I am a passionate peace and sustainability educator and writer who has been producing educational programs and publications in Costa Rica and the U.S. since 1999. My experience growing up in war-torn El Salvador made me a mission-driven individual focused on advancing sustainability and peace. My studies and love for children led me to choose to do this through educational experiences that connect children to nature, community, and cultural diversity, while nurturing 21st Century skills such as ecological stewardship, non-violent communication, creative expression, adaptability, open-mindedness, and cross-cultural collaboration.
In 2001, I founded an education enterprise, Conexiones Institute (2001-2016), which produced dozens of bilingual camps and classes for hundreds of Bay Area children, including award-wining programs, such as AVENTURAS (Spanish through outdoor education all-day and half day camps out of my own licensed early childhood Play Studio and Eco-Park in San Francisco an later, El Sobrante, CA. I also created and produced, along with a team of over a dozen educators and parent helpers, popular classes, such as Spanish through the Arts, Spanish through Fun, and Spanish through New-Media Arts. These were offered at dozens of after-school programs, community centers, cultural centers, and summer camps throughout the Bay Area (i.e., Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, SF Children's Museum, Valley View ES, Kensington Community Center, AltSchools and others). In order to scale these programs, I am creating and producing educational materials, videos, and online training resources for other bilingual educators to replicate these programs in their own communities (access some of these for free on this site on the home page of this site).
In 2005, I co-founded Three Seeds Eco-Education Camp on an organic farm in Costa Rica bordering the Los Quetzales National Park in Costa Rica. Since opening in 2005, we have hosted thousands of student groups and families, immersing them in the rainforest, horticulture, sustainable living, service learning, and the Costa Rican culture.
As a producer and contributor of digital, web-based, and print educational content, I have collaborated on films, children's books, articles, and web content. I have created interactive children's books and an online training manual on how to replicate my award-winning program, AVENTURAS (access it here for free). I've contributed to various films, but the one I have the most honor of contributing to is Baja All-Exclusive, directed by a Mexican historian, Carmina Valiente, Phd, which was a catalyst for a civic movement in Baja California that led to the protection of some of the last remaining mangroves and public beaches in the state for public use.
None of this would be possible without creating and managing diverse teams of educators, school leaders, parents, stakeholders, and partners. This requires a honed cultural sensitivity lens and expertise in community outreach and intercultural stakeholder engagement. I honed this lens through years of applied study and experience on numerous projects and boards, from school site councils to international conservation organizations.
I am an early adopter of new media and technology, especially with regards to ways to connect children nature, their community, and creativity. In 2015, I piloted a Spanish through Media Arts program and the students produced dozens of educational interactive e-books and videos. One of my students became a published author at the age of five. I am incubating the vision of adding a youth-led publishing arm to Conexiones Institute to help more children become published authors.
I have a Masters in Education with Tech focus from San Diego State University and a BA in History and a minor in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University, I was the recipient of numerous awards, such as class valedictorian, and I was honored by the Arizona Governor and as one of the top 20 college students graduating in the state in 2000 (1st Team of the USA Today All-State Academic Team Awards).
This site includes a collection of my beliefs, experiences, ideas, and visions of current and future initiatives in relation to my personal mission of advancing peace, joy, and sustainability for all through education.
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