Meet the Team
Founder & CEO
Meghan has been a leader in the workforce development and reentry community for over 16 years which led to her founding H.I.R.E. in 2020 in response to the overwhelming need for service linkages and employment in Orange County for system impacted people.
She has been recognized as one of Orange County's top Women of Year by the OC Business Journal and an OC Visionary by the LA Times.
Medlin is known for her dedication to the Orange County community, specializing in recidivism reduction, workforce development, and poverty eradication. She has been an integral part of various initiatives such as Prop 47, AB109, Stepping Up, Ban the Box, and the Continuum of Care board. She currently represents the community on the Orange County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and Orange County Community Corrections Partnership.
Meghan is also an active member of the FBI Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association and InfraGard Los Angeles.
She has a BS in Chemistry from the University of Redlands, a certificate in Gang Prevention and Intervention from Coastline Community College and a Master of Advance Study in Criminology, Law & Society from UC Irvine.
Samantha (Sam) Harris joins us in a contract role as our Programs Manager. Sam has 12+ years of experience working as a Director of Programs at a non-profit organization that focused on workforce development targeting opportunity youth. She hired, trained and supervised up to 18 staff over multiple departments including: hard skill training, admissions, case management, support services, employment and education readiness.
Sam also helped develop a hybrid learning model during the pandemic and develop curriculum for adult learners. She brings a trauma informed care approach and is passionate about meeting people where they're at and helping people turn their lives around. In addition, she has experience in staffing and recruiting.
Sam has an MA in Education from Ashford University with a specialization in family and community services.
Lynh Tran is a bilingual English/ Vietnamese recent graduate from UC Irvine. She started volunteering with H.I.R.E. since the spring of 2022 and became our part-time Office Coordinator in April 2023.
She has experience working as a Youth Program Leader for her church and as a Community Service Leader for the City of Costa Mesa Parks & Recreation. Lynh has an interest in juvenile justice and helping incarcerated individuals, especially youth, who have had unfair experiences and aiding however she can. Lynh got connected with H.I.R.E. through one of her Criminology courses and has been with us ever since! She also has experience working with UCI's Prison Pandemic project, reading and redacting letters from incarcerated individuals in California state prisons, and with a professor-ran project on campus related to system-impacted youth and the types of treatment plans they are assigned to.
Volunteer Coordinator (Volunteer)
Nicole Woodworth has worked in the nonprofit space for over 6 years specializing in volunteer management and fostering philanthropic partnerships. She is passionate about uplifting the stories and experiences of formerly incarcerated adults and youth, as well as connecting justice-involved individuals with career opportunities.
Nicole is a volunteer serving as H.I.R.E.'s Volunteer Coordinator and is excited to support the volunteer program and efforts at H.I.R.E.
If you would like to get involved, please contact Nicole for more information.
Georgia is a recent Criminology, Law, and Society graduate from UC Irvine. She originally joined us as a UCI Field Study Intern and is now a volunteer with us.
Georgia moved to the United States from Mexico at the age of 15 and is actively involved with “Communities for a Better Environment” where she learned the importance of grassroots activism and the power of collective action. From there on, she aspires to become an immigration lawyer, to advocate for the rights of marginalized individuals and families. By navigating the complexities of the legal system, she envisions a future where her knowledge and empathy could positively influence the lives of those in need.
Job Coordinator (Volunteer)
Jocelyn Figueroa recently graduated from UC Irvine with a BA in Criminology, Law & Society with a minor in Political Science. She is interested in entering the legal field eventually and is passionate about criminal justice and social reform which is why she is excited about working with H.I.R.E.
In addition to her studies, Jocelyn worked part time in the Dean of Social Ecology's office at UC Irvine. She also has experience as a Legal Intern for the Public Defender Office, Teaching Assistant at UCI Academy of Law and Research Assistant for UCI. Jocelyn began volunteering in January 2023. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.
UCI Advanced Field Study Intern
Sophia is a second-year student at the University of California Irvine, majoring in Criminology, Law, and Society. After college, she plans to pursue a career in criminal justice and learn more about the impacts the justice system has on those
at a socioeconomic disadvantage. She is passionate about helping those in her community and empowering individuals by providing them with support and resources to better their lives.
Sophia is originally from San Diego and has volunteer experience working with the San Diego Food Distribution Center and organizing a Voters
Registration Drive with local high schools. She is excited to learn more about her new
community and provide assistance in any way she can.
Lizbeth (Liz) is in her 4th year at UC Irvine, double majoring in Criminology, Law & Society and Psychological Sciences.
Lizbeth is interested in going towards the social work route after graduation, working with the incarcerated/system-impacted community. She currently volunteers at a reentry facility called Mass Liberation writing letters to currently incarcerated individuals ranging from useful topics such as healthy relationships and responsible citizenship. She is passionate about social reform, which is why she’s excited to work with H.I.R.E.!
Training & Evaluation Coordinator (Volunteer)
Katie is a PhD student studying Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California Irvine. In her hometown of Indianapolis, she gained experience working in support of justice-involved individuals and their families. She is passionate about her community and the importance of assisting those who are re-entering the community from incarceration.
