Board of Directors

Executive Officers

  • Jimi Vaughn, President
    Jimi Vaughn, President

    Jimi Vaughn is an entertainment executive with a passion for diversity, access, and inclusion for all people. With TV credits that include The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and Mike & Molly along with an M.A. in Human Resource Development; our current Board President spends much of his time ensuring that media programming represents all people, both on camera and behind the scenes. Jimi attributes his strong connection with the DSALA to the lasting impact that families and individuals with Down syndrome had on him while first volunteering at an event almost 5 years ago. Jimi says, “Serving this community was the most natural next step for me. When you let someone with Ds into your heart, you just know there’s no other option.”

  • Marisol Santiago, Vice President


  • Claudia Hernandez, Secretary
    Claudia Hernandez, Secretary

    Claudia Hernandez is an Early Start Service Coordinator at Westside Regional Center. She holds a B.S. Degree in Child Development from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a M.A. Degree in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles. Claudia has a special connection with DSALA and is involved in many ways as she has a sister with Down syndrome. Claudia is currently serving as Vice President of the board of directors of DSALA. She is Programs Committee Chair and helps run the Teen/Young Adult Social Club. Claudia has helped lead parent support groups in the past and is a point of contact for volunteers. You may find Claudia at many of our events sharing her experiences with families or assisting with outreach and in-service presentations for different organizations.

  • Lynne Shulim, Chief Financial Officer

    Financial Consultant

Board Members

  • Karina Cruz

    Regional Center Service Coordinator

  • Andrea Friedman
    Andrea Friedman

    Actress/Self Advocate
    Andrea Fay Friedman portrayed Amanda, the girlfriend of the character Charles "Corky" Thacher, on the TV show Life Goes On for two seasons. Friedman also had main roles in various shows such as Law and Order, SVU and Family Guy. Andrea has been working at a law firm, in the accounting department, for 25 years. She also occasionally works as an assistant teacher for the Pathway program in UCLA, where she helps teach students how to live independently.

Honorary Board Members

  • Robert Cruz
    Robert Cruz

    Registered Nurse
    Robert Cruz has been an active board member of DSALA since 2015. However, with an eleven-year-old sister with Down syndrome, DSALA has been a part of his life since she was born. DSALA has played a crucial role in Robert’s family, having provided support, information and amazing programs that have helped with his sister’s development. Having grown close with the DS community and DSALA throughout the years, it was a natural progression for Robert to join the board and bring fresh perspective to the organization. Robert is currently serving as a Sibling Advocate and is Chairman for World Down Syndrome Day and the 21+ event. When not volunteering his time as a board member, Robert is busy as a Registered Nurse, providing home health care to various families throughout the San Fernando Valley.

  • Yolanda Fuentes Miranda
    Yolanda Fuentes Miranda

    Charter High School Executive Administrator
    Yolanda Fuentes Miranda has been a Cardenas family friend for over 15 years and is an alumnus of San Fernando High School, one of our current eligible high schools. She holds a B.A in Spanish from California State University, Northridge. She has worked with numerous non-profits from the same community such as San Fernando Valley Youth Foundation and Hispana Organized for Political Equality. Yolanda has a daughter with Down syndrome and resides with her family in the San Fernando Valley area.

Past Presidents

Colleen Bellitti
Gina Vivona
Lynne Shulim
Tom Von Der Ahe, Jr.
Michael Muchin
Darryl Mikuni
Stephanny Freeman, Ph.D.
Theodore Feit, M.D.
Sandra Finch
Joseph Hart
Susan Rackerby
Kathryn Heukrodt
Michelle Shaw
Nancy Hall
Marlyse de Laat
Deborah Bogen
Sandra Thlick

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