We are proud to announce that Volunteers make up 85 % of our workforce.

Youth Interactive works because Santa Barbara’s most creative and successful business owners, teachers, artists, artisans and talent, all guiding and teaching our students to innovate, create, experiment, learn vocational skills, financial literacy, and the fundamental business skills needed in the modern workplace. Increasingly, our staff and mentors are assisted by emerging student leaders employed, to support, inspire and work side by side with new students.


Core Staff

Nathalie Gensac

Founder & CEO

 Media4Good (M4G) was started as a new model of charity and was nominated by Ernst & Young as social entrepreneur of the year!  Social entrepreneur Natalie Gensac founded the production based organization in 2005 to use the power of media to reach out to a new generation of intelligent givers—people who need to know their contributions will truly make a sustainable difference in the global struggle against poverty and illiteracy. To that end she founded the Youth Interactive program in 2008 initially working with communities oversees until in 2012 she decided to concentrate on creating an impact at home and Youth Interactive Santa Barbara opened its doors in the fall of that year.

Media4Good (M4G) was started as a new model of charity and was nominated by Ernst & Young as social entrepreneur of the year!

Social entrepreneur Natalie Gensac founded the production based organization in 2005 to use the power of media to reach out to a new generation of intelligent givers—people who need to know their contributions will truly make a sustainable difference in the global struggle against poverty and illiteracy. To that end she founded the Youth Interactive program in 2008 initially working with communities oversees until in 2012 she decided to concentrate on creating an impact at home and Youth Interactive Santa Barbara opened its doors in the fall of that year.

Geoffrey Berz

Program Director

  Geoffrey Berz, a graduate of SBCC and UCSB, has been a highly networked member of the Santa Barbara community for the last 12 years. His 5 years of for profit and 4 years of non-profit experience give him a balanced understanding of the complex needs at Youth Interactive. Over eight years as a part-time and full-time volleyball coach, teacher and club director his love for mentoring youth came to fruition. Moreover, his experience with and passion for creatively building socially impactful organizations presents a positive dynamic for Youth Interactive’s future and mission. One of Geoffrey's biggest passions is to understand the most prominent organizations online and their influence in the social impact space.

Geoffrey Berz, a graduate of SBCC and UCSB, has been a highly networked member of the Santa Barbara community for the last 12 years. His 5 years of for profit and 4 years of non-profit experience give him a balanced understanding of the complex needs at Youth Interactive. Over eight years as a part-time and full-time volleyball coach, teacher and club director his love for mentoring youth came to fruition. Moreover, his experience with and passion for creatively building socially impactful organizations presents a positive dynamic for Youth Interactive’s future and mission. One of Geoffrey's biggest passions is to understand the most prominent organizations online and their influence in the social impact space.

Jessica Niehues

Administration

 Jessica Niehues is a native of Brazil and a former student at Youth Interactive.  Jessica graduated from University in Brazil before moving to the US where she enrolled at SBCC to continue learning more about Psychology.   Jessica is also a very accomplished artist! She was one of 16 artists selected to participate in the Postcards of Santa Barbara Public Mural Project and she has used her artistic prowess and organizational skills to not only become an amazing support for YI Administration, but a highly engaged mentor for the Creative Studio. 

Jessica Niehues is a native of Brazil and a former student at Youth Interactive.  Jessica graduated from University in Brazil before moving to the US where she enrolled at SBCC to continue learning more about Psychology. 

Jessica is also a very accomplished artist! She was one of 16 artists selected to participate in the Postcards of Santa Barbara Public Mural Project and she has used her artistic prowess and organizational skills to not only become an amazing support for YI Administration, but a highly engaged mentor for the Creative Studio. 


Youth Interactive Mentors

 

 

VOCATIONAL MENTORS

Matt Rodriguez

  Matt Rodriguez is a local Santa Barbara Funk Zone artist and muralist. Matt is the graphic designer and one of the creative visions behind Lucidity and was one of the original and regular AMASS Gallery artists. A professional ceramic artists for the past 13 years, Matt has been exploring line, shape, color, rhythm and balance in his paintings. Working from his home studio, His creative works can be seen throughout Santa Barbara. His work engages in a playful outlook and appreciation for Santa Barbara and the place he calls home.

Matt Rodriguez is a local Santa Barbara Funk Zone artist and muralist. Matt is the graphic designer and one of the creative visions behind Lucidity and was one of the original and regular AMASS Gallery artists. A professional ceramic artists for the past 13 years, Matt has been exploring line, shape, color, rhythm and balance in his paintings. Working from his home studio, His creative works can be seen throughout Santa Barbara. His work engages in a playful outlook and appreciation for Santa Barbara and the place he calls home.

