Program Manager: Laura Hirshfield,

Ms. Laura grew up in New York and moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 2001.  She attended Boston University, where she received her B.A. in  English, Linguistics, and Secondary Education. She continued her educational career at Boston University and received her Masters in Education for the Deaf.  She taught English in Boston for 8 years before moving to Los Angeles in 2014, when she began her teaching career at CCEO YouthBuild.  Her summers are spent in India, where she helps run a professional development program for teachers interested in the study of nonviolence. She is passionate about supporting young people in achieving their goals and providing a relevant, authentic, and empowering educational experience. In her spare time, Laura enjoys hiking, reading, going to the beach, and travelling.


Academic Counselor/Registrar: Alicia Ayala,

Ms. Alicia graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies. She has been with CCEO YouthBuild since July 2014 as the Academic Counselor/Registrar where she works with young adults, to make sure they complete the classes they need to graduate.  Alicia likes to motivate and encourage students to not only obtain their High School diploma, but continue on to post secondary education. Her interest outside of work include: traveling, visiting art museums, and spending time with friends and family.


Leadership Development & Mentoring Manager: Paul L. Watson III,

Paul L. Watson III is a dynamic motivator with exceptional skills in  youth development, leadership development, and community organizing. Paul received his Masters of Science in Human Services from Springfield College and  his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University. Mr. Watson has inspired youth for 20 years; as a teenager he co-founded a youth advocacy organization that empowered youth to be active in public policy and on decision-making boards. Paul has worked in a group homes for transitional age youth, at a foundation specializing in child welfare reform, and adjunct faculty on for a collegiate institution. He enjoys the creative arts as tools for social change, specifically music, sports, and film. 


Senior Case Manager: VanRay Murphy,

VanRay Murphy has a passion for empowering young people and serving the community. VanRay is a YouthBuild graduate, class of 1999. Before Youthbuild, VanRay was really confused about what he wanted to do with my life. He ran the streets with the wrong crowd and did not care about his community. Then he was introduced to the YouthBuild program, where they taught him to tap into his inner self and pull out that leader that he did not think existed. After he graduated, he was hired as a construction trainer. Currently, he has taken on the leadership role of Program Counselor to help our youth overcome all different types of obstacles, barriers and also help them be successful in the youth build program as well in their lives. He is a role model for his kids as well as for the kids in his community.


Finance and Human Resources Manager: Ana Saucedo,

Ana Saucedo has been with CCEO, Inc. YouthBuild for over 10 years. She started as an Administrative Assistant, transitioned to Project Coordinator and then to Finance/H.R. Manager. As the program continues to grow, she handles the operating expenses and staff support. Her interests outside of work are hiking, biking, golfing, yoga, and spending as much time with her family.


AmeriCorps Projects Coordinator: Mario Gonzalez,

Mario Gonzalez was born in El Centro CA; raised in Calexico CA. Mario graduated from California Polytechnic University Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is enrolled in the Masters in Public Administration program at California State University Fullerton. He has been with CCEO YouthBuild since 2012 where he started as the Job Developer for the Gateways to Green Building. He transitioned to the Administrative Assistant soon after and is now the CCEO Projects Coordinator overseeing the AmeriCorps program, where he continues to serve our young adults by encouraging and motivating them to do their best. His interests outside of work include sports (field hockey & basketball), movies, traveling, and spending quality time with friends and family.


Construction Manager: Kirk Henry,

Kirk’s passion is to help youth realize their full potential in all aspects of life, whether personal or professional.  He pours his heart and many years of construction industry experience into training YouthBuild members. Having come through the ranks of union apprenticeship, journeyman carpenter, superintendent and business owner, Kirk has the necessary technical expertise and know-how.  However, it is his love for youth and love of teaching that makes learning interesting and fun.  He has the unique ability to make complex topics simple.  Seeing a young person transformed by attending YouthBuild is Kirk’s true reward.



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