LEADERSHIP

LEADERSHIP

OUR BOARD AND STAFF

Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert is a passionate group of local business leaders who give their time, resources and energy for the benefit of special needs and underserved children throughout the Coachella Valley.

Steve Haro

PRESIDENT

An accomplished leader for Trader Joe’s Company. I proudly worked at Trader Joe’s for 47 years starting as a young part-time crew member. I was a Captain (manager) of four stores before being promoted to Regional Vice President where I oversaw six different regions throughout my time as RVP. In 2014 I was promoted to Executive Vice President of Stores overseeing ten states from California to Kansas City Missouri. When my career started, our company had roughly 16 stores and when I retired in 2018, there were 491 stores. I would like to say I had a big part in the growth of our company. I was also fortunate enough to have worked for all three CEO’s the company has employed. My biggest takeaway from my career was helping to develop leaders to lead our stores as the company grew.

I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Christermon Foundation. This foundation focuses on making scholarships available to High School Seniors who are graduating to a four-year university. To be eligible, their parent(s), grandparent(s) or legal guardian must be employed in the beverage industry.

My passions are golf and wine. My wife Michele and I moved here from the Bay Area and are now residing in Palm Desert full time.

Steve Haro

President

An accomplished leader for Trader Joe’s Company. I proudly worked at Trader Joe’s for 47 years starting as a young part-time crew member. I was a Captain (manager) of four stores before being promoted to Regional Vice President where I oversaw six different regions throughout my time as RVP. In 2014 I was promoted to Executive Vice President of Stores overseeing ten states from California to Kansas City Missouri. When my career started, our company had roughly 16 stores and when I retired in 2018, there were 491 stores. I would like to say I had a big part in the growth of our company. I was also fortunate enough to have worked for all three CEO’s the company has employed. My biggest takeaway from my career was helping to develop leaders to lead our stores as the company grew.

I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Christermon Foundation. This foundation focuses on making scholarships available to High School Seniors who are graduating to a four-year university. To be eligible, their parent(s), grandparent(s) or legal guardian must be employed in the beverage industry.

My passions are golf and wine. My wife Michele and I moved here from the Bay Area and are now residing in Palm Desert full time.

Bob Schneider

VICE PRESIDENT & SECRETARY

Bob and his wife Julie Henthorn moved to the desert in August of 2010 when Bob purchased Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours along with a business partner. Bob ran the business and restored the reputation as well as growing sales to new heights. Bob joined the board of Visit Greater Palm Springs in 2013 and currently is active on the board as well as the Tourism Foundation board. He also served on the board of the Palm Springs Hospitality Association from 2012 to 2018.

Prior to moving to the desert, Bob and family lived in Chicago where Bob was the SVP at Frankel & Company. He was the lead on the McDonald’s account from 1982 to 1995 . the largest account in the agency billing over $30,000,000.00

In 1995 Bob and family moved to Los Angeles where Bob was Senior Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Promotions from 1995 to 2004 at Warner Bros. Studios. He was responsible for creating synergy efforts for all the tentpole film releases. In addition Bob worked across all divisions of Time Warner to create promotions supporting film, video/DVD, and television programs.

From 2004 to 2008, Bob was EVP at Davie Brown Entertainment, an entertainment marketing agency servicing the needs of Fortune 500 companies in the Hollywood community.

Cory Ornstein

TREASURER

I am the Vice President for FirstBank’s California market. Moving to California in 2013 I have been a local to the Coachella Valley since 2016. As a Maryland native I grew up a swimmer, which I also swam collegiately at the division one level for Towson University right outside of Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating in 2012 I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone, and found an opportunity to coach collegiately at the University of La Verne in Los Angeles County while obtaining my master’s degree. In both high school and college I was involved with the community, and an advocate in teaching basic water safety skills to children ranging from 3 years old to high school seniors. As a former student athlete this was a rewarding experience for me to give back to my community as it is an important fundamental life skill.

During my time at La Verne I met my now wife, Michelle, and ultimately followed her out here to the valley as she is a teacher at Desert Mirage High School. I have been with FirstBank for 7 years, and we are expecting their first child and could not have asked for a better place to start a family. With my roots now established I am looking forward getting involved in the community again with a wonderful organization!

