Introducing the 2013/14 BRIDGES Team!

The BRIDGES Team is working in the following schools during the 2013-14 School Year:

Anaheim Community DayFountain Valley HighHuntington Beach High School
Loara High SchoolMagnolia High SchoolMission Viejo High School
Newport Harbor High SchoolOcean View High SchoolSanta Ana Valley High School
Savanna High SchoolServite High SchoolSpring View Middle School
Sycamore Jr. HighValley High SchoolWestern High School
Westminster High School

2013 BRIDGES Team OC Human Relations

Alison Lehmann Edwards, Deputy Director, has been involved with the organization since 1998. She works closely with the CEO and is responsible for all operations including staff development, strategic planning and human resources needs. Alison also serves as a program director for the BRIDGES program and the Community Building Team. She also has served as a youth leadership coordinator with the week-long Youth Leadership Institutes. Alison has experience in violence prevention and has served on numerous advisory boards for the Anaheim Police Department and Violence Prevention Coalition Orange County. She has a passion for leadership and has served as a leadership trainer and speaker. Alison earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies and American Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned her Masters of Arts in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University.

Don Han, Senior Human Relations Specialist & BRIDGES Program Assistant Director, has been with OCHRC since 2001. He also coordinates OC Human Relations’ annual Awards Celebration as well as an annual Walk in My Shoes Youth Symposium. He earned a Sociology Degree from Cal State Fullerton in 2001 and is a former Human Relations Commissioner for the City of Santa Ana. He is a Certified Mediator, speaks Lao and Thai. He likes to volunteer and empower new immigrant communities in Orange County because he believes they, too, can have a voice in their new communities.Seema Bhakta, Senior Human Relations Specialist, was first involved with OC Human Relations as a student in our BRIDGES Program. She has been on staff since 2004 and currently works in six schools implementing the BRIDGES program. She has also served as Camp Director at OC Human Relations’ BearPaw Preserve where she oversaw all weekend and summer student leadership camps and retreats. Seema’s work focuses on developing the organizing and leadership skills of middle and high schools students to develop their capacity to make positive changes on their campuses and in their communities. Seema earned her BA degree in History with a minor in Nonviolent Studies from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.Jennifer Jones, Human Relations Specialist, A native of Bolivia, Jennifer moved to the US at the age of 17. In 2002, she obtained a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Child and Adolescent Studies from California State University of Fullerton where she was introduced to OC Human Relations. She subsequently interned with the Dispute Resolution Program and obtained her Mediation Certification. On staff since 2006, Jennifer has handled countless community disputes involving landlord/tenant, neighbor/neighbor, employee/employer, consumer/merchant, debtor/creditor and many others. She also mediates court cases including Small Claims, Small Claims Appeals, Judgment Debtor, Unlawful Detainer, Civil Harassment, Limited Civil and Mandatory Settlement Conferences. She conducts educational workshops, provides certification training on “Effective Human Relations in the Workplace,” and facilitates court-specific mediation trainings. Currently, Jennifer oversees the new Restorative Justice program that the agency hopes to implement in schools and community. The ideas of creating inclusive communities, eliminating intolerance and prejudice, and building bridges of understanding have always been a way of life for her. Jennifer is fluent in Spanish.Juan Villavicencio, former Human Relations Specialist. OC Human Relations would like to thank Juan for his dedication and years of service to the organization. We wish him well as he returns to university to pursue his Masters Degree.

BRIDGES is a nationally-recognized program serving Orange County schools for over 20 years. We work with schools to build campus environments that are respectful of diversity, where ALL students, staff and parents feel safe, welcome and respected. We offer conferences, workshops, camps and internships to support our work in schools across the county.

To learn more about the program see the BRIDGES pages.