- Jon MeskoExecutive DirectorJon MeskoExecutive Director
Jon is honored and humbled to serve as Executive Director - the work we do is the most important and fulfilling work he has ever been part of.
Growing up he was raised primarily by a single mother with 8 brothers and sisters. His mother worked hard to rise above the need for welfare support and earned her RN certification while raising 9 children. She taught him that he could achieve whatever he applied himself to, as long as he worked hard enough.
Years later, Jon is know for his leadership and organizational development skills. He has built many businesses throughout California ranging in size from one staff member to a team of 700. Prior to his transition to the non-profit sector, he built and opened seven restaurants in Southern California. He also founded, developed and managed Manhattan Denim in Manhattan Beach and Pure Tan in Hanford.
Jon earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations from Davenport University in Michigan and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of California, Irvine. As someone who believes that more human connection and empathy is key to greater fulfilment for all, he loves inspiring at-promise youth. In the past he has been a board member for Positive Coaching Alliance, a mentor with Junior Achievement, a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a mentor at 1736 Family Crisis Center, a mentor at the Boys and Girls Club, and an instructor at PS I Love You. Most recently he increased mission results by 50% in one year as Executive Director of Caring House.
Jon has his commercial pilot's license, is a retired professional mountain biker, current professional beach volleyball player, has hiked the Annapurna Trail through the Himalayas, and is the father of an amazing 15-year-old young man.
- Angela AlvarezBridge to Success, Program ManagerAngela AlvarezBridge to Success, Program Manager
Hello! My name is Angela Alvarez. I am the Bridge to Success, Program Manager at Long Beach BLAST. I have had the privilege of working with BLAST since 2018.
Throughout my academic career, I developed a strong passion for helping others. As a first-generation, low-income Latina, I encountered culture shock upon entering college, faced familial pressures, and lacked financial stability. I felt lost, hopeless and found myself on the verge of breaking down and walking away numerous times. I needed support, so I looked for programs and people on campus that could support me. While at Rio Hondo Community College, I joined two student support services programs: TRIO and EOP&S. As a program participant, I received an abundance of support from both the program director and my advisors. They provided academic guidance, resources, mentorship, emotional support, and educational enrichment opportunities. With this support, I was able to transfer to a 4-year institution.
During my undergraduate studies at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), I joined TRIO once again. Being supported gave me the confidence to be academically involved and to support underrepresented student populations that, like myself, have the aspiration to succeed personally, professionally, and academically. As my interest in student support programs grew, I sought out opportunities to gain experience in the field. While in my undergrad, I became a NASPA Undergraduate Fellow (NUFP), Lead Transfer Peer Coach for the Dominguez Hills Transfer Learning Community, Summer Program Intern at TRIO Upward Bound, and Program Liaison Intern at the nonprofit organization Long Beach BLAST. Student support services programs helped me develop confidence in my abilities, grow professionally and graduate college in the top 1% of my class. This is why my mission is to help underrepresented student populations reach their goals by providing student support services.
In my current role, I manage a classroom-based program that utilizes a life skills curriculum and ancillary services to prepare students for a career and/or educational advancement. Thus far, one of my proudest accomplishments has been stewarding relationships with funders and school administrators that have contributed to expanding the program from two to eleven schools. This has meant a great deal to me as I went from impacting small groups of students throughout my career to making arrangements that extended our support and services to schools all across the Long Beach Unified School District.
As a leader, I believe that effective communication, maintaining relationships, transparency, and sustaining a vibrant culture are all vital. I aim to incorporate these values into everything I do or contribute to. I look forward to continuing to empower and support underrepresented populations.
- Amy PabonBridge to Success, College & Career AdvisorAmy PabonBridge to Success, College & Career Advisor
Hello everyone! My name is Ms. Pabon. I am the Bridge to Success College and Career Coach for Poly PAAL. I really enjoy the supportive classroom curriculum and environment that BLAST brings to our many campuses we serve. In my free time, I enjoy going to concerts and listening to audiobooks. I look forward to empowering our students and supporting them through their various paths.
- Mayra PerezBridge to Success, College & Career AdvisorMayra PerezBridge to Success, College & Career Advisor
Hello! My name is Mayra Perez. I am the Bridge to Success (B2S), College and Career Advisor for LBUSD’s Male and Female Leadership Academies. I was born and raised in Long Beach. I joined BLAST because it was very important to me to give back to the community that helped raise me.
- Kassandra Velasquez BeltranBridge to Success, College & Career AdvisorKassandra Velasquez BeltranBridge to Success, College & Career Advisor
Hello my name is Kassandra Velasquez Beltran. I serve the Female and Male Leadership Academies within the LBUSD. I have been working in education for over six years and have a passion for helping students see their potential. I believe in the B2S curriculum we provide and the power we bring to each classroom. I undoubtedly know our efforts will make an impact on our students and their future successes.
- Yvette MartinezBridge to Success, College & Career AdvisorYvette MartinezBridge to Success, College & Career Advisor
My name is Yvette Martinez, and I am the Bridge to Success (B2S) College and Career Advisor at Reid High School. To give you a brief background about myself, I have been working in the education field for over ten years and have worked with a diverse population of students. As a College and Career advisor here at LB BLAST, I plan to continue to make a difference with the students I mentor and teach them strategies they can use for their future success.
- Alesia BerryProgram CoordinatorAlesia BerryProgram CoordinatorThe Academic Mentoring Program Team welcomed Alesia Berry as the new Program Coordinator in 2023. Her background includes over 40 years with Los Angeles County, including Health & Human Services Administration and the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk managing and coordinating programs, projects, procedures, events, and personnel. Additionally, she worked with the Vegas Public Broadcasting Station KLVX Channel 10 and the Irvin D. Hunt Foundation. She is excited to be part of the BLAST family and looks forward to adding value to the team and serving our at-promise youth and community partners.
- Cheryl McCroskeyOffice Manager & BookkeeperCheryl McCroskeyOffice Manager & Bookkeeper
Hello! My name is Cheryl McCroskey. I have been an office manager & bookkeeper for 20 years. I’m a mother of two and a proud, new Grandmother! I was born and raised and have lived my whole life in the South Bay. I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to work in such a rewarding field with the youth in our community that need the most help.