- Douglas G. EmslieMHA, Board ChairDouglas G. EmslieMHA, Board Chair
Douglas G. Emslie, MHA, Board Chair: has an entrepreneurial background and a great commitment to non-profit endeavors.Â He founded two companies, a non-emergency medical transportation company specializing in dialysis and chemotherapy patients and an emergency medical services creating Lifeline Medical Transportation which offered highly targeted interfacility critical care ambulance services primarily for neonatal and cardiac patients. These companies were merged into MedTrans, a multinational corporation, which is now the American Medical Response. He was Director of Operations, Director of Marketing and, Director of Critical Care Services. He currently works with food services in the film and entertainment industry. He has served on the Board of Managers-South Pasadena-San Marino (L.A. Metro) YMCA; Board of Directors-Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Los Angeles; Board of Directors-Partners in Care; Board of Directors (past president)-California Medical Transportation Association; Board of Directors (past treasurer)-Private Ambulance Providers™ Association of Los Angeles; Commissioner-Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Commission; Board member (past president)-Los Angeles County Ambulance Association; member Ventura County Ambulance Advisory Board; Board member (past president)-Oneonta Club.
- Richard H. GravesDPM, Website DirectorRichard H. GravesDPM, Website Director
Richard H. Graves, DPM, Website Director: A Board Certified podiatrist practicing in the Long Beach area since 1995. He graduated from the California School of Podiatric Medicine in 1993 and was valedictorian of his class. Dr. Graves grew up in Long Beach and is a graduate of Lakewood High School, Long Beach City College, and UC Irvine. He earned honors in track and cross country at each of those schools including high school and junior college state finalist and NCAA All-American. He still holds the 5000 meter record at Long Beach City. He continues to participate in long distance running events and finished the Boston Marathon. Dr. Graves™ interest in running is what fueled his desire to be a podiatrist. He now has two offices in Long Beach and specializes in sports medicine. He is also the team podiatrist for UC Irvine athletics. He has volunteered with Special Olympics for the past 15 years and is the Clinical Director of their Healthy Athletes-Fit Feet program. Dr. Graves enjoys his work and charitable efforts very much, but his favorite time is spent with his three granddaughters.
- Martha DuncanBS, CP, Grant Writing Committee MemberMartha DuncanBS, CP, Grant Writing Committee Member
Martha Duncan, BS, CP, Grant Writing Committee Member, is currently a Provider Contracts Manager at Molina Healthcare in Long Beach. She obtained her B.S. Public Administration degree from the University of Arizona and a Paralegal Certificate from Cerritos College. She holds a Certified Paralegal credential and worked as a paralegal for the Disneyland Resort. She is a veteran of the United States Army, serving as an Intelligence Analyst. She has been a member of First Congregational Church since 2005, serving on the Boards of Stewardship and Finance, Parish Life and Diaconate. For each of her board terms she served at least one year as Chair. She is currently the co-leader of the Guest Chef program at First Church that works with the Catholic Charities shelter in Long Beach to provide homemade dinners to their guests. She is also active with the Long Beach Playhouse as a performer and director. She currently works as a project manager for Molina Healthcare.
- Debra MooreB.A., M.Div., M.L.S., Grant Writing Committee MemberDebra MooreB.A., M.Div., M.L.S., Grant Writing Committee Member
Debra Moore, B.A., M.Div., M.L.S., Grant Writing Committee Member, has been a librarian at Cerritos College since 2001; she also served as Faculty Senate President at Cerritos from 2009-2012. Deb received her B.A. in religion from Oberlin College, her M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School, and her M.L.S. from UCLA. Deb has been a member of First Congregational Church since 2005 and has served on the Board of Outreach and Social Justice and the Diaconate. She served as the Church Moderator in 2015. For several years, Deb served as a coordinator of the Guest Chef program at the church which provides meals to residents of the Catholic Charities™ shelter in Long Beach and was awarded the Ralph S. Pillsbury Service Award in 2012. Deb is an ordained Congregational minister, and while she served a church in Sherman Oaks, she also served as a board member for the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry. Deb is happy to be working with Urban Community Outreach to serve the church™s neighbors in Long Beach. She is currently working as a librarian.
