Citrus College, Senior
San Diego Regional Coordinator
Former youth volunteer with Claremont United Methodist Church
I’m Joseph Makunga and I’m thrilled to be Sierra Service Project’s new Regional Coordinator in Imperial Beach, CA. I’ve served on SSP staff for three summers; twice in the San Diego region. SSP San Diego is so special to me because it’s where I had my first ever SSP experience as a graduated high school senior. Unsure of what the week had in store, and a few weeks after an ankle surgery, I arrived timid and uncertain. By the end of the week, the youth and staff had changed my mind and I’ve been serving every summer since.
“Just minutes from the Pacific Ocean and the US Mexico border, ‘home’ this summer was Imperial Beach.”
In 2018 I was lucky enough to return to San Diego; this time in a new location. Just minutes from the Pacific Ocean and the US Mexico border, “home” this summer was Imperial Beach (IB). Organizing this move from the City Heights neighborhood to IB was an incredible feat to take on. In less than a year the site was up and running, hosting over 350 volunteers across six weeks. This would not have been possible without collaboration between the SSP office, the local community in IB, and my predecessor Shaila Homan.
“In exploring what it means to ‘Love Courageously,’ we discussed ways we as friends and neighbors could build strong relationships, able to withstand the tumultuous tides of everyday life. There is nowhere better to observe this in action than in the tight-knit community of Imperial Beach.”
As with any new site, our staff team had to remain adaptable amidst challenges, but it quickly became clear we were experiencing something truly special. In exploring what it means to “Love Courageously,” we discussed ways we as friends and neighbors could build strong relationships, able to withstand the tumultuous tides of everyday life. There is nowhere better to observe this in action than in the tight-knit community of Imperial Beach.
I strive as the Regional Coordinator to continue being a representative of SSP’s vision and mission. This year, I’ll work on maintaining and creating new relationships to provide the best experience for volunteers and homeowners as our work in the region progresses. I look forward to the future and all the exciting prospects it holds!