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Maria Elena Yepes

As an educator, writer, and community activist for the past thirty years, Maria Elena Yepes has dedicated her professional career to providing higher educational opportunities for the most underserved populations in Los Angeles. As Director of the Learning Assistance Center and a faculty member at East Los Angeles College, she has created several special academic programs and a strong Learning Assistance Center to foster the educational aspirations of thousands of students, many of whom have returned to their respective communities to contribute as teachers, engineers, doctors, union leaders, and attorneys.

To develop these programs and services, Ms. Yepes wrote proposals to the City, State and Federal governments that garnered several thousand dollars yearly to fund the Learning Center ($250,000 annually); the Transfer Opportunity Program ($50,000 for one year); the Summer Immersion Program ($100,000 annually for five years); The GEAR-UP Program ($70,000 a year for four years); and the Hispanic Student Success Program ($90,000 for two years). As a result of this infusion of funds, since 2004, the Learning Assistance Center serves approximately 10,000 students per semester with tutoring and computer assisted instruction.

From 1995 to 2009, Ms.Yepes served on the Board of Directors for the Salesian Boys and Girls Clubs of Los Angeles, and held the offices of Recording Secretary, Correspondence Secretary, Chair of the Program and Human Resources Committees, and Board President. Under her leadership, the Salesian Boys and Girls Club Academic Centers of Excellence were established, and relationships were forged with prominent community organizations such as the Latin Business Association and the Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

In 2005, former ELAC President Ernest Moreno, now Trustee for the Los Angeles Community College District, appointed Ms. Yepes to be Community Liaison with local non-profit organizations, civic officials, and community collaboratives such as the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative and the East Los Angeles Education Collaborative. In 2010, Promesa Boyle Heights was established to plan and implement a sustainability model for the Boyle Heights community, and Ms. Yepes continued representing the college in this new community coalition. In these capacities, Yepes used her link with East Los Angeles College and her extensive community contacts to bring resources to the various organizations with whom she works.

In 2009, Yepes was appointed by Supervisor Gloria Molina to the Los Angeles County Board of Education, where she served a two-year term. The seven-member County Board of Education governs the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE); establishes LACOE policies; reviews and approves a sixteen billion dollar budget; governs the L.A. County Juvenile Court schools, the County High School for the Arts, the County International Polytechnic High School, and five County charter schools; approves the budget for numerous school districts and community colleges; and presides over Inter-District Transfer Appeals and Expulsion Appeals from Los Angeles County public school districts.

In 2012, Ms. Yepes joined the Plaza Community Services Board of Directors where she presently serves. As a Board member, Ms. Yepes assists with governance, fundraising, strategic planning, and budget monitoring.

Ms. Yepes has worked in Monterey Park since 1980, and has lived in the city for 24 years. While raising her sons she was active in the St. Thomas Aquinas Parent Organization and the Monterey Park Sports Club. In July 2014, she was appointed by the Monterey Park City Council to the Board of Trustees of the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library where she currently serves.

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