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From a young age, Esther knew that she wanted to make a difference and help others, locally and internationally. She graduated with an Associates degree in Sociology and a Bachelors degree in social sciences (emphasis in psychology) and started her career in social services shortly after. Her career has included community outreach, counseling and training volunteers on how to mentor at risk youth, as well as working with foster youth and emancipated foster youth. Currently she does in home Family Support services for families that have teens with extremely problematic behaviors. On an international level she has traveled and volunteered throughout Central and South America, including two and a half months volunteering in Guatemala at a home for malnourished children.

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Meet Our Volunteer Workshop Facilitators
Michelle Ma
Workshop Facilitator

Michelle is a social worker at a basic needs non-profit agency. Michelle holds a Master degree in Social Work with a concentration in family, youth, and children from CSU Chico. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Michelle's bicultural and bilingual abilities have given her a unique and valuable perspective in assisting those with different cultures, values, and beliefs. Through her international travels and volunteer experiences at an orphanage and low income school throughout Central America, Europe, Asia and Africa, Michelle has been able to widen her world view of developed and underdeveloped countries.
Evelyn Fabian
Workshop Facilitator 

Born in Lima, Peru, Evelyn moved to the United States of America in 1999. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from San Jose State University. As a therapist intern at a Continuation High School, Evelyn met with at-risk youth on a weekly basis, helping them in areas such as anger management, communication skills, self-confidence, and time management, as well as working with youth dealing with trauma due to histories of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In addition to individual therapy sessions, Evelyn facilitated weekly group sessions to improve life skills. Currently, Evelyn is working on getting her MSW with a concentration in Health/Mental Health from San Jose State University.
Meet Our Board of Directors
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Sarah Kariuki
Ambassador to Africa

Growing up in Kenya was quite different from growing up in the United States or Europe. As an adult, my professional travel to foreign countries has made me sharply aware of this, and also has proven to be an extraordinary learning experience.  

Through international travel, I gained an appreciation of the significant differences between world cultures.  More importantly, I learned that alternatives exist to some long-accepted African practices, which disturbed me even as a child. 

One of the most upsetting of these practices stems from poverty.  Poor parents hand over their children to wealthier families to work as domestic servants in exchange for shelter, food and education.  However, too often these children are treated as slaves, and are sexually abused as well as denied access to education.

In African countries today and many other nations around the world, the exploitation of children continues — and if anything is on the rise.  Children are used in the sex tourism trade, or are sexually abused by locals, who would rather pay to sleep with a child than an older prostitute. Routinely, children are forced into a life of drudgery with no hope of education or personal happiness.  Many experience violence from adults, and confront trauma on a daily basis.  

These children face a high risk of mental illness, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and suicide.  They are robbed of their childhood, and often fall into a cycle of crime, drugs, disease and unwanted pregnancies.  And so the spiral continues...

In my future career, I hope to be able to impact this cycle.  I want to change practices in my native country and other countries, which harm children.  At the same time, I hope to assist in preserving traditions, which enhance diversity and contribute to the cultural richness of our world.
Michelle Patterson
Community Engagement Intern

Michelle is a young woman who is determined to do something that is outside of herself. She is new to the nonprofit sector, and she is very excited to start on this new area of her life. To continue her education she is attending Ohlone College so she can transfer to a University or a Cal State. Her goal is to get a degree in English so she can teach English abroad.

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Meet Our Staff
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