Meet Our Team - Los Angeles LGBT Center

“... I think I was excited to know that the system is doing something about kids like me and stuff like that, so...I wasn't really nervous. I was more like excited to know the system is actually trying to do something for us.” 

 –Youth Quote 

Read the full report on the Findings from the RISE Youth Qualitative Interviews.

Meet Our Team

riselogotext.png About RISE Meet Our Team

Meet Nancy

I feel like I've come home.

Watch Nancy's Story
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Ariel Bustamante, Training and Coaching Instructor

rise ArielAriel Bustamante (she/her/hers) is a former Liberty Hill Leader to Watch and American Bar Association Panelist with nearly a decade of experience working with social justice non-profits including GSA Network, Liberty Hill Foundation, the ACLU of Southern California, and now the RISE Program at the LA LGBT Center. She attended Green Mountain College, an environmental liberal arts college in the small, rural village of Poultney, Vermont and self-designed her area of study: inequality and oppression studies. As a certified HIV testing and prevention counselor, she worked to increase awareness and access to resources in the small town. For over 6 years, using an intersectional model, she worked to support the leadership development of youth activists and community organizers. As an equity and compliance expert, she has trained thousands of adults in the education sector, service providers, and others across the country at conferences, on panels, and through on-site consultation.

Eko Canillas, Program Manager

rise EkoEko Canillas, M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (she/her/hers) is the Program Manager for the RISE Program. Her passion lies in integrating learning and performance to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.  Her professional portfolio includes the development of an out-of-school time learning center for Koreatown’s school communities, providing capacity-building technical assistance to neighborhood and professional communities across LA County seeking to grow their capacity to affect change and directing programming which addresses access and equity gaps in the places we call “home”. Eko previously served with the RISE Program during its beginnings as a research project and has returned to assist the program’s stakeholders in continuing to improve and stabilize the safety and well-being for LGBTQ+ children and youth in care. 

Eko completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, her graduate studies from Pepperdine University, and her doctoral studies in from the University of Southern California. Her pronouns are her, she and hers.

Ange Castellanos, Training and Coaching Instructor

rise angeAnge (she/her/hers) coordinates permanency plans for youth receiving RISE services and works to ensure that all surrounding adults are LGBTQ-affirming and competent.  She coordinates a team of four care professionals to provide support and therapeutic services to LGBTQ youth and their caregivers.  She earned her B.A. in Sociology from UC Riverside while participating as a student athlete. Ange has been involved in the social service field since 2008.

Abel Tovar Jr., Training and Coaching Instructor

rise abelAbel Tovar Jr. (he/him/his) started his work with the Los Angeles LGBT Center as an intern working with the LEED Center, a youth leadership development program, while pursuing his degree in Rehabilitation Services from California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). Following graduation, Abel returned as a Youth Advocate and was then promoted to Case Manager for the Center’s Enhanced Emergency Shelter Program. Prior to Abel’s work with the Center, his background and experience included being a Leadership Development Assistant Coordinator for CSULA’s Center for Student Involvement as well as Project Choice, an HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Training program, both which he assisted in building curriculum and modules to train young professionals.


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