Bianca is chicanx, non-binary and bisexual individual. They went to Walnut Creek Intermediate where they started the GSA club. That’s where their love for helping others and trying to make the world a better place started. They began coming to youth group in March 2016. Then in 2017 they started the Rainbow Youth Leadership Project for three months along with some other resilient individuals. They spoke on panels and facilitated some workshops at the Welcoming Schools and Committees Summit/ Rainbow High. That was just a taste of all the lovely things they wanted to do. Bianca knew, from the first day of youth group when they were making tea and flower crowns, that they were going to work there one day. This was their dream job at age 13 and they are beyond excited for the endless opportunities at Rainbow when it comes to understanding their community and their needs. As a freshman, they were a representative of Latinos Unidos; as a sophomore, they were treasurer; and as a junior and senior year, they became president and changed the name to Latinx Unidos.
Carol Osmer Newhouse, LCSW
Carol (she/her Pronouns) identifies as Lesbian and Queer, and. comes to Rainbow with over 30 years of clinical experience. She has worked as a Therapist in Private Practice and in agency settings as Program Director, Training Director, and Clinical Director of a community based Mental Health Agencies. Currently Carol provides Clinical Supervision of Psychology students, and therapists in training for Licensure: Clinical Social workers, Licensed Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. She has worked in this capacity at John F. Kennedy University, Pacific Center for Human Growth, and Rainbow Community Center. Carol assists therapists in finding their clinical confidence, expertise, and particular skill in working with the LGBT+ community, and other marginalized populations. She works from a place of authenticity, presence and mutual empowerment.
HIV Prevention Manager
Christian was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. He immigrated to the United States when he was 12 and eventually attended Alhambra High School. After graduating, he earned Makeup Artist and Hair certifications from NY Makeup Academy in San Jose, CA.
As a teenager Christian discovered the Rainbow Community Center (RCC) Youth Program, where he gained the strength and confidence to be himself. Christian always valued giving back to his community, so he became a volunteer at the RCC for over a year. While participating and volunteering at the RCC, Christian became passionate about LGBTQ+ sex education and HIV prevention.
While at the RCC, Christian went on to work as an HIV Prevention Specialist and Youth Outreach Counselor. In addition, he now has the opportunity to coordinate the HIV prevention program at the RCC as the HIV Program Manager. As the HIV Program Manager, he focuses on group facilitation, HIV/STD testing, social media outreach, community events, and fundraising.
Christian believes that the “personal is political” and has been involved in several non-profit organizations around the Bay Area that focus on helping LGBTQ+ and undocumented folks such as Si a la Vida in San Francisco and The Sanctuary in Berkeley.
You might even find yourself at an event such as Drag Queen Story Hour at a local library or a Pride Stage in the Bay Area, where Christian’s drag queen persona, Bella Aldama performs. As always, remember to take a picture with Bella if you see her, she loves interacting with the community and being in front of the cameras!
Older Adults Program Manager
Christopher received his Bachelor of Science at Boston’s Northeastern University and an addition graphic arts degree at Epping Forest College, London, England. His most recent work experience was as a Program Coordinator for 140+ disabled/formerly homeless seniors in a supportive housing setting. Prior to that, Christopher lived in Zurich, Switzerland for 7 years and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia and taught English in Dharamsala, India.
Cristina is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Rainbow Community Center. Her past endeavors range from being a bike messenger to earning an FCC License and broadcasting in Top Forty Radio. Raised in San Francisco, Cristina was also very much inspired by and always gravitated towards the Cultural Arts. The Mission Cultural Center housed a space of Arts, Dance and Music. There, Cristina was a student of Capoeira, silkscreening and Dance. "La Danza Azteka allowed me to give back to the community in a very spiritual way." The well being of Mind Body and Soul are very important to Cristina and has always felt a need to help others balance and navigate through tough times. Having moved from City to City in the last five years, Cristina has found herself in the East Bay helping the most marginalized such as the Rainbow Spectrum and would very much like to use her past experiences and skills for the greater good! "At this point in my life and the times that we are going through, it is Paramount that we invest in each others well being."
