Maria has been a neighborhood leader in the Maple community for 12 years and counting. Her son Joey and Freddy, who we read about a couple weeks ago, were regular participants in the Mapel Learning Center for all of elementary and middle school.
Part of celebrating fruition is reflecting on how we arrived to where we are today. Even without knowing any background information, the leadership Loly and Teresa (Tere) provide for our community is incredible in and of itself.
Ten years ago, when Freddy was in fourth grade and Phil Klunzinger had just started volunteering at the Maple Learning Center, no one could have realized what a gift this relationship was going to be for years to come. Mr. Phil invested in Freddy and the lives of other students at the Maple Learning Center, and always goes above and beyond the typical “call of duty” as a tutor for the many years he has devoted to Mika.
The Carranza’s have been involved with Mika since the beginning of our work on Center Street and have made a lasting impact in the their community as well as in the Maple and Shalimar communities. Julisa is the third of four siblings who has grown up in our youth programs--most of their young years, the Centro de Esperanza (Hope Center) was across the courtyard from their apartment. She has realized the impact Mika had on her life during those important years in many ways.
As a board, we are committed to seeing the fruition of Mika’s work in the community this year and into the future. While our board continues to engage in visioning and planning for future leadership, one of our board members, Jenna Tourjé, will be representing the board as a full-time Interim Executive Leader for the next 3-6 months. Jenna has been working alongside Mika for the past ten years, and brings extensive experience in community development, non-profit leadership, and urban planning to the day-to-day operations of Mika.
Gift cards are a way to equip them to do that, whether the most urgent need is groceries or household items. The four places identified from our community as most useful are Smart & Final, The Grocery Store Outlet, Target, and Stater Bros.