ABOUT

For 40 years, serving all of Santa Cruz County. More than 8,000 youth and counting...

OUR MISSION

Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. 

OUR VISION

All youth achieve their potential. 

ACCOUNTABILITY STATEMENT

We partner with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community and hold ourselves accountable for each child in our program achieving:

MEET OUR BOARD

From our Staff to our Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a compassionate and dedicated group of individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes to help change children’s lives for the better. 

Maria Barranco, Co-Chair
Program Director, Monarch Services
Elected September 2019

Maria Barranco is a first-generation immigrant born from Oaxaca, Mexico's indigenous roots and deep immigrant community in Santa Cruz County( Davenport). She has dedicated her professional career and life to issues of social justice and equity.

Maria has over 25 years of experience working in the field of social service and social justice. She has a clear understanding and experience working with violence survivors through domestic violence, sexual assault,  and human trafficking. Maria has worked with Monarch Services for over 19 years in different capacities. She currently oversees the agency's 24-hour crisis response program, the confidential shelter, sexual assault program, and prevention program. In her role, Maria oversees over 25 Advocates. Maria enjoys mentoring and supporting volunteers and staff. Additionally, in her position, Maria provides state-certified training to new staff and volunteers to ensure they are well equipped and ready to provide services to survivors.

Maria has served on the Santa Cruz Women's Commission and currently serves on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Maria graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a Bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology as an undocumented student; she completed her school and was the fourth in her family to graduate with a college degree. She was raised, lives, and works in Santa Cruz County.

Jessica Lenth, Co-Chair
Assistant Director of Finance, Planning and General Operations at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology
Elected November 2019

Jessica Lenth is a Santa Cruz native happy to return to her town to join the Board of Big Brothers Big Sister Santa Cruz. She is currently working for the YMCA of Silicon Valley as the Director of Administrative Services at the Camp Campbell location in Boulder Creek. Jessica's background includes working with organizations throughout the Bay Area focused on youth development. She spent three years working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, developing new curriculums and programs and overseeing program quality and worked for Playworks in the East Bay and Silicon Valley overseeing AmeriCorps finding and program operations. 

Jessica earned her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts with an Art History Concentration from the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University and her Master's Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California. 

She joined the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters because she is passionate about ensuring all children and youth have positive and caring role models in their lives. 

Art Crumpler, Vice President
Retired
Elected October 2018

Art Crumpler is enjoying retirement after four decades of working in Silicon Valley. He has a broad range of experience including Assistant Controller at Motorola-Computer Product Division, Director of Contracts at BT Tymnet, and Senior Contracts Manager at Quantum and Brocade Communications. Art attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Art has been a long-term volunteer with the Day on the Monterey Bay Regatta which benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters. He looks forward to giving back to the community though volunteering and deepening his support of youth mentoring programs. Art also stays active through swimming, playing basketball, and traveling.

Geoff Boraston, Member
VP Organizational Development, Granite Construction
Elected October 2019

Geoff is the VP Organizational Development for Granite in Watsonville where he leads a team of professionals focused on building talent and leadership capabilities in the business. Geoff has been with Granite since 1995 and has over 30 years of experience working in industry. He has served in various leadership roles on industry associations and was previously on the board for the Santa Cruz Red Cross Chapter. He is a registered chemical engineer with an MBA.

Geoff is an avid sailor and skier and is a member of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. He believes that outdoor activities and social connections are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.  He joined the Board of Big Brother Big Sister because he sees the opportunity for the organization and its volunteers to help kids in the community live better lives.

Karen Jackson, Member
Non Profit Event Specialist, Envision this Productions!
Elected June 2019

For the past decade, Karen has devoted her career path to the non-profit industry as a highly motivated, resourceful, and energetic Development Professional. Early on in her non-profit life, she realized how darn good she is at coordinating, planning and launching successful fundraising events. Unlike most from this industry, Karen love to plan these events and takes pride in a job well done. 

Karen brings over 35 years of sales, marketing, management and nonprofit development experience, including expertise in wholesale and retail markets working for major companies to independent organizations. Together with her team, Karen prides herself on her outstanding communication skills, unfailing dependability, a flawless reputation for high ethical standards and honesty, and the ability to connect with a diverse population across a variety of market segments. 

DeAndre James, Member
Executive Director, Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley
Elected December 2021

DeAndre has been with the Community Health Trust since February 2019, and serves as its Executive Director. Before coming to CHT, he was the Chief Operating Officer at San Mateo Medical Center as well as the Executive Director of Dignity Health Medical Group – Dominican. He has always had a passion and mission for serving the underserved through his 20+ years in healthcare.  He began his career in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman serving as EMT, Sick-call screener, and Operating Room Technician. 

He received an Honorable discharge from the US Navy, earned his undergraduate education in Healthcare Management from Southern Illinois University, his master’s degree in Health System Management from Rush University, and his Lean Certification from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Santa Cruz, Big Brother Big Sisters, Health Improvement Partnership, and the Oral Health Access Committee.

Anissa Novak, Member
Major Gifts Officer, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
Elected December 2023

Anissa Novak, originally from the East Coast, made the transformative move to the West in 1999, and from that moment onward, she embraced the vibrant opportunities that the region had to offer. With a steadfast commitment to social impact, Anissa has dedicated herself to supporting non-profit missions, notably contributing to organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center, and Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte in various developmental capacities.

As a Commissioner for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and a dedicated Friend of Meals on Wheels, Anissa has demonstrated her passion for fostering positive change in the Santa Cruz community. Now, as she brings her enthusiasm and extensive experience to the board of BBBS!

