Liz Derias-Tyehimba, Director

Liz Derias-Tyehimba  is committed to economic and community development for youth and families.  She believes when provided access, resources and leadership opportunities, communities can be healthy and sustainable.  She has over 15 years of national and international social justice, youth and community organizing, popular education training, and policy and advocacy experience.  Liz has served as the Healthy Policy Coordinator with the Greenlining Institute leading advocacy efforts for affordable and accessible healthcare for California's communities of color.  As the Educational Program Coordinator for SOUL, she led national training programs in popular education and youth and community organizing.  In 2008, Liz led the very first  West Oakland Youth Center Planning and Development Project in collaboration of Leadership Excellence and the City of Oakland.  Liz fought for educational justice and finance reform for California’s public school students through the Kids Count campaign of Youth Together, and has  served as a National Training Director with the Praxis Project; a Washington, DC based intermediary organization focused on economic and community development.  She is an avid social justice writer, and has been published on Feminist.wire and  She is a narrator of a film produced by Freedom Archives on the history of international social justice movements.  She has served on the board of the Africana Institute of Penn State University and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center in San Francisco. She is looking forward to continuing to lead the West Oakland Youth Center as a premier site for youth and community development in the 21st century.

Talia Summers, Workforce and Program Manager

Talia Summers has a long history in West Oakland.  As a single teenage mother she raised three sons in West Oakland.  In 1999, her first workforce development position was with The George P. Scotlan Youth and Family Center as a Job Developer and then as the Director of the Education/ Workforce Development Department.   She helped the center grow into a wraparound service agency and the only West/North Oakland Hub for the City of Oakland Workforce.  She was very instrumental in the process of developing programs and bringing in new contracts. Talia developed and successfully implemented programs such as after school tutoring, The CHASEE Preparation, GED Preparation and Homework Club.  She also monitored the Employment and Training programs which offered youth ages 14-24 job opportunities through career try outs.  Talia has worked in partnership with The Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, WIOA, IV-E, Measure Z, SWEP and others. She left West Oakland to work for Youth Employment Partnership, and was given an opportunity to expand her learning and skills. Realizing her heart was longing to work in West Oakland again, she dreamt of one day returning.  Now that she is back working in West Oakland, her original community, she is over joyed with emotion.  She remembers West Oakland as the place that has given so much, and has asked for so little in return.  She anxiously awaits to see what West Oakland has in store for her now.  


Barbara Howard, Events Coordinator

Ms. Barbara Howard has been serving families, youth, young adults and communities for over 27 years as a community activist, life coach, mentor and event planner.  In these roles she has impacted and touched many lives in the greater Bay Area. "Ms. B" is also an entrepreneur, radio host, poet, author, mom, and Founder & CEO of BH Brilliant Minds Project Inc., a nonprofit organization that "Embraces The Minds of the  Youth Towards Excellence". Ms. B believes we all have a role in encouraging empowering and uplifting our youth as future leaders who stand on integrity, dignity and self-respect. She loves creating opportunities for the youth to tell their own stories and showcase their gifts and talent. She produces her own radio show on YALRADIO.FM  called "The Eyes of the Conscious Soul" with Sistah B Mellow. Responding to the call from her ancestors she has founded & coordinated The Oakland Juneteenth festival for over 16 years, keeping African-American History legacy alive.



Vashti Means Gibson, Youth Coordinator

Vashti is a proud West Oakland California Native! She was raised in the house located directly across the street from WOYC.  How amazing is that?! Vashti attended Hoover Elementary School, Marcus A. Foster Middle School and Oakland Technical High. Vashti has given much service to the West Oakland community, volunteering over the years for the schools in the Hoover-Foster corridor.   She is currently a Parent Ambassador for McClymonds High School, through their West Oakland Parent Partnership Program. Vashti is also a proud graduate of The Neighborhood Leadership Institute 2012 cohort.  Shortly after graduating, she became a  Parent  Ambassador through the Oakland Housing Authority in Partnership with the Oakland Unified School District.

LaToya Carroll, Administrative Associate

LaToya Carroll, a strong community voice and advocate, was born and raised in West Oakland in the same community as the West Oakland Youth Center! She attended Hoover Elementary School, as well as Ralph Bunche Academy and McClymonds High School. She has served as a community outreach worker, throughout Oakland with the Alameda County Public Health Department. Additionally, she has volunteered for numerous communities events over the years, helping to raise money for efforts that gave back to youth in the community. She began her journey with the WOYC in 2006, as a coordinator of the Oakland Youth Movement, which led community surveys to assess the community's needs and desires for the WOYC.

Randa Powell, Project and Outreach Associate

Randa Powell is a single mother that was raised and resides in Oakland, CA. She has been a dedicated Youth Development Specialist for many years. She began her work with Leadership Excellence as a teen and youth to youth trainer. She has continued her career in community work as an adult. She has worked diligently in service of her community for many years in programs such as Camp Akili, Oakland Freedom School, and Pathways to Change, to name a few. She has successfully created and facilitated a gender- specific support group for young women called S.O.L.O (Sisters Overcoming Life's Obstacles), where she mentored young women on building self esteem, positive decision making, learning life skills and taping in to their #blackgirlmagic. She has recently joined the WOYC to express her passion and unequivocal love for young people, and is eager to help make an impact in the West Oakland community.

Angelique Villasana, Media and Outreach Associate

Angelique Villasana graduated from McClymonds High School. She loves doing admin work, as well as working with youth. She loves talking to people, being social, and eating food (food is her life).  She also serves as a program assistant with Alternatives In Action. Her goal is to attend college at an out of state university.