United Ways of California Ambassadors - United Ways of California

United Ways of California Ambassadors

United Ways of California Ambassadors are community members who are dedicated to lifting community voices, speaking up about issues Californians are facing, and raising awareness about valuable resources.

Meet our inaugural group of Ambassadors:

Azra Joy

Kern County

Azra Joy (she/they) is a graphic designer at a nonprofit from Bakersfield, California. Raised in a low-income household with three siblings and a single mother, Azra defied the odds as a first-generation college student, fueled by their passion for art and creativity. Despite financial challenges, they secured scholarships and part-time jobs to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, all the while searching for and utilizing support services like VITA free tax prep. Today they use their experience in art, graphic design, and communications to help their family, friends, and larger community find the resources they need to thrive.

Alexis Obinna

Los Angeles County

Alexis Obinna is a dynamic social innovator known for her relentless passion in driving positive change in the world. With an impressive ten-year background in advocacy and policy within the child welfare system, Alexis has dedicated her life to solving pressing societal challenges through innovative solutions. As an independent contractor and businesswoman, she has leveraged skills to address issues such as social and racial justice, housing, education, and foster youth topics impacting various communities. Alexis’ visionary leadership and commitment to social justice has earned her recognition as a trailblazer in the field of social work. Her ability to inspire and mobilize diverse teams to create lasting impacts has sparked a transformative wave, leaving a powerful legacy of hope and progress for the most vulnerable populations.

Sandra Perez

Monterey County

Sandra Perez has been doing community work for two decades and is passionate about connecting her community with resources. After receiving free tax prep services through VITA, Sandra became a VITA volunteer to help people in her community file their taxes through the service she found so helpful herself. She is the mother of three adult children and enjoys taking her Yorkie for walks.

Ivonne Vega

Sonoma County

Ivonne Vega is a mother of four beautiful girls, with another on the way! She is very family oriented, is passionate about health care, and loves giving back to her community and helping out in any way she can. Grateful for support like free tax prep, Ivonne has participated in many events for United Way of the Wine Country and United Ways of California to help spread the word about United Way programs, and she has been nominated as a United Way Community Helper.

Cody Van Felden

Sacramento County

Cody Van Felden is a student at Sacramento State University and is set to graduate with her bachelor’s in psychology in May 2024. She is a former foster youth and has advocated with John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY) since 2020, focusing on issues related to reproductive health, access to public benefits, and taxes. Outside of advocacy, Cody enjoys raising her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, listening to music, and playing video games with her partner. She has a passion for working with youth and using her personal and professional experiences to close the gaps in the system experienced by our most vulnerable youth.

Sign up for our email list (at the bottom of this page) to hear stories from communities and community members across California, including stories from our Ambassadors!

For media inquiries and interviews, or for more information about the Ambassador Program, contact Jennifer Kennedy at jkennedy@unitedwaysca.org or 877-355-8922 ext. 120.

We are always looking for community members who are interested in sharing their story. If you are interested in supporting the work of California United Ways by sharing your story and personal experience with United Way, free tax prep, or a United Way program, please contact us and we will let you know about future opportunities.

Stay Connected

Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on our work

Subscription Form

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.