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

Omid Aminifard, Member Emeritus
Vice President of Operations, Santa Cruz Seaside Company
Elected August 2005

Omid Aminfard is the Vice President of Operations for the Santa Cruz Seaside Company. He has spent most of his professional career working in the amusement industry. He previously worked for Sea World in San Diego and Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. He joined the Santa Cruz Seaside Company in 2000. Omid knows first hand the power of youth mentoring, as he was a Big Brother.

Richard Branson, Member Emeritus
Retired
Elected January 2006

Richard Branson was the President of Pacific Ingredient Exchange, which he co-founded in 1985. He retired in 2016. Prior to this he was Marketing Manager for Sun Maid, Sunsweet and Diamond Walnut.  He has an MBA in marketing. A native of Northern California, Richard was born in Ukiah, and lived in Sacramento, Davis, and Stockton before moving to Aptos in 1996. When he was younger, Richard liked to play seasonal sports with his two brothers and neighborhood kids. Rather than marketing, Richard thought about becoming an astronaut when he was growing up. Richard understands the importance of Big Brothers Big Sisters, thanks to his brothers, who were his mentors and the people he looked up to in his youth. 

Chuck Hewitt, Member Emeritus
Retired
Elected August 2004

Chuck and his wife retired to Hilton Head, SC, and he continues to work part-time as an independent insurance claims consultant and expert witness.

Chuck was born in the Bronx, New York City, where he enjoyed body surfing at the New Jersey Shore every summer. Moving to California, he graduated with a BA in Economics from San Jose State.

Richard Branson was motivated to become a Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County because of the life-changing outcomes that occur through the matching of children in need of a positive role model with caring volunteer mentors. Says Richard, "Seeing youth grow into mature members of our community is inspiring."

MEET OUR TEAM 

Beth Hillman, Program Coordinator

Please welcome our new staff, Elizabeth Hillman. We are delighted to have her working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County as our Program Coordinator. Beth is working at our after school programs in Santa Cruz and in Watsonville. She is focused on developing enrichment activities and assisting with homework help. Beth found us through her volunteer work with the Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center! Beth has had the privilege of working with youth before as an after-school liaison for the program Project Share. She is an alumnus of UC Santa Cruz as of 2022, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Sociology at the age of 20.

Michelle Jess, Enrollment Specialist

Michelle became involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2017 when she signed up to be a Big.  Her Little was 6 when they were matched.  They loved spending time at their favorite nature preserve, playing at the park, and making crafts together.  The match lasted for 5 years and they still remain in touch today.  In 2021, Michelle joined the BBBS Mid-IL team as an Enrollment & Matching Specialist and School-Based Coordinator, later taking on the role of Match Support Specialist.  She has since served as a Match Support Specialist and Enrollment Specialist with other BBBS agencies across the country.  Michelle feels that the work BBBS does for children is crucial and finds great fulfillment being part of such an impactful organization.  Before joining the BBBS family, Michelle worked in public education. In her free time, she likes working in her garden, hiking, reading, all things art, crafting, and hanging out with her cats.  

Cynthia Luedtke, Development Manager

After moving to Santa Cruz ten years ago, Cynthia brings her many years of experience in the profession of banking, as well as her expertise in working with nonprofits and participation in community service in the Mountain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos area. A long-standing member of the Los Altos Rotary Club, Cynthia has acted in many capacities including Director of Youth Services at which time, a new and successful youth mentorship program came into being.  She is a Past President, past Asst Governor, and has travelled to other clubs in her District assisting with Strategic Planning for Clubs and has taken part in mentoring high school age entrepreneurs.  

Cynthia has served on various nonprofit boards and committees including the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, where she was instrumental in spearheading the successful fundraising and building of the Center, Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, and is a founding member of the Los Altos Community Foundation.

Cynthia has two adult children and enjoys hiking, golfing, bowling, reading, watercolor painting, and ocean kayaking among her many other interests.  

Gabriela Trigueiro, Executive Director

Gabriela Trigueiro, MPP,  joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County as its executive director in 2022. Gabriela is a proud fourth-generation Californian, whose grandparents immigrated as farmers in the Sacramento area. She is an entrepreneurial leader with a strong commitment to social justice. Her professional work has centered on promoting equity and increasing access to education, healthcare, and public transportation. Gabriela has also been a long-time immigration rights advocate for undocumented and mixed status families.  Prior to joining BBBS, Gabriela worked as a consultant for local businesses focused on finance and compliance and as a campaign consultant for politicians in the counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Alameda and Contra Costa. 

She received her Masters of Public Policy from Mills College in Oakland, and has consulted for City of Oakland's Public Ethics Commission and for the Canal Alliance in Marin County. Gabriela also has a degree in Spanish Literature and Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and la Universidad de Sevilla. Gabriela began working in youth programming in 2003 and was staff for UW-Madison's College for Kids, a yearly summer program that began in 1979 bringing over 11,000 youth to campus for learning and exploration. Gabriela also worked in health and human services with University of New Mexico's Continuing Education. During this time, she was a company member and grant writer at the National Institute of Flamenco. Gabriela was a faculty member of Ballet Hispánico in New York City and in California, she has been an instructor for Arte Flamenco, Sacramento Ballet, San Francisco's ODC, Mission Cultural Center for the Arts, International Academy of Dance, and the Tannery Arts Center.

Gabriela is a volunteer for local schools, and for the local chapter for Moms Demand Action (a part of Everytown for Gun Safety). Gabriela also serves as a City Commissioner for the Commission on Prevention of Violence Against Women and is on the fundraising committee for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.