Bob Schneider

Vice President & Secretary

Bob and his wife Julie Henthorn moved to the desert in August of 2010 when Bob purchased Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours along with a business partner. Bob ran the business and restored the reputation as well as growing sales to new heights. Bob joined the board of Visit Greater Palm Springs in 2013 and currently is active on the board as well as the Tourism Foundation board. He also served on the board of the Palm Springs Hospitality Association from 2012 to 2018.

Prior to moving to the desert, Bob and family lived in Chicago where Bob was the SVP at Frankel & Company. He was the lead on the McDonald’s account from 1982 to 1995 . the largest account in the agency billing over $30,000,000.00

In 1995 Bob and family moved to Los Angeles where Bob was Senior Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Promotions from 1995 to 2004 at Warner Bros. Studios. He was responsible for creating synergy efforts for all the tentpole film releases. In addition Bob worked across all divisions of Time Warner to create promotions supporting film, video/DVD, and television programs.

From 2004 to 2008, Bob was EVP at Davie Brown Entertainment, an entertainment marketing agency servicing the needs of Fortune 500 companies in the Hollywood community.

Marc Lodovico

direct past President

Marc Lodovico is Director of Sales & Marketing at Vicky’s of Santa Fe Restaurant, Bar & Music Lounge. After graduating from Rutgers College with Bachelor of Arts Degrees in English and Communications for Advertising, he headed straight to New York for his first job interview. A marketing, advertising and promotion executive that spent the first 25 years of his career on Madison Avenue with Motion Pictures Industry clients, before relocating to the desert over a decade ago, and moving to a new client category, the Hospitality Industry. One constant in this 36 year span is Marc’s association with Variety -the Children’s Charity. On his first job, he was assigned to the Agencies pro-bono account Variety -the Children’s Charity of New York, where he made an immediate connection to Variety’s mission to help children in need. An active member in fundraiser roles ever since, notably, serving as the second President of the Board of Directors of the newly formed Young Variety of New York. After settling into the Desert community, it was Marc’s sense of community that brought him to serve on the Board of Directors as an Officer with both the Indian Wells Chamber of Commerce and Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. Marc became a member of the Board of Directors of Variety -the Children’s Charity of the Desert four years ago and currently serves as its Vice President.

Asked why Variety is important to him, he stated “Honestly, it’s the rewarding feeling you get by knowing that you played a small part in making a big difference in a kid’s life, and just by being involved and committed to the good work Variety does in helping children.”

Cory Ornstein

Treasurer

I am the Vice President for FirstBank’s California market. Moving to California in 2013 I have been a local to the Coachella Valley since 2016. As a Maryland native I grew up a swimmer, which I also swam collegiately at the division one level for Towson University right outside of Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating in 2012 I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone, and found an opportunity to coach collegiately at the University of La Verne in Los Angeles County while obtaining my master’s degree. In both high school and college I was involved with the community, and an advocate in teaching basic water safety skills to children ranging from 3 years old to high school seniors. As a former student athlete this was a rewarding experience for me to give back to my community as it is an important fundamental life skill.

During my time at La Verne I met my now wife, Michelle, and ultimately followed her out here to the valley as she is a teacher at Desert Mirage High School. I have been with FirstBank for 7 years, and we are expecting their first child and could not have asked for a better place to start a family. With my roots now established I am looking forward getting involved in the community again with a wonderful organization!

Jacky Donnell

Board Member

In my heart, I still consider myself a farm girl from Idaho. However, I have worked in the restaurant industry since the age of 10. When I was a freshman at Boise State University I started working part-time at Elmer’s and have remained with the company since then. I quickly moved up the ranks and eventually became Director of Franchise Operations for all 27 locations. By 1990 the Palm Springs operation was failing, and the company asked me to manage the business until the trend could be reversed. I accomplished my mission in a comparatively short time and eventually was able to buy the franchise and the restaurant has flourished ever since. Aside from the significant growth in volume, I am most proud of the fact that many of my leadership team have been with me for more than 25 years and nearly half of the employees have been with me for more than fifteen years- that is truly a tribute to my management style and ability to attract and retain good people.

The same caring attitude in my business is evident in al aspects of my life and for many years I have been a solid resource for many local charities and organizations, giving generously of both my time and financial support.

To my mind, the need for and value of the Children’s Charity of the Desert is unquestioned and, coming from an extremely large family myself, I am looking forward to serving on the Board.

Patrick Evans

Board Member

Patrick Evans is News Channel 3’s morning and noon meteorologist, Host of Eye on the Desert, and host of afternoon drive on KPSF Studio 100.9 FM/1200 AM from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. In August 2002, Patrick moved to the Palm Springs area to help launch the new Coachella Valley CBS affiliate, where he served as Chief Meteorologist for nearly 17 years. Following the merger with KESQ, you now see Patrick at 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. and 12 Noon on News Channel 3 and at 12:45 p.m. hosting “Eye on the Desert”.

Patrick and his wife Andrea, along with their children Karina and Vesta, love to travel and take care of their rescue dachshunds and rescue cats. Patrick has served on the Board of the Family YMCA of the Desert, the Desert Symphony, and Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Read with Me, Pathfinder Ranch, and Animal Samaritans.

In April of 2014, Patrick was the 366th recipient of a Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars as a result of his work with philanthropic organizations throughout the Valley. Patrick also earned an Emmy Award for his work on the KESQ morning newscast.

A longtime devotee of Frank Sinatra, on occasion Patrick can be spotted at various spots around the Valley, crooning a few tunes with local musicians. Each afternoon at 4 p.m. Patrick features “Frank at 4” on Studio 100.9 FM, a daily dose of the Chairman of the Board, along with a little history about the man and his music. Another passion is food: Patrick started an Italian Sausage company named Fulvio’s Foods which is served in dozens of restaurants throughout the Valley. Patrick named the company in honor of his late father, Fulvio Antonio Iachetta.

Mary Lockrem

Board Member

Mary Lockrem is a morning personality at the Big 106 radio station and has brought her passion for advocacy and community to the desert for 2 years, following a vibrant decade in Kauai, Hawaii. Her commitment to children and those with special needs is evident through her previous role on the Child Advocacy Board at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Inspired by her sister’s journey with special needs, Mary’s involvement with Variety is a heartfelt dedication. Married for 26 years and a proud mother of two, and dog mom to her furry friend. Mary’s extensive 11-year collaboration with the Beautifully Flawed Foundation, organizing once-in-a-lifetime retreats for children with limb differences, showcases her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on her community.

Barbara Klein

Board Member

As a longtime resident of the Desert community Barbara brings decades of advocating for children to Variety. Her professional career includes being an Adoption Social Worker, Education Journalist and President of an Advertising and Public Relations Agency.

Her most significant achievement was the ten years she spent as a National Program Director for the Milken Family Foundation in Santa Monica creating educational and enriching activities for thousands of under served children throughout the United States.

Barbara has held numerous Board memberships and is currently a member of the McCallum Theatre Board of Trustees Education Policy Committee.

Barbara is married with two children and two grandchildren.

Penny Salamida

Board Member

Penny Salamida serves as Financial Advisor with Cypress Wealth Services. In her role, Penny participates in a wide range of client responsibilities that include account servicing, relationship management, portfolio review, and financial planning. Penny’s goal is to ensure clients receive thoughtful financial advice as they navigate their financial lives. Penny works in a partnership and has over thirty years of experience in the financial services industry. She began her career in 1994 and was most recently an Executive Client Service Associate with Integrated Wealth Management. Before Integrated Wealth Management, Penny worked at Morgan Stanley. Penny is originally from Florida. She went to college in San Francisco and studied psychology and journalism. Marc Lodovico, Board President, stated “Penny brings much to the table beyond her professional skill sets. She is one of the kindest and most caring people you’ll ever meet. Penny is an excellent addition to the Board of Directors and we look forward to working together.”

Marc Lodovico

Direct Past President

Marc Lodovico is Director of Sales & Marketing at Vicky’s of Santa Fe Restaurant, Bar & Music Lounge. After graduating from Rutgers College with Bachelor of Arts Degrees in English and Communications for Advertising, he headed straight to New York for his first job interview. A marketing, advertising and promotion executive that spent the first 25 years of his career on Madison Avenue with Motion Pictures Industry clients, before relocating to the desert over a decade ago, and moving to a new client category, the Hospitality Industry. One constant in this 36 year span is Marc’s association with Variety -the Children’s Charity. On his first job, he was assigned to the Agencies pro-bono account Variety -the Children’s Charity of New York, where he made an immediate connection to Variety’s mission to help children in need. An active member in fundraiser roles ever since, notably, serving as the second President of the Board of Directors of the newly formed Young Variety of New York. After settling into the Desert community, it was Marc’s sense of community that brought him to serve on the Board of Directors as an Officer with both the Indian Wells Chamber of Commerce and Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. Marc became a member of the Board of Directors of Variety -the Children’s Charity of the Desert four years ago and currently serves as its Vice President.