David Diamant

  Art is simultaneously my madness-blocker inhibitor & my straight jacket. It is my sigh, my hack, my crock-pot, my rage, my bleach, my blanket, my air. I am a Santa Barbarian. I once studied Organizational Communication & used to sing in operas & a cappella ensembles. I work in pen & ink, spray paint, acrylic, photography, recycled materials & digital imaging. Thanks to all that like, dislike, follow,   unfollow  , love, hate, acknowledge, write about, think about, talk about, attend art shows or buy art. Couldn't do it without you. And yes, it is scary AND awesome.   www.davidjdiamant.com

Art is simultaneously my madness-blocker inhibitor & my straight jacket. It is my sigh, my hack, my crock-pot, my rage, my bleach, my blanket, my air. I am a Santa Barbarian. I once studied Organizational Communication & used to sing in operas & a cappella ensembles. I work in pen & ink, spray paint, acrylic, photography, recycled materials & digital imaging. Thanks to all that like, dislike, follow, unfollow, love, hate, acknowledge, write about, think about, talk about, attend art shows or buy art. Couldn't do it without you. And yes, it is scary AND awesome. www.davidjdiamant.com

 

business mentors

Albert Carrasco

 My vast experiences have allowed me to develop a diverse skill set that I can be proud of. I am always looking to learn more, challenge myself, and contribute to society.  I didn't have anyone to guide me through many processes which led to me learning lessons the hard way. I like working with Youth Interactive because I get to share what I have learned with the next generation. I anticipate great things from these kids.

My vast experiences have allowed me to develop a diverse skill set that I can be proud of. I am always looking to learn more, challenge myself, and contribute to society.

I didn't have anyone to guide me through many processes which led to me learning lessons the hard way. I like working with Youth Interactive because I get to share what I have learned with the next generation. I anticipate great things from these kids.

Jessica Niehues

 Jessica Niehues is a native of Brazil and a former student at Youth Interactive.  Jessica graduated from University in Brazil before moving to the US where she enrolled at SBCC to continue learning more about Psychology.   Jessica is also a very accomplished artist! She was one of 16 artists selected to participate in the Postcards of Santa Barbara Public Mural Project and she has used her artistic prowess and organizational skills to not only become an amazing support for YI Administration, but a highly engaged mentor for the Creative Studio. 

Jessica Niehues is a native of Brazil and a former student at Youth Interactive.  Jessica graduated from University in Brazil before moving to the US where she enrolled at SBCC to continue learning more about Psychology. 

Jessica is also a very accomplished artist! She was one of 16 artists selected to participate in the Postcards of Santa Barbara Public Mural Project and she has used her artistic prowess and organizational skills to not only become an amazing support for YI Administration, but a highly engaged mentor for the Creative Studio. 


 

Vocational Mentors

George Swiggum

 Born and raised in Santa Barbara , I like to refer to myself as a craftsman, I have 25  years of experience in the industry. I have taken on all kinds of projects over this time, but this is the first time I am building our future. As more and more schools remove more programs like metal shop , and wood shop we are left with a generation that hasn't had access to developing certain skills. These programs instill so many qualities into our youth that they are priceless, and without a mentor to teach these kids the skills we have learned will disappear . I had the privilege to take many of these classes at our public schools here in Santa Barbara and I am honored to be able to give some of that back.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara , I like to refer to myself as a craftsman, I have 25  years of experience in the industry. I have taken on all kinds of projects over this time, but this is the first time I am building our future. As more and more schools remove more programs like metal shop , and wood shop we are left with a generation that hasn't had access to developing certain skills. These programs instill so many qualities into our youth that they are priceless, and without a mentor to teach these kids the skills we have learned will disappear . I had the privilege to take many of these classes at our public schools here in Santa Barbara and I am honored to be able to give some of that back.

Paul Renteria

 

Business Mentor

Chad Burgoyne

 I grew up in a small Indiana town with dreams of serving my Country.  Like a lot of youth today I wasn’t focused on school, but found my passion in sports, building/fixing things, and hanging with friends.  It wasn’t until my Junior year in High School that my folks didn’t get weekly calls from the school for my poor behavior.  It was then that I realized there was a greater story to write for myself.  As my parents steered me to further my education after High School in lieu of the Service, I tried to find something I was passionate about.  I knew I didn’t want to be in a corporate office and found that my love of building things could be a lucrative career.  Now leading teams in commercial and luxury estate construction, I felt blessed and wanted to give back to the community.  When I was approached about Youth Interactive I knew it was the place for me.  The passion I saw in Nathalie and Geoffrey resonated with me and you could also see it in these young adults.  These participants remind me a lot of myself during High School.  They have a lot of passion and are still trying to write their story.  I find a lot of passion trying to help them write their future chapters.  

