Advisory Council

Our project advisory council applies a range of skils, experience and strategies in working with young people in inner city communities.

Bill Burgess: has been employed as a youth counselor and community liaison for the Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP) in Los Angeles since 2006. He has received several awards for his community service and youth outreach including a Local Heroes Award from Bank of America in 2006. Bill joined the notorious Rolling 60’s in 1972 while in the 7th grade. His gang life continued through several years after high school. Bill served in the United States Marines from 1989 -1991, stationed in Cuba and San Diego. In September of 1987, back in Los Angeles and gang life, he was shot six times which resulted in confinement to a wheelchair. In 1993, after deciding to leave gang life behind and mentor youth in his community, he and a handful of concerned neighbors started a grassroots organization called Operation Wake Up. In 1999 Operation Wake Up reorganized and changed the name to Restoring Inner City Peace Foundation where Burgess collaborated with Senator Tom Hayden and other ex-gang members to form peace efforts in the community. That same year, Burgess was recruited to work as the intervention director of Stop The Violence and he started the Sixth Avenue Block Club which continues to produce annual peace rallies and community clean ups. From 2003 through 2006 Bill worked with the Crenshaw High School Police Force in gang intervention.

Veronica Flores: is the Chief Operating Officer at W.O.R.K.S. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the organization and for creating and supervising operational systems and procedures, including those related to Enriched Social Services.

Foreign Exchanges “Bridging Equality and Difference” Founded by Dorit Cypis in 2006, Foreign Exchanges offers strategies of engagement, bridging personal and cultural differences through aesthetics, conflict resolution and somatic arts, for the arts, culture, education, social service, social activism and innovative business. Foreign Exchanges represents the strengths of Cypis’ work as an artist, a mediator, and an educator.

John N. Marchesini: is an internet consultant with experience in project management, customer experience management, digital content management, customer relationship management, blogging platforms, event-driven marketing, sales force automation, process modeling, contact management and workflow automation. He manages and consults companies such as Pfizer, USAA, HSBC Mexico, Banco de Credito of Peru and Bell Canada. In addition to being a part of the advisory council and teaching workshops, John has donated server space for interested young people to create and maintain blogs.

Aries Santiago: is a Meisner trained actor who has acted in several feature and short films. Santiago is also well respected in the theatrical community, where his talent and his ability to forge bonds of unity and friendship have found him well embraced by his audience as well as his peers. He has served his community at the Hathaway-Sycamores Family Resource Center for over 7 years and continues to build on the strengths of individuals and families, guiding them toward a better way of life. From 2005-2008 Santiago served as the Youth Program Coordinator at Hathaway-Sycamores, providing services the for the LA Bridges after school program, facilitating the Youth Leadership Council and providing summer youth employment. Santiago served as a case manager at Hathaway from 2001-2005 and received a gang interventionist specialist certification from Cal-State in 2006. From 2000-01 Santiago worked as a sponsored Executive for United Way, raising awareness of pressing issues facing LA County.

Enrique Vergara: is the Senior Enriched Social Service Coordinator at W.O.R.K.S. On staff for over a year, his primary responsibilities include assessing the needs of the residents at each of the housing developments, supervising four part-time coordinators, and overseeing the creation and implementation of programs and services offered by offered at five of WORKS’ developments. He will oversee the implementation of the project.