Amanda Gamban is a native of Santa Cruz County and is also a Cabrillo College and UC Davis alumni. She started her career at the International Rescue Committee as the Volunteer and Donations Coordinator, where she made valuable partnerships with community stakeholders to support recently resettled refugees in the Santa Clara County area.
Amanda joined the United Way team as the new Community Impact Coordinator for the Youth Violence Prevention Network (YVPN), March 16th, 2020. Just after her first day, Santa Cruz County announced the shelter in place order, where everyone had to transition to work from home. During her first month, she was learning her new role and meeting her team remotely.
Starting a new job is always a big learning curve, but doing it all from home is a unique challenge. At first, I was nervous because the core of YVPN’s work involves in-person meetings with network members, community members, and other stakeholders, and I wanted to make sure I left a great impression while carrying on this vital work. Thankfully, during my time, I’ve worked closely with Sarah Emmert, Director of Community Impact and Ruben Garcia, Project Thrive Coordinator. They have supported me in this transition and have made carrying on the work so seamless.
YVPN’s focus is to continue to build connections, capacity, and resources for all youth-well being in Santa Cruz County. Throughout this past year, YVPN started planning for the next phase of the work, where YVPN can focus on supporting systems change and prioritize youth needs. We went from transferring our in-person meetings, focus groups, and more extensive network meetings to online platforms. Naturally, this provided a lot of opportunities to build my relationships and communication skills over video-conferencing.
Working to support my local community has always been important personally and professionally. YVPN is also communicating with our partners to understand the needs of youth and families during COVID-19. Through our newsletters and social media, we have focused on sharing resources and highlighting some of our community partners and how they have innovatively shifted their work to continue to support the needs of youth & families, despite CODID-19.
I’m genuinely grateful to be a part of this team and looking forward to growing in this role, so I can help continue the critical work for the youth of Santa Cruz County and support our community through this pandemic.