Rev. Gerardo "Jerry" Menchaca has been a youth advocate for more than twenty years. Born in Santa Barbara, California, he was one of nine children raised by his single, devoted mother. He is married to his beautiful wife since 1985 and has four wonderful children, along with one grandson.
In 1991, Rev. Menchaca relocated to Modesto, California, and became a volunteer chaplain at the California Youth Authority in Stockton, California. In 1999, he became a licensed minister with the United Pentecostal Church International. Under Rev. Menchaca’s leadership, the Prison Volunteer Program was adopted into the curriculum of multiple facilities including the Men’s & Women’s Safety Center, Juvenile Hall, Men's and Women’s Honor Farm, as well as the Sierra Conservation Center (Jamestown), with over fifty volunteers under his direction. That same year (2000), he co-founded the Boys to Men Youth Mentorship Program in Modesto. The next year, he founded THUG Intervention, a gang intervention and group behavior program. In 2004, Rev. Menchaca was appointed Director of Life In Focus Education (L.I.F.E.), a life skills program at the Modesto Youth Center (MYC), and in 2005, he was placed on the Board of Directors of MYC. Soon after, he joined the Hispanic Leadership Council of Stanislaus County and served as Sargent of Arms and Vice President of the Board of Directors. Additionally, in 2006, Rev. Menchaca served on the Stanislaus County Community Gang Task Force.
In 2008, Rev. Menchaca relocated to Los Angeles, California to become the Program Director of Calvary Recovery Center of Covina, California. The next year, he served as the Director of Life in Focus Education and District Chaplain at Christian Prison Fellowship (CPF) of Southern California, becoming the first Hispanic in the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) to hold that office. In that same year, he was appointed to serve as the National CPF Liaison to the UPCI. He also was a member of the Meth Task Force of Orange County, and a member of the Drug Store Program sponsored by the California Department of Justice.
Rev. Menchaca has received many awards, and has collaborated with the County Sheriff and City Police Departments, and has served on many community and county school committees, as well as in the capacity of a gang expert and consultant to schools and adoptions agencies. He has also appeared on Fox Radio, providing insight on gang subculture. He has a proven record of solid leadership skills and continues to establish many youth programs throughout the Western United States.
Currently, Rev. Menchaca is a member of the Greater Santa Barbara Clergy Association, Director of Life in Focus Education of Santa Barbara, Member of South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety of Santa Barbara, and founder of New Beginning Community Church.