About Us

RIFSoCal Board Members


7250 Bandini Boulevard, Suite 209
Los Angeles, CA 90040
(323) 890-0876
(323) 890-0875

Alva Sachs — President of the Board

Alva earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Illinois. She holds a Master’s of Education degree from Northern Illinois University. Her previous teaching experience for more than sixteen years and a life-long passion for writing for kids is her motivation.

Serving as President of Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California, has enhanced her goal for the purpose of not only promoting literacy for children, but also helping to build home libraries for underserved children in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

As Vice President of the Angel of the Alliance of the Thousand Oaks Civics Arts Plaza in California, and Liaison to the Kids for the Arts program, she helps to raise funds for Title 1 schools to have the opportunity to experience live theatre.

She is the founder/author of Three Wishes Publishing Company. An award-winning children’s author, Alva pursues her writing and passion for children and books.

Veronica Toyomi Ota -- Board Member

Veronica is currently the Interim Choir Director at Marshall Fundamental Secondary School in Pasadena. Music and education are her passion.
Veronica received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Literary and Visual Studies from Tufts University in Boston. There, she had the opportunity to study literature from around the world, focusing on Japanese Literature and culture. She hopes to further her education and pursue a Masters in Education.
As a proud product of Pasadena public schools, Veronica is dedicated to improving public education and hopes to someday help develop a curriculum that focuses on the importance of compassionate activism. She believes that improving literacy among children is the first step in making this world a better place.

Melanie Thorne -- Board Member

Melanie Thorne is the award-winning author of the novel Hand Me Down (Dutton/Plume), a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Fiction Book of 2012. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Good Housekeeping, Global City Review, The Florida Review and The Nervous Breakdown, among others. She was awarded the Maurice Prize in Fiction, the Alva Englund Fellowship, and a Hedgebrook residency, and was a 2015 Tomales Bay Workshops Fellow, a 2014 Virginia Quarterly Review Scholar, and a 2014 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Mentor.

Melanie holds an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis, and a BA in English from UC Davis, and currently teaches at the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program and in private workshops. She has more than thirteen years of teaching experience with all age levels, and is excited to be working towards expanding the minds and hearts of kids through story and education. She believes that fostering a love of reading is the best gift we can give our children now and ourselves for the future.