The Pride Center wouldn’t be on the map today, (literally) without our incredible team. We’re grateful for every one of them.
Working both nationally in the US and provincially in Ontario, Canada, Frankie has been entrenched in social justice advocacy and programing for 20 years. He started out his career working with youth and creating workshops around leadership, advocacy, and anti-oppression. Quickly moving into the field of HIV, he ran a peer education program around HIV prevention, substance use, and harm reduction. He has experience as a Capacity Building Specialist partnering with Indigenous communities to help them run their own HIV prevention campaigns and educational events. Frankie’s portfolio also includes experience speaking about sexuality, gender identity, active listening, sex education, and equity. He is well-versed in volunteer management, event planning and coordination, public speaking, and community networking. He supervised and operated a peer-run Ontario-wide LGBT phone/chat support line. Most recently, Frankie co-directed a province-wide harm reduction capacity building program to support networks of frontline workers, their managers, and public health units around overdose prevention, best practices, and supporting extremely marginalized and silenced communities. Frankie views his work through a lens of intersectionality and implements his vision utilizing strategic thinking. He is deeply connected to his Filipino roots and has a complicated history with the messiness between gender and sexuality. He has worked as a consultant to nonprofits, has been featured as a plenary speaker at conferences across Ontario and the US, is an excellent baker, and brings his humor and life experiences with him everywhere he goes. Oh! And he may also bring his adorable dog!
Operations & Volunteer Programs Lead
Born and raised in El Cerrito, Ainsley brings a deep love for this collection of cities by the Bay to the San Mateo County Pride Center as the Operations and Volunteer Programs Lead. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Community Studies and Poetry, Ainsley put their passion for people, community building, and healing to work at non-profits across the Bay running programs and planning events. In need of a new adventure, they spent 2.5 years in New York City where their experience as the only out non-binary wedding planner in the NYC industry led them to become an educational leader on LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Ainsley is now back in the East Bay and loves nothing more than watching the sunset over the ocean. When they aren’t excitedly making spreadsheets and connecting with people, Ainsley loves crafting of all kinds, studying the stars (astrologically), making up silly songs, tending to their houseplants, and petting every cat possible.
Lead Case Manager & Clinical Data Coordinator
Born and raised in Fremont, Alex has lived in the Bay Area his entire life. Driven by his passion and dedication to help improve the lives and well-being of fellow LGBTQIA+ individuals, Alex earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University in 2016. Since then, he has gained valuable experience serving local community-based nonprofits and has specialized in work with homeless and at-risk youth. As the Pride Center’s Case Manager, and a member of the queer community himself, Alex brings his knowledge, enthusiasm, and creativity to the forefront of his work. By cultivating the unique strengths and abilities of the those under his care, and by connecting them to any resources and services they may need, he aims to help individuals achieve wellness and autonomy while meeting their goals. Outside of work, Alex enjoys unwinding by spending time with his loving partner and family; staying fit through yoga, dance, and kickboxing; rocking out on the drums; and binge watching his favorite shows with his cat.
they/them/theirs or she/her/hers
Lead Trainer & Events Coordinator
Azisa (Zi) Todd was born and raised in Oakland, and their pronouns are they/them, sometimes she/her, or simply Zi. Much of their community work started young when they were a Girl Scout and continued into high school. While in high school, she did the usual queer things like co-organize the Queer Straight Alliance and Feminist Club. After they went on to undergrad, they served as a member then director of BlaQue, UCLA’s Black LGBTQ+ organization. They hosted events, workshops, and study sessions up until the pandemic hit. Having since graduated from UCLA, she decided to jump back into academia and pursue their master’s in public health at San Francisco State University with an emphasis in community health education. Their long-term goal after they complete their MPH is to pursue a DrPH or PhD in public health and teach what they have learned to college level students.
They are excited to be the Lead Trainer and Events Coordinator position at the San Mateo County Pride Center because of their background in organizing and hosting events for the queer community in LA and the various workshops they helped develop; doing this form of work is both rewarding and joyful for Zi. Outside of academia and work, they are learning how to roller skate and watch a lot of anime.
Bonnie is a writer and editor who was born and raised in San Diego. She has lived in Chicago, Tel Aviv, and Toronto and is now pleased to make the Bay Area her home. She attended Northwestern University for her undergraduate degree, and York University for graduate school. Most of her free time is spent on books, music, and movies. She currently lives in Oakland with her wife and small dog.
Ellyn Bloomfield, RCFE
Older Adult Program Coordinator
650-403-4300 ext. 4383
Advocate and educator, Ellyn brings over twenty years of experience working in community based, non-profit organizations serving the needs of disabled and aging adults. Ellyn has assisted older adult community members in finding affordable housing by locating available resources to support services for eviction defense, healthcare, employment, and mental health counseling. Ellyn also coordinated Friendly Visiting and Senior Peer Counseling Programs where LGBT community members were matched with volunteers to help overcome isolation and create community connections and additional support. She has been a certified long-term care administrator (RCFE) at the Home for Jewish Parents and a guest lecturer in the gerontology department at San Francisco State University. The former Social Services Manager at Openhouse, Ellyn has assisted hundreds of LGBT older adults with accessing aging and community resources and services. A resident of Foster City, Ellyn considers herself a lifelong learner, curious, and growing day by day.
