Lou Calanche - Executive Director

Lou is the Founder and Executive Director of Legacy LA. Her dream has been to return to her community of Ramona Gardens to develop programs to help youth reach their potential. Lou attended Loyola Marymount University receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.

One of Lou’s main goals is to transform the Hazard Park Armory, 50,000 sq. ft. of what was once a military space into a state-of-the-art facility offering community programs to help youth develop the skills necessary to reach their dreams. Lou’s believes that the work of Legacy LA will help to create a Ramona Gardens Community that is safe, and where youth grow up healthy and has all the resources and opportunities to support youth.

Ruby Rivera - Director of Policy and Community Relations
Jeanny Marroquin - Student Success Program Director

Jeanny graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Culture Studies. After graduating she committed two years of service to AmeriCorps with City Year Los Angeles where she served in Watts, at Markham Middle School, and South Central Los Angeles, at Thomas Jefferson High School. She was introduced to Legacy LA through her 3rd year in AmeriCorps with Public Allies where she had an apprenticeship as the an Education Advocate, College Club Coordinator and Volunteer Program Coordinator before getting hired as the High School Programs Coordinator.

Her dreams for our youth are that they break away from labels and stereotypes, realize their potential, and step into their power to change their community and accomplish their goals and dreams. She believes that our student’s relentlessness will take them to places they never thought possible.

Carina Palacios - Education Advocate and High School Programs Coordinator

Carina is currently working as an Education Advocate and High School programs coordinator at Legacy LA where she provides academic support for youth living in Ramona Gardens and the surrounding community. She was raised in South Los Angeles to two immigrant parents and is 1 of 4 siblings. Carina graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Her interest in traveling developed when she traveled abroad during her undergrad and became aware of the cultural differences outside of her community.

Carina wanted to go to college since elementary school because her older sisters went to college. Carina was fortunate to have a reliable support system during high school and attributes her academic success to her family and school staff that encouraged her in the process. Her goals are to provide the same support and guidance to youth in order to accomplish their academic or career goals.

Isaac Caldera - Student Success Program- Middle School Programs Coordinator

Isaac is a former resident of Ramona Gardens Housing Projects and has been working for Legacy LA for six years. Isaac is an alumnus of Murchison Elementary, El Sereno Middle School, and Lincoln High School. He went on to pursue a higher education and graduated from California State University Northridge in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work. His experience since undergraduate studies was Outreach and Recruitment for Cal State Northridge and Pierce College. He has also worked at foster care and probation group homes such as Rancho San Antonio and Penny Lane. Currently, Isaac also works.

Isaac was a former Department of Family & Children Services youth and knew then that his calling was to aid the underserved. He became an Education Advocate for two reasons; he has a natural propensity to talk to people therapeutically and he enjoys helping people. He teaches people how to protect themselves and how to become more proficient at using the system we live in. He currently is also employed at Angel's Nest Transitional Home for youth who have aged out of foster care and probation.

Denysse Nunez - Student Success Program - Middle School Education Advocate

Denysse received her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Culture Studies and a double minor in Theatre Arts and Dance and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She first interviewed with the organization through the Americorps program, Public Allies. Her passion is working with young people, to facilitate their development of awareness, self growth, and healing through reclaiming and reshaping their narratives. Denysse is a strong believer in young people being pivotal to the transformation of a community.

Lucy Herrera - Dream Leadership Program- Leadership Manager

Lucy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/ Law and Society from UC Riverside. She was part of the first ever Dream Big Leadership Program at Legacy LA and was an active member for 4 years. After graduating from UCR she decided to give back to her community and returned through an apprenticeship with Public Allies, an AmeriCorps nonprofit, as the Youth Council Assistant, the same program that was key in her leadership development. After completing her apprenticeship Lucy has returned to Legacy as the Dream Big Leadership Program Coordinator under the Youth Council Leadership Program.

Lucy enjoys being able to work with youth leaders from Ramona Gardens. She knows her work is helping these youth develop a social conscience lens that equips them with the tools needed to succeed in anything they wish to pursue.

Benjamin Valdez - Youth Council Program Assistant | Social Justice Intern Program Coordinator

Benjamin Valdez has lived in Boyle Heights for 25 years, the youngest of four, and of migrant parents from Mexico. Benjamin has dedicated over 1,700 hours of volunteer service to the East Los Angeles YMCA, has experience working for Homeboys Industry, AltaMed, and Lorena Pharmacy. He graduated from Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School in 2010. Since then, he has graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Latin American Latino Studies. His experiences in Santa Cruz drove him to work with coffee growers from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Veracruz Mexico. He conducted a research study of youth ages 14-24 from Ixuahtlan Del Café, Veracruz on migrant interest and family relationships. He has committed the last two years to the Public Ally Los Angeles program that has empowered him about community building through the continuous learning of Social Justice education and community.

As a proud member of the Boyle Heights community, servicing communities of color has always been a passion of his, and equally servicing youth in their personal and professional development. Benjamin is currently a proud member of Legacy LA as a Leadership Educator for Youth Council programs. He believes through Social Justice we can empower youth on their personal and professional development, spark interest of themselves, their families, and most importantly the well being of their community.