Maria is an Oakland native and attended Oakland schools as a youth. She is a first generation college graduate and earned her Bachelor’s degree from Cal State East Bay. Maria began her youth work by leading a community youth program, and supporting the organization of public community events and festivals in the Fruitvale area. Maria came to Girls Inc. in 2005 as a program leader for the Operation S.M.A.R.T. program. Since then, she has held different roles within Girls Inc., from facilitating a pilot S.T.E.M. curriculum for Eureka Vets during the summer, to facilitating a bilingual Girlstart Literacy program for kindergarten and first grade girls. She has had the opportunity to grow professionally through direct service, coordinating the elementary school program, supporting with quality and compliance as the Special Projects Coordinator, and now as a Manager for school based programs. Maria continues to grow professionally by becoming an endorsed trainer for the California School-Aged Consortium, and an endorsed Program Quality Assessor for Oakland Unified School District. She is excited to have her professional and personal experience help lead our program and youth.