Cynthia Rocha Sapien

“Everyday I strive to be a person who is passionate and determined about pursuing positive change in myself and for the communities I am a part of.” –  Cynthia Rocha

Cynthia Sapien Rocha, a Kerman CA native, has been a part of the yli team since August 2009. A graduate from the University of the Pacific, she currently serves as yli’s Central Valley Director of Programs and leads work to create healthy and equitable communities in Fresno, Madera, Merced and Tulare Counties. Over the past 12 years, she has partnered with youth, addressing root causes to community issues, and identifying solutions that elevate youth voices and create positive, sustainable change. She strongly believes that all youth have the capacity to lead positive community change with the support of community allies, and is committed to encouraging their active involvement in the policy and decision-making processes that affect their family, friends and community.

Working with young people aged 12-24, Cynthia has helped engage and empower youth to lead successful social norms, access, and policy campaigns to tackle the issue of underage and binge drinking in Fresno County. yli’s most recent win includes the Responsible Neighborhood Market Act, which places stricter regulations on density and proximity of alcohol retailers to schools, parks and substance-use treatment centers in the City of Fresno. She also supported youth in leading a Smoke and Tobacco Free park policy in her hometown of Kerman. As a Trainer for yli’s Training and Consulting Services, Cynthia has also had the privilege of training both youth and adults across California and the U.S. on evidence-based youth leadership development strategies.