Community Support Worker
Joanna is a trans woman who hails originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She moved to the Bay Area in 1972 living in Berkeley happily married for 30 years. Then moved to Concord in 2007, strangely not discovering Rainbow until early 2015. Joanna is currently celebrating five happy years out of the closet, and into the world. During that time she has worn many hats at Rainbow from support group attendee and facilitator, to Food Pantry client, volunteer, then eventual Manager. She served as Secretary on the Board of Directors 2016-2018, stepping down to accept employment first as Pantry Manager, now as Community Support Worker focused in graphics, training, and other forms of information processing and communication.
Kiku originally hails from Michigan and has been living and thriving with his partner in Oakland, CA since 2004. Kiku is an educator, trainer, and consultant engaging his human development, design thinking, with a visual arts background focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Kiku has 30 years of experience with youth development and responsive community program design, outreach, implementation, impact, evaluation, and advocacy through a social justice lens. Kiku is independently and collaboratively adept at creating culturally and trauma-informed, accessible approaches and content for a wide variety of intersectional communities including LGBTQI+, People of Color, youth, and adults working across sectors including juvenile justice, education, mental health, community-based, and faith-based organizations. He has traveled the country educating on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Affirming Approach and Expansive Practices connected with the CDC funded handbook he authored that is open source. Kiku is a Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Supporting LGBTQ Youth Certificate Program Fellow. He loves being in community with all folx with a special affection for the cat community. Kiku loves teaching mediums for expression like stained glass construction and is fascinated with how things work and embodying MacGyver at every opportunity! He's writing a book about his life journey through trauma and transition. Most importantly, Kiku knows liberation is found every time he gets on the dance floor!
Hello everyone! I'm a true native of Contra Costa County....yes...birthed, raised here always. The LGBTQ+ community is in my heart and soul, and all of my being. I'm definitely a people person, talk with every walk of life. I've learned a lot of life experiences that I'm always glad to share.
Interim Training Coordinator
Laura brings 25 years of experience inspiring resilience in youth and their families through a regionally informed, intersectional lens. She has trained nationally and developed curriculum to support educators, administrators, facilitators, and youth workers in providing restorative practices in their setting with a particular focus on serving LGBTQ+ youth. She most recently taught for 10 years where she was the Athletic Director, 8th grade advisor, and Social Emotional Learning curriculum writer and teacher. She also was the adult advisor to the GSA and currently co-leads an adult Professional GSA for teachers. Before teaching, Laura worked in the non-profit sector serving youth in Detroit, and later working to empower athletes of all abilities as the Vice President of Regional Sports at Special Olympics Northern California. In her free time she loves to swim, cook up new recipes in the kitchen, and explore the bay area with her amazing partner!
Marcos Apolonio received his Master of Social Work degree with an emphasis in Community Mental Health from California State University East Bay, and a Bachelor of Theology degree, with an emphasis in Education and Pastoral Care, from Universidade Adventista São Paulo, Brazil. He has a rich experience as a community leader and counselor in Brazil and in the United States. Since 2003 he has been working in the U.S. as an advocate, spiritual counselor, community organizer, and mental health therapist. He also has extensive training and experience working with the LGBTQ community and is in the process of being certified by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
He works with young adults, families, and adults in search of support. For the therapeutic relationship, he combines different modalities of treatments, but his main framework is focused on empowerment and strengths, and acknowledging the influence of social inequalities, while processing difficult and traumatic life circumstances.
Marcos is a professor at California State University East Bay at the Master of Social Work Program. Besides English, he is also fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Matthew is a gay male originally from Michigan. Who moved from Montreal to the Bay Area in 2000. His preferred pronouns are he/him/his. March 2019 he returned back to work after being on SSDI for 12 years due to a spinal injury. His energy, and positive attitude are infectious. After working in Law Enforcement and Retail Management, he has now committed himself to social justice and helping the LGBTQ+ community here at Rainbow.
