Meet the Team
Apprentices — Spring 2016
Jacky Aguilar is a local youth artist from Coachella, Calif. She graduated from Coachella Valley High School and plans to attend UC Riverside the next year. For the remainder of this year, Jacky is a youth organizer with the Schools Action Team at Bobby Duke Middle School to model, and later implement, Restorative Justice at a district level. She enjoys journalism and documenting people's different perspectives. Jacky's goal is to help change the narrative that targets the east valley’s youth in a derogatory way. Through this, she hopes to help improve the eastern Coachella Valley.
Araceli Beltran was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. She grew up in Thermal and after graduating high school she left the Coachella Valley to pursue higher education. She received a B.S in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Before becoming involved with Coachella Unincorporated, Araceli worked with Building Healthy Communities Eastern CV, Center for Environmental Health, Berkeley Student Cooperative, and FIND Food Bank. All mentioned organizations are non-profit organizations that focus on assisting marginalized communities at different capacities. With the knowledge and experience Araceli gained through her work and education she plans to contribute a different perspective through story telling in the Coachella Valley.Jonathan Gonzalez Jonathan Gonzalez is an artist and a geek from North Shore, Calif. Jonathan is someone who thinks of life as an adventure. He's always willing to try and learn new things, and is ever curious about everything around him. While Jonathan may be meek at times, and occasionally lacks confidence, once he gains momentum on a project his passion knows no bounds. As an apprentice of Coachella Unincorporated, Jonathan hopes to gain skills to better express himself and by extension, help others tell their stories. Alondra Jimenez Alondra Jimenez was born and raised in Coachella. She volunteers with three local organizations in her free time. In high school, she was part of yearbook and journalism. She hopes to gain experience and knowledge she can implement in her future. She also strongly believes in civic engagement and helping amplify the voices of minority communities. As an apprentice for Coachella Uninc., Alondra hopes to spread awareness about issues facing her community.
Youth Reporters — Spring 2016
Cindy Aispuro is a senior at Nova Academy in Coachella. She is a hard worker when it comes to school and is a caring person who is always willing to lend a hand to her friends. In her free time, she enjoys drawing and painting, always while listening to music. Cindy joined Coachella Unincorporated last year and is excited to learn more about her community. Cindy hopes to give back to her community through her storytelling.
Naomi is a senior at Nova Academy in Coachella California. She enjoys art projects and working as a team. She is eager to learn, and is looking into joining a university soon and hopes to major in math. Naomi joined Coachella Unincorporated last year and she is excited to be a part of the group. She enjoys helping people and hopes to make a difference in her community not only while with Coachella Unincorporated, but in her future as well.
Amanda Flores is a student reporter for Coachella Unincorporated. She joined in the Spring of 2015 and has written several articles since. For her journalism is an opportunity to showcase those in their communities who are making a difference. A Sophomore at Xavier College Preparatory she hopes to attend Stanford University and pursue a degree within the field of legal studies and public administration.
Maria Garcia has been a student reporter with Coachella Unincorporated for two years. She is currently a junior at NOVA Academy in Coachella, Calif. Maria enjoys writing personal reflections and profiles of people in her community. In her spare time, she also enjoys drawing and sketching comic book characters.
My name is Luis Lua, and I am a senior at Desert Mirage High School in Thermal, CA. I have written and have had published articles for the RamPage, (the school's online newspaper). I like writing about entertainment but I also write about issues that aren't cleared. I personally think journalism and exercising our rights is a way to express ourselves and/or change the way of seeing things.
A few years ago Karla Martinez didn’t think a young person like her could ever make a difference in her community. But after getting involved with local organizations, Karla's opinion on this was reversed. She has devoted almost every spare minute of her time to bettering her community. Karla, 16, is currently a junior at Nova Academy in Coachella. She has been a regular contributor to Coachella Unincorporated for two years, where she has written numerous articles and reflections on issue ranging from community violence to voter registration. In April 2015, Karla won the Young Lady of the Year Award for Riverside County District 4 for her work with the Land Use Planning Awareness project.
Olivia Rodriguez is from Thermal, CA. She graduated from Desert Mirage High School in 2011 and earned her Bachelor's degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley in 2015. Through her participation with Coachella Unincorporated she hopes to improve her storytelling skills and give a voice to some of the issues in her community that have been voiced less through the media. One day she hopes to be a health leader and work alongside other community leaders in the Eastern Coachella Valley to address health inequalities in her hometown.
Program Associate & Reporter
Paulina Rojas joined Coachella Uninc. as a beat reporter in February 2016 after working as a city reporter in the eastern Coachella Valley for more than a year. Although born and raised in New York City, Paulina feels right at home in the eastern Coachella Valley. She loves the warmth of the people and buying fresh bread from her favorite bakery in downtown Coachella. Paulina is a graduate of the University of Houston, and her work has appeared in The Las Vegas Review - Journal, The Houston Chronicle, HelloGiggles and Vivala.
Program Manager & Editor
Amber Amaya is a fifth-generation resident of the Coachella Valley, and she enjoys helping young people from her community strengthen their storytelling skills. As Program Manager and Editor of Coachella Unincorporated, a youth media program, Amber manages two cohorts of youth reporters in the Eastern Coachella Valley. She has a background in multimedia journalism, focusing on hyperlocal news and immigrant communities. Amber is also an alumna of the Women's Policy Institute-County program and currently serves as a board member for the Regional Access Project (RAP) Foundation. Amber graduated from Biola University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism & Integrated Media, where she also graduated from the Torrey Honors Institute. During her time at Biola, Amber was awarded a Pew Young Scholars Fund grant for her research on young Latinos and social media.