Mark spent 5 years in California's foster care system.
Mark entered the foster care system at the age of 13 and spent 5 years in care. He is in his Junior year at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) and is pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Art. Currently, he serves as the Guardian Scholars Program Student Assistant and helps find housing for homeless and foster youth who are on campus. He is also a Peer Mentor at the Orangewood Foundation where he helps foster youth learn basic life skills. His student experience allowed him to study abroad in Guatemala with the College of Humanities & Social Sciences Study Abroad Program where he worked with Xela AID to build communities and teach literacy to the local people of the Guatemalan Highlands.
Mark finds joy in helping others. He received the Spirit of Volunteerism Award from the President of CSUF on behalf of the Guardian Scholars Program. He represented the CSUF Division of Student Affairs as a Hispanic Association of College & Universities (HACU) Ambassador for the 2015 HACU Conference in Miami, Florida. Mark has a passion advocating for foster youth; he currently serves as an Advisory Board member for California Youth Connection. During his free time, Mark enjoys hiking and art. He recently studied abroad with the Art Department in Mexico where he learned Mexican Muralism and the Art of Frida Kahlo. Mark hopes to attend graduate school for a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy or Social Work. He hopes to establish a non-profit one day and own a house to finally call home.