Marilyn-Rose Calosing Fernando
Marketing & Community Engagement Lead
Marilyn is the Marketing and Community Engagement Lead for the San Mateo County Pride Center. She is a First-Generation Filipina-American who graduated with BA in Women and Gender Studies from San Francisco State University in 2017. She has been an organizer with the San Francisco Dyke March for the past 5 years and has served as the co-chair for the past 2 years. Her experience as an organizer with the Dyke March and identity as a QWOC has emphasized her devotion to creating safe, accessible and inclusive spaces for Queer folks to gather and build community. She is originally from Salinas and moved to San Francisco 10 years ago. If the Golden Girls were zodiac placements, she describe herself as a Rose Sun, Blanche Moon & Rose/Dorothy cusp rising. Outside of work, you can find her karaokeing to George Michael, watching cooking shows, and thrifting or re-watching episodes of Bob’s Burgers on her spare time.
Men Chun Wong, AMFT
he/him/his or they/them/theirs
Clinical Program Coordinator
Registered Associate MFT #117496
Supervised by Ralph Notor, LMFT
Men Chun is a Hong Kong Chinese, born in The Netherlands, who is determined to make a difference in the communities, and extended communities he identifies with. He has lived in and around the Bay Area for over 16 years. His passion for the creative process, and curiosity for the human psychology steered him towards obtaining a BA in Psychology and Art from UC Davis. He obtained his Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Expressive Arts at JFK University in Pleasant Hill. He trained with Star-Vista’s Crisis Center in 2018 and worked with children and youth struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. At the Pride Center, Men Chun works with a wider variety of the population in categories such as age, LGBTQ+, and any intersectional identities that come with them. While also trained in traditional psychological approaches as a foundation, he believes Expressive Arts Therapy can be a perfect holistic modality for working with the LGBTQ+ community, known for their expression of colors, resilience, diversity, and strengths. Furthermore, when working with individuals, groups, couples, and families, Men Chun follows the Pride Center’s lead by using a strengths-based, and client-centered application of therapeutic interventions. He is extremely thrilled to be a part of a community center that embodies the resilience, strengths, and beauties of the communities they serve.
Verna Barrientos, ASW
Mental Health Clinician & Intake Coordinator
Verna is a Bay Area native. She is a lover of both formal and informal education, and received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from San Jose State University in 2018. Currently, she is obtaining hours toward becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). By Verna obtaining her MSW degree, and working toward becoming an LCSW, she is living proof that it is important for people with mental health challenges to dream big because they can accomplish amazing things in their lives.
Verna has lived with depression and anxiety since she was a teenager, and several of her family members also live with mental health challenges. Verna has lived with depression and anxiety since she was a teenage, and several of her family members also live with mental health challenges. Verna strongly believes that some of the ways to end stigma around mental illness are by creating a space for open and honest conversations about mental health and wellness, having unconditional love and support from peers, friends, and family members, and for service providers to be knowledgeable and empathetic about mental health and wellness. Some of the ways Verna utilizes self-care are by reading books with strong female characters, playing card games, practicing mindfulness, having deep and meaningful conversations, and going for walks on the beach with her pound puppy Zero.
The San Mateo County Pride Center is an innovative and ongoing collaboration between four local nonprofit organizations and San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), each with strong community roots and a demonstrated commitment to improving the lives and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. Together, these four organizations created the Pride Center as a means to provide a safer space in which the LGBTQ+ community can truly thrive with faster, easier access to direct services. Along with providing guidance and support, each of the collaborators meet together as one staff for case consultation, cross training, and the sharing of resources.
Learn more about our partner organizations
Outlet of Adolescent Counseling Services empowers Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQQ+) youth and builds safe and accepting communities through support, education, and advocacy. Outlet envisions a world that embraces, empowers, and celebrates LGBTQQ+ youth.
Peninsula Family Service strengthens the community by providing children, families, and older adults the support and tools to realize their full potential and lead healthy, stable lives. They envision a community where opportunity, financial stability, and wellness are secured for all.
StarVista delivers high impact services through counseling, skill development, and crisis prevention to children, youth, adults, and families. Their vision is for all children, youth, and adults to receive quality services to support them in reaching their potential.
Additionally, we are proud to work with other local LGBTQ+ organizations such as the PRIDE Initiative and the LGBTQ Commission of San Mateo County, PFLAG, Queers Have a Higher Power Alcoholics Anonymous, Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network, and the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center Clinic.