A 13-year climb to the top of Loudoun’s YMCA now has Angel Cerritos poised to lead the organization into its future.
For Cerritos, it’s the realization of the American dream. He began his career with the YMCA as a camp counselor and quickly rose through its ranks. Cerritos previously served as an associate executive director for five years, two of which occurred without a formal executive director in place. During that time, he oversaw the growth of the nonprofit’s budget from $684,000 to $1.6 million and expanded the school-age program from eight off-sites to its current 17 off-sites. Last year, he was promoted to lead YMCA Ayrlawn in Bethesda, MD, the largest child care program center in YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.
But a return to Loudoun is a homecoming for Cerritos.
“To come back to my roots is amazing,” the Leesburg resident said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work again in the area that I live in and am very familiar with.”
Spending one’s career with one organization is a rarity nowadays but, for Cerritos, it’s the good work that the YMCA of Loudoun County does that keeps him there.
“The work that we do is just amazing … the fact that we’re able to provide children and families with different programs and services. We’re able to allow families a safety net for children to be cared for after school and during the summer,” he said.
“Now we’re excited to have an early learning center. To be in that position to assist families with financial aid is amazing,” he said.
The debut of the Y’s early learning center in Sterling last year has Cerritos especially excited.
“It does allow us to provide additional services that we didn’t have before. We have our own space to be able to offer early learning programs, but also to do additional enrichment programs. Before we were not able to do because we did not own the space to facilitate those programs,” he said.
Having a stronger presence in the Sterling area, with the YMCA’s offices based in Leesburg, is also especially appealing, he said.
Cerritos gives credit to outgoing executive director Laura Fears, who was a part of the YMCA for 17 years.
“She was certainly a mentor and an amazing boss as well,” Cerritos said.
Rusty Foster, chairman of the YMCA’s board of directors, also gave Fears plaudits for the work she did for the organization.
“Laura Fears had more of an impact on youth in Loudoun than she realizes,” Foster said. “She expanded the after school program, is the reason we have the Youth Development Center in Sterling, and she’s the reason we are able to assist so many families in Loudoun by significantly growing the Caring for Community scholarship program. She will be missed.”
Looking forward, Cerritos is excited to lead the organization he has known for the better part of his professional life, and see how he can further contribute.
“The Y has kind of shaped who I am,” he said, “and provided so many different training opportunities that I’ve learned and grown through my career personally and professionally.”