I grew up in a small Indiana town with dreams of serving my Country.  Like a lot of youth today I wasn’t focused on school, but found my passion in sports, building/fixing things, and hanging with friends.  It wasn’t until my Junior year in High School that my folks didn’t get weekly calls from the school for my poor behavior.  It was then that I realized there was a greater story to write for myself.  As my parents steered me to further my education after High School in lieu of the Service, I tried to find something I was passionate about.  I knew I didn’t want to be in a corporate office and found that my love of building things could be a lucrative career.  Now leading teams in commercial and luxury estate construction, I felt blessed and wanted to give back to the community.  When I was approached about Youth Interactive I knew it was the place for me.  The passion I saw in Nathalie and Geoffrey resonated with me and you could also see it in these young adults.  These participants remind me a lot of myself during High School.  They have a lot of passion and are still trying to write their story.  I find a lot of passion trying to help them write their future chapters.  


 

Business Mentors

James Wolfe

 JAMES WOLFE was named Chief Executive Officer of Balance Bar Company in 1995, and President of the company in 1997. Mr. Wolfe briefly served as a Senior Consultant to Balance Bar Company before being named CEO. In addition, he joined Balance Bar Company’s Board of Directors in 1993 (at the time Bio Foods, Inc.). Prior to joining Balance Bar Company, Mr. Wolfe served as President of Wolfe Marketing, a Santa Barbara-based consulting firm, from 1986 to 1995. During those nine years, he worked with Cadbury Schweppes, Welch’s, Quaker Oats and Celestial Seasonings. Mr. Wolfe has additional experience from several senior management positions with 7-Up Foods, Coca-Cola USA and Welch’s. Mr. Wolfe earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Buffalo and conducted postgraduate work at New York University.   

JAMES WOLFE was named Chief Executive Officer of Balance Bar Company in 1995, and President of the company in 1997. Mr. Wolfe briefly served as a Senior Consultant to Balance Bar Company before being named CEO. In addition, he joined Balance Bar Company’s Board of Directors in 1993 (at the time Bio Foods, Inc.). Prior to joining Balance Bar Company, Mr. Wolfe served as President of Wolfe Marketing, a Santa Barbara-based consulting firm, from 1986 to 1995. During those nine years, he worked with Cadbury Schweppes, Welch’s, Quaker Oats and Celestial Seasonings. Mr. Wolfe has additional experience from several senior management positions with 7-Up Foods, Coca-Cola USA and Welch’s. Mr. Wolfe earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Buffalo and conducted postgraduate work at New York University.

 

Ivan Rodriguez

   Ivan is a seasoned professional at his young age holding several managerial positions within the financial industry. Ivan's entrepreneur journey is a very real one as he and his family have a window replacement business in LA County, which he has been a intricate part of from a young age.

 Ivan is a seasoned professional at his young age holding several managerial positions within the financial industry. Ivan's entrepreneur journey is a very real one as he and his family have a window replacement business in LA County, which he has been a intricate part of from a young age.

 

Vocational Mentor

Andrea Rodriguez  

 Andrea has been with youth interactive since 2013 she has been baking since 2011 and enjoys teaching others the nifty science behind it. When she is not working, she can be found on the beach reading, bombing mad hills or practicing yoga.  Her favorite book is Brave New World and if she could live anywhere in the world it would be the lush mountains of Peru. She is currently working on a political science degree at the University of Santa Barbara

Andrea has been with youth interactive since 2013 she has been baking since 2011 and enjoys teaching others the nifty science behind it. When she is not working, she can be found on the beach reading, bombing mad hills or practicing yoga.  Her favorite book is Brave New World and if she could live anywhere in the world it would be the lush mountains of Peru. She is currently working on a political science degree at the University of Santa Barbara


Vocational Mentor

Ranell Hansen

 I am the sewing mentor for Pier Pressure Designs. I have taught sewing for over 25 years, been a classroom teacher, a business owner, managed a retail store and worked in the garment industry. My goal is to facilitate learning to sew like a pro while having fun and creating beautiful merchandis

I am the sewing mentor for Pier Pressure Designs. I have taught sewing for over 25 years, been a classroom teacher, a business owner, managed a retail store and worked in the garment industry. My goal is to facilitate learning to sew like a pro while having fun and creating beautiful merchandis

 

