College Access Center. Through her role as an Educational Advisor, she provided guidance to students on the college admissions process, academic course selection, college search, financial aid assistance and much more. In 2012, she transitioned into a similar position as an Educational Advisor for JCYC’s Educational Talent Search program. As a result of her outstanding performance, in 2015, Gina was promoted to the role of Associate Director, and in 2020, was further promoted to Program Director of College Access. Gina manages the same services she benefitted from as a youth.
Associate Director of Educational Talent Search and San Francisco College Access Center
Arleen Garcia is a San Francisco native. She studied Conservation and Resources Studies at UC Berkeley. Arleen was hired in 2014, as the Educational Advisor at James Denman Middle School. In 2016, she helped establish JCYC’s Educational Talent Search (ETS) program at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. After providing support as Senior Educational Advisor, Arleen was promoted to Associate Director for SF College Access Center (SFCAC) and ETS. In her current role, she is excited to support staff who have crucial roles in fostering educational access and opportunity.
Associate Director of Upward Bound
Jackie Lam was born in Macau and grew up in the Ingleside neighborhood in San Francisco. A product of SFUSD, he earned his Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UC Berkeley and advised college students as part of the Maisin Scholars program prior to joining JCYC. Currently, he oversees the agency’s Upward Bound program in the Associate Director role. In his spare time, Jackie enjoys writing, learning about leatherwork, and pampering his dog.