The Enlightened Initiative’s mission is to empower immigrant and vulnerable youth from low-wealth backgrounds by building their leadership skills, increasing their cultural competence and mental wellness, expanding their math and science knowledge and interest, developing their communication skills and fostering sincere friendships that would be lasting and beneficial to the immigrant youth, their families, schools, and their communities.
Leadership Team: Board of Directors
Mr. Cuong Huynh, President and Founder of Enlightened Initiative, was a senior policy analyst for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) where he started as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2003. He also spent one year in the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance as a Legislative Fellow in 2004. Mr. Huynh graduated with a law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law as a Thurgood Marshall Fellow. Further, he graduated with a master’s degree in public policy from The University of Chicago as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He was a participant in the America’s Leaders of Change Program sponsored by the National Urban Fellows in 2012. Mr. Huynh is a former W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow, from 2014 to 2016.
He published his first book about the refugee and immigrant youth called, “God’s Crucible: We Who Dream of a Better Life – Stories of Hope by Refugee and Immigrant Youth” in October 2019. You can purchase the book here and some of the proceeds goes toward EI’s Leadership Camp.
Jesecca Ortiz Huynh is the Treasurer of the Enlightened Initiative. Jesecca is a Business Management Major from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. She is a former staff for Youth With A Mission Montana (YWAM), Branch Campus of the University of the Nations. During her years with Youth With a Mission she was in charge of planning and leading, twice a year, a two-month overseas field assignment. Her goal was to develop her students in various leadership skills and how to develop strategies for effectiveness on the mission field.
Jesecca spent most of her life working as a volunteer in various organizations that focus on developing leadership skills in at-risk youth. Jesecca has an international understanding of cultures due to her training in several countries including Asia, Europe, North America, South America and the Caribbean. From 2007-2009 she served as a Director for The Timothy Project, a non-profit school that helps at-risk children and provides them with education and basic health care, in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Currently, Jesecca serves as a foreign contact to promote the Timothy Project and serve as a liaison between the donors and the school.
David King is a proud alumnus of Albany State University who firmly believes that capitalizing on the right opportunities when presented is critical to navigating the pathways to success. In the fall semester of his junior year, just prior to completing the requirements for his Bachelor of Science degree in computer science with an emphasis in mathematics, he received the opportunity to attend the 7th annual Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute. The three-day event served as a springboard, launching David into the hands of potential mentors and recruiters from many of the largest and most powerful companies in the world.
In 2010, David was interviewed and awarded a position with Booz Allen, named one of the best companies in which to launch a career and cited for its commitment to diversity and for its stellar training programs and investments in their employees. He now works as a consultant in the newly emerging cyber security market focusing on identity management.
Rebecca has been an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher since 2015 and has worked primarily at the high school level. She grew up in northern Virginia and attended some of the most culturally diverse schools in the country, with many of her peers being first and second generation immigrants. Her own grandfather immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the 1960s, settling in a predominantly white area of Ohio, and lamentably leaving much of his culture behind in order to assimilate. As a result of Rebecca’s upbringing and background, from a young age she had a deep desire to rediscover her family’s roots, as well as a passion for learning about cultures and languages in general. In her role as an ESOL teacher, Rebecca feels honored to work with students from all over the world, with a majority of her students having recently arrived from Central American countries. She has witnessed many of these young people overcome immense challenges and hopes to continue playing a part in helping them achieve success in the United States. Rebecca was delighted to join EI and work with others who share the same desire to equip young immigrant students with leadership skills.
Leadership Team: Advisory Board
Tom is one of the Co-Founders of Leadership Concepts, Inc., an all-volunteer based Not-for-Profit that works with youth and adults to gain the essential skills, values, knowledge, and behavior necessary to be successful adults and creative leaders. For 40 years he has volunteered putting on Leadership workshops and week-long retreats for youth and adults working with youth. His volunteer experience has been with the American Red Cross, California Special Olympics, California Parks & Recreation Society, and Municipalities from Washington to Southern California.
After 45 years in Accounting (Auditing, Non-Profits, Municipalities, and Finance) he has retired from the ranks of the employed. Tom worked most of those years as part-time to allow more time for his first passions – volunteering, meeting people and traveling!
Virginia Nonaca Chavez has over 40 years in the field of leadership training and volunteer management. She was one of the founders of Leadership Concepts, Inc. (LCI). She is a professional trainer and volunteer. She assisted in developing curriculum for the CPRS Youth Development Academy, Sacramento YouthWork Leadership Academy, NSHMBA Education for Success Orange County Conference and the SHPE Western Conference. She was a member of the California Park & Recreation Society’s Youth Development Committee assisted in developing youth development policy for this profession. She received a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University College. Currently, she is working on a youth development leadership book with Cuong Huynh called “Leading Youth with a Servant’s Heart.”