Meet our November Staff feature, Francisco 'Paco' Ojeda! You may recognize him from some of our outreach efforts at Active SGV or seen him around town canvassing or spreading the word about our many projects! When he's not out promoting the awesome work of Active, he's exploring national parks and riding his bike. Get to know the SGV native below:
1. How did you get started working at ActiveSGV (/ in this field)?
After coming from working with the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco at Camp Mendocino as a ropes specialist & camp counselor I decided that it was time to look for a more long-term stable job. Luckily, I was already following the Bike SGV Facebook page and saw that they were in search for an outreach specialist. I didn't hesitate to send over my cover letter, resume, and portfolio as instructed in the job application. A week after my interview I got a call from David saying that he would like to offer me the position and if it were possible for me to begin in December. However, I told him I would have to wait on the starting date because I was getting ready to take off on a trip to HAWAII!! Luckily David was cool about it and I began in January. At this time Bike SGV was beginning their rebranding process into Active SGV which was great because it meant that I would be working on more diverse projects where my urban planning education and work background were suited for.
2. What do you like most about ActiveSGV?
I like that we have a great group of young professionals who are like minded and we all grew up in the SGV which holds a special place in all our hearts. I think as millennials we realize the importance of self-care and having a healthy and comfortable work environment. Which shows in our flexible work schedules and no dress code policy haha. I also love that we have people on staff that are not only great at their job, but they have other hobbies and skills which overlap with a lot of the work we do such as our awesome yoga instructors Carly and Diane. Our very own lead singer and band member Danielle. Our awesome nature stewards Amy and Andrew. Our spiritual leader Adriana. Our fashion and fine dining expert/chef Andrea. Our dad jokes enthusiast and fierce leader David. Our warm and kindhearted individuals Marlene and Jose. Our giver of fatherly advice, Wes. And my partner in crime who's down for anything Ed.
**Note from the editor: SHOUT OUT ALERT!! Thanks Paco for all those kind words!! :D
3. Favorite and/or memorable ActiveSGV experience?
My favorite Active SGV experience was Noches de las Luminarias 2019, and I'm not referring to the after party. When members of our community got up to speak and thanked us for all the work and effort, we put into making the SGV a better place to live, that was really special to me. Reason being is that our staff works so hard and I think a lot of the time we deal a lot with the bureaucracy and push back that comes with our line of work and sometimes it's all we're hearing for weeks on end. This can be really exhausting and bring down your good energy vibes. So, hearing all the positive feedback from our community made me really happy and reassured me that the work we do is impactful, and we are making a difference in our communities. That is what made that night so memorable to me.
4. If a friend from out of town were to visit, which place in the SGV would you take them to and why?
I would take them to the Vineland drive-in. Because one thing I've noticed about out of town friends is that a lot ot them have never had a drive-in movie experience. Also, you can't beat their prices ($11 for 2 MOVIES!) and you can bring in as much food as you want without worrying about getting it confiscated.
5. What you're listening to/ reading/ watching/ digging right now:
So, I've been visiting my youthful teens a lot in terms of music. There has been a lot of usher, nelly, young Chris brown, t-pain, going on in my playlist along with some other classics such as weezer, sublime, red hot chili peppers, blink 182 and the strokes. In terms of reading I'm finishing up this book called The Golem and The Jinni which is really good and falls under fiction/fantasy genre. The next book I have ready to go is The Color of Law, something I'm also looking forward to reading. For watching my best friend recommended me to take a look at Avatar The Last Airbender which was great! Also, Netflix recently released the second series The Legend of Kora which I already binge watched, so if you have any recommendations let me know. What I’m digging right now is making short films for fun. I've been spending a lot of time learning video editing software and even bought a gimbal for my DSLR.
If you want to keep up with my awesome but humble lifestyle follow me on Instagram @greencollarscholar.
Want to learn more? Check out ActiveSGV's new podcast, ActiveLab