Meet the Team

Apprentices — Spring 2016

 Jacqueline Aguilar

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

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

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 Carrion

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

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

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.

Luis Lua

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.

Karla Martinez

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

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

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

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.

5 thoughts on “Meet the Team

  • January 29, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Good Afternoon Coachella UNINC,

    Congratulations on your amazing work. It is truly impressive to see such a young group of brilliant and passionate advocates in Coachella Valley!

    Please allow me to introduce myself as the new Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) Community Outreach Representative for the Coachella Valley. I came across your FB page and quickly became interested in learning more about UNINC.

    IEHP is a not-for-profit health plan serving adults and families with children in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. We work with various community based organizations in the Inland Empire to promote health awareness and provide valuable health care information to the community. We also provide our partners with fun health education comic books, coloring books, school supplies and other fun promotional items for children, teens, and adults

    Please let me know if there is any way that we can collaborate to help in your goal of building a healthy Eastern Coachella Valley. If at all possible, I would love to schedule a time to meet in person and get to know more about each others work in the community. Feel free to add me to your emailing list and keep me updated on any upcoming community meetings and events. In the meantime, keep up the great work!

    Warm Regards,

    Marisol Pilotin
    Community Representative
    Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)
    10801 Sixth St., Suite 120
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
    P: 951-374-3159
    E: [email protected]

    • February 9, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Marisol,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your kind words for our youth reporters.

      — Amber Amaya, Program Manager and Editor

  • October 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Coachella UNINC!
    It’s good to see some of my previous computer graphic design students getting involved in doing positive things in our community! This is Enrique Perez (Mr. Perez from room #103 at CVHS for some)
    I ran into your website while looking for things related to CVHS and I’m glad I did. Your coverage of events related to the eastern valley is really impressive.! You see, years ago, Before I became your Photoshop teacher, I was involved in something similar to your publication. It was called “Que Nuevas”
    (Whats new?) This bi-monthly newspaper was published in both english and spanish. We were the first ones to tap into the Eastern valley with positive news and events! I was in charge of high school sports back then and the graphic design and development of it too. It was challenging but rewarding! My work led to me becoming a graphic design teacher in the long run; but my experience in the journalistic venture “Que Nuevas” not only gave me more work experience but opened the doors to understanding our Coachella Valley and what it means to be a part of it.
    While still teaching I moonlight as a technology app developer after school. If this is something your team is interesting in researching for your next project, please feel free to contact me (phase40)

    Thanks for your efforts and dedication -You are truly a gift to our Eastern Valley and the whole State of California as we speak.

    Take care,

    Mr Perez

  • May 16, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Amber – Would like to connect you and your team of student journalists to OneFuture CV. Working on a news release about their upcoming 10th annual scholarship awards and will send your way. If you or any of your students would like to cover it — held on our UCR campus auditorium — please contact me.
    See you in our Social Media Marketing class on Friday!

  • April 20, 2019 at 1:30 am

    This is incredibly moving to see young (and older?) people take charge to make their community a better place for all. Keep up the good work. So many Californians have no idea about the lives of people in smaller places like Thermal. Thank you.


Leave a Reply to enrique perez Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *