Erica Amaya and Ana Taukolo are Sacramento natives who lead and inspire youth to make positive changes in the Sacramento community. They both attended Chico State University to better themselves and develop new skills to serve their communities. “We left our communities to grow and to develop into leaders," Erica explains.
Now, they work for Alliance for Education Solutions (AES), making significant impacts in Sacramento and using their experiences to empower others. Alliance for Education Solutions (AES), a non-profit organization, spearheads a variety of initiatives to uplift the Sacramento area and provides a platform for youth to employ their civic imagination and become politically engaged.
Ana serves as the coordinator for the Sacramento Youth Alliance, a team that strives to engage, empower, and mobilize youth to enhance the quality of life in underrepresented areas. Erica serves as the coordinator for the Davitto Leadership Academy, a certificated youth mentoring and leadership program.
“We both graduated from Chico State and we both got jobs with AES right out of college. This non-profit provides us a platform to make positive changes in the communities where we grew up and trusts us to continue building their legacy," Ana adds.
These two young women bring unique perspectives to AES. Having both grown up in the communities they serve, Erica and Ana embody the “be the change” mentality. Their approach is both empathetic and compassionate, allowing them to foster strong connections with youth, in solidarity with their struggles.
"Ana and I are from these communities. I, personally, grew up in Del Paso Heights and graduated from Grant High School. We came back to our community in Sacramento after graduating to give back, because we come from the marginalized areas that we serve."
"We are mentoring students in classrooms that we once sat in. This offers another level of personal fulfillment to my role here at AES. That is ultimate youth empowerment," Erica says proudly.
While community events and educational resources can be impactful, they mean so much more when they come from individuals at the same age level, with similar life experiences and deep understandings of another person’s emotional state.
“It is so important to see someone who looks like you, someone you can relate to," Ana goes on to say.
Alliance for Education Solutions is unique because its employees are able to see themselves in the people they are serving, operating from a place of empathy, compassion and care. These qualities aren’t just needed, they are expected from service organizations in the 21st century.