Asked why Variety is important to him, he stated “Honestly, it’s the rewarding feeling you get by knowing that you played a small part in making a big difference in a kid’s life, and just by being involved and committed to the good work Variety does in helping children.”

Patrick Somers

Board Member

Jacky Donnell

Board Member

In my heart, I still consider myself a farm girl from Idaho. However, I have worked in the restaurant industry since the age of 10. When I was a freshman at Boise State University I started working part-time at Elmer’s and have remained with the company since then. I quickly moved up the ranks and eventually became Director of Franchise Operations for all 27 locations. By 1990 the Palm Springs operation was failing, and the company asked me to manage the business until the trend could be reversed. I accomplished my mission in a comparatively short time and eventually was able to buy the franchise and the restaurant has flourished ever since. Aside from the significant growth in volume, I am most proud of the fact that many of my leadership team have been with me for more than 25 years and nearly half of the employees have been with me for more than fifteen years- that is truly a tribute to my management style and ability to attract and retain good people.

The same caring attitude in my business is evident in al aspects of my life and for many years I have been a solid resource for many local charities and organizations, giving generously of both my time and financial support.

To my mind, the need for and value of the Children’s Charity of the Desert is unquestioned and, coming from an extremely large family myself, I am looking forward to serving on the Board.

Patrick Evans

Board Member

Patrick Evans is News Channel 3’s morning and noon meteorologist, Host of Eye on the Desert, and host of afternoon drive on KPSF Studio 100.9 FM/1200 AM from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. In August 2002, Patrick moved to the Palm Springs area to help launch the new Coachella Valley CBS affiliate, where he served as Chief Meteorologist for nearly 17 years. Following the merger with KESQ, you now see Patrick at 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. and 12 Noon on News Channel 3 and at 12:45 p.m. hosting “Eye on the Desert”.

Patrick and his wife Andrea, along with their children Karina and Vesta, love to travel and take care of their rescue dachshunds and rescue cats. Patrick has served on the Board of the Family YMCA of the Desert, the Desert Symphony, and Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Read with Me, Pathfinder Ranch, and Animal Samaritans.

In April of 2014, Patrick was the 366th recipient of a Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars as a result of his work with philanthropic organizations throughout the Valley. Patrick also earned an Emmy Award for his work on the KESQ morning newscast.

A longtime devotee of Frank Sinatra, on occasion Patrick can be spotted at various spots around the Valley, crooning a few tunes with local musicians. Each afternoon at 4 p.m. Patrick features “Frank at 4” on Studio 100.9 FM, a daily dose of the Chairman of the Board, along with a little history about the man and his music. Another passion is food: Patrick started an Italian Sausage company named Fulvio’s Foods which is served in dozens of restaurants throughout the Valley. Patrick named the company in honor of his late father, Fulvio Antonio Iachetta.

Mary Lockrem

Board Member

Mary Lockrem is a morning personality at the Big 106 radio station and has brought her passion for advocacy and community to the desert for 2 years, following a vibrant decade in Kauai, Hawaii. Her commitment to children and those with special needs is evident through her previous role on the Child Advocacy Board at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Inspired by her sister’s journey with special needs, Mary’s involvement with Variety is a heartfelt dedication. Married for 26 years and a proud mother of two, and dog mom to her furry friend. Mary’s extensive 11-year collaboration with the Beautifully Flawed Foundation, organizing once-in-a-lifetime retreats for children with limb differences, showcases her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on her community.

Barbara Klein

Board Member

As a longtime resident of the Desert community Barbara brings decades of advocating for children to Variety. Her professional career includes being an Adoption Social Worker, Education Journalist and President of an Advertising and Public Relations Agency.

Her most significant achievement was the ten years she spent as a National Program Director for the Milken Family Foundation in Santa Monica creating educational and enriching activities for thousands of under served children throughout the United States.

Barbara has held numerous Board memberships and is currently a member of the McCallum Theatre Board of Trustees Education Policy Committee.

Barbara is married with two children and two grandchildren.

