“Our expectations are always high …always with a personalized focus to help students excel in their academic performance, recognize their strengths, and rise to their full potential as future leaders.”

Meet Our Team

John Norman

Executive Director

Hello, my name is John Norman. Over the past 16 years, I have held leadership positions within the non-profit youth development field for various organizations— YMCA, LEAPS After School Program, Hayward Parks & Recreation District, and the Boys & Girls Club. I am a graduate of California State University, Eastbay (CSUEB), I have obtained my undergraduate degree in Communications (2009) and my graduate degree in Leadership from Saint Mary’s College (SMC) in 2020. My passion stems from an unwavering belief that a strong systematic approach to youth development is the answer to the call-of-service for the 21st century, especially for youth at-risk. Our organization’s core values mirror my personal beliefs and my dedicated commitment to being an agent of change.

Additional Info: work cell (209) 361-6202 email jnorman@raisingyouthresilience.org, school site: Chavez

Initiatives: Rise Up Challenge & Virtual Step Show


Lavell Jackson

Student Advocate and Site Coordinator

Hello, my name is Lavell Jackson, and I’m a Student Advocate and Site Coordinator for Raising Youth Resilience (RYR). I have been a Youth Mentor/ Leader for over 7 years. I have worked for the After-School Program with Boys and Girls Club and volunteered my time with my church working with youth. I’m in the process of completing my Associate’s Degree in Arts, then plan to transfer to Stanislaus for their Bachelor’s Degree program in Liberal Arts. I love working with students and inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves. My passion is God, spending quality time with my family and creating music. I will continue to bring to RYR a positive attitude and a great big smile.

Additional Info: work cell (209) 310-4001 email, ljackson@raisingyouthresilience.org, school sites: Edison High School, Chavez High School & Bush Elementary

Initiative: RYR Podcast

Albert Salazar

Student Advocate and Site Coordinator

Hello, my Name is Albert Salazar. I had a very interesting upbringing. I was raised within a family of immigrants from Mexico, and my home life was dysfunctional and broken. The personal traumas I experienced as a youth, were a direct link to my at-risk behaviors. Something I always say, “Proving that one’s past never dictates their future”. I ultimately developed a passion for a career in law enforcement and discovered a passion for helping those, who like me, struggle with the dynamics of troubled youth.

Additional Info: work cell (209) 310-4003 email asalazar@raisingyouthresilience.org, school sites: Chavez High and Bush Elementary

Kayla Mercado

Student Advocate/Mentor

Hello, my name is Kayla Mercado. I was born and raised in Stockton CA and graduated from Bear Creek High School. I played sports the majority of my life and earned a full ride athletic scholarship. I attended an HBCU in Oklahoma where I studied Criminal Justice and Psychology. I am currently in graduate school pursuing a dual master’s degree in counseling and forensic psychology. After about a year working in the juvenile justice system, I knew I wanted to work with children and families.

I’ve been working with youth and families for about 5 years now and I have successfully supported students who were struggling academically, emotionally or needed support with behavioral issues.


Additional Info: work cell (209) 905-6370, email kmercado@raisingyouthresilience.org, school site: Stagg High

Initiative: Mental Health Mentorship

Sylvia Warner

Student Advocate/Mentor

Hi, my name is Sylvia Warner. I’m a proud wife, mother of four, and a passionate and self-motivated individual dedicated to serving my community. I have over ten years of experience working with children and families. I have also worked as a certified Group Home Administrator. I have extensive knowledge in mentoring, case managing and supporting youth in various environments including schools as well as level 14 group homes.


Currently, I’m a valuable team member in my community. As a mentor, I have extensive experience working with youth through 1 on 1 case management, hosting conflict mediations and facilitating social emotional learning groups. I always say, “I strive to be the caring adult our youth can always depend on”. I find that by meeting and greeting each youth with a smile, I can help them become the best that they can be.


Additional Info: Work cell (209) 905-6373, Email swarner@raisingyouthresilience.org, School site: Stagg High

Alen Navarro

Student Advocate/Mentor

Hello, my name is Alen Navarro was born in Mexico City, Mexico and raised in Stockton, California with my parents, two brothers and sister. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in psychology while also enjoying the beach and forest at UC Santa Cruz. While in college, I realized my passion for helping others out in any capacity, including youth within my communities. I strongly believe that “the youth are our future ” and desires to be a catalyst for change in the lives of the young people I work with.
I also worked on the school campuses of Franklin High School in Stockton, Montezuma Elementary, and was also a Facilitator and Case Manager for an after-school program at the Kennedy Community Center.

My strong qualities make me a good fit to handle the social emotional development of the youth that I mentor. I am bilingual, being a native Spanish-speaker. I am very adaptable as shown in my commitment of transition, working from the elementary level to the high school level. In addition, I have excelled at facilitating groups, which is an integral component to the work done in the school campuses. Without a doubt, I think students would describe me as very approachable. I do so by putting myself out there, being a young vibrant soul, very relatable and takes the initiative in handling students’ needs when needed.
My favorite food is chicken wings, and I enjoy traveling and I’m a big fan of Marvel comics.

Additional Info: work cell (209) 905-6345, email anavarro@raisingyouthresilience.org, school site: Stagg High

Initiative: RYR Latinx Corner

We Appreciate Your Support

Raising Youth Resilience is a 501 (c)(3)

Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve the lives of children in Stockton, CA. 



(209) 227-8977




1163 East March Lane,
Suite D #490
Stockton, California 95210