Business Mentors

Business Mentor

Pier Pressure Designs

Genine Iffla

 Genine Iffla is the Director of Events and a head Trainer at Independent Means. Prior to joining the IMI team, Genine spent four years in Seoul, South Korea teaching in private and public schools, as well as facilitating communications and global interaction skills with business executives. She spent her free time traveling throughout Asia and becoming conversational in Korean.  Genine graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Communication Studies. While studying, she interned as a political communications strategist and as a reporter at WPBTV18, where she wrote, hosted, and produced informational broadcasts and was noted to be the first intern to have her programs aired. Upon graduation, she accepted the position as PR Executive for Ambit Advertising and Public Relations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, working closely with various businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations throughout South Florida and the US.  Genine is a volunteer business mentor at the Santa Barbara teen center, Youth Interactive. She has been known to go an adventure or two, traveling to over 30 countries and 30 states, and she is always looking forward to adding more.

Genine Iffla is the Director of Events and a head Trainer at Independent Means. Prior to joining the IMI team, Genine spent four years in Seoul, South Korea teaching in private and public schools, as well as facilitating communications and global interaction skills with business executives. She spent her free time traveling throughout Asia and becoming conversational in Korean.

Genine graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Communication Studies. While studying, she interned as a political communications strategist and as a reporter at WPBTV18, where she wrote, hosted, and produced informational broadcasts and was noted to be the first intern to have her programs aired. Upon graduation, she accepted the position as PR Executive for Ambit Advertising and Public Relations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, working closely with various businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations throughout South Florida and the US.

Genine is a volunteer business mentor at the Santa Barbara teen center, Youth Interactive. She has been known to go an adventure or two, traveling to over 30 countries and 30 states, and she is always looking forward to adding more.

Business Mentor

Pier Pressure Designs

Whitney Webb

 Whitney Webb is the Director of Operations, as well as a head Trainer and co-director of Camp Start-Up. Before coming to IMI, Whitney was a Kiva Fellow in Kigali, Rwanda where she worked to strengthen partnerships and increase the reach of microfinance, through employee trainings and industry research.  Whitney graduated from the University of Florida, and, upon graduation, accepted a position with Porter Orlin hedge fund, in NYC, where she performed investment research for the managing director. During her three years there she also volunteered at The International Center, teaching English and mentoring members who were new to the US. She left New York to travel and volunteer with various NGOs within southeast Asia and South America in the areas of education and business sustainability.  Whitney is a board member and volunteer business mentor at Youth Interactive, a non-profit teen center in Santa Barbara working to promote leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

Whitney Webb is the Director of Operations, as well as a head Trainer and co-director of Camp Start-Up. Before coming to IMI, Whitney was a Kiva Fellow in Kigali, Rwanda where she worked to strengthen partnerships and increase the reach of microfinance, through employee trainings and industry research.

Whitney graduated from the University of Florida, and, upon graduation, accepted a position with Porter Orlin hedge fund, in NYC, where she performed investment research for the managing director. During her three years there she also volunteered at The International Center, teaching English and mentoring members who were new to the US. She left New York to travel and volunteer with various NGOs within southeast Asia and South America in the areas of education and business sustainability.

Whitney is a board member and volunteer business mentor at Youth Interactive, a non-profit teen center in Santa Barbara working to promote leadership and entrepreneurial skills.


Business Mentor

Albert Carrasco

 My vast experiences have allowed me to develop a diverse skill set that I can be proud of. I am always looking to learn more, challenge myself, and contribute to society.  I didn't have anyone to guide me through many processes which led to me learning lessons the hard way. I like working with Youth Interactive because I get to share what I have learned with the next generation. I anticipate great things from these kids.

My vast experiences have allowed me to develop a diverse skill set that I can be proud of. I am always looking to learn more, challenge myself, and contribute to society.

I didn't have anyone to guide me through many processes which led to me learning lessons the hard way. I like working with Youth Interactive because I get to share what I have learned with the next generation. I anticipate great things from these kids.

Vocational Mentor

Jaime Alatore

  I was raised in Santa Barbara, after high school I moved to San Diego, than too San Francisco where I attended art school, soon after I started my career in the arts and design, especially in the action industry, I helped small brands to bigger companies build their identity I learned a lot and enjoy giving back what I have inquired through the years! As a person and designer.

I was raised in Santa Barbara, after high school I moved to San Diego, than too San Francisco where I attended art school, soon after I started my career in the arts and design, especially in the action industry, I helped small brands to bigger companies build their identity I learned a lot and enjoy giving back what I have inquired through the years! As a person and designer.


Inspirational Speakers

Throughout the semester Youth Interactive students also benefit from regular inspirational one off presentations and classes conducted by top business experts, established artists, artisans, non profits and professional speakers.