Meet the Team!

Click on the pictures to learn more about STRIVE, San Diego! staff ad undergraduate interns. 

Myleen Abuan

Program Coordinator
mabuan@operationsamahan.org

Myleen Abuan is a program coordinator for STRIVE, San Diego! at Operation Samahan. She received her B.S. in Health and Human Services with emphasis in Public Health at San Diego State University. In addition to the work she's done within the Filipino Community, Myleen is also a board member for the Pacific American Education Scholastic Foundation, an organization that seeks to enhance academic opportunities for Pacific Americans through financial and educational assistance programs in support of family and cultural values of the indigenous natives.

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Myleen Abuan

Myleen Abuan

Program Coordinator

Maria (Happy) Araneta

Community Liaison/Evaluator

Maria Rosario (Happy) G. Araneta PhD is a Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine.  She received her BA in Biology from UCSD and her PhD in Epidemiology from Yale. Dr. Araneta received the 2014 American Diabetes Association’s Vivian Fonseca Award for her research on diabetes among Asians and Pacific Islanders, and co-authored the ADA's new 2015 guidelines on diabetes screening among Asian-Americans and the American Heart Association's Scientific Advisory on Cardiovascular Disease among Asian-Americans.  She was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Her research interests include maternal and pediatric HIV/AIDS, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  She collaborates with the University of Hawai'i, and the University of the Philippines.

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Maria (Happy) Araneta

Maria (Happy) Araneta

Community Liaison/Evaluator

Avery Binuya

Grocery Store Coordinator/Community Relations

Avery is a San Diego State University graduate with her B.S. in Health and Human Services and an emphasis in Public Health. As a student, she devoted a lot of her time to grow as a community leader, serving as an active member and officer for the Asian Pacific Student Alliance. From there, she was able to work as an advocate for members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community, to help improve their community presence when they are underrepresented in the mainstream. Avery has had her hand in community service, event planning, media production and promotion, programs for professional growth, mentorship programs, and more. She is currently using her skills gained from these experiences to help expand health awareness efforts beyond the university sphere and into several San Diego communities. Avery's favorite thing about getting involved with STRIVE, San Diego is the opportunity to collaborate closely with like-minded professionals who are both fun and mean business. Though she is a recent post-grad, she is happy that the learning never stops!

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Avery Binuya

Avery Binuya

Grocery Store Coordinator/Community Relations

Moana Cabiles

Restaurant Coordinator

A 2014 NaPALI graduate, Moana, better known as Mo, has spent over 15 years serving her community. After receiving her degree Mo spent 15 years as a pharmacy technician and still holds that certification today. Mo currently works as a Community Health Worker in the Non-profit sector specializing in Pacific Islander outreach and education. In her spare time she participates in numerous efforts in perpetuating her culture and educating those in her community. She currently serves on several boards including but not limited to Pacific Islander Community Health (PIC Health) which serves to educate and provide medical resources to Pacific Islanders in San Diego county, NHPI Tobacco Awareness Coaltion San Diego which serves to implement tobacco awareness initiatives and policies within estableshments highly frequented by Pacific Islanders, Heali'is Polynesian Revue (HPR) a local halau or school of hula that has served in San Diego for over 40 years, where she has earned the title of Ho'opa'a and Hui O Hawaii,  a social club founded in 1969 whose purpose is to preserve Hawaiian culture where she is the Director of Youth Enrichment and now STRIVE San Diego, whose purpose is to provide health dining and shopping options to the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities of Southern California. If that isn't enough she also is a mother to 2 daughters whose extracurricular activities consist of hula and kajukenbo, wife to band member of N@KI a local band here in San Diego where she is charged with all financial responsibilities and finds time to take Hawaiian and Chamorro languages classes and learn the art of Lei Hulu. If ever you see her be sure and say hello, she is always on the look out for more friends.

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Moana Cabiles

Moana Cabiles

Restaurant Coordinator

Sophia Huynh

Farmers' Market Coordinator/Marketing

Sophia Huynh is a graduate from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Health and Human Services with an emphasis in Public Health. Her professional goal is to obtain a MD/MPH degree and to start her own practice where she can treat and educate her patients and the community. Helping the underserved is one of her passions, which is evident in her continuous involvement with diversity and leadership development throughout her terms as an officer for the Asian Pacific Student Alliance, Delta Zeta Sorority, and Panhellenic Council at SDSU. During her terms, she has planned events promoting higher education, empowerment, and cultural affluence, philanthropic events, and developed essential skills such as time management, teamwork, organization, quick decisions, and handling unforeseen situations or difficult people. She is grateful to be a part of STRIVE because she is able to make an impact in the community, serve those in need, and pave the way for others to live healthy, be healthy, and aspire to reach their goals.

