Matthew joined YOTO in June 2016 after a decade-long tenure at St. Louis Efforts for AIDS, a nonprofit organization addressing care, treatment, and prevention for those living with or at-risk of being infected with HIV. With a degree from American University (Washington, D.C.) and a wealth of nonprofit experience, Matthew is a tremendous asset to the team. According to Matthew: “I have spent the majority of my professional career working in nonprofits. What they provide to our community is invaluable. The services that Youth On Their Own provides, the staff’s commitment to the youth, and the board’s commitment to both youth and staff is unparalleled. I feel very fortunate and honored to be working with this distinguished organization.”
Daniela has lived most of her life in Tucson, is fluent in Spanish and is a Wildcat at heart. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Italian. After receiving her degree she decided to pursue a career in teaching. She has taught science, from 6th grade general science to 11th grade Chemistry, at local charter schools that serve at-risk youth and low-income families. She also served as Title I Coordinator and Professional Development Coordinator, among many other committees and programs, for the schools. Throughout her teaching career she tried to inspire youth to be excited about learning and to understand the importance of education. She saw the many challenges that students face every day and how this impacted their success in completing school.
Katrina was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and graduated from Flowing Wells High School. She was introduced to the opportunity to go to college during her freshmen year at Flowing Wells because of a college bound club she joined. It has been her mission to give back to the community by providing resources and networks. She is now fortunate enough to go to the University of Arizona and work towards a degree in communications. She plans to work on getting her Masters in marketing after she graduates. She is thankful to have the opportunity to work with YOTO because she believes that programs like this “go the extra mile” and can change the next generation’s future.
Matt is from Prescott, Arizona and moved to Tucson after completing his Master’s in Global Development and Technology from Arizona State University. Matt previously worked with youth as a case manager at a behavioral health clinic in Prescott. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, creating ESL curriculum and implementing youth advocacy programs. He has a passion for working with teens and joined the YOTO team in 2017 as a Program Coordinator.
Diego was born in Nogales, Arizona but lived most of his life in Tucson. He is currently a senior at the University of Arizona and completing his Bachelors in Public Health. He joined the YOTO team as a Student Success Navigator through the AmeriCorps program and is eager to share his knowledge and his experience as a student to motivate the youth to graduate high school and, most importantly, further their education. Diego believes that an education is essential in life and is the foundation to achieve your dreams in life. Like the rest of the YOTO staff, Diego passionate to help the youth achieve the first step of life-long success: graduate from high school.
Kim moved to Tucson, AZ at the age of 16 from San Diego, California. She graduated from Cholla Magnet High School in 2007 and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2011. Bear down! Since Kim moved to the Tucson community she has been involved with several non-profits such as Child and Family Resources, YWCA Southern Arizona, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona as a volunteer, intern, and staff. Through this involvement, Kim found a passion for serving the community and hopes to continue to do so as a Program Coordinator with Youth On Their Own. Kim has a passion for serving others and is excited about joining YOTO to continue to serve the youth in our community!
Kristin currently serves as the Volunteer & Development Coordinator for Youth On Their Own. She has more than ten years’ experience working with local non-profit organizations in both an administrative and volunteer coordinator capacity. She believes in the philosophy of “giving back” by helping those less fortunate in our community – particularly, youth in need. Kristin is grateful that her position at Youth On Their Own fulfills both her devotion to working for a non-profit organization centered on helping youth succeed; and, in guiding committed volunteers to help make a meaningful difference within their community.
A native of Tucson, Brian graduated from Rincon High School in 2010, then attended the University of Arizona where he studied History and Anthropology and had the opportunity to travel to Greece. Following graduation from the U of A in 2014, Brian moved to New York City where he primarily walked dogs and ate a clinically dangerous amount of dollar pizza slices. Recently returned to the Old Pueblo, he is happy as a clam to be working for such an important organization that gives kids a chance. Outside of YOTO, Mr. Peel enjoys film, the poetry of Lou Reed, trying new foods, comedy, and watching a little football.
Douglas “DJ” Plecity was born and raised in Tucson. After graduating from Rincon High School in 2010, he worked for the UITS 24/7 IT Support Center at the University of Arizona before coming to Youth On Their Own in December 2014 as a Program Data Technician managing YOTO Services’ Clienttrack software system. DJ is pursuing an Associate’s Degree from Pima Community College with plans to transfer to the University of Arizona.
Deb joined the YOTO team in October 2018. She grew up outside Chicago, graduated from Purdue University and has lived in New York and Texas, landing in Tucson in 2014. She has worked in a corporate environment, ran her own business and worked for small businesses. Deb enjoys networking and meeting people. After volunteering for YOTO since 2014, she feels very fortunate that she is right where she belongs – working for an organization she wholeheartedly supports!
Allyssa was born in Manila, Philippines and moved to Phoenix, AZ when she was eight years old. After an 18-year immigration process, she became a U.S. Citizen in July 2017. Less than a year later, she graduated cum laude with her B.S. in Public Health from the University of Arizona. She found her passion for working with population-based data through her public health coursework and internship at the Pima County Health Department. While in school, she learned about the Social Determinants of Health and Adverse Childhood Experiences, which drove her toward serving disadvantaged youth. She is thankful to have the opportunity to work for YOTO where she works beside passionate staff and volunteers, and at the same time, where she can combine her data-driven work and make an impact on the lives of underprivileged youth.
Ashley is a native Tucsonan who received her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Phoenix in 2014. She has 10 years of experience in working with students with special needs, Department of Child Safety involvement, and behavioral health services. Ashley has also worked with Tucson’s homeless population, specifically those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. She is also certified to teach elementary education and special education. Ashley has the drive and passion to truly make a positive impact of the lives of students.
Daphne learned about volunteer opportunities with Youth On Their Own in 2010, and began stocking and organizing our Mini-Mall. Daphne’s commitment to helping youth graduate was evident and she was offered employment with YOTO in 2011. Daphne serves as YOTO’s Program Administrative Assistant and enjoys helping young people in need.
Christian is a Tucson native who left Tucson at 18 to attend Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He attained a dual degree in Politics and International Studies and received a Minor in Economics. During his time in college, he had the opportunity to study in Beijing, China where he learned of his passions for food, photography, and East Asian cultures. After graduating college Christian went on to teach Business and Economics at Cathedral HS in El Paso, Tx. Eventually, he found his way back home, where he now works to ensure that our underprivileged youth in Tucson have the support needed to ensure their success in high school and onward.
Candice was born in El Paso, TX, but spent most of her childhood travelling around the country. Her father was a preacher for the Church of Christ and relocated often. She has lived in New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, Idaho, and California, and moved to Tucson in September 2016 when she married her husband, James. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from UTEP, she worked for 2 years with the Center Against Sexual & Family Violence in El Paso, TX. She found a passion for non-profit accounting work and decided YOTO would be the perfect place to continue that passion here in Tucson.
Marissa received her Bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2010. Passionate about service, she found her way to Tucson through an AmeriCorps VISTA placement in 2012. Her past experiences at nonprofits, both in fundraising and programs, has fueled her desire to secure financial support for organizations doing imperative work. Marissa joined the YOTO team in April 2013 and is grateful for the vital work this organization does for our at-risk youth and community. She is a current member of the Grant Professionals Association.