Penny Salamida

Board Member

Penny Salamida serves as Financial Advisor with Cypress Wealth Services. In her role, Penny participates in a wide range of client responsibilities that include account servicing, relationship management, portfolio review, and financial planning. Penny’s goal is to ensure clients receive thoughtful financial advice as they navigate their financial lives. Penny works in a partnership and has over thirty years of experience in the financial services industry. She began her career in 1994 and was most recently an Executive Client Service Associate with Integrated Wealth Management. Before Integrated Wealth Management, Penny worked at Morgan Stanley. Penny is originally from Florida. She went to college in San Francisco and studied psychology and journalism. Marc Lodovico, Board President, stated “Penny brings much to the table beyond her professional skill sets. She is one of the kindest and most caring people you’ll ever meet. Penny is an excellent addition to the Board of Directors and we look forward to working together.”

Patrick Somers

Board Member

Jerry Upham

BOARD MEMBER

Jerry is an accomplished broadcast television professional with over 30 years of experience including 15 as a General Manager, including his current position for The Gulf California Broadcast Company, owners of KESQ News Channel 3 and five other TV and Radio properties. Recognized as a passionate leader with strengths in developing positive cultures and coaching teams to achieve their full potential, Jerry has a history of strong community involvement outside of the workplace. He has served as a rotary club president and has been on several non-profit boards that currently include The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) and Variety Children’s Charity of the Desert.

“I am very happy to be involved with Variety… It’s exciting and rewarding to see the difference that we make in the lives of disadvantaged children throughout the Coachella Valley”.

Jerry Upham

Board Member

Jerry is an accomplished broadcast television professional with over 30 years of experience including 15 as a General Manager, including his current position for The Gulf California Broadcast Company, owners of KESQ News Channel 3 and five other TV and Radio properties. Recognized as a passionate leader with strengths in developing positive cultures and coaching teams to achieve their full potential, Jerry has a history of strong community involvement outside of the workplace. He has served as a rotary club president and has been on several non-profit boards that currently include The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) and Variety Children’s Charity of the Desert.

“I am very happy to be involved with Variety… It’s exciting and rewarding to see the difference that we make in the lives of disadvantaged children throughout the Coachella Valley”.

Heidi Maldoon

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Heidi Maldoon is an accomplished nonprofit administrator with over 16 years of experience in the role of Executive Director, including her current position with Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert which supports children who live and grow up with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage.

Having dedicated her career to leadership of charitable organizations, Heidi is known for her ability to elevate and improve organizational capacity in order to achieve greater impact. She understands the critical role charitable organizations have in assisting communities to improve the quality of life for their residents who are most in need.

Recognized as an authentic leader who focuses on developing positive cultures and promoting the ability of a team to create social impact, Heidi is known to be actively involved in community service beyond her professional life. Heidi has served on numerous non-profit boards dedicated to improving housing, financial literacy, nutrition, and childcare services. Heidi holds an MBA in International Business from Liberty University.

Heidi is a member of the Desert Communities Chapter of the worldwide Association of Fundraising Professionals, and she is the Chairwoman of the National Philanthropy Day Awards Committee.

Her motto is to live every day with intention.

Heidi Maldoon

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Heidi Maldoon is an accomplished nonprofit administrator with over 17 years of experience in the role of Executive Director, including her current position with Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert which supports children who live and grow up with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage.

Having dedicated her career to leadership of charitable organizations, Heidi is known for her ability to elevate and improve organizational capacity in order to achieve greater impact. She understands the critical role charitable organizations have in assisting communities to improve the quality of life for their residents who are most in need.

Recognized as an authentic leader who focuses on developing positive cultures and promoting the ability of a team to create social impact, Heidi is known to be actively involved in community service beyond her professional life. Heidi has served on numerous non-profit boards dedicated to improving housing, financial literacy, nutrition, and childcare services. Heidi holds an MBA in International Business from Liberty University.

Heidi is a member of the Desert Communities Chapter of the worldwide Association of Fundraising Professionals, and she is the Chairwoman of the National Philanthropy Day Awards Committee.

Her motto is to live every day with intention.

Nick Rossi

Senior Development Manager

Meet Nicholas Rossi, our dynamic Senior Development Manager at The Children’s Charity of the Desert. With a robust background in fundraising spanning over a decade, Nicholas brings a wealth of experience and an unwavering passion for making a meaningful impact in the lives of children.

