Executive Director, Founder &
Ashley Dos Santos
After 10 years of classroom teaching, Ashley was fed up. She was frustrated. She knew that we could do better for our youth. After being told too many times not to let students pursue their passions, read what excited them, create projects in their community that actually motivated them, Ashley committed to working with kids outside the classroom -- in after-school clubs, leadership groups and with local non-profits. Unfortunately, working both in the classroom and after-school with her students was not sustainable. It was killing her. That is when Mentor Me Learning was born.
Ashley decided to apply her decade of experience in traditional classrooms, as an after-school mentor, her Masters Degree, and her many California Teaching Credentials to a different type of teaching. To exclusively work with young people outside the formal classroom setting. Ashley is now committed to using Mentor Me Learning as a space to show students and parents that there is a way to build confidence, become an independent learner, develop academic, communication & leadership skills -- all the while pursuing something that students are actually interested in.
Whatever it may be. It is possible. Ashley is committed to helping youth and their parents see the connection between what they love, learning and creating amazing projects in their community.
Advisory Board of Directors
Kimberly Schaefer graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned a degree in Economics and Accounting. She currently works in the Department of Treasury as a bank regulator specializing in anti-money laundering and counter terrorism regulations for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Prior to joining the OCC, Kimberly worked as a senior regulatory consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for CASA of Orange County and previously mentored high school students through Minds Matter of Los Angeles. Kimberly is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. Her expertise in financing and commitment to giving back to her community is a huge asset to Mentor Me Learning; Kimberly is an essential part of our sustainability and capacity to provide young leaders with scholarships to participate in our Youth Empowerment Programs.
Juen Steinhaus has a lifetime of experience with progressive education and diversity programs in Southern California. She grew up in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, earning a scholarship to one of the most progressive K-12 schools in the LA area. She then went on to earn her BA at UC Berkeley and a Masters Degree in Education at UCLA. Jueun has been a classroom teacher for 7 years, worked in Alumni Relations and Fundraising Development, and is committed to being an advocate for young people. She is also a special advocate for Asian American issues and active with the Asian Personal Exchange (APEX). Her unique experiences gives Mentor Me an added perspective that helps us focus on student-centered and diverse programming, recruiting powerful partners in the Southern California community and acquiring funding for our youth leadership scholarship programs.
Lachelle Carrozza is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, and innovator. Her adult journey began at the University of California Irvine where she earned a full athletic scholarship playing Division I soccer while working toward her degree in Social Ecology. She then made the biggest decision of her life and decided to drop everything to start a family - which catapulted her into a life of service in her community and assisting small businesses to succeed along the way. She was also the president of NALS (National Association of Legal Secretaries) of Orange County during her days in Corporate America. She has labored tirelessly to empower the youth around her as a valued mentor, organized multiple outreaches and lead various fundraising campaigns. Due to her extensive experience and relationships through volunteering, leading and coaching she will play an integral role in bridging the gap between MentorMe and the community. Her diversity, forward-thinking and passion make her a crucial part of this organization.
Jeff Javanbakht is a business transformation consultant in the banking industry. He’s currently a Director a MUFG Union Bank where he is responsible for delivery of key business initiatives for the bank’s core banking transformation program. Prior to Union Bank, Jeff was a management consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP’s Financial Services Advisory practice where he specialized in business transformation, process improvement and system implementations. He earned his MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business and his BA in Social Science from the University of California, Irvine. Jeff is a father of two and an Orange County native. After being introduced to Mentor Me Learning’s purpose, he knew he had to be involved. He sees the intersection between our youth and the community as the critical junction to creating a better world.
Leslie Carrera-Silva is an educator, arts advocate and yogini. She has worked for a few school districts within Orange County, also serving as a Spanish dual language teacher for primary grades. Being multilingual and having lived and worked in other countries herself, Leslie is passionate about multiculturalism. Growing up she had a love of the performing arts which led her to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. She believes that an arts-rich education is profoundly enriching. When she is not teaching young students in the classroom, she can be found teaching hot yoga to adults. She has practiced yoga since 2005 and has taught in Europe and Australia. She holds a multiple subject teaching credential and Masters in Education from Cal State Fullerton.
Jessica Clanahan graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, where she earned a degree in Political Science with a minor in International Relations. Diplomacy and negotiations were foundational skills she learned through her participation in the National Model United Nations program. She went on to attend Chapman University where she earned her Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling and Professional Clinical Counseling. She has now served for 5 years as a middle school counselor in Garden Grove Unified School District. In her experience and present service as a School Counselor, Jessica has found that students are in need of in depth social emotional support and personal exploration to help them identify their interests and best selves. This passion began when working with Mentor Me Learning's founder to support students in after school organizing, mentorship and community involvement many years ago. Jessica is committed to working with youth so they can find their best selves, connect with community and reach out to others for support.
Ricardo Dos Santos
Ricardo Dos Santos has been working in film production for the last 20 years. Ricardo's passion for video production began as a teenager and eventually led him to study video production at Santa Monica College, running his own media production business in Brazil, and to working as a consultant in California. While Ricardo's favorite projects to work on are action-sports related, his portfolio includes a variety of genres; he has created advertising videos for local industry, edited full-length films, managed drone footage projects and produced diverse video shorts for a spectrum of clientele. He is currently a core volunteer for Mentor Me Learning, supporting them with all of their video production projects and advising them on different media campaigns.
Devon Mitchell joined our team following a year in France where she lived as an au pair and worked as an English Teacher at the Jardin d’Enfants des Lutins, a pre-school for children with disabilities. Devon grew up in Orange County where she discovered her passion for community activism and international human rights issues competing nationally with the Model United Nations program. She continued to pursue her passions at San Francisco State where, during her studies, she worked in the Student Health Clinic and volunteered for Planned Parenthood. She finished her degree in Anthropology with a minor in Health Education living abroad in Florence, Italy. She brings her knowledge and experience to MentorMeLearning to stimulate community change in regards to sustainability, personal and environmental health, and resource advocacy.
Marissa Nadjarian is an Educational Consultant specializing in service learning teaching methodologies. She began her career as an elementary school teacher after obtaining a degree in Psychology and Education from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Education from Pepperdine University. During her career as an elementary educator at The John Thomas Dye School, in Los Angeles she also served as Co-Director of Service Learning. Now as a consultant, Marissa works with educators to implement social action curriculum. She develops programs, curriculum resources and workshops for organizations such as The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and professional development networks like The Educators Consortium for Service Learning. As a parent, she is also fueled to introduce volunteerism to families. In 2014, she founded Philanthroparent.com as a resource for parents who strive to integrate service, philanthropy and social consciousness into their children’s lives. She works with Los Angeles-based nonprofits to develop family-friendly ways to volunteer in the community that she often participates in with her own daughters.
Donnie Soldan earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Economics with a minor in sports management from the University of California Santa Barbara. It is there that Donnie developed a love of learning, leadership, and service. Donnie Soldan is a local firefighter engineer where he has a passion for service and mentorship. He developed and grew a local high school scholarship program and a holiday Operation Santa Sponsorship program. Donnie is a certified CERT trainer in the community which helps empower community residents by teaching them basic first aid, rescue, and emergency preparedness and is on the department Peer Counseling committee. Donnie is a One-to-One Care minister at Beachcities Community Church. Donnie lives in Huntington Beach and is a devoted husband and father of four little boys with whom he spends countless hours raising, coaching, leading Scouts, and helping in their classrooms