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.