CalSAC is proud to highlight Marissa Wells-Ellis from CalSAC's Leadership Development Institute for Emerging Leaders of Color. Marissa is a leader who has demonstrated unrivaled commitment to the field and drive for advanced leadership in the out-of-school time and early learning field.
Marissa has worked for the Mission Valley YMCA in San Diego, CA since 2012. She began her career as a camp counselor in the Summer Camp department working as a front line staff in the beautiful San Diego weather. The program serves over 3000 children each summer between its two locations. From there, she transitioned into the licensed childcare programs for the YMCA. After another summer working for the Camp department, Marissa accepted a role in the ASES programs run by the YMCA. During her time in that department she was an Assistant Site Supervisor for one year, then Site Supervisor for 2 years at Toler Elementary. During this time, she was able to build strong connections with the Toler community and really forged a strong bond with her entire staff team. Through the development of herself and her program, she became someone associated with quality programming, strong observation scores, and great staff development and retention. Marissa became a Coordinator overseeing multiple programs as well as training all the new staff in the ASES department at the YMCA. During her opportunity to train all new staff, Marissa became increasingly more passionate about working with those who wish to enrich the lives of children.
Marissa attended camp at the YMCA as a child for several summers. She is now the Coordinator II overseeing the Day Camp department at the Mission Valley YMCA. In that role, she is responsible for the oversight of over 150 staff as well as the supervision of about 3000 children per summer. Through that role, she has developed a strong connection to the out of school time field, especially as it relates to camp, and realizes how beneficial a camp experience can be for every child.
Marissa received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. Her plan was to become an Elementary school teacher, but through her work at the YMCA and serving their mission, she found her true passion in out of school time programs, as well as how rewarding it can be to impact a child’s life. During her time in the LDI program at CalSAC, she has been inspired to advocate for other Leaders of color who are emerging in the youth development field and hopes to continue to mentor staff to allow them to reach their full potential. In her spare time, Marissa enjoys frequent trips to the happiest place on earth - Disneyland, watching Ocean documentaries as well as spending time with her friends and loved ones.