Claudia is a social worker, mediator, restorative justice facilitator, and a PYE international trainer. Born in Chicago to Mexican immigrants, she kindled a desire to better her community at a very early age. She first became aware of the impacts of colonialism and racism while attending Cornell College in Iowa where she majored in Latin American and Ethnic Studies.
Seeking strategies towards liberation, she earned a masters of social work degree from the University of North Dakota. Her journey revealed that beyond academic education and personal development, an integral component to healing includes connecting with others in relationships and groups. To this end, she trained as a facilitator of Restorative Justice in the Community Group Conference Model.
In 2014, Claudia attended the Heart of Facilitation training where she first learned about PYE’s methodology. She had a profoundly life-changing experience and has been facilitating with PYE and sharing the Creative Empowerment Model ever since. For five years before joining the PYE staff, Claudia worked at King County, Washington in a program for youth who had committed violence in their homes. She then coordinated an initiative to end youth detention in King County. Through her work with the county, she gained a keen understanding of what’s required to bring innovative ideas into mainstream organizations.
Claudia’s love of witnessing transformation in the youth and adult participants in PYE programs made her decide to join the PYE team. “My partner would see me after facilitating and say, ‘You are so happy and powerful when you do that work. Why can’t you do that full time?’ Yes, I wondered, what would happen if I were in a job where I was this happy most of the time?”
Claudia lives in the Seattle area with her partner Karisa and their cats Yoshi and Yuki. She loves to spend time indoors making crafts and outdoors hiking and snowboarding.