Reyna Facundo believes that anyone can be an organizer. “There is an inherent part of every human – we’re all organizers,” Reyna said. That mindset rubbed off on the parents she worked with as a FIA Family Organizer.
“I would describe Reyna as kind, she has a lot of trust in others,” said Marlyn Lemus , a Community School for Creative Education parent who worked with Reyna and is also a longtime friend. “She will help you if you ever need her, and she always wants to help her community.”
Reyna recently left Oakland to move with her family to Oklahoma. She leaves a legacy of being a warrior and an incredible advocate for Black and Brown families in Oakland, especially those who speak her native language, Spanish.
Reyna Facundo, second from left in the front row holding flowers, with some of the Oakland families she worked with who organized a going away party for her.
“She’s a mother who, like us, fights for her children to get a good education,” said Olivia Padilla, an EFC Lazear and Oakland Charter High school parent. “She also has that desire to learn and improve herself.”
Before she became an organizer, Reyna had years of experience volunteering in the schools of her four children. “I always sought to be heard and the only purpose was always to contribute a bit to the education of my children,” she said, “and one day see them fulfilled as professionals contributing to my community as productive citizens.”
Reyna’s belief in the power of parents allowed her to shine in her role as a FIA Parent Organizer. She had never previously been an organizer when she joined FIA. “I got my start like any other FIA parent,” Reyna said. “I joined an institute and the data impacted me.”
Reyna Facundo, right, coaching a parent 1:1 during the Civic Engagement campaign to do phone banking and texting.
Reyna said she liked working closely with former FIA organizer, Maria Flores, throughout the institute, and how much she stayed in contact and cared about her and her family. Reyna said she felt “seen and validated.”
“She was always in contact, guiding me, showing me that my hopes and dreams could be a reality,” Reyna said of working with Maria. “My organizer also gave me opportunities to participate outside of the institute.”
From there, Reyna was inspired, and hooked, and became a member of the FIA organization.
“FIA stayed true to its mission of valuing input from parents and youth,” Reyna said of her experience working as an organizer with FIA. “On a personal level, I appreciated the level of interaction I had with parents, and the opportunities in the work to develop as a leader, and the feedback from the FIA staff.”
Reyna said she valued being a member of the FIA organization and learning about project planning and how a group can work well together to accomplish amazing things. She said she was proud to live out FIA’s mission.
“I understood the great work that FIA is doing in the community,” she said. “Educating and informing a parent requires a lot of commitment and all this can only be done with a true vision of creating an impact, first for families and second for each student who has the right to receive a quality education that allows them to achieve their professional and personal goals.”
Interested in working as an organizer? Get more information about a job opening in Contra Costa County at fiaoakland.org.