Director of Programs
Rachel has been on staff at JYCA since September 2016. She brings her love of Jewish community, deep commitment to social justice and belief in the power of youth activism to JYCA. Rachel grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She moved to the Bay Area in 2013 and got involved with social justice activism through Resource Generation, where she organized young people with wealth to redistribute their resources towards racial and economic justice as a leader of the Bay Area chapter. She has been involved with philanthropy and social justice organizing for a number of years, and in 2018 participated in the Anne Braden Program, a training program for white social justice organizers. Her first experiences working with youth were through leading outdoor education trips around California. When she's not working, she spends her time biking and hiking, taking dance classes, playing music, cooking and sometimes baking, and being a dog-mom to her blue-nosed pit bull Maggie.
Rachel began working as JYCA’s Executive Director in 2018 and sees JYCA as a home for three of her biggest passions: youth empowerment, reclaimed Jewish identity, and community organizing. Before joining JYCA, Rachel managed the housing program for Legal Assistance for Seniors and previously worked on community accountability and restorative justice policy efforts. With inspiring groups of friends, she coordinated the #DefendAuntiFrances eviction defense campaign, created an anti-racism education program for Bay Area high school youth and put on DIY accessible shows/events. She's committed to working for just, equitable, accessible futures and believes [slowly] healing in and with community is the path to liberation.
Sarah Grace Gladstone
East Bay Program Coordinator
Sarah joined the JYCA team in January of 2019. She has an extensive background working at schools such as Park Day and the Mills College Children’s School working in administration, classrooms, and camps. Sarah is also a writer, producing content—professionally, academically, and creatively—that focuses on intersecting identities, systems of power, and cultural critique. Her most wide reaching project is called WHITE DADS: stories, art, and experiences told by people of color fathered by white men. Through this work, Sarah has been invited to speak at Vassar College, interviewed by J Weekly, and met Zadie Smith. Sarah grew up participating in Jewish youth organizations in Sacramento and being actively involved with the North-American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY). She brings to JYCA a love for Jewish youth organizations and youth empowerment, and an enthusiasm for creating a culture of mutual respect, fun, and creative expression. When she is not working, Sarah can be found pursuing her love of stories, plants, and pop culture.
P-JYCA PRogram coordinator
Austin grew up engaged in the San Diego Jewish community, and became politically active in college around fossil fuel divestment and climate justice. From there he learned about the deep intersections between different systems of oppression and forms of resistance. He has been active around toxic masculinity and consent, Israel-Palestine, antiracist efforts, and has skills in training and direct action. He is passionate about Jewish ritual and reclaiming Jewish tradition in liberatory, decolonial, and spiritually rich expressions. Austin came to the Bay Area three years ago to work for Moishe House and more recently organized with SEIU 1021, a progressive union. Austin is passionate about embodied meditation practice, hydration, true love, naps and homemade challah.
Board of Directors
REBEKAH ESPINO DROBNER
Rebekah is a JYCA alum who was in JYCA from 2006-2008. She is currently in her second year on the board and sits on both the finance committee and alumni outreach committee. Following graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she was an AmeriCorps VISTA for two years. In her free time she likes community organizing and watching Netflix.
Iris is a National Organizer and Coordinator of Family Philanthropy Programming at Resource Generation. She grew up in the Marin County, CA and currently lives in Oakland, CA. Iris was so inspired by the JYCA gala in the Spring of 2017 that she immediately became a donor and wanted to get more involved, and was honored to be invited onto the board in August of 2017. In her spare time, Iris is a singer-guitarist in a band, runs a climate justice group, hosts Shabbat dinners and instigates conversations about money with strangers.
Matt recently retired after 35 years as a public educator. He served the last fourteen years of his career as a school principal and prior to that taught at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college level. He earned his teaching credential at UC Berkeley. He continues to work part-time as an induction coach for new administrators.
Matt and his wife have two children, one a proud JYCA alum. Matt is currently serving his second year on the JYCA Board.
As a parent of a JYCA youth participant, Jennifer has witnessed the powerful impact JYCA has had on her son, serving as a haven for him and many other young people that not only nurtures critical thought, but creates space and opportunity for youth to be themselves, engage in activism, discuss world events and grow into thoughtful activists. Jennifer is a Psychiatric Nurse serving the most vulnerable adults in San Francisco who have been directly affected by the impact of poverty, marginalization and oppression; this work is daily activism. Jennifer is excited to be a part of the change work JYCA is committed to.
Liz joined the JYCA board in August 2017. She has two children, both at Oakland Tech, one of whom is a current JYCA participant. Since 2006, Liz has been the Chief Operating Officer at Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, an affordable housing and community development nonprofit in San Francisco. She is grateful to be serving on the board and for the opportunity it gives her to support the work of JYCA, especially in this critical time when we need activists generally, and youth leaders and activists all the more so. Liz has Masters Degrees in Public Health and Social Work.
Sam is a sophomore at Bishop O'Dowd High School. He is a water polo player, an avid reader, and a dog enthusiast. He has lived in Oakland his entire life, and he joined JYCA because he wants to stop watching from the sidelines, and start doing something about the state of our world.
Richard and his wife Ellen joined Kehilla Community Synagogue shortly after its 1984 formation. Richard serves on the synagogue’s Economic Justice Committee (EJC) and has taken a turn on the synagogue’s board of trustees.
Following their Bat Mitzvot, Richard and Ellen’s two daughters participated in JYCA. In support of them as well as of the organization, Richard served on the JYCA board from 1998 until 2006. After a ten-year absence he re-joined the board in 2016- Because he was asked, because he enjoys working with the other board members, and because he believes that it’s really important to help connect youth to their larger community both during high school and thereafter. Richard thinks JYCA does a great job of that.
Before all this Richard studied sociology and completed a doctorate in criminology. His research projects address policies that affect low-income individuals, families, and communities in California and nationally.
Glenn Shor is currently Research and Policy Advisor to the Director, Department of Industrial Relations. He has served in several positions in California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) including Project Manager, Chief of Policy and Legislation, and acting Research Manager.
He is a lecturer and affiliated researcher with the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at U.C. Berkeley.
Shor has a Ph.D. and Masters in Public Policy (MPP) from the Graduate School of Public Policy (now Goldman School of Public Policy) at U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. from University of Pennsylvania.
Sharon Siskin is an artist and professor of visual arts in the Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA. She teaches courses in environmental and socially-engaged art at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, CA and Laney College in Oakland, CA.
Sharon is a longtime board member of Women Eco Art Dialog and has served on the JYCA Board since 2015. She is the mother of twin daughters Maya and Rachel, who loved their three years in JYCA, and became JYCA alumni and college freshman in 2016.
Ben is currently a Junior at El Cerrito High. He loves science, math, and all things STEM, and hopes to study aerospace engineering in college. He’s always felt a connection to his Jewish heritage, cultivated over nine years of Jewish day school, a trip to Israel, two years of Midrasha, three years at Camp Tawonga, and JYCA. He’s been in JYCA for two years, over which he’s come to love learning about and working towards youth empowerment and progressive social change, and to deeply appreciate the safe and trusting community that has been built here. This is his first year on the board, and he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the JYCA community and ensure that upcoming JYCAns have as powerful an experience as he has.