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Aaron Valencia is the Executive Director and Founder of the Lost Angels Children’s Project (LACP). Aaron is a custom classic car builder who creates amazing, award-winning cars. He also has a passion for helping youth which stems from his own difficulties growing up and experiences with drugs and jail. After turning his life around, he pursued a passion for classic cars and started his own custom car restoration business. Prior to starting LACP, Aaron volunteered at Grace Resources as a Hot Meal Leader for several years. Then he came up with an idea to help disadvantaged youth by teaching them how to work on classic cars. 


In 2014 Aaron founded LACP as an afterschool program to engage at-risk youth through mentorship and skills training in classic car restoration. Each year, Aaron and his students built a different sweepstakes vehicle for the Ventura Nationals Car and Motorcycle Show to help sustain the program. LACP eventually moved into a new building and now includes a t-shirt silk screening social enterprise, and a work program for transition-age youth. For his efforts, Aaron won the CNN Hero award and has been featured on the Jay Leno Show, Miller's “We Build," Tekton Tools’ “Find What’s Real," and Lowrider Magazine’s "Roll Models." 


Aaron’s goal is to provide young people with the tools they need to succeed and help open doors and opportunities that improve their quality of life. He thrives on teaching and empowering youth in our community to rise above their circumstances

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Board of Directors


Christina Smith

City of Lancaster, Programs Director

Christina has led an impressive career as an administrator and consultant in her 20+ years working in the Public Sector. She currently is the sole proprietor of the public service consulting firm K2 for VU; where she helps people, businesses, and organizations achieve innovative solutions to the problems they face so that they can meet and, ultimately, surpass their goals and societal expectations.


Carl Sheaffer

Maintenance & Operations Manager,  
Pasadena City College

Carl's work directly impacts the learning environment of students, faculty, and staff on the Pasadena City College Campuses. Carl believes strongly in the importance of a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment for students to learn and experience life. He was once a Peace Corps volunteer where he helped to design and build water systems and bridges for undeveloped communities in the Dominican Republic.


Holly Gollob-Stein

Tres Noir Optics,
Chief Operating Officer

Holly studied Design and Visual Communications at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and began to assist in promoting the Ventura Nationals Car and Motorcycles Show. She quickly became the lead promoter for the event and shortly thereafter joined forces with the Lost Angels Children's Project (LACP) in 2013. Holly has served on the Board of LACP since its founding and has been instrumental in organizing and promoting the organization’s annual giveaway fundraiser. Holly has served as the Event Producer for the Ventura Nationals since 2010. 

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John Maceri


Empower and Employ

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Jim Waggaman

Waggaman’s Kustomz, Owner

For the past 30 years, Jim has been operating ‘Waggaman’s Kustomz & AirStream Studio’, taking factory-designed, ‘stock’ motorcycles and cars, and transforming them into his ‘own’ style. Jim has had several of his projects featured in National and International publications as well as online.

So with his background in Kustom cars and motorcycles, it was just natural for him to learn about the ‘Lost Angel’s Children’s Project’.  His respect and appreciation for their founder, Aaron Valencia, and his mission touched him deeply. Jim, almost immediately, became a supporter. Jim’s contributions and involvement have given him a sense of ‘humble pride’.


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Cheyanne Capelo

Director of Operations

Cheyanne keeps our organization running efficiently. Her attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and commitment to providing a conducive learning environment for our students make her an indispensable member of our team. Her efforts behind the scenes enable us to deliver top-notch training and support, helping our students build successful careers in the manufacturing industry.


Laura Evans

Director of Job Development

With extensive experience in workforce development and a deep commitment to creating pathways to success, Laura plays a pivotal role in ensuring our students transition seamlessly into the workforce. Her industry knowledge, strategic partnerships, and dedication to securing living-wage jobs empower our graduates to build stable and rewarding careers.

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Kyndra Kinnard

Case Management

Kyndra ensures that every individual receives the personalized guidance and support they need on their journey towards success. Her unwavering dedication to our students' long-term success is a driving force behind our mission, making her an integral part of the Lost Angels team.


Yanelie Banegas

Office Manager

Yanelie plays a crucial role in keeping our organization running smoothly. With her exceptional organizational skills and dedication to our mission, Yanelie ensures that administrative tasks are efficiently handled, allowing our team to focus on providing top-notch vocational training. Her friendly demeanor and attention to detail make her an invaluable part of our team, ensuring that our students and staff have the support they need to succeed.


Wilton Tran

Creative Director

Wilton brings our students' success stories to life through compelling visuals and engaging content. His commitment to showcasing the transformative power of vocational training makes him an integral part of our team, helping us reach and inspire a broader audience to support our mission.



Shop Dog

Best shop dog ever.



Bernie Blanco

Shop Manager

Navigating the pulse and rhythm of our bustling shop, Bernie Blanco stands as the cornerstone of our daily operations. As the Shop Manager, he seamlessly orchestrates tasks, ensuring that every gear in our mechanism moves in harmony.


Mario Grande

Lead Mechanic

With over 15 years of experience in the automotive world, Mario serves as our in-house Master Mechanic. He is not just passionate about the intricacies of mechanics, but also deeply committed to inspiring the next generation.


Marc Anguiano

Lead Welding Instructor

Emerging from our work program, Marc is a testament to the transformative power of dedication and hands-on education. A proud graduate of our program, Marc's journey has come full circle as he now imparts his welding expertise to the next wave of aspiring welders


Destiny Prieto

Lead Trevor Instructor

Destiny's journey with Lost Angels began as a Class 3 graduate, and today, she stands as a beacon of inspiration at our Trevor location. After completing our program with dedication and excellence, Destiny emerged as a shining example of what determination and skill can achieve passing on knowledge to new cohorts.


Garey Cooper

Lead Bodywork Instructor

Garey, our Lead Bodywork Instructor, brings decades of industry expertise to Lost Angels. With precision and passion, he mentors students in the art of automotive body repair, ensuring they graduate as skilled technicians and artists ready to excel in the field.

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Natalie Vallarta

Body work instructor

Natalie's impact extends beyond technical skills; she fosters a supportive learning environment where creativity thrives, inspiring students to push boundaries and achieve their full potential in the industry

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