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 CORE GROUP 

Anne Marie Molina

Anne Marie Molina is a Pasadena resident and works as a banker. She is the mother of five children and has been active with GPAHG since early 2018. She cares deeply for those struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Anne Marie has worked with several nonprofits; Montebello Housing Development Corporation, Operation Hope and Los Angeles United as a housing counselor for first time buyers. For the past nine years she has worked as a Senior Relationship Banker. She writes: “While working for nonprofits I realized the enormous disparity of wealth and financial literacy for people of color. The underserved areas of Los Angeles are facing not only financial hardships but also housing instability and healthy food options in lower income renter heavy neighborhoods.” Anne Marie is a parishioner of St Elizabeth’s Catholic Church and her youngest children attend school there. She is deeply committed to her family: “I am the mother to five children aged 3 to 20. My middle child was adopted out of the foster system. I feel strongly that we need to be more involved as foster parents and as a community we need to encourage adoption.” Her faith is rooted in an awareness of God’s grace in the midst of adversity. She has a heart for those experiencing homelessness because of her own experience. She writes: “I was a teenage runaway and from 14 to 16 I experienced homelessness. I managed to sleep on buses and take showers at school. I lied to get a job at 14. Once paired with a great social worker, I was placed in several group homes and ultimately in an independent living program. I can say that as a homeless teenager I felt invisible and ashamed. I was vulnerable and exposed to violence and a general sense of hopelessness. Although at the time I might not have been completely aware of the gravity of my situation, I was always aware that I was protected by the kindness of strangers and those who dedicate their lives to caring for the homeless.” She writes: “I was diagnosed three years ago with Marfans syndrome that has caused me to have an aortic dissection. I’m currently on medication to control my blood pressure and I am being monitored for my dissection rupturing further. My father passed away at 42 from the same condition and although it is ever present in my mind…I know that by divine intervention and the grace of God I have the opportunity to enjoy my beautiful children and participate in my community.” Anne Marie lives her life as a beautiful example for her children, especially her daughter Lily, who has worked as an assistant for Jill Shook and takes part in housing justice work.

Rev. Connie Millsap

The Rev. Connie Millsap has served as an associate and affiliate pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, with a focus on hospitality and faith development, since 2015. She has been an active member of GPAHG, focusing on homeless and inclusionary housing. She is a GPAHG liaison to her church, connecting the congregation to the work of GPAHG, mobilizing letter writing campaigns and inviting members to attend the City Council. Connie is interested in nurturing liaison members with churches throughout Pasadena.  She is calm, thoughtful, compassionate and deeply committed to creatively connecting the church to the community. Connie is a Doctorate of Ministry candidate (her Project Thesis “Hospitality, and Holy Wholeness”) from 2012 to current.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts, emphasis on Fine Art Photography, from California State University, Northridge, 1983. While serving the Methodist Church in Texas, she developed multi-level approaches to a missional issues such as hunger, poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, education, etc. through worship, education, newsletter articles and missional response.

Cynthia Kirby

Cynthia Kirby, a San Gabriel Valley native, was raised in South Pasadena, residing in the greater Pasadena area for most of her adult life. Unfortunate life circumstances, including disability, divorce and addiction, led to a decade of chronic homelessness. Many of those years were spent in East Pasadena, living in run down motels, rampant with drug use and prostitution. Thankfully, with the assistance of Union Station Homeless Services and Housing Works, she was able to obtain permanent supportive housing through the City of Pasadena Housing Department’s Continuum of Care program. With God’s love, the strong support of her church community, and housing stability, her life has been radically changed for the better. Cynthia is both a wife and a mother and has recently returned to school to complete her degree in psychology, as well as receiving training through Stillpoint to become a Spiritual Director. Today she is part of our local core group, which provides guidance to our housing advocacy work; she also serves on our Permanent Supportive Housing team. Cynthia is especially passionate about our group’s efforts to ensure that some of the motels where she once lived will be converted into permanent supportive housing. She is a liaison between GPAHG and her congregation at First Baptist Church, Pasadena, where she serves both as an administrative staff capacity and as a lay leader and director of their Children’s Choir. Cynthia has a beautiful, calm, and hopeful spirit despite all she has gone through and describes herself as a contemporary mystic and introvert, who loves to worship in song and seek God in the natural beauty.

Mercy Young

Mercy Young became involved in GPAHG around 3 years ago, demonstrating her passion for housing justice by speaking at the City Council. She is now the coordinator for GPAHG’s monthly meetings.  Mercy brings incredible skills, having successfully organized African American students at Fuller Seminary resulting in changed curriculum and initiatives that promote racial inclusion. Mercy holds a BA in Business Administration with an emphasis in Public Administration which surveys the public and private sector and the inner working of administration and people groups that are formative in shaping policy. She holds an Mdiv from Fuller Theological Seminary. Mercy was a Capacity Corps member under AmeriCorps as a Program Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator at two national non-profits (Rebuilding Together and U.S. Vets). Initially stationed near New Orleans, Mercy collaborated with churches, corporate sponsors, community members and civic leaders to rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina, then in Los Angeles office she coordinated free home refurbishment and repairs for low-income families. With U.S. Vets Mercy helped with fundraising and service projects (such as a NBA Cares and Boeing community service day and toy drive). Her Capacity Corps culminated by creating a 40-page volunteer program proposal serving as a guide to help nonprofits develop capacity through a volunteer program that strengthens infrastructure and community organizing. She also served as a program coordinator for the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.

Dr. Anthony Manousos

Dr. Anthony Manousos is a Quaker peace activist, retired college professor, and author who led AFSC youth groups on service projects in Mexico and edited the official publication of Quakers in the Western USA for eleven years. In 20ll he married Jill Shook, helped her to revise her book, and has become the co-founder of Making Housing and Community Happen. In 2018 he helped lead the successful campaign to convince the City Council to approve homeless housing at Heritage Square South. He is currently chairing the GPAHG Homeless Housing Committee, whose goal is to convince the city to build enough homeless housing to reduce the homeless count by 50% in the next five years.  Anthony also serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Friends Committee for National Legislation and Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.