Yuriko Ruizesparza, currently serves as the Community Services Supervisor with the City of Baldwin Parks and Recreation and Community Services Department. With over 15 years of experience working for the public sector, Mrs. Ruizesparza brings high energy and expertise in recreational programming, special events, human services, public relations, customer service, and, most recently, combatting homelessness. In addition, she has a positive track record of working with public agencies, meeting community needs and assessments, creating cross-sector collaborations, expanding opportunities for park and open green space, and securing a variety of private and public grant funding to support organizational endeavors.
A Pasadena native, Mrs. Ruizesparza began her public service career at 14 years old while working for Villa Parke Community Center and Summer Day Camp Program with the City of Pasadena's Human Services and Recreation Department. The job opportunity fueled her decision to pursue the parks and recreation profession. Her career in public service is driven by her passion for advocating for park equity across Los Angeles County, especially in underserved communities of color.
Growing up, she recalls plenty of parks and open space to enjoy in her community. She had the opportunity to play soccer and softball on beautiful fields, go on local hikes with Outward Bound Adventures, bike, or enjoy the outdoors. However, she quickly discovered that most Angelinos did not share that same privilege. Therefore, she actively seeks to address this gap in park-poor communities through the empowerment and engagement of community stakeholders, formulation of policies, grant acquisitions, and expansion of parks, trails, and open green space. More recently, her passion has also expanded to serve the unhoused, who often reside in inadequate shelters in parks or other public areas due to their experience with homelessness.
Over the years, Mrs. Ruizesparza has been an integral part of her department's success in receiving numerous awards from the California Park and Recreation Society- District 13. The awards received and the projects recognized include Health, Wellness and Community Life Award, Community Service Award for Preserving the Recreation History for Future Generations, and the Facility or Park Planning and Design Award for the Walnut Creek Nature Park and the Esperanza Villa Tiny Homes Project. In addition, she has helped secure millions of dollars in grant funding through the National League of Cities, Walmart Foundation, Food Research and Action Center, Kaiser Permanente Community Foundation, Department of Housing and Community Development Division of Housing Policy Development, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust, Los Angeles Homeless Initiative & Home for Good Collaborative (Measure H), Los Angeles County Parks and Open Space District, San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, California Natural Resources Agency and California State Parks among others.
Mrs. Ruizesparza holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from California State University Los Angeles and a Master of Public Administration from California State University Northridge with a specialization in Public Sector Management and Leadership. In addition, she is pursuing her Doctorate of Public Administration from the University of La Verne. As a doctoral candidate, Yuriko's dissertation research focuses on public administration and collaborative governance practices that can help bridge the gap in open park space in communities of high need across Los Angeles County.
Yuriko has been a proud member of the California Parks and Recreation Society, National Parks and Recreation Society, and a student member of the American Society for Public Administration and the International City/County Management Association. She also enjoys participating in advocacy and leadership groups that advance outdoor equity practices with her engagement with the Nature for All Leadership Academy/Stewards and the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP)- Pacific Regional Network.
During her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and high school sweetheart (Francisco) and, of course, "Viernes Divertidos/Fun Fridays" with her family.
ActiveSGV's annual awards party, Noche de las Luminarias, honors people making strides to realize a more sustainable, equitable, and livable San Gabriel Valley. On 9/22/22, we are excited to once again host the event in a beautiful outdoor setting at Grapevine Arbor in the City of San Gabriel. More information about the event and how to get tickets here.