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. That same year, she became a first-time mom to her daughter Bella.
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 how to grow their own food.
Here at yli, Maria leads three school based programs, one located at San Marin and the other two at Marin Oaks High School. She also participates in the Marin County Youth Commision alongside her coworkers.