Shaping today's youth for tomorrow's success through love, laughter and learning.



We use the creative power of the arts, education, and strength-based collaboration to build a stronger community and inspire future generations.

The Merced Youth Connect is a local, non-profit organization committed to serving families in Merced. Our organization was founded in late 2016 by a small but passionate team of people working to bridge the gap between youth in Merced and local service providers. We've grown to include 11 Executive Board Members, all volunteering to contribute time and effort as we learn and build together. This skilled group of individuals from diverse personal backgrounds partner to bring expertise from the social service, law enforcement, educational and public health sectors. These helping professionals are supported by members who offer their knowledge of law, accounting, technology, project management, information management and customer service. In collaboration, our team reflects the community we serve and is an extraordinary example of the strength and value of connection in Merced County.

Our purpose is to foster healthy connections to activities, services, opportunities and mentors for youth in Merced County through collaborative partnerships and direct service. We hope that by creating a forum for these connections to be made, we can encourage school attendance and graduation, promote higher education, promote healthy life choices and educate and empower youth to overcome barriers associated with low-socioeconomic status and perceived lack of opportunity in the valley.

the board
Aaron Lequia

Chief Executive Officer

Greg Culot

Chief Financial Officer

Megan Sims

Chief Operations Officer

Emily Tolsma

Chief Communications Officer

Julie Wheeler
Matthew Serratto

Executive Director


About us