Leadership Team

Carolyn Olsen

Executive Director/Co-Founder
colsen@fyifosteryouth.org | 661-360-1500 ext. 700

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Carolyn enjoyed a successful career in the banking industry. Following the birth of her first child, she left the corporate world to focus on raising her children and volunteering in the community. Carolyn has served in nonprofit leadership roles in Santa Clarita for over 20 years. She was introduced to the foster care system in 2016 when she became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Assigned to work with a 17-year-old foster youth, she quickly realized the unique challenges faced by youth transitioning to adulthood without parental support. As Carolyn began finding ways to help the young woman for whom she was advocating, she developed a passion to use what she was learning to help as many foster youth as possible. In 2017, Carolyn joined forces with her friends Gina Stevens and Stacey Anton, and the three founded FYI. Under Carolyn’s leadership, FYI has grown from an idea to a team of 7 staff and over 100 volunteers who have served 164 foster youth to date.

Gina Stevens

Program Director/Co-Founder
gstevens@fyifosteryouth.org | 661-360-1500 ext. 701

At age fifteen, Gina found herself mourning the death of her high school sweetheart while simultaneously awaiting the birth of her first child. In spite of the odds stacked against her as a young single mother, Gina went on to obtain her high school diploma, earn a BA in Liberal Studies with a minor in Psychology/Child Development, and gain employment with the prestigious nonprofit, Teach for America. Gina eventually met and married her husband and went on to have three more children. In 2011, Gina and her husband added to their family by becoming foster parents to two teenagers who now belong to their forever family. Gina’s firsthand experience with the needs and challenges facing foster youth transitioning to adulthood and her passion about ensuring their access to higher education drove her to act. Together with her friends Carolyn Olsen and Stacey Anton, she founded Fostering Youth Independence (FYI) and developed the programs that are changing the lives of Santa Clarita’s foster youth. Gina’s obvious love and concern for each youth in the FYI community is one of the greatest reasons for FYI’s success.

Crystal Larochelle

Youth-Ally Coordinator
clarochelle@fyifosteryouth.org | 661-360-1500 ext. 705

With a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Crystal began her career as a technical writer and moved on to become a marketing communications writer for an international consulting firm. A lifelong volunteer, Crystal has held various board positions with nonprofits such as A Better Living Permanent Housing and Supportive Services, the Parent Association of Legacy and Sunshine Schools, and Valencia Summit’s HOA swim team. Crystal’s passion for education, children and providing opportunity to those facing challenges drew her to FYI, where she became an Ally in 2017. Since Crystal became a Youth/Ally Coordinator in February 2019, she has become a strong advocate for FYI’s youth.

Debie Kimball

Youth-Ally Coordinator
Dkimball@fyifosteryouth.org | 661-360-1500 ext. 706

Debie joined the FYI team in 2020 after many years of working with children, both personally and professionally. She served for over 25 years in her local church’s children’s ministry, seven years of that on staff as the Administrative Assistant to the Children’s Pastor. After raising her own two children, now adults, Debie and her husband heard about a foster child who had already been through eight placements and needed a new home. They opened their home to him and quickly learned more about the child welfare system and the great needs that foster children and youth have. Debie began volunteering on the OneMore Foster Initiative team at her church, where she connected with Gina Stevens and FYI. Debie has a huge heart for helping others and was attracted to FYI’s vision to support and nurture foster youth to become successful, thriving adults. She was excited to turn her calling into a job when she joined the FYI staff.

Diane Nussbaum

Youth-Ally Coordinator
dnussbaum@fyifosteryouth.org | 661-360-1500 ext. 703

Diane comes to FYI from the field of education. She began her career as an elementary school teacher. While raising her family, she transitioned into working as an instructional coach and a student-teacher supervisor through her school district and at CSU Bakersfield. Diane holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a School Administrative Service Credential. Working with children and young adults in the learning process is a passion for her. Diane is an active volunteer in the community through many organizations such as the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, sports teams, homeless shelters, and her parish church. She had volunteered for FYI for several years before joining the leadership team in 2020 and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of foster youth.

Pearl Alcantara

Youth-Ally Coordinator
palcantara@fyifosteryouth.org I 661-360-1500 ext. 702

Like many FYI youth, Pearl received her education at College of the Canyons and Cal State Northridge. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Pearl started her career in the commercial banking industry and then transitioned from a working professional to a full-time wife and homemaker. After Pearl’s third son was born, she and her husband started a construction company here in Santa Clarita that has successfully operated for over 20 years. Being a business owner allowed her to also dedicate time to her three sons, volunteer and provide assistance to numerous youth activities including theater arts, jazz choir, show choir, track, cross country and football. Her love and dedication to her sons is what inspired her to join FYI and contribute to an organization that believes that every child in the foster care system deserves a chance for a better future. With her third son now in college, Pearl is happy that she found the FYI community and the opportunity to serve FYI youth and make a difference in their lives.

Ofelia Galvan

Youth-Ally Coordinator
ogalvan@fyifosteryouth.org | 661-360-1500 ext. 707

An alumna of Cal State Northridge, Ofelia spent 25 years working in the financial sector while volunteering for a variety of organizations. Ofelia married her high school sweetheart, and together they raised four children and saw all of them off to college. Now empty nesters, they wanted to give back to the community in a very different way. Ofelia and her husband were considering adopting or fostering when they learned about Fostering Youth Independence from a local church. FYI’s mission, vision and beliefs aligned with what Ofelia passionately believed and how she raised her own children, empowering them to seek a post-secondary education and eventually become successful, independent members of society. During the process of becoming a volunteer Ally, Ofelia was asked to instead join the team as a staff member. Ofelia hopes to impact many young lives for a very long time.

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