Our Staff

Laura Macias

Executive Director

laura Laura is a fluent Spanish speaker. She was born in Cuba, spent part of her childhood in Spain and later settled in southern California with her parents. Laura worked as a public school teacher in Riverside and Orange County for eighteen years. Most recently, she and her husband served the poor overseas with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Latin America. She is also a member of the leadership team for the International Orality Network (ION). Laura earned her BA in Liberal Studies from UC Riverside and received her Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies from Johnson University. She and her husband Tony have two daughters and one son and reside in Fullerton, California.

As Executive Director, Laura will head JOYA Scholars and be responsible for staff supervision and development, fund development, community outreach, and vision and planning.

Carla Veliz

Program Coordinator 

Carla pictureCarla was born in the city of Los Angeles to parents from Guatemala and El Salvador. She is one of 8 brothers and sisters. As a child she moved to the of city of Downey where she was guided by inspiring teachers through the college process. She is a first generation college graduate from Biola University with a BA in Intercultural Studies and minors in International Development, Music in Worship, and Biblical Studies. Her desire is to be like one of her past teachers who inspired and guided her through the college process.

As Program Coordinator, Carla is responsible for overseeing the day to day tasks of the Middle School and High School Program, as well as recruiting and managing the Volunteer Team of mentors and tutors.