- Israel RodriguezIsrael Rodriguez
Israel Rodriguez is currently a Senior Representative in the Enrollment Medicare department at Molina Healthcare Inc. in Long Beach CA. He also serves as the volunteer coordinator for employees at Molina Healthcare where they work with various non-profits which support the poor and underprivileged in the city of Long Beach enhancing the company’s vision and mission of community service. His previous background for over 20 years was in the Banking and Insurance industry where he has held various positions such as Development Consultant and Sales Manager. There he helped mentor and develop many young professionals who are now industry and community leaders. Since 2013, he has been a member and volunteer of the Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation (LAHTF). He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the LGBTQ Center Long Beach where he provided financial and human capital to grow awareness in the community. In addition to all of the above, Israel’s passion and drive has called him to volunteer and has played a major role in the Long Beach community and was awarded the GO Long Beach, Steward of the 2nd District, Long Beach Giving and Long Beach Heroes awards respectively.
- Cheryl DoorbarCheryl Doorbar
Cheryl Doorbar, B.A. is a native of Southern California. She received her B.A. in Social Science from Chapman University. Cheryl worked as a Major Subcontracts Procurement Agent for the Boeing Company for over 25 years. She has been a member of First Congregational Church of Long Beach since 2006, serving on the Boards Social Justice and Outreach, Cultural Arts and Parish Life. She currently is a volunteer for the Guest Chef program at First Church, helping to prepare and serve meals to residents of the Catholic Charities shelter in Long Beach. Cheryl currently works as a Procurement Compliance Auditor for Boeing.
- David L. PlowmanDavid L. Plowman
David L. Plowman, BA, has been a member of First Congregational Church since February, 2017 and frequently attended services there many years prior to that. David’s association with UCO dates back to 2014, where he helped served meals to guests, and volunteered with the Grant Writing Committee. David also volunteers with the Guest Chef program. David has held various staff and freelance writing positions, and more recently has been providing administrative support services for an organization in the aerospace industry.
- Kimel ConwayKimel ConwaySince January 2018, Kimel Conway has been a weekly volunteer at our drop-in community center. He has been a member of First Congregational Church since November, 2017 and was recently appointed to the Board of Stewardship & Finance. Retired after 37 years of public sector service in the fields of Parks and Recreation and Urban Planning, he has a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Urban Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has served on the Board of Trustees at South Coast Botanic Garden Foundation for over 5 years. He has also been a volunteer reader to six kindergarten classes at Longfellow Elementary for 18 years. Originally from Maryland, Kimel has been a resident of Long Beach since 1990.
- Hannah SchwartzHannah SchwartzHannah Schwartz is originally from Germany. She moved to Southern California in 1992. She works as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer overseeing several MRI centers in Southern and Northern California. She has been in the medical field for 20+ years. Volunteering has always been important to her. She has been a committee member for the Relay for Life in Mission Viejo for almost 10 years and has worked as a crew member for the Avon Walk for 12 years, until the final event in 2017. She volunteered for the first time at the drop-in Center in 2012. In 2018 when she became a Long Beach resident, she decided to come every Sunday to help serve food at the center.
- Rev. Elena LarssenRev. Elena Larssen
The Rev. Elena Larssen has served as the 13th installed Senior Minster of The First Congregational Church of Long Beach (United Church of Christ) since 2013.
A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Pacific School of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union, Rev. Larssen studied theater at Occidental College. Ordained to the campus ministry at Stanford University, she previously served two local churches as Associate Minister (Palo Alto, CA and La Grange, IL) and was Associate Conference Minister for the Minnesota Conference from 2008 to 2013; in that role, she was the youngest regional executive in her denomination.
Nationally, Rev. Larssen is a Presidential Fellow of her denomination, Vice President of the Board for the Christmas Fund, and deeply engaged in leadership development for new clergy. Locally, Rev. Larssen is actively engaged with CCEJ, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, and member of the current class with Leadership Long Beach. She is passionate about the power of congregations of all faiths to fight poverty, keep the arts alive, and build a just and tolerant society.