Katie earned her B.A. in Philanthropic Studies and her M.S. in Criminal Justice and Public Safety from Indiana University.
Meet the Mentors
Marta Barreto is a detail-oriented Navy Veteran and aerospace professional who serves as a lived experience mentor in our T.I.M.E. youth mentorship program. She is committed to helping people flourish and communities thrive. Marta serves as a guest lecturer and youth mentor and takes this spirit into her professional work, from communicating across teams with a shared mission, to delivering high-quality results.
Marta has a Master in Business Administration with a Concentration in Management from Cal State University San Bernardino. Marta shares her professional and lived experiences with at-promise youth in our community through our T.I.M.E. mentor program.
Tin was born in Vietnam and came to the U.S. as a child. As a young adult, he was convicted of a couple of aggravated felonies and was sentenced to LWOP where he served over twenty years in prison.
Tin completed his Transitional Housing through Action Sober Living and volunteered at Paws For Life - K9 Rescue and Cal State LA. He participated in the monthly transportation of shelter dogs, gave presentations and lectures to students, and worked with professors to assist their students in class projects. He also promoted Covid vaccination at Cal State LA and received his Bachelor’s Degree, graduating with Summa Cum Laude.
Since leaving the transition house, he rented a house with friends, was employed by Cal State LA Center of Engagement of Public Good and Service as a consultant, and worked and volunteered with Paws For Life as a dog trainer.
Tin also runs a small business in dog boarding and training in collaboration with Rescue, such as It’s Yogi House, and Zeppre Rescue to board and train shelter dogs that were scheduled to be euthanized from Riverside County Dog Shelter.
He currently works at VietRISE, as the Immigrant Justice Coordinator and recently graduated from Cal State LA with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree.
Irving Relova (& Joey!)
Irving "Irv" Relova is a T.I.M.E. youth mentor who was previously incarcerated for twenty-five years. He was sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole in 1996 and his sentence was commuted in 2018 by Governor Brown.
While incarcerated with very limited access to rehabilitative programming, he helped to start a Youth Diversion Program, mentoring justice involved youth brought to the prison once a month to meet with selected inmates.
Irv facilitated a weekly meditation group while incarcerated, with a focus on mindfulness and spiritual principles.
One of the first prisons to begin a shelter dog training program was at Lancaster. Irv was with the program from the beginning, designing and manufacturing dog leashes, harnesses, crate pillows and blankets, as well as dog training.
Since his release from prison in 2019, Irv has participated in a number of trainings and teachings to cultivate compassion, completing the Compassion Cultivation Training © (CCT) from Stanford University.
As a former Youthful Offender, this work is critically important to Irv due to his life-long commitment to be of service to those who may benefit from his experience with the criminal justice system and mindfulness training, helping them to avoid the pitfalls. H.I.R.E. provides him with the opportunity to make his dream a reality.
His hobbies include training his dog, walks on the beach with his wife, listening to music, skateboarding, and cooking new and interesting dishes.
Oscar was born and grew up in South Los Angeles to immigrant parents. He witnessed domestic violence and verbal abuse and was also at the receiving end of it. At 13 yrs Oscar ran away from home and joined a local gang. He had two older brothers who were already members of the gang, and it became a way for them to escape the violence in their home and still be together. By age of 17 Oscar was drinking alcohol, using drugs and behaving reckless. Oscar was arrested shortly after and sentenced to two life sentences plus 8 years.
After 8 years in a maximum security prison, Oscar started to reflect on his behavior and way of thinking, helping him learn to take responsibility for his actions. This led Oscar to the practice of Buddhism which gradually helped him to identify and develop a way to interact with the emotions, the thinking, and views directing his behavior in a way not harmful to himself or others. That is when his life changed.
After serving 25 years in prison, Oscar had done a lot of self inventory and developed a different way of addressing his emotions, making it possible for him to become a kinder, and more responsible and caring man. Oscar was granted parole in 2019 and now live in Los Angeles, where he is a dog trainer and is becoming a small business owner in the dog training service. Oscar also serves as a youth T.I.M.E. mentor sharing his experiences and journey of healing with local youth.
Nhut Vo is a tattoo artist and muralist, dog trainer, and a community coordinator for the Boundless Freedom Project. He also volunteers with nonprofit organizations that serve the reentry and incarcerated population, including H.I.R.E. as a T.I.M.E. youth mentor.
Nhut previously served 20 years in the state correctional institution system where he was initially sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole for a crime he was involved in when he was 16 years old.
During his time of confinement, he took responsibility for his past, and sought every opportunity to improve himself. Nhut earned two Associate Degrees and become a certified Paralegal. He volunteered to organize activity groups, led religious services, mentor at-risk youths, and train rescued dogs.
When the Supreme Court ruled that youth sentenced to Life Without Parole was a cruel and unusual punishment, Nhut was given a lifeline and eventually earned his freedom in 2020.
Today, he is a grateful and humble contributing member of his community. He is now dedicated to creating a pathway for men and women in a similar situation through his arts and entrepreneurship.