Nayeli brings to Journey Out nearly 18 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with an extensive background assisting survivors of domestic violence and homeless populations, working closely with law enforcement to assist those in crisis, including victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. Prior to Journey Out, Nayeli served as the Senior Site Director for Client Services at Chryalis, a non-profit dedicated to creating a pathway to self sufficiency for homeless and low income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Nayeli was responsible for the day to day operations of the largest Chrysalis site. As the Senior Site Director, she managed personnel, grants, resources, facility operations and external partnerships. A hands-on contributor and key member of the Client Services Management Team, Nayeli participated in the development and implementation of short and long-term organizational strategies and served as a trusted advisor for Senior Leadership and all Chrysalis Management.
Nayeli has extensive experience working with survivors of domestic violence, the re-entry population and in housing. She is a proud Angeleno who is passionate about serving her community and believes that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. She holds a B.A. in Organizational Leadership.
Donna Sarullo joined Journey Out in 2003 and served as Case Manager and Program Director from 2003 to 2008. Donna has extensive experience in domestic violence having worked with the Domestic Violence Project of Glendale YWCA and the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) program in the San Fernando Valley. While with DART, she assisted victims of domestic violence by riding along in emergency domestic abuse situations with the LAPD as a victim advocate.
In 2008 Donna left Journey Out to serve as Program Director for the Valley Branch of the Arthritis Foundation. Ms. Sarullo returned to Journey Out in 2010 as Outreach Coordinator and now serves as the Director of Programs and Operations. Donna has a Masters Degree in Public Administration – Nonprofit Management.
Cherise Charleswell joined Journey Out in September 2016 as Development & Outreach Manger. Cherise has a multidisciplinary education, having undergraduate degrees in the Biological Sciences and Anthropology, as well as a Masters in Public Health. She is actually serving as The Immediate Past President (after 2-terms as President) of the Southern California Public Health Association (SCPHA), on the Publications Board of the American Public Health Association (APHA) helping to oversee the publication of timely public health research and best practices, and has held other various leadership position with (APHA). Her research, work, and advocacy has traditionally focused on health inequity, women, racial/ethnic minorities; and how social determinants of health in the built environment impacts their health outcomes, quality of life, and life expectancy. Cherise is also a former Diversity Officer, who comes from an immigrant background, and has thus been a champion of culturally and linguistically competent services.
Cherise is also the current Senior Chair of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Social Justice Task Force, she is an Editorial member of the Journal of Peace, Gender, and Development, a co-host and Producer of Feminist Magazine on KPFK 90.7FM – part of the independent Pacifica Radio Broadcast Network, and a former Governing Board Member of the Society for Advancement of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI).
Cherise brings a wealth of professional experience to Journey Out; particularly in terms of grant programs, outreach and collaborations, and program evaluations. She champions the need for solid data – because it not only justifies program funding, but also helps to drive program development and policy; which will ultimately benefit our clients.
An advocate for women, girls, and victims of trauma, Mary has devoted her life’s work to empowering survivors of sexual assault, abuse, and human trafficking. As a prosecutor in Baltimore City, Mary was the lead on human trafficking cases in District Court and handled almost 2,000 criminal cases. She testified on behalf of the Office of the State’s Attorney for judiciary and public hearings in support of human trafficking legislation. She also created toolkits for Polaris Project to train prosecutors handling human trafficking cases. Formerly a United Nations Advisor on Women and Children’s issues, Mary has defended the rights of underserved populations at the UN General Assembly and other key institutions. She also served as Deputy Chair for the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, where she led state-wide trainings for emergency first responders and developed awareness campaigns to assist others in identifying victims of trafficking. In conjunction with the Maryland Governor’s Office, Mary helped draft some of Maryland’s first laws against human trafficking. She currently serves as the Director of Communications for Journey Out, a Los-Angeles based nonprofit organization leading the fight against sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. For her work on these issues, Mary has been featured by the National Press Club, American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative, and Georgetown University, as well as numerous media outlets including ABC, CBS, Fox, WUSA9 and the Huffington Post. Her honors include being named one of the Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders in the World Under Age 33, a leadership award from the U.S. Department of State, and receiving the 2014 Global Impact Award from Heal a Woman to Heal a Nation in recognition of humanitarian service across the US and abroad.
Cindy has been with Journey Out for almost five years. As the chief financial administrator, Cindy oversees all of the financial operations. This includes keeping track of and responding to budget requests, managing the day to day in-flow and out-flow of funds, reconciling all accounts, and maintaining the overall fiscal health of the organization. Prior to joining Journey Out, Cindy worked for the C5 Youth Foundation, an organization that assists inner city youth. For 15 years she was an active volunteer as PTA President, School Site Council President, and President of the Education Foundation. Cindy is a native Californian with 2 kids, Taylor and Blake, and a grandmother of three.
