Bringing smiles to seniors one visit at a time.
The Team
  • Jill and Erik

 Jill Pizitz-Hochstein

Executive Director/ Founder

 Jill Pizitz-Hochstein, M.A., CDP is one of the leading Gerontologists in California. She along with her husband, Erik, developed Cooper Senior Care Consulting, a geriatric consulting firm, to help families deal with family members coping with age-related disabilities. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and lecturer in the field. She specialized in helping seniors suffering from substance abuse as well as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and other disabilities.

Jill founded Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles in honor of Sylvia Cooper, her grandmother, and named the organization after her grandfather, Sidney Cooper. Jill graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelors degree in psychology and went on to complete her Masters degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. Jill spent many years as a director of various clinical departments in acute psychiatric hospitals. She now dedicates her life to improve the lives of the elderly.

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 Erik Hochstein 

Director of Operations

 Erik Hochstein was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he grew up and graduated from high school in 1987. After completing his military service, he attended the university in Bochum, Germany for one year. He transferred to the University of Southern California and graduated with a bachelors degree in business in 1992. Erik graduated first in his class from the Pepperdine MBA program and has worked for BMC Software and Candle Corporation in sales and business operations.

In 2001, he founded Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles with his wife Jill. In 2002, he also helped establish Cooper Senior Care Consulting (a geriatric consulting company) and runs the business and financial operations of the organizations.

In his personal life, Erik is a highly accomplished athlete, winning a Bronze Medal in the 1988 Olympics in the sport of swimming. He continues to enjoy the sport and still competes at the highest level.  

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Andy Phan

Director of Volunteer Services

Andy is a graduate of UC Irvine who majored in Human Biology and aspires to work in the healthcare field. He started volunteering in March 2014, later became a Volunteer Coordinator in January 2015, and has been serving as the Director of Volunteer Services since September 2016. He deeply enjoys being able to spend quality time with the seniors either through enlightening conversations or through stimulating group activities. Deeply humbled with each interaction, Andy believes that each heartwarming visit with a senior is an opportunity to better another person’s life through one’s compassion and selflessness. Andy has formed many unique friendships and memories with both seniors and other volunteers alike and is grateful for the opportunity to train and welcome new volunteers into the Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles family.

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Sophie Lee

Volunteer Coordinator
Santa Monica Home & Care
Country Villa Westwood


Sophie is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychobiology. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, get boba, and try new recipes. She joined Senior Smiles in 2016 to engage with and provide company for seniors and to understand more about the geriatric field. Over the months, Sophie has really enjoyed getting to know all the seniors and learning life lessons from them. She hopes to pass on this passion to other volunteers and bring more smiles to seniors.

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Yoon Lee

Volunteer Coordinator
Country Villa Westwood

Yoon is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in molecular biology with an interest in gerontology. She absolutely loves spending time with people and being able to brighten up their day through meaningful conversations. She believes every person in her life is there for a reason and hopes to extend her knowledge and care in the elderly community through Senior Smiles. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, volunteering, and trying out new foods and restaurants.

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 Kaylin Barnes

Volunteer Coordinator
Santa Monica Home & Care

Kaylin is an undergraduate UCLA student majoring in Psychology, and is hoping to continue her education in graduate school, possibly studying gerontology. Kaylin wanted to volunteer as a way to connect with and learn from seniors, and joined Senior Smiles as an intern to gain a better understanding of the innerworkings of non-profits. Aside from school, Kaylin enjoys art, cooking, and spending time with loved ones. She has already has had so much fun talking and laughing with the seniors she has met, and can’t wait to continue forming new friendships.

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Alicia Ramos

Social Media Intern

Alicia is currently a junior at Cleveland High School. She loves reading and spending her weekends serenely laying at the beach. Some of her all time favorite authors include Khaled Hosseini, Neal Shusterman, and Charlotte Brontë. Alicia began volunteering with Senior Smiles during October 2016 and she was absolutely excited about getting to meet all the seniors. Learning about the diverse hobbies and truly captivating experiences the seniors have to share is her favorite part of visiting every week.

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 Eric Kim

Social Media Intern

Eric is a Political Science graduate from UC Berkeley currently taking prerequisite classes at Santa Monica College for Physical Therapy school. He started volunteering with Senior Smiles since October 2015 and greatly enjoys interacting with the seniors and leading their activities. In his free time, Eric likes to volunteer, practice coding, and work out to stay in shape. He comes on a weekly basis and finds that regularly interacting with seniors has helped grow his appreciation for the elderly and desire to help them as best as he can.

The Senior Smiles Team is made up of dedicated volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds. We are always in search for responsible and dependable individuals that want to bring smiles to seniors. If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please see our internship opportunities. Everyone is welcome to inquire.