Having recently embarked on this exciting journey with us, Nicholas brings fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to our fundraising endeavors. His commitment to philanthropy is evident through the founding of his own nonprofit organization, a testament to his dedication to serving the community. Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in business from Palm Beach State University and an MBA with a specialization in Finance from Florida Atlantic University, Nicholas combines academic excellence with hands-on experience to drive our fundraising efforts forward.

Nicholas firmly believes that “Every act of kindness, no matter how small, has the power to transform a child’s life.” This inspiring mantra fuels Nicholas and our entire team at The Children’s Charity of the Desert as we work tirelessly to create brighter futures for the children in our community. With Nicholas on our team, we are confident that The Children’s Charity of the Desert will continue to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for children in need.

Nick Rossi

SENIOR DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Meet Nicholas Rossi, our dynamic Senior Development Manager at The Children’s Charity of the Desert. With a robust background in fundraising spanning over a decade, Nicholas brings a wealth of experience and an unwavering passion for making a meaningful impact in the lives of children.

Having recently embarked on this exciting journey with us, Nicholas brings fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to our fundraising endeavors. His commitment to philanthropy is evident through the founding of his own nonprofit organization, a testament to his dedication to serving the community. Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in business from Palm Beach State University and an MBA with a specialization in Finance from Florida Atlantic University, Nicholas combines academic excellence with hands-on experience to drive our fundraising efforts forward.

Nicholas firmly believes that “Every act of kindness, no matter how small, has the power to transform a child’s life.” This inspiring mantra fuels Nicholas and our entire team at The Children’s Charity of the Desert as we work tirelessly to create brighter futures for the children in our community. With Nicholas on our team, we are confident that The Children’s Charity of the Desert will continue to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for children in need.

Annika Renteria

Outreach Coordinator

Annika first joined Variety as a volunteer, and then became an Outreach Coordinator to lead the organization’s dedicated volunteers. Known for her kind-hearted approach to community service, Annika has both personal and professional experience serving the vulnerable, at-risk and disabled communities in the Coachella Valley.

Annika has an innate desire to help people grow and approaches her role as Outreach Coordinator with a welcoming demeanor each day. She leads volunteers and conducts both marketing campaigns and outreach events in a way that brings the community together for a better outcome.

Annika is a solution focused person who is always seeking a positive outcome. She inspires our volunteers and clients alike with her warm, approachable personality that is inclusive of everyone she has the opportunity to work with. Annika carefully pairs volunteers with opportunities to serve the community through Variety in a meaningful way which matches their interests and skills.

In her early career, Annika worked with adults with disabilities, directly serving their care needs and is currently in pursuit of a degree in Social Work from UMass Global University.

Annika would say that “helping children and families is the best part of my work at Variety, and doing this hand in hand with our incredible volunteers brings me the greatest joy.”

Annika Renteria

Outreach Coordinator

Annika first joined Variety as a volunteer, and then became an Outreach Coordinator to lead the organization’s dedicated volunteers. Known for her kind-hearted approach to community service, Annika has both personal and professional experience serving the vulnerable, at-risk and disabled communities in the Coachella Valley.

Annika has an innate desire to help people grow and approaches her role as Outreach Coordinator with a welcoming demeanor each day. She leads volunteers and conducts both marketing campaigns and outreach events in a way that brings the community together for a better outcome.

Annika is a solution focused person who is always seeking a positive outcome. She inspires our volunteers and clients alike with her warm, approachable personality that is inclusive of everyone she has the opportunity to work with. Annika carefully pairs volunteers with opportunities to serve the community through Variety in a meaningful way which matches their interests and skills.

In her early career, Annika worked with adults with disabilities, directly serving their care needs and is currently in pursuit of a degree in Social Work from UMass Global University.

Annika would say that “helping children and families is the best part of my work at Variety, and doing this hand in hand with our incredible volunteers brings me the greatest joy.”

Lupita Garza

Program Manager

Lupita joined the organization in 2021 and brought with her years of experience working directly with the community and supporting those in need. Lupita earned her associate degree in psychology from College of the Desert and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology through California State University, San Bernardino.

Under Lupita’s leadership, each of Variety’s core programs has expanded and experienced an increase in their reach and impact. Lupita is dedicated to the children and families she serves and is an exceptional connector of organizations, services, and resources. The lives of each child and family she encounters in her role as Program Coordinator are improved because of her unwavering commitment to helping them thrive.

