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MaLisa Riley 

Executive Vice President

MaLisa is an author whose children’s books are based on foster care. She is an adoption mentor and foster care advocate. As a former foster youth and adoptee, she is dedicated to inspiring children who have shared in the experience of foster care. Her tremendous experiences within the foster care and adoptee community provide valuable insight, and support to our organization and client needs.

Abel Quintana

Director of Development

Abel is a Children’s Social Worker at the Department of Children and Family Services and current Masters of Social Work student at the University of Southern California. He holds two Bachelor degrees in Social Work and Psychology. Abel has worked extensively with US Veteran, homeless, elderly, special needs, and child populations. He is interested in Social Policy reform, program development, and quality improvement.

Miranda Ageson

Program Director

Miranda is a recent graduate of USC's Master of Social Work program and a community mental health therapist specializing in children, youth, and families. She has experience in case management, therapy, coaching, school-based counseling, and team leadership. Miranda is passionate about career development and empowering others to reach their goals, something she treasures doing at Refining Purpose. 

Kim Le

Grant Writer & Mentor

Kim graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with an English and Psychology major, where she was involved with multicultural organizations as a mentor. She is passionate about the human narrative of perseverance and is dedicated to providing support and guidance to individuals striving to reach their full potential.

Brianna Barajas

Marketing Specialist 

Brianna is a full-time student with an interest in social work. As a former make-up artist, customer service specialist and current influencer, Brianna brings an exclusive and innovative perspective to our marketing strategies. As a dispatcher, she incorporates mass communication and teamwork. Both her personal and professional experiences provide a unique and vital lens to our organization’s mission.

Jae Volz


Jae is a transracial international adoptee from the Philippines. She is a full-time Graduate student in the Community Psychology Master’s program to earn her L.P.C. Currently, she runs her own Creative Wellness business to help people be more mindful and restore balance in their life. Jae has 10+ years working with individuals who struggle with mental health and substance use issues. This includes at-risk youth and the juvenile justice system. Jae’s welcoming personality and personal and professional experiences allows her to easily connect with others on a genuine level.

Marcus Portillo


Marcus graduated from Cal State LA in 2019 obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He is currently an Engineer at Southern California Gas Company. He volunteers at the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles as a Math tutor and is passionate about mentoring students.

Robert Payaslyan


Robert is a 2021 JD Candidate at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Robert holds the passion of reforming the youth criminal justice system and spreading social solidarity and equal justice. He has experience in working for pretrial diversion programs, representing the homeless, and helping transitional age youth. His interpersonal skills and community involvement are valuable to our organization

Jose Lugo


Jose has experience as an administrative specialist, and in project and finance management. His work includes but is not limited to balancing budgets, audits, time-keeping and supervisory tasks. In addition to his daily work life, Jose understands the challenges associated with chronic stress from both a student and employee perspective. Jose cares about supporting students coping with stress and joined the Refining Purpose team to help others achieve their dreams. 

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