Rev. Larssen is married to the Rev. Mark Pettis; they have one son and a basset hound.
- Alvina Mehinto, PhDAlvina Mehinto, PhD
Alvina Mehinto, PhD, is a Principal Scientist at Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority (SCCWRP) in Costa Mesa CA. Originally from Paris (France), she received her BSC (hons) in Marine Biology from the University of Portsmouth (UK) and her PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Exeter (UK). For nearly 10 years, she has worked as an ecotoxicologist, evaluating the impact of chemical contaminants on environmental and public health. She is currently serving on various technical advisory boards for regional and national institutes such as the Water Research Foundation. She is also co-secretary for the Southern California chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
Alvina joined the Urban community Outreach in January 2018 as a volunteer to prepare and serve food at the drop-in center every Sunday. She became a Volunteer Coordinator in August 2018. Prior to joining UCO, she was a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Long Beach Relay event.
- Gayle TaggartVolunteer Programs & Events PlanningGayle TaggartVolunteer Programs & Events Planning
Gayle Taggart, Volunteer Programs and Events Planning Committee. Gayle is proud to have been born and raised in Long Beach. As a lead volunteer at the Drop-In Center for over 5 years, Gayle has shown a deep desire to help those who are in need. She sees first-hand the importance of extending respect and dignity to all, regardless of their resources. Gayle is retired from working in the fields of telecommucations, health-care and senior housing. Gayle lives in Long Beach with her husband Ron and is a proud mother of two adult children and grandmother of a boy.
- Larry ForesterLarry Forester
Council Member Larry Forester was elected to the Signal Hill City Council in 1998. He was re-elected to his sixth term in March 2015, serving as Mayor in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2015. Larry retired in March 1995 from the Okonite Company as a Technical Sales Engineer Due to HIV/AIDS. Larry was diagnosed HIV positive in September 1985; and diagnosed with AIDS in June 1994. Larry has been living with AIDS due to successful “Triple Drug Therapy” and the Grace of God.
From 1995 to 2005, Larry served as Chair of the Board “Being Alive Long Beach,” a peer lead HIV advocacy group: providing education, support, and compassion for those living with HIV/AIDS. Being Alive is a 501(c)(3)Corporation formed in 1987. From 1998 to 2005, Larry chaired the Board “Being Alive Housing” (formerly St. Francis House), transitional housing and a Residential Care Facility for people with HIV/AIDS. Since that time Larry has kept a focus on HIV/AIDS through the CARE Program at St. Mary’s Hospital and other HIV/AIDS fund raisers – Long Beach AIDS Walk, CARE, etc.
Larry has also served on the boards of the following organizations:
- 1994-1998 – AIDS Walk of Greater Long Beach.
- 1999-present – Board Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts.
- 2000-present – Steering Committee for Coalition for Practical Regulation (CPR) – an ad hoc group of 39 Los Angeles County cities.
- 2001-present – Board Member, Conservation Corps of Long Beach, Chair 2005 to 2009
- 2001-present – Advisory Board Long Beach Unified School District.
- 2002-present – Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Energy and Environment Sub-Committee and Water Quality Task Force.
- 2006-present Board Member Los Angeles County Division League of California Cities
- 2007-present – Gateway Cities Council of Governments, I–710 EIR/EIS Committee.
Education: BS Civil Engineering University of Notre Dame 1969
MS Ocean Engineering Catholic University of America 1971
- Jorge PantojaJorge Pantoja
Jorge Pantoja knows first-hand the challenges of being homeless. When he came out to his family at the age of 17, they booted him out of the house, forcing him to live in his car for several months before he found more permeant housing.
But rather than let the experience embitter him, it emboldened him, and taught him the value of giving back. “I think everyone needs a little help in order to be guided toward a better direction.” Jorge said. Indeed, Jorge helped guide many people since he was homeless. Prior to joining the UCO Board, Jorge spent three years volunteering with Children’s Hospital Orange County and various nursing homes and read stories aloud to the old and young, Jorge has also fundraised for AIDS Walk for five years, and has completed the walkathon in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County.