Tika Thornton joined Journey Out in Feburary of 2017, as a Crisis Response Case Manager. Tika is an advocate against sex trafficking. A survivor herself, moved into mentoring and speaking to raise awareness of sex trafficking. She speaks at a group home called Crittenton, where she spreads awareness of trafficking and provides one-on-one peer counseling. Tika is a council member of Long Beach GRIP, an organization that helps at-risk youth. She serves as a mentor to girls who have been arrested, provides them with resources for GED prep, trauma counseling, medical assistance, and housing. Tika also shares her personal story as a survivor to help kids in the Long Beach area understand trauma and guides them to accessing therapy. She is actually serving her first term as President of Long Beach Advocates for Change. Tika is a graduate and sits on the board of directors of the Two Wings Qualified Academy, a nonprofit organization that provides survivors job skills and resources to start careers, and co-facilitates trauma information training. Tika plans to major in Business Administration and/or Psychology in order to start her own organization helping incarcerated youth connect to mental health specialists.
Tika has also conducted a riveting TedEx talk, which can be viewed here:
Raised by a survivor of human trafficking herself, Elvira witnessed firsthand the countless struggles that many survivors and their children face. From a very young age, she knew that she wanted to help women and men who were often forgotten by society. She was drawn to Journey Out after hearing a presentation at CSUN about their work and mission. Soon after, Elvira obtained an internship at Journey Out. This was when she began making the kind of impact that she had always wanted, assisting survivors directly and contributing to outreach and prevention campaigns.
In early Spring of 2020, Elvira joined Journey Out as a case manager. As a case manager, specifically works with Spanish speaking clients, the Latina/o population, and immigrant services. She will also continue spreading awareness about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, as well as empower and encourage those who need it most.
Elvira graduated from CSUN. She plans to pursue a graduate degree and career in social work focused on marginalized populations. She looks forward to helping the clients she serves and seeing each of them grow and prosper in their goals.
Stephanie Grant has been with Journey since 2017. Originally from Texas, Stephanie was drawn to Journey Out because of its mission and impact on the community. She is both a crisis case worker and group facilitator. As a crisis caseworker, Stephanie meets with clients in emergency shelters or at the police department, often assisting survivors who are trying to get away from their trafficker. In this role, she helps clients obtain food, clothing, and other vital resources. She also empowers survivors as a group facilitator, a role in which she builds relationships with clients, provides emotional support, HIV education, self esteem workshops, and assists with job applications. Stephanie is a member of Toastmasters and is a minister in training at her church. She attends Harvest Bible University, where she is studying to obtain a Pastoral degree.
Stephanie Cuevas joined Journey Out in October 2017, and she serves as a Crisis Case Manager. She is a graduate of California State University Northridge and holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis on Criminal Justice. With her degree Stephanie had hopes of becoming a police officer, but through the process she realized that she had another calling, and saw that her passion to help the community could be fulfilled in a different way. Stephanie’s background of service, which includes assisting victims of domestic violence attain restraining orders, helped her transition into her current role of supporting victims of human trafficking. After attending Journey Out’s Human Trafficking Case Manager/Advocate training, Stephanie began working with the LAPD Task force and going out to conduct street outreach. Through this work, Stephanie became more aware of how big of an issue human trafficking is. As a result of her experience at Journey Out, Stephanie hopes to bring awareness to her surrounding communities.
Tasjah Nevill joined Journey out in August 2017 as a Project Coordinator. She is a graduate of Chicago State University and holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management.
Born and Raised Chicago, Tasjah served as Executive Assistant for the 4th Ward Alderman William Burns. There she Assisted city residents in resolving disputes with government agencies, advocated on behalf of underserved communities, and assured effective operation of city services. It is her interest on working on behalf of the most vulnerable populations that led Tasjah to Journey Out.
She relocated to Los Angeles California in June of 2015, and her special areas of expertise include: generating and implementing strategies that enhances community engagement, project management, and public relations. Tasjah brings to Journey Out seven years of professional outreach and community organizing experience.
With her calm spirit and strong problem-solving skills, Lisa has a history of helping people to navigate through tough situations. Prior to Journey Out, she served as an intern at a private psychology practice, where she assisted in interviewing incarcerated juveniles and their families. Additionally, she took part in research to assist first responders with PTSD, and also provided 1:1 therapy to clients.
Lisa also comes to Journey Out with previous experience working with individuals involved in sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, having worked on a crisis hotline as well as in case management. Previously, she served for four years as a 911 dispatcher. Earlier in her career, Lisa served as a special education teacher, working to empower children and youth to overcome a variety of challenges.
Lisa is currently a doctoral candidate for her PsyD in Psychology. Her main interests are in law enforcement and criminal psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology.