Meet Sgt. Hernandez, Cpl. Martinez, and Ronnel Jones!

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Meet Sergeant Daniel Hernandez

Sergeant Hernandez has been with YLA for 8 years.

I grew up in a home that taught me about self-reliance and having a good work ethic. I have immigrant parents and grandparents that gave up their life dreams to raise me and my siblings in America. I saw the sacrifice needed for survival in this world. My parents’ example pushed me to never feel sorry for myself and to get things done. I developed the tools needed to be successful. I struggled immensely in academics growing up. My mother told me I had teachers claim I would never measure up to anything and to keep me behind. Knowing this was a struggle, and I fought diligently to dedicate myself as a student throughout my life to be accepted in physical therapy school and obtain my doctorate degree. I was resilient and persevered all while raising a family. While raising a family I also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. 

I developed a sense of duty and service over my ten years in the Marines. I continually found myself placed in leadership positions in all that I did professionally and personally. I learned to reshape my perspective over the years in leadership positions whether large or small. I was not a manager that managed, but a leader that inspired. As I decided to go into physical therapy, I realized how this position was no different than leadership because it inspires and empowers others to improve themselves through movement. 

Having served in a variety of capacities, I have seen too many times how youth were lost simply because they had no one to look to for guidance. This is why I am here to give back. I want to be the mentor and hope for youth that struggle to find their way. I want to empower, enhance, and uplift others around me so we can be successful and thrive, not just survive. 

Daniel Hernandez

Meet Corporal Luis Martinez

Corporal Martinez has been with YLA for 6 years

Though it has only been 8 years since I graduated from high school, it feels like a lifetime ago. I had great mentors and teachers whose teachings still impact me today. And I am fortunate to have been able to carry those lessons forward into those transitional years that come shortly after entering adulthood and leaving high school. Even the most prepared young person will encounter the great hill of leaving what they know and finding their own place in life. That is why I come back every year with Youth Leadership Authority (YLA). YLA is one of the few organizations that gives teens the most prestigious leadership training while guiding them through into adulthood ensuring that they successfully launch into life.

I have been working with teens from various backgrounds for over 7 years. I am currently a school social worker with Clark County School District and work as a clinical social work intern after hours providing individual and couples therapy to adolescents and adults. 

I have learned that the difference between wanting to help people and being able to help people comes from becoming educated. I have led with that example as I completed both undergraduate and graduate studies in social work. Although my formal education is completed, learning can never stop. My goal with every teen is to help them become a lifelong learner. My success with them is not defined by their completing the various programs, but by their being able to go farther than I ever could.

Luis Martinez

Meet our Executive Assistant/Internship Director, Ronnel Jones.

Ronnel is our Executive Assistant/Internship Director.
He has been with YLA for one year.

Why do I serve and support Youth Leadership Authority (YLA), the teens and their families? When I was young, I did not have the support system that YLA provides. I had never seen an organization that could mold a teen into a valued, productive, and whole member of society in the way that YLA has achieved. This inspired me. 

I grew up in a one-parent household. As I look back, I see that my mother did the best that she could for me (to which I am so grateful). But my upbringing lacked in some of the values that we teach the youth at YLA. 

In 2019 I first encountered three teens going through YLA’s Southern Nevada Devil Pups program. I witnessed teens with confidence assisting Marie at an event and respecting adults they did not know (you rarely find that in teens). I worked with teens at two separate churches. They had respect for people, but not at the level that the Devil Pups and YLA Eagles showed that night. That became my why. My reason for getting involved in the YLA organization was found in witnessing teens having confidence in themselves, loving people (And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’–Matthew 25:40 NLT), creating a better community for everyone they came in contact with, and instilling HRPKH in others ( H = Honesty  R = Respect  P = Peace  K = Kindness  H = Humility). 

Ronnel L. Jones

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