When he isn’t volunteering, Jorge works as a Sales Executive in the food industry.
- John Taylor KnessAdvisorJohn Taylor KnessAdvisor
John Taylor Kness, Advisor, retired as a Director of Current Schedules from America West Airlines in September of 1999. He has been in the airline industry since 1967. Since retirement, he has done consulting work with Sabre Technologies in Bahrain and Polar Air Cargo in Long Beach. Mr. Kness has a Masters Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. He is a Viet Nam veteran. He has been a member of First Congregational Church of LB for ten years.
- Rev. Jerry StinsonAdvisorRev. Jerry StinsonAdvisor
Rev. Jerry Stinson, Advisor, was a magna cum laude graduate of Occidental College and the Divinity School at Harvard. He retired as Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Long Beach at the end of December, 2012. He has served as a United Church of Christ minister for 41 years. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the following four organizations: The Southern California American Civil Liberties Union, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, The Christian-Muslim Consultative Group and the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. He is also a volunteer staff member for the Center for Progressive Christianity.
- Alison MoralesMA, SecretaryAlison MoralesMA, Secretary
Alison Morales, MA, Secretary: graduated with a degree in Special Education from the Pennsylvania State University in 2005 and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from National University in 2007. For the past ten years, she has served as a special day class teacher for the Long Beach Unified School District, specializing in working with students with significant cognitive and physical delays and those requiring access to mobility opportunities and augmentative and alternative communication programs. From 2006-2008, she served as the Director of Youth Programming at Community Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC) in Los Alamitos, CA. From 2010-2013, she served as an Adviser for the Southern California Nevada Conference of the UCC Youth Roundtable. From 2011-2012, she served on the Pilgrim Pines Board and the Outdoor Ministry Team for the Southern California Nevada Conference of the UCC. She has been a member of First Congregational Church, Long Beach since 2011.
- Gary SheltonAdvisorGary SheltonAdvisor
Gary Shelton, Advisor, served on the UCO board as an active member from 2010 until 2015 when he found that he could no longer attend all the meetings due to his obligations elsewhere. His sister, Janet Rhodes, was the founder of the Drop-In-Center in 2009. Gary is a steady advocate for the rights and well being of seniors, lower-income people and the homeless. He is currently the chair of his senior building’s tenant association and represents it as a member of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, working for justice in senior Section 8 housing. He is on the board of ICO (Interfaith Community Organizations) and has served on the boards of the Greater Long Beach Homeless Coalition, Friends of Lincoln Park and Social Justice & Outreach of the First Congregational Church. He has also served the City of Long Beach on the Community Development Advisory Commission and the Homeless Services Advisory Committee.
- Justine SchneeweisBA, J.D., Grant Writing Committee Member, Community LiaisonJustine SchneeweisBA, J.D., Grant Writing Committee Member, Community Liaison
A Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. She works out of the Long Beach office with the Supporting Families Workgroup, which encompasses both immigration and family law for low-income communities of Los Angeles. Most of Justine’s work involves assisting survivors of torture, domestic violence, and sexual assault in their immigration matters, as well as staffing the Domestic Violence/Family Law Clinic at the Long Beach Courthouse. In addition to providing direct legal services, Justine’s work also involves educating immigrant communities and service providers in Long Beach and the Greater Los Angeles area about their constitutional rights in the wake of an era of increased immigration enforcement. Prior to joining Legal Aid, Justine was a Staff Attorney at Public Law Center in Santa Ana and an Associate Attorney with the Law Office of Carol A. Sobel, where she worked on civil rights impact litigation cases affecting homeless communities in Los Angeles.
- Heather R. Chambers, CPAHeather R. Chambers, CPA
Since graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in 1972, Heather has been in the accounting business. She started her career working for her uncles at Halter and Associates in the early 70's and took on increasingly more tasks until taking over the family business in 2011. When not hard at work at Heather R. Chambers, CPA Inc, Heather often creates greeting cards with silly rhymes, does cross-stitch or crosswords, or is singing and performing with Landmark Theatre. She also plays hand bells and sings in my church choir. Heather is married with two grown children.
Each board member contributes annually to Urban Community Outreach.