Help our board reach their fundraising goal!


Maya Blanco


Maya is a storyteller,  community organizer, and activist who  joined the board in 2018 after participating in a community storytelling and playback performance between Rising Youth's youth ensemble and South Phoenix community members. Together, Rising Youth and Maya told a story of her own family, a story of inclusion, disability,  and humor. Now, as a current board member, she strives to advocate 

Cherie Bond - Board President


Cherie has served as the board president for Rising Youth Theatre for one year now. Cherie works in human resources outside of her work with Rising Youth Theatre. Her favorite memory from working with Rising Youth Theatre is the statewide binational arts residency along the Douglas-Agua Prieta border on Feb, 24 2018. For the future of Rising Youth Theatre, she hopes “that our focus on community and youth manifests into building our next generation of leaders that will influence social change

Jessica Gonzalez


 Jessica L. Gonzalez is a new board member for Rising Youth Theatre. She was first introduced to Rising Youth when she attended the Light Rail Plays and met the young artists, from there she was transformed. Outside of Rising Youth, she is an equitable economic development professional. Her hope for RYT in the future is that Rising Youth becomes the vehicle for community to continue to tell its stories through performance in a means that is authentic and real, well into future generations. 

Jeff Goodman


 Jeff Goodman is the immediate past president of the Rising Youth Theatre Board. He has been with Rising Youth for about 5 years now. Jeff used to be a former actor, but now he has turned into a nonprofit marketing professional. He has a lovely wife named Erin, and you can always count on Jeff to have dogs, and either making or eating BBQ. In the future, Jeff hopes that Rising Youth grows into a self-sustaining organization that continues to empower and give voices to young artists, encouraging them to push the boundaries on what art means and how it serves the community and world. 

Lynn Hoffman - Board Treasurer


 Lynn has been working with Rising Youth Theatre since October of 2016, and currently serves as the treasurer of the board. She also serves on the board for Ryan House, a respite and hospice for children with life-limiting medical issues. She also as treasurer for the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Phoenix. She hopes for the future of Rising Youth Theatre that the company can have, “a full-time set of staff members and a well-run infrastructure to permit the artistic creativity to flow and intersect with our community of youths and neighborhoods 

Mia Olibarra


 Mia Olibarria has been a youth board member of Rising Youth Theatre for almost a year, but auditioned for the company’s first production of “Some Are Beginning.” When she is not working with Rising Youth Theatre, she enjoys journalism, hosting, and videography. 

Peggy Oomens


 Peggy Oomens is a mom, pediatric dietitian, Rising Youth Theatre supporter, reader, and foodie. She has worked with Rising Youth Theatre since 2012 and currently serves on our board. She was first introduced to Rising Youth Theatre when her daughter auditioned for the company’s first show, and she even participated in a show with her daughter! Her hope for the future of Rising Youth Theatre is for it “to continue to grow and reach wider audiences and continue to empower youth to take on issues that matter.” 

Violeta Ramos- Board Secretary


  Violeta Ramos is a queer Latina, daughter of immigrants, student of life, a friend who will go above and beyond for you, a mentor that cares, an advocate of justice and equality, an amateur dancer who enjoys a good karaoke night, a curious soul that thrives on adventure both in nature and big cities, a dog mama who spoils her schnauzers, a little chef in my kitchen and on the grill, a foodie open to trying new restaurants and dishes, and a lover of the arts. As a board member, she hopes that the organization can be recognized nationwide for the work that is truly youth driven. 

Tamika Sanders, PhD- Board Vice President



Tamika Lamb Saunders is a Mother, a Poet, an Entrepreneur and Educator who uses Art as a tool to make the world and others around me better! Her people are artists, educators, poets, activists and community members seeking to use the Arts to break barriers, inspire youth and create social change. She has been working with Rising Youth Theatre since 2015. It started through a community partnership for the Bi-National Arts Residency in which Yadira de la Riva was the featured artist. Her first production, was in 2016, "Under the Rug." Since then, she has had opportunity to be in "The Kids Table" and "Bodies are Magic." As a board member, her hope for Rising Youth is to have state wide Conferences and workshops that show Youth Servicing Organizations how to truly have shared leadership with youth and successful collaborations in which youth are leading. 

Gloria Santa Cruz