Meet the Staff

Michele Vavonese

Michele Vavonese

Director of HOPE

Michele considers it an honor to work with, support and introduce to the broader arts industry the highly underexposed and underrated works of HOPE artists. Made up of many truly gifted individuals, Michele comes into work each day invigorated with the possibilities of giving HOPE artists every opportunity their hard work deserves. Through the utilization of fantastic funders, a dynamic HOPE team of professional artists and creative therapists, years of knowledge in programmatic systems,

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Kita Wright

Kita Wright

Executive Assistant

In 2004, I began my career in Special Education serving as a Program Aide with the Garden Grove Unified School District. In this role, I provided hands-on program development to students whom had a wide-range of intellectual disabilities.

After receiving my Credentials in Counseling from the California Biblical Seminary in 2014, my passion for this population was reinforced.

Proudly, I joined Hope Center for the Arts as the Development Assistant to provide programmatic support, working alongside the Director to coordinate strategy development and implementation.

I am just thrilled to be a part of Hope and it’s mission.

Erica Melendez

Erica Melendez

Student Services Coordinator

Erica went to California State University, Dominguez Hills where she obtained her B.A. in Sociology in May 2016. She plans on continuing her education towards a Masters of Social Work. After volunteering in many non-profit organizations, Erica has gained a passion for work in the helping profession. Her compassion towards adults with intellectual disabilities has given her the skills and commitment to improve and strengthen the abilities of the students of Hope Center for the Arts.

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Jorge Chavira

Jorge Chavira

Student Services Coordinator

Jorge Chavira brings an energetic and enthusiastic passion to helping others at Hope Center for the Arts. This devotion also secured him a B.S. in Human Services from California State University of Fullerton.

Jorge’s background as Music Instructor eventually gave him the opportunity to start work at Hope Center for the Arts as a substitute music instructor. Like many of the facilitators at HOPE Jorge is an experienced and professional artist/performer.

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Steve Enzweiler

Steve Enzweiler

Director of Performing Arts | Director of Hi Hopes | Performing Arts Instructor

Steve’s musical passion was inspired by his dad, a jazzstride pianist who introduced him to the American song book, gave him lessons, and showed him some rudiments on an inherited Spanish-American War drum. A professional musician from the age of 13, Steve’s played almost every gig imaginable, from middle school sock-hops to Big-10 Homecoming dances; smokey NYC or Chicago jazz clubs to major concert venues across the country; dates for home grown demos to studio work with grammy recipients. In between gigs,

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Steven Noguera

Steven Noguera

Performing Arts Instructor | Co-Director of Hand Bells

A professional musician since the age of 12, Steven Noguera has performed all across the United States; and composed and recorded over 60 pieces of music.   For a significant portion of his life he was a successful entrepreneur and business owner.  However, after being struck by personal tragedy when his only son lost his life to spinal meningitis, Steven was inspired to redirect the focus of his life and his career when in 1999 he joined the Hope family.

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Danielle Tsujino

Danielle Tsujino

Performing Arts Instructor

Danielle Tsujino has a range of experience and expertise in Theatre and Film. Danielle started acting at the age of 8 in her church’s Christmas Play. From there, she performed in a variety of plays and performed in her first film at the age of 18. As a graduate of Judson College and The Los Angeles Film Studies Center, Danielle specializes in Screenwriting, Video Production, and Acting. During college, Danielle interned at Jennifer Lopez Enterprises. Upon graduation, Danielle worked for Disney, No Fear Productions, and Spyglass producer, Mike Kelly, on the film, Underdog, as a VFX Production Assistant. From there, she worked at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center as the Alumni Relations Assistant and Production Coordinator for student films.

As an actor she has attended Lesly Kahn and Co.  and performed standup comedy at the Comedy Club in Hollywood. She is trained as a commercial actor and trained in scene and character study. She has appeared in several short films and plays throughout her career. 

Her experience with the intellectual disabled population started when she volunteered with a church in Canada during college that had an intellectual disabled population among their congregation members. Danielle then became a mentor to a child with Autism while she lived in Los Angeles. Danielle loves teaching the students at Hope, watching them expand their creativity and becoming their own filmmakers.

Diana Maddox

Diana Maddox

Director of Therapy Services | Director of Choir | Co-Director of Hand Bells | Music Therapist

Diana is a Board-Certified Music Therapist, HOPE Choir Director at Hope Center for the Arts and the Director of Therapy Services. She received her B.A. in Music Therapy from California State University Northridge and is currently obtaining her Masters in Counseling at California State University Fullerton. She completed her music therapy internship at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville, Washington where she worked with patients in Medical Surgery,

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Lauren Romphf

Lauren Romphf

Dance Movement Therapist

Lauren Romphf is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist and dance instructor who recently joined the HOPE team! Lauren received her BFA in Dance from Wayne State University and her MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University.

Lauren has been a dance performer all her life, training and performing in styles ranging from Modern and Ballet to Hip-Hop and Congolese. As a dance/movement therapy intern, Lauren has worked in an inpatient psychiatric unit, a school for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a safe haven shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence.

In addition to HOPE, Lauren also works as a dance/movement therapist within the Prime Healthcare hospital system. Lauren aims to use dance and movement to help the students at HOPE express their authentic selves and showcase their abilities.

Sandra Carter

Sandra Carter

Director of Visual Arts | Hope Handcrafted Coordinator

Sandra D. Carter is certified in both Horticultural Therapy and Social-Emotional arts therapies from UCLA and engaged as a therapeutic fiber arts facilitator. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of special education focusing on adults with intellectual disabilities. Sandra has a trained  therapeutic approach to instruction which is evident in her appetency of task breakdown and tailored alternative instruction. Sandra is a fully regarded fiber artist.

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Fatima Franks

Fatima Franks

Visual Arts Instructor

( Bio Coming Soon )
Julie Ford Reister

Julie Ford Reister

Visual Arts Instructor

Credentials: Quality Life/Social Skills Coaching, privately, since 2000. “Yoga for the Special Child” Certified 1998. Yoga instruction privately and at Down Syndrome Assn. OC, and United Cerebral Palsy. Film and Video Certificate Program, Orange Coast College, 2003.

Time with Hope: Since 1995

Our Mission

Our Mission: Through the arts, we transform the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities.
Support our MissionBecome a HOPE Artist

Hope Center for the Arts

121 South Citron Street, Anaheim, CA 92805
info@hope4arts.org
714- 778 – 4440

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