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Sophia Huynh

Sophia Huynh

Farmers' Market Coordinator/Marketing

Hai Life

Community Liaison

Hai Life is a very simple person. His involvement in STRIVE is by chance, but his time and effort in it is by choice. His main hope is to connect the Vietnamese restaurants with STRIVE, San Diego! so that the Vietnamese community and the San Diego community as a whole can benefit from the educational awareness of healthy dining and the importance of available healthy options at those restaurants. With a bachelor degree in Genetics from a University of California, he is a firm believer in balance. Just as a well balanced diet is important to the body's health, so does a balanced life which is essential to the well-being of your mind and soul. When he is not occupied with kidney research or STRIVE, he is often "Gone-Fishin" or caught up with bowling strikes, or lost amongst the camping tents.

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Hai Life

Hai Life

Community Liaison

Kris Nguyen

Restaurant Coordinator

Kris Nguyen is a STRIVE, San Diego! restaurant coordinator and representative for Pho Ha Noi, one of STRIVE's partnering restaurants. Kris studied biology and psychology at UCSD. However, her passion lies with entrepreneurship and advocating for community health. Since the age of ten, Kris has helped with her family business and has started many of her own businesses such as furniture stores and bridal shops. But her latest passion lies with the restaurant business as it stems from her love for creating good food and sharing them with her family at an early age. She is a firm believer that great food helps bring family and friends together! Kris saw first-hand what an unhealthy Asian diet can do to her beloved family members, and thus made it her mission to modify certain dishes to make them healthier without sacrificing their taste. She then found her niche with STRIVE for its similar ideals to provide healthier dining options and to spread awareness about health complications in Asian communities. Now, through STRIVE and Pho Ha Noi, Kris aspires to give authentic asian cuisine a good name for its tastiness and freshness with an added healthy twist. She helped open Pho Ha Noi and currently manages it, hoping to introduce healthier Asian dishes to the mass. She wants to help customers make healthier choices in creating and altering any dishes according to their specific needs.

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Kris Nguyen

Kris Nguyen

Restaurant Coordinator

Mary Grace Sadile

Program Evaluator

Mary Grace Sadile obtained her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU). It was since her early days as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, to working with Kalusugan Community Services, Institute for Public Health, County of San Diego, and various projects within Operation Samahan's San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Community Health Network (SDAPI) that Mary found her passion in working with underserved communities to combat health disparities and improve health outcomes.

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Mary Grace Sadile

Mary Grace Sadile

Program Evaluator

Fe Seligman

Grants and Program Director

Fe has been a Grant and Program Development Manager at Operation Samahan for over 13 years, in which she has obtained grants for the development of numerous programs for Operation Samahan, including Youth-to-Youth, the SDAPI Network, and STRIVE, San Diego.

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Fe Seligman

Fe Seligman

Grants and Program Director

Sandy Spackman

Community Liaison
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Sandy Spackman

Sandy Spackman

Community Liaison

Abigail Carandang

Nutrition Assistant
acarandang@operationsamahan.org

Born and raised in Rancho Penasquitos, Abigail graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition. Abigail is passionate about healthy living, exploring the outdoors, hiking, camping, and traveling. Giving back to the community is a strong part of her identity and she is very grateful she can do this with her position at Operation Samahan. Furthermore, Abigail has a deep, personal connection with the company dating back to when her mother first came to San Diego. When her mother didn’t know anyone nor have a place to stay, the Director of Operation Samahan took her into his home for the night. Her mother expressed, “you have no idea how appreciative I am of the company and how happy I am that you work for them now.” She said being an employee of this amazing company is her way of giving back and can never express enough gratitude for all the kind-hearted workers.

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Abigail Carandang

Abigail Carandang

Nutrition Assistant

Joyce Ann Eclarino

Fall 2015-Spring 2016 Intern
joyceann.eclarino@yahoo.com

Joyce Ann Eclarino is a fresh graduate from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Health and Human Services with an emphasis in Public Health. She currently works as an Intern for Strive, San Diego, creating educational and promotional materials for the program. With the help of the prestigious mentors at Strive, San Diego!, she aspires to be a well-prepared public health advocate in the near future. Her professional goal is to one day work within the Communicable and Infectious Disease department and cater to the public through education and other related services.

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Joyce Ann Eclarino

Joyce Ann Eclarino

Fall 2015-Spring 2016 Intern

Antonio Salang

Project Coordinator Assistant
asalang@operationsamahan.org

Antonio Salang is the Project Coordinator Assistant for Operation Samahan and the Farmers Market Coordinator for STRIVE, San Diego! He started his journey with Operation Samahan as an intern, learning about the wide spectrum of public services provided to the community. Antonio graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors of Science in Public Health and is pursuing a Master in Health Science with a focus in Physician Assistance. Through his time working with farmers and community leaders throughout the county, he believes that widespread change starts at the grassroots level where everyone in their respective communities come together to find common ground and solutions to our health needs.

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Antonio Salang

Antonio Salang

Project Coordinator Assistant