Gabriel has worked on reforestation efforts in South Africa and Australia, helped build a free medical clinic and school for poor villagers of rural India, volunteered his time as a naturopathic medical practitioner in Mexico, and created a higher education scholarship fund for an orphanage in India. He now is community director/liaison for the Romero Institute and the Lakota People’s Law Project, and also directs the Santa Madre Center in Santa Cruz, where youth come for camping, horseback riding, and organic farming.
Kermit is a transit planning supervisor and former Employee of the Year for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). He is also an ultramarathon runner and a team captain for the 500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon team. Many Sunrise students have participated in the team training runs, and he is passionate about helping the students believe in themselves and search for greatness. His greatest satisfaction comes from being a mentor to young people.
Marilyn is an energy healer, massage therapist and artist. She is a product of alternative education. She likes to help youth and volunteers as a part-time art instructor at Sunrise Middle.
Claudia is the mother of an 8th grade student at Sunrise Middle School, and of four other children as well, ranging in age from 4 to 28. She has been a teacher’s aide for the San Jose Unified School District and was a parent advocate for First Five of Santa Clara County. She now is a freelance interpreter and is studying toward her bachelor’s degree. She was graduated from Prepatoria, or high school, in Mexico City. Ms. Espino-Hernandez was invited to join the Board of Directors because of her desire to empower parents and facilitate parent communication.
Leonard has taught at-risk high and middle school youth for more than twenty-five years, started seven new county programs for these youth, and helped start a charter high school in San Jose. He also was a juvenile probation officer and juvenile hall counselor and has been a longtime leader on the Inyo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team in the Eastern Sierra.
Lex became aware of the importance of providing alternatives to youth when he was not “fitting inside the box” and succeeding in high school. He found success at Pegasus High School and now is an artist and musician. He is passionate about finding new educational alternatives for youth.
Gibran De Labra
LGibran was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 8. He learned English, completed his pre-college education and earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management Information Systems from San Jose State University. After completing college, he worked in the Law Office of Steve Nakano and for the Department of Motor Vehicles. He is currently a Program Technician at the Employment Development Department and is studying tax auditing at De Anza College. Helping others has been an enduring dedication for Gibran. He is proudest of the help he gives his daughter Ariana, coaching her soccer and softball teams, encouraging her participation in folkloric Mexican dancing, and promoting her interest in playing the clarinet.
But his interest in helping others extends well beyond his family. At the Department of Motor Vehicles, he was honored both for his service to customers generally as attested to by over 200 positive customer commendations, and for his assistance to the disabled, a recognition he earned in part through his fundraising efforts on behalf of the March of Dimes. He combines his interest in physical fitness and service through participation in the 500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon. This group upholds Native American spiritual principles through volunteer service in hospitals, prisons and through environmental stewardship, and it commemorates through an annual marathon Native Americans who served as messengers between Native American villages. The guiding principle of the group reflects Gibran’s deeply held belief: All life is sacred.