My interest in civic engagement began in college with a class on the politics and ethics of public service. Since then, I worked as a fundraiser for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization, and the Ada Initiative, an organization that supported women in open technology and culture. I've also worked as a web developer for nonprofits across many areas. I have found that the the CALA curriculum and speakers, their wisdom, their diverse experiences, and their resilience, have really helped me think about how to take practical and effective action for positive change.
Valdeir Faria Filho
Half Moon Bay
I was born in Brazil, grew up in California, and lived a fairly nomadic life until recently. In each place I've lived, I've tried to engage with the needs of the local community, whether by volunteering at local orphanages, working at a poll booth, or assisting with community-led projects. Human development is the cause I feel most invested in and it brings me so much happiness to see people succeed and reinvest in their own communities. I'd like to use my own success to help my community, and CALA is the perfect fit for that goal. I knew that I would learn about things that have sparked my curiosity for a long time like community leadership, communication, and organizational structure. It's been a great program and I have enjoyed every class.
I am an environmentalist from Sunnyvale. I signed up for CALA in order to learn how to influence legislation through community engagement. As a member of Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action, my advocacy is centered on climate issues and tree protection. I also work as a church organist.
As a professional health educator, I see the impact of chronic health conditions and health disparities on a daily basis. My work is all about improving the health outcomes of older adults. As an advocate for this population, I have dedicated my professional career to creating and implementing programs that address their highly sensitive needs. I credit much of my professional success to the relationships I have built in the community while engaging policy makers and advocating for community -based organizations.
I run an organization called Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful: my vision is a community that works together for a vibrant, healthy creek. Coyote Creek has suffered from poor "public relations," most recently with the 2017 Coyote Creek flood. However, through increased community awareness efforts, many people now have a more positive view of the creek and are motivated to restore and preserve it. The CALA program has helped me in my work with a core group of community advocates on the creation of Coyote Meadows, an urban open space park. CALA has shown me how to use communication and leadership skills to improve collaboration among diverse groups working on a common cause.
I’m really interested in civic processes, I follow water issues in the news, and last year I became a Community Emergency Response Team member. I've volunteered for diverse causes such as literacy and voter registration, and recently through online groups, I've become increasingly involved in local issues. CALA's broad overview of networking and organizing has helped me become more effective when assessing the needs of others and their involvement in a given cause. CALA has introduced me to a new approach that has improved the way I advocate for local causes.
South San Francisco
I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Hawaii when I was ten. I feel that I gained a good perspective on life from living in paradise and then moving out of it. I learned to appreciate the beauty of nature and its vulnerability to development. I became really interested in urban planning and joined the Sierra Club. As an environmental engineer, I understand the importance of the balancing sustainability and development. I'm a dedicated advocate for clean energy initiatives and for shifting attitudes about clean energy. CALA is a vital community of passionate advocates who want to make a difference and make me proud to be involved.
I grew up in the small town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and I like to say that like Don Ameche and Orson Welles, I moved out of Kenosha to see the world. My work for greater inclusivity is influenced by the anti-war activists, feminists, and racial equality advocates I met at University of Illinois in the 70's, from working to teach nutrition and health, to helping secure dignity and respect for our elders, to empowering youth to make a difference.
I've lived in my community in the unincorporated Coastside for over 40 years, and my community has seen many proposals for poorly-planned development following a change in our water laws. I've become a passionate advocate for Coastside open lands, and am committed to fighting unrealistic development. I worked for PG&E for 45 years and after my retirement I felt it was time to give back but I was uncertain how best to do it. CALA and Committee for Green Foothills gave me the perfect platform to learn how to make a difference.
I'm heavily involved in Redwood City's public North Star Academy and serve as a Park, Recreation, and Community Service Commissioner, all while working full-time as a realtor. I care deeply about education and supplementing our school with enrichment to address the dearth in funding in our community. I have overseen the creation of 8 after-school programs at North Star Academy and also rolled out a Persian Immersion preschool class at the Park and Rec Center in Redwood City. CALA is a wonderful supportive community that has taught me to look beyond my perceived boundaries and overcome obstacles to reach my goals, however unattainable or difficult they seem.
I am a resident of Sunnyvale, California, and have lived in Santa Clara County for the past 6 years. I am passionate about my work in the field of mental health and social work. I advocate for victims of child abuse, suicide, bullying, youth violence, and individuals afflicted by trauma. I attribute much of my drive to make a difference to my many years of martial arts training and practice. I am passionate about making an impact on the on other’s quality of life, especially for those who are marginalized, disenfranchised or oppressed. CALA provides a blueprint for the development of great leadership.
I'm a devoted father and husband, and although I work for a large tech company my true passion is public service. I've assisted nonprofits like the Art Of Living, Care for Children, Rotary Club, the Evergreen Cultural Association, and the American Heart Association. I also enjoy learning to fly small airplanes, acting on stage and television, and participating in various adventure sports such as paragliding. I’ve even won a national award for sketching!
I have been a public school teacher in San Jose for almost 20 years. While I am devoted to all children, my particular passion is closing the achievement/opportunity gap for African-American and Latino children. CALA has given me the skills I need to pursue projects over time that will help me contribute to closing that gap.
I'm a Belmont native. I was a SF State Environmental Studies student and part-time grocery clerk; now I'm a CivicSpark Fellow for the City of Hayward Environmental Services Department and a tenant/immigrant rights advocate. At Hayward, I do greenhouse gas emissions reporting and promote community engagement through environmental programs. Back home, I organize with One San Mateo to advance tenants rights; and, I present before local government councils to enhance immigrant protections. CALA has taught me how to empower my community to influence local government policy.
I am a Silicon Valley tech industry veteran looking to use technology to help address climate change. I'm especially interested in energy usage and the potential of time-shift technology to mitigate it. CALA has helped me identify a place where my goals for my business and my environmental values intersect. The leadership and advocacy skills covered in the program have helped me during recent conversations with energy utilities and companies.
I was born in El Paso Texas but relocated to San Jose at age 4 and never left. I believe I was born an advocate, and now I am now 40 years old and can say that every year I am a part of something that not only makes me grow as a person but gives me helpful things to pass on to others as well. My latest project is bringing a Greenmarket-style farmer’s market to California. New York's Greenmarket has been going on for over 40 years now, and I believe if it can happen in a state with winter it can definitely happen in the Valley of Heart’s Delight! I think that the Community Advocates Leadership Academy (CALA) is providing a specialized training not currently found elsewhere, even in high-ranking universities. Every class not only leaves each student ready to apply a lesson to our own advocacy efforts, but also provides us with the contact information of agencies and people in the community who can provide further resources and advice. I love being in such an eclectic group of people, and I strive to help us have a good time while we’re working for things we believe in.
I became an environmentalist late in life after working for years in finance and high tech. One day I picked up a book about how catastrophic the earth's future could be unless there is a drastic change of course. I knew I had a responsibility to act for the future of my children, or at least to do what I could. CALA is helping me develop the leadership skills I'll need to be an effective activist.