Our staff is dedicated to empower youth with resources, knowledge, and support. Whether it's waking up at 4am to get ready to head out on a field trip, showing up after school to run programs, or being a supportive and encouraging point in a young person’s life; we’re always here with a smile on our face and an enthusiastic attitude.
Jose Juan “Johnny” Rodriguez was born and raised in Brentwood, California. He has more than 20 years of experience working with youth, young adults, school administration and the community focusing on youth empowerment, conflict mediation and violence intervention. Johnny originally started working with youth as a Campus Resource Officer at a local middle school. He saw the need some students had for additional support, so he began offering workshops, on his own time, in the hopes of teaching them to make better life choices. Committed to helping youth change their lives for the better, Johnny founded ODAT. Throughout his career, Johnny has received extensive training, has been certified by the National Safety Training Institute, LLC. and has also completed the Dialogue for Peaceful Change training by the Youth Intervention Network (YIN). Johnny has received numerous awards for his work throughout the community. In 2014, Johnny traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to solidify a partnership with The Corrymeela Community, an organization that strives to decrease violence in Northern Ireland; as well as train others to do similar work around the world. This partnership has allowed ODAT graduates to travel to Belfast and complete training on peacebuilding and reconciliation and also allowed for a year-long internship at The Corrymeela Community. Upon their return, they serve as mentors to the younger youth going through the program. In 2014 Johnny also ran and was elected as a member of the Brentwood Union School District Board. His goal is to make decisions to better improve the school climate for students, families and school staff in our area. Johnny wears an array of hats, but is usually found working with youth on local campuses, meeting with community partners to create more opportunity for youth or working with his staff in the office. Johnny continues to serve his community to provide more opportunities to empower youth.
Genoveva “Geni” Zesati is dedicated and passionate about volunteerism and community service. She has 9 years of experience in office management, research and data reporting. Before her hire, Genoveva served in the military for 4 years as a legal and personnel clerk, and worked as an administrative assistant. Currently, Genoveva manages ODAT’s day-to-day administrative functions, financial reporting and budgeting, funder relations, grant writing and reporting, events coordination and ODAT’s online presence via the primary website and on social media. She has volunteered in various fields such as Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, as the Single Marine Representative for her unit during her time in the Marine Corps, as the coordinator for her department recognition ceremony at SFSU, at weekly ODAT youth group meetings, chaperoning various field trips and coordinating community events. Genoveva has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from San Francisco State University, is bilingual (English/Spanish), CPR certified, has completed various leadership and safety trainings during her time in the military, and received certified training in Grant Research, Writing and Administration. She can usually be found at the ODAT office, managing the administrative end as well as being the first face to greet community members that stop by our office. Genoveva is thorough in her work, always going the extra mile in helping ODAT clients, and her community.
Shaylitia “Shay” Shaw has over 11 years of experience overseeing and providing support services for youth and young adults. She worked with foster youth as a behavioral coach, was a group leader to people with physical disabilities and assisted in training them to enter the workforce. Shay is the main Interventionist through the Beyond Violence program at ODAT in partnership with John Muir Health. Shay offers wrap around support services and resources to youth and young adults hospitalized at John Muir in East Contra Costa County that have been victims of street violence in order to prevent or reduce retaliation, re-injury and recidivism. Shay has received training in crisis intervention, Harm Reduction and Trauma Care, Mandated Reporter General Training, has been certified in Protective Action Response (PAR) and attended the National Conference for Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program (NNHVIP) in Los Angeles in 2015 amongst other trauma informed trainings. She also attended California State University East Bay. Shay is usually out and about meeting with her clients and working in the community finding and linking up with local resources.
Alejandra “Alé” Moya participated in the ODAT Program as a senior in high school and successfully graduated from the program. Alejandra demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities throughout her participation in the program. As a result of the impact the program had on her and her peers, Alejandra chose to pursue a degree in social work. Eventually, she was offered a position on staff at ODAT as a Community Engagement Support member during her freshman semester at Las Positas College. Alejandra has excelled in her duties was promoted from support staff to lead staff for services provided in Tracy, California in August 2014. She is pursuing her degree and will transfer to Sacramento State University this fall. She has volunteered at many community events with ODAT; as well as through the Boys and Girls Club of Tracy. Alejandra loves being on school campuses and working with youth. She has completed Mandated Reporter General Training, is CPR certified and also traveled to Northern Ireland to complete training on peacebuilding and reconciliation. Alé can usually be found working at her school site, offering resources and support to the youth in her community.
Sarai “Sara” Espinoza has shown leadership and dedication in helping others by serving the community of East Contra Costa County since the age of 14. She has volunteered and worked in several different organizations such as First 5, Counseling Options and Parent Education (COPE) Family Support Center, You, Me, We, Oakley, and the Child Care Council and Regional Center of East Bay. She currently works at ODAT as a Community Engagement Lead while also attending LMC and DVC and working towards her degree in Sociology. Sara graduated from the ODAT program and continued as a volunteer mentor to her younger peers until finally being hired on as staff. Her love and passion for helping others is what helped her decide to get involved in the social field. She also attended the peacebuilding and reconciliation training in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is CPR certified and has completed Mandated Reporter General Training. Sara is serves local youth at her school site in the East Contra Costa area and provides additional support in coordinating events. She is a dedicated employee that always has an upbeat attitude.
Jennifer "Jen" Birkland was born in Southern California but spent the majority of her life in far East County. She graduated from Liberty High School in 1997 and went on to earn her bachelor's degree in journalism at San Francisco State University in 2003. As a staff writer for The Press newspaper group from 2003-2008, Jen covered youth sports and education throughout far East County, including ODAT events and graduations.
"I knew right away that ODAT was special," she said. "I saw the impact that this program has on its participants and I listened to their parents as they spoke, with tears in their eyes, of the positive changes they've seen in their children and how ODAT was directly responsible. It was moving."
Committed to education and the community, Jen joined the Liberty Union High School District Educational Foundation in 2011 as a member of the board of directors. She served as the foundation's Vice President from 2013-2015 and is currently the President of the local nonprofit. Jen joined the ODAT team in August of 2016 and has been working as a Youth Mentor. She enjoys working closely with the students, offering guidance and support and acting as a positive role model in their lives. She is committed to empowering children to reach their full potential. Jen lives in Brentwood with her husband, Eric and their two boys, Christian and Jason.