Youth Champions


In partnership with AltaMed Health Services, Youth Champions has served more than 1,000 students in underserved communities and distributed more than $328,000 to students through a paid personal development internship and college scholarships.

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2024 – Youth Champions is pleased to announce its transition to an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since 2017, Youth Champions has provided a paid personal development internship program to high school students in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles. This strategic move signifies a significant milestone in the organization’s journey to expand its reach and impact, empowering young individuals to build the essential developmental skills and knowledge that are not typically taught in traditional high school settings, yet are crucial for students to thrive in their education, work, and personal lives.

Since its inception, Youth Champions has operated under the umbrella of AltaMed Health Services, a trusted community health organization in Southern California. AltaMed has served as an incubator for the program by providing backend support, student recruitment, and program management. The decision to establish Youth Champions as an independent entity stems from the desire to provide even greater support to high school students beyond the Southern California community.

Youth Champions serves approximately 250 high school students each year through a comprehensive curriculum that enhances their personal skills, helps them gain real-world experience, encourages them to explore potential career paths, and enables them to be competitive in the 21st-century marketplace. Students participate in a series of 24 virtual workshops on crucial topics such as problem-solving, leadership skills, financial literacy, good habit-building, personal responsibility, and independent thinking. In addition, students attend six exploratory field trips designed to expand their career and educational horizons and begin to identify their strengths and interests. Based on their level of participation, students can earn up to $1,000 each year.

“Becoming an independent nonprofit allows us to expand our programs and services to the unique needs of the high school students we serve,” said Jack Cline, co-founder of Youth Champions. “We recognize the challenges these high school students face as they transition into adulthood, and Youth Champions was created to equip students with the essential skills and knowledge they need to be successful in every category of life. Our program is growing and thriving, and we are moving closer to our goal of national expansion.”

AltaMed Health Services remains a close partner to Youth Champions. “We are immensely proud of Youth Champions’ achievements and impressive growth during its time as part of the AltaMed family,” said Cástulo de la Rocha, president and CEO of AltaMed Health Services. “Establishing Youth Champions as an independent nonprofit will enhance its ability to address the pressing educational and developmental needs of our underserved youth, aligning with AltaMed’s commitment to holistic well-being within our communities.”

As part of this transition, Youth Champions proudly introduces its newly appointed Board of Directors, comprised of accomplished professionals who bring diverse expertise in finance, entrepreneurship, workforce development and nonprofit management. The board members are committed to guiding the organization’s strategic direction and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

The inaugural nine board members include:

● Jack Cline Jr., co-founder and chair of Youth Champions and president of Lee & Associates, Downtown Los Angeles. With more than 40 years of experience in the industrial real estate sector, Cline is recognized as one of the top commercial brokers in Southern California.

● Cambria Cline, co-founder and vice chair of Youth Champions. Cline focuses her time on education based nonprofits, serving on the boards of five Southern California organizations, and brings more
than 25 years of development, marketing and public relations expertise to the Youth Champions team.

● Vera Campbell, secretary of Youth Champions and founder of Vera R. Campbell Foundation. Campbell
spent more than three decades as the president of KWDZ Manufacturing, LLC (dba Beautees and Knit
Works) before selling the business in 2020. She is the president of the Vera R. Campbell Foundation
which supports innovative solutions that promote opportunity and freedom for all, with a particular
focus on creating powerful academic and artistic opportunities for low-income students from the
Boyle Heights community.

● Jacky Dilfer, chief financial officer of Youth Champions and executive director of Business Finance
Capital. For more than a decade in the commercial and SBA lending industry, Dilfer has consistently
served as a top-producing commercial lender, business development officer, and advisor to multiple
real estate and charitable institutions.

● Cástulo de la Rocha, president and chief executive officer at AltaMed Health Services. De la Rocha is
an enduring trailblazer in community health. Under his visionary leadership, AltaMed Health Services
has transformed from a storefront barrio clinic in east Los Angeles into the largest federally qualified
health center in the nation with more than 60 medical, dental, and PACE elderly care sites staffed by
almost 5,000 employees, providing compassionate care to more than 500,000 patients each year.

● Michael Dolphin, former division chief, Los Angeles – Ventura Workforce Services Division, of the
State of California’s Employment Development Department. Dolphin has more than 40 years of
experience in workforce and economic development and has served on many advisory and
management boards, including the Los Angeles City and the Los Angeles County Workforce
Investment Boards.

● Richard Gomez, chief executive officer, Total Corporate Solutions. Gomez is a seasoned chief
executive officer with an extensive career spanning several decades in the business supplies and
equipment industry. In 2009, he became the CEO and president at Total Corporate Solutions, and in
2010 Gomez also became the principal of Marquis Construction.

● Bob Smiland, former president and CEO of Inner-City Arts and entrepreneur. With more than 40 years
of business experience as a chief executive officer, executive, and chairman for private and public
companies, as well as a dedicated volunteer and board member for various youth service and
educational nonprofit organizations, Smiland brings a wealth of expertise. From 2013-2020, he served
as the president and CEO of Inner-City Arts, fulfilling his dream of launching a second career in

● Heriberto Gonzalez, alumni representative for Youth Champions and student at the University of
Southern California (USC). Gonzalez is attending USC with a full-ride scholarship, where he is studying
business administration at the Marshall School of Business. In 2023 Gonzalez was a summer analyst in
the private equity division of JP Morgan in New York and will join Morgan Stanley as a summer analyst
in 2024.

For more information about Youth Champions, please visit or contact

About Youth Champions: Youth Champions is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing high school students with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make informed life decisions. Through a paid personal development internship that includes 24 interactive virtual workshops, six in-person field trips, mentorship programs, alumni association and educational resources, Youth Champions empowers young individuals to navigate the complex world of education, career, and personal finance confidently. By equipping students with these strategic tools, Youth Champions aims to foster a generation that is responsible, capable, and empowered to achieve all their goals. Since 2017, Youth Champions has served more than 1,000 students from 61 schools and awarded $328,500 in internship stipends and scholarships.