sabaaSabaa Shoraka, Community Programs Manager at Life Academy

  • University of California, Santa Cruz, BA in sociology
  • San Francisco State University, MA in Education

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sabaa Shoraka joined Alternatives in Action as the Community Programs Manager at Life Academy High School in August of 2014. Prior to coming to Alternatives in Action, Sabaa served as the Career Pathways Manager at Youth Uprising, and Director of Administration and Finance at the Institute for Sustainable Education Economic and Environmental Design. Sabaa is passionate about developing the skills of young people to become active agents for social justice and equity. In her free time, Sabaa enjoys baking and cooking, photography, and traveling.

dscf0233Adriana Guerrero, Community Programs Manager at Life Academy Middle School

  • Arizona State University, BA in Psychology
  • University of San Francisco, Masters of Nonprofit Administration (MNA), Candidate

In August 2015, Adriana moved to the Bay Area from Central America, where she was working as the Education Manager for a grassroots organization in Guatemala. Adriana recently joined Alternatives in Action in August of 2016, as the Community Programs Manager at Life Academy Middle School. Prior to her work in youth development, Adriana taught as a certified English teacher in the south of Spain for 4 years. Adriana is a Long Island native that currently resides in West Oakland, and in her free time she loves traveling, cooking, reading, hiking, going to the beach and spending time with her tripod puppy, Nova at Lake Merritt.

glamGlam Spencer, Art Coach and Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) Advisor

  • Oberlin College, BA in Studio Art

Glam Spencer has been teaching art at Life Academy since 2014, and has been working in OUSD since 2011. Glam is currently pursuing their Masters in Teaching from the Reach Institute for School Leadership.  Outside of teaching, Glam is a visual artist who has shown work across the country, and was one of the featured artists last year for Day With(Out) Art on World AIDS Day.  They enjoy eating breakfast and spending time with their hermit crab, Rachel.

christina-martinezChristina Martinez, Life Academy Middle School Restorative Justice Coach

Christina Martinez is the Restorative Justice Coach in the Extended Day Program (EDP) with Alternatives in Action. She has been working at Life since 2012. She is excited to continue to work with the middle schoolers. Christina is a Bay Area native and happy to be working in the city where she was born – Oakland! Christina is currently still in college and working towards a degree in Psychology. She hopes her work in EDP will help her develop the skills needed as a Behavioral Therapist – her ultimate career goal. When Christina is not working with the middle schoolers, she is attending live music shows, watching Raider and Warriors games, reading her latest novel, or shoe shopping – she’s gotta keep up with the kiddos somehow!

sky-astorgaSky Young, Life Academy Middle School 6th Grade Art Coach

Sky began working at Alternatives in Action in 2008 and has been a part of its’ End of Day Program at Life Academy as the 6th Grade Art Coach since 2015. He enjoys reading, cooking and a variety of outdoor sports, including kayaking, swimming and softball.

alejandra-youngAlejandra Astorga, Life Academy Middle School 6th Grade Nutrition and Fitness Coach

Alejandra Astorga was born and raised in East Oakland. She graduated from Alternatives in Action High School in 2015. Alejandra joined Life Academy Middle School in August of 2016, as the 6th grade Fitness and Nutrition Coach. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Cynthia Ayala, 7th and 8th Grade Art Coach and Girls Group Coach

Cynthia Ayala graduated from Alternatives in Action high school in 2014 and now works for both Alternatives in Action and Life academy middle school since 2015 as an after school program coach. Born and raised in East Oakland, Cynthia has always realized the importance of youth empowerment, knowledge, and social justice especially when it’s interwoven with education. Cynthia is currently working on getting a BA in Ethnic Studies along with a single subject teaching credential. Her favorite things to do is listen and collect records, hang out with her homegirls, and read and write zines!

kareemKareem Marshall, Life Academy Middle School PE Teacher & Basketball Coach and 7th/8th Grade Real Talk Coach

Kareem Marshall has been working with kids since 2012 when he started his first term of service with Americorps where he was positioned at Emerson Elementary School in North Oakland. His second term of Americorp saw him positioned at Life Academy in 2013 and he has been working with AIA since. Kareem loves encouraging young people and empowering the youth.

Curtis Royce, Life Academy Middle School Soccer and Sports Conditioning Coach

Coach Curtis was born in the Bay Area, but grew up all over the U.S.  He studied Ceramic Art and Political Science at Tacoma Community College and Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington in Washington state.  He has worked in many different fields including manufacturing, distribution, art and finally began coaching soccer and futsal in Portland OR in 2012.  Besides a passion for coaching, Curtis is an an avid climber, is a former competitive powerlifter, and a movement and health fanatic.  He is always looking for new ways to move and be healthy.  

Colleen Weyland, Multimedia Coach in the Extended Day Program with Alternatives in Action

  • San Francisco State University, BA in Journalism

I am award winning visual journalist and was recently named 1 of 28 talented urban photographers to follow on Instagram by Buzzfeed. I’ve worked for national publications from Florida to California and have a passion for storytelling. I have taught multimedia for the past 4 years with various organizations including Youth Spirit Artworks in Berkeley and Youth Radio in Oakland.


beverley-velascoBeverly Velasco, Life Academy Middle School STEM Coach

After graduating from Alternatives in Action high school Beverly wanted to give back to her community so she decided to work with youth in East Oakland. Beverly is currently working towards getting her B.S. in Construction Management.  In the past Beverly has served as the Fitness and Nutrition Coach at Life Academy Middle School and she is currently teaching STEM! She hopes that her work with the youth will inspire the youth to continue onward to get a higher education. In her free time she likes to go to Bailes, listen to live Banda, hang out with her family, and go shopping.

Arcelia Renteria, Middle School Parent Coordinator

Arcelia Renteri is from Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. In Mexico Arcelia graduated from nursing school and also was a folk dance teacher and adult literacy teacher.

Arcelia started working for AmeriCorp in 2011 at Life Academy Middle School then starting working for Alternatives in Action from 2012 to the present. Arcelia like to be around loyal, happy and positive, people and is committed to  working against injustice in our community.  She loves spending time in nature and working with children, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Margarita Guzman
Bio coming soon!