I was born in and raised in Norwalk, California, a working-class suburb southeast of Los Angeles. I went to public school and played sports throughout. I attended California State University Fresno as a scholarship athlete, and graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in Cultural Anthropology.
After graduating from Eastern Washington University I moved to New York City where I Directed the largest Community Economic Development program in the country. From there, I worked on Riker’s Island Correctional Eric M. Taylor Facility in NYC helping inmates transition out of incarceration; eventually creating one of the first web-based training portals in the country for prisoners and dislocated workers called – ‘ifoundajob.com.’
After that, the 911 World Trade Center disaster occurred, where I worked as a post crisis-responder doing field work through a grant from New York Health and Human Services Administration. My responsibility was to do field evaluations to identify people who may be in need on emotional and mental health supports, as well as make referrals for treatment. Following the world trade center disaster, many people working and living in New York City were experience various forms of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the disaster. Often times, people were simply unaware that they were in shock, or were just wandering the streets trying to get a grip on reality. It was my job to identify and refer people who suffering to counselors so that could get the help they needed to overcome the trauma they had experienced.
Following the disaster I moved into technical assistance consulting under the VA Grant and Per Diem Homeless Housing Initiative, which was a grant that was developed in an effort to create more housing for homeless veterans throughout the US.