Youth Outreach Coordinator
Niq Muldrow is an unapologetic queer trans guy who lives for Social Justice. A freshman at Diablo Valley College, he is double majoring in social work and social justice. He is a 2017 recipient of the eQuality Scholarship for his activism in school as well as his work with GSA Network. They were a youth council member at GSA Network as well as represented Northern California at GSA Network’s National Gathering gathering in Columbus Ohio in August 2017. He will be receiving a Youth Activist Award in October from Queer LifeSpace for his work uplifting trans and queer people of color.
Philip Baker, MA, AMFT
Philip is a proud biracial gay man who grew up in Contra Costa and used to attend the Rainbow Center's youth group as a teenager. He attended UC Santa Cruz for his undergraduate degree before getting his master's degree in counseling at John F. Kennedy University. He loves the chance to support the mental health of LGBTQ+ teens, adults, and families in area, especially around working through trauma that many in the community experience. When he's not working, you can find him singing, cooking, dancing, or spending time with his dog, Iris.
Rae Messer, ASW
Rae is excited to serve the LGBTQIA+ community in Contra Costa County, where she grew up. Rae got her Masters of Social Work at Hunter University in New York, and is committed to supporting the mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth, adults, and families, including gender-expansive folx. Rae offers individual, couples and family counseling, as well as supports the Parents of Trans and Gender Nonconforming Children's Group. When Rae is not working, she enjoys sunshine, dancing, and dad jokes.
Youth Housing Director
Rasheedah has been an ally for the LGBTQ community for over 20 years and has worked in social services and social justice for over 25 years. Her work has focused on homeless adults, domestic violence and community mental health. Rasheedah has been a fierce advocate for housing homeless youth and adults, she spent over 10 years working in San Francisco shelters and Community Mental Health Services. Her advocacy in community mental health has been fighting for more mental health services like therapy and supportive employment. She holds a Masters Degree from New College of San Francisco in Women's Studies: Emphasis on Sexual Violence in Prostitution. Rasheedah has lived in the Bay Area for 35 years and moved from Santa Cruz to pursue work at Highland Hospital in County Mental Health. In her leisure time, she likes to ride bikes, walks on the beach and baking sweet potato pies and spinach lasagna. She has been an avid Bay to Breakers runner with three races under her belt and also has enjoyed bodybuilding in the past, and now enjoys kickboxing, pilates and walks in nature. She joined the Rainbow Community Center in February 2019 as Director of Youth Emergency Housing.
Raquel Stratton, CCC
Development & Communications Manager
Raquel (she/her pronouns) comes to Rainbow with over 13 years of non profit experience. She loves connecting with donors and supporters, especially for Rainbow. Raquel also is a certified community coach and trained in all Stott Pilates apparatus. She comes to Rainbow with a variety of experiences and skills that helps her meet the many demands of role. Raquel loves good music, food, Pilates, camping, hiking, film production, and having fun! She joined the Rainbow team in June 2019 and was a consultant for 8 months before that.
Rebecca (she/her pronouns) graduated from Mills college with a BA in Psychology, and a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies, and from John F. Kennedy University with a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology. She identifies as pansexual, has a long history of working with non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ activism, and specializes in alternative relationships and sexualities, such as polyamory and BDSM. She guides people through exploring gender, sexuality, and relationships, so they can feel safe and empowered to create the life they want. Rebecca is committed to serving our community through supportive clinical work, activism, and living a fully authentic life.
Sean Stefon Bell, AMFT
Sean Stefon Bell (he, him, they) is a visual artist and queer urban sci-fi novelist with 9+ years of experience in the mental health field prior to graduating from the Expressive Arts Therapy program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2018. As an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Sean Stefon is currently working with queer, trans, and POC clients focusing on experiences at the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, power, sexuality, sex, and expression. Clinically, Sean Stefon utilizes an eclectic range of frameworks from Trauma-Informed Care, Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Womanism, Afrocentrism, Liberation Psychology, and Social Constructionism. Furthermore, no matter the art form or intervention, Sean Stefon believes the magic can begin through the therapeutic relationship and when we work creatively in the metaphor.
As of the Fall of 2019, Sean Stefon has begun his doctoral studies in Human Sexuality at CIIS in order to expand knowledge around power, gender role strain, non-heteronormative sexualities, creative outlets for expression, self-care, liberation from an intersectional lens, and to build a practice as a sex therapist.