Lupita shared, “I found my purpose and passion through serving the community, especially women and children. Both personally and professionally, I am honored to use my skills, knowledge, and personal experience to better the lives of others.”

Kimberli Garcia

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

From Mexicali, Baja California but raised in the Coachella Valley, I became the first-generation graduate in my entire family to receive a Bachelor of arts in Psychology. As a teenager I found great interest in a Psychology class at the age of 14 and felt passionate about volunteering working with children in my community. Throughout my college years I worked with children as an after-school program teacher in Bermuda Dunes Learning Center and went into the ABA field as a Behavioral Technician in 2021-2022 for Center for Autism and Related Disorders. I then graduated in the Spring of 2022 from California State University of San Bernardino. After graduation I began to work in non-profits such as Galilee center as an intake worker helping in the Mecca community and then moved on to Safe Family Justice center as an Advocate/Youth specialist. I am now gladly part of the Variety team, Thank you for the opportunity!

Lupita Garza

Program Manager

Lupita joined the organization in 2021 and brought with her years of experience working directly with the community and supporting those in need. Lupita earned her associate degree in psychology from College of the Desert and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology through California State University, San Bernardino.

Under Lupita’s leadership, each of Variety’s core programs has expanded and experienced an increase in their reach and impact. Lupita is dedicated to the children and families she serves and is an exceptional connector of organizations, services, and resources. The lives of each child and family she encounters in her role as Program Coordinator are improved because of her unwavering commitment to helping them thrive.

Lupita shared, “I found my purpose and passion through serving the community, especially women and children. Both personally and professionally, I am honored to use my skills, knowledge, and personal experience to better the lives of others.”

Kimberli Garcia

Program Specialist

From Mexicali, Baja California but raised in the Coachella Valley, I became the first-generation graduate in my entire family to receive a Bachelor of arts in Psychology. As a teenager I found great interest in a Psychology class at the age of 14 and felt passionate about volunteering working with children in my community. Throughout my college years I worked with children as an after-school program teacher in Bermuda Dunes Learning Center and went into the ABA field as a Behavioral Technician in 2021-2022 for Center for Autism and Related Disorders. I then graduated in the Spring of 2022 from California State University of San Bernardino. After graduation I began to work in non-profits such as Galilee center as an intake worker helping in the Mecca community and then moved on to Safe Family Justice center as an Advocate/Youth specialist. I am now gladly part of the Variety team, Thank you for the opportunity!

Aimee Bieri

Finance Specialist

Aimee, a desert local born and raised, has a drive to help people. With an educational background in Early Child Development and Hospitality Management, her goal is to help families come together as a unit and find happiness in day-to-day life.

Aimee shared, “I am so happy to be part of this amazing team at Variety Children’s Charity, and to learn and support the administration of the organization.”

Brenda Acero

Program Specialist

Brenda joined the organization in 2024 as a volunteer and is extremely excited to now be a staff member. Volunteering for different family community events opened doors for Brenda and gave her confirmation that serving the community and helping others is her passion of helping others. Brenda is pursuing her dream of serving children and families through her current college coursework in Early Childhood Education. Brenda brings solutions, support, and happiness to children and families we serve largely due to her background which includes fifteen years in hospitality. She is known for exceptional customer service, communication, and problem-solving skills. Brenda loves people, seeks to put herself in the other shoes, and lives by her motto of “No matter what happens in life, be kind, graceful, and never get tired of doing good things. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

Aimee Bieri

FINANCE SPECIALIST

Aimee, a desert local born and raised, has a drive to help people. With an educational background in Early Child Development and Hospitality Management, her goal is to help families come together as a unit and find happiness in day-to-day life.

Aimee shared, “I am so happy to be part of this amazing team at Variety Children’s Charity, and to learn and support the administration of the organization.”

Brenda Acero

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Brenda joined the organization in 2024 as a volunteer and is extremely excited to now be a staff member. Volunteering for different family community events opened doors for Brenda and gave her confirmation that serving the community and helping others is her passion of helping others. Brenda is pursuing her dream of serving children and families through her current college coursework in Early Childhood Education. Brenda brings solutions, support, and happiness to children and families we serve largely due to her background which includes fifteen years in hospitality. She is known for exceptional customer service, communication, and problem-solving skills. Brenda loves people, seeks to put herself in the other shoes, and lives by her motto of “No matter what happens in life, be kind, graceful, and never get tired of doing good things. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

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