Maria grew up in Richmond, CA but was born in Michoacán, México. During her high school education, she was introduced to community work through her urban agriculture class. She became involved with a community based program at 14 and worked with them until she transitioned to yli. Her work there is what led her to be passionate about youth development. Maria is a first generation college graduate from UC Davis. In 2019, she received her BA in Chicano/a studies.
Prior to joining yli, Maria spent a lot of time working with youth at community gardens in Richmond. She taught Richmond youth about food sovereignty, sustainable practices, climate change, how to restore their relationship with the land, and to grow their own produce.
Here at yli, Maria leads two school based programs in Novato. She also participates in a Novato community based program that integrates youth from around the county.