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A Summer of Changes for Just Communities

Dear Friends,

Much of Just Communities' work focuses on bringing about change and supporting organizations and people through the transitions that accompany change. Well, this summer, we are experiencing some changes of our own. And, as with any transition, this is a time of both saying goodbye and new possibilities.

Over the course of the summer, Just Communities will say goodbye to three of our our current staff. Alan Goff, Alena Marie, and Daniel Elenes are all moving on to the next chapter in their lives. All three have made an incredible impact on our organization and on our community. We thank them for all they have given us, and we wish them well as they move on. You can learn more about where they're journeys will take them below, and you can send your own messages of thanks and good luck on our Facebook page here.

Two of the available positions have already been filled by restructuring from within Just Communities. We will be releasing more information about who will be filling those positions very soon! But that means that we will also be looking for one more new team member. Just Communities is hiring a new Program Coordinator who will oversee our CommUnity Leadership Institute, Language Justice Initiative, Safe Schools Program, and the Courageous Conversations programs. You can read the brief job description below and find the detailed job description here.

Again, please read on to learn more about Alena, Alan, and Daniel's plans and please join us in thanking them for their incredible work.

Thank you,

Jarrod Schwartz

Executive Director, Just Communities

Alan Goff


Program Manager -Youth and Communities

Alan joined our staff in the summer of 2011. In that time, he has led 3 powerful CommUnity Leadership Institutes and supported youth activists in Fillmore, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria. Alan also served as a lead facilitator in numerous Just Community efforts including training the Santa Barbara Police Department to more effectively serve LGBTQ community members and community dialogue series through the THRIVE Westside Initiative. Alan has always brought deep thoughtfulness, creativity, and professionalism to all he has done with Just Communities. We wish him well as he returns to Los Angeles to be closer to family, but will be continuing work and studies in social justice and education.

Alena Marie

Alena JC.jpg

Program Manager -Language Justice Initiative

Alena first joined our team as a volunteer with our CommUnity Leadership Institute (CLI) in 2005. Since that time, she has worked with or led virtually every Just Communities program. She joined our staff in 2008 and helped us grow our Institute for Equity in Education program into a full-fledged initiative that has dramatically improved educational outcomes in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. After Alena returned from maternity leave, she envisioned and launched the Language Justice Initiative which has transformed both Just Communities and our region by creating organizational environments in which people of all language backgrounds can participate authentically and fully. Alena's passion and vision will be sorely missed as she moves to Sacramento to be closer to family.

Thank you also to Alena's partner and long-time Just Communities volunteer Tara Uliasz. We'll miss you both!

Daniel Elenes


Project Specialist

Daniel Elenes joined our staff in 2011. It's hard to capture Daniel's role or contributions in a short paragraph. Daniel has provided administrative support to every Just Communities program and staff person. He has interacted with virtually every person who has called our office, registered for a program, and walked through our door. He handles everything from computer and copier breakdowns to coordinating and supervising teams of interpreters for complex multi-lingual dialogue processes. And through all of the stress and chaos our work often brings, Daniel's humor, calm, graciousness, genuine care for our work and the people he works, and an ability to bring out the best in others truly help bind the Just Communities community. We wish Daniel all the success in the world as he, his partner, and his son move to the San Diego area to be closer to family. We also would like to congratulate his wife Rosalia on her next journey into graduate school.

In other news...

A different kind of change


On May 3, 2014 Elizabeth Weinstein married her partner Kelly Hahn in the Santa Ynez Valley where they live. It was a beautiful day where they were surrounded by family, friends, and lots of joy. Liz has worked for Just Communities for the past 3 years as the Development & Communications Manager. Liz has chosen to take her husband's last name of Hahn so be on the lookout for future emails reflecting her new name.

Congratulations to Liz and her new husband as they enter into this new and exciting stage!

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