Photo: Mariana and Caitlin at our recent donor dinner along with high school students and a board member.

Get to Know Our Newest Team Members: Mariana and Caitlin!

We wanted to let our newest team members, Mariana and Caitlin, introduce themselves to The Practice Space community so you get to know a little more about them and what led them to this work. We hope you get to meet them both at an upcoming event!

My name is Mariana Castro and I first got involved in The Practice Space as a former El Cerrito Speech and Debate student who found many benefits from public speaking. Before being on the team, I was very quiet, reserved, and scared to speak in front of people. I spent a good year coming home from tournaments in tears because I felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t until Junior year that something inside of me clicked and my mindset of the team shifted. Thanks to my coaches, teammates, and AnnMarie, I gained confidence in myself to stop worrying about what others thought of me and to just have fun. I gained lots of skills and techniques while on the Speech and Debate team but the biggest take away for me was the confidence I learned to apply to communication skills in my day-to-day life.

Today, I am pleased to join The Practice Space community as the organization’s Development Associate, a job that the scared high school girl never thought she would have let alone enjoy. I wanted to take some time to introduce myself to you. Although I am entering 2019 as the Development Associate, I have been a part of the organization since 2017 as the Board Secretary and am excited for the new opportunities and roles I will be taking on in both my positions.

In May 2017, I received my Master’s in International Education Development from Columbia University and am very passionate about human rights, education, and leadership. My educational, work and volunteer experiences have ultimately led me to the position I currently hold of Development Associate. As my current interests and experiences align with The Practice Space’s work, I am very enthusiastic about joining The Practice Space as the Development Associate. In this position, I am hoping to assist the organization in fundraising activities as well as strengthening relationships with different partners. I hope to get the chance to meet you in person and I am excited and optimistic for the new year at The Practice Space.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thank you for your support!

Yours sincerely,

Mariana Castro, Development Associate

I wanted to say hello and introduce myself to all of you in The Practice Space community. I’m Caitlin Healy and I joined The Practice Space as the Program Associate in January. I was born and raised in Oakland and have a lot of pride in my hometown and the Bay Area as a whole. What caught my eye about this organization is that it reminded me of what ultimately got me through my teen years. When I was in middle school I joined a youth group that was my “practice space”, where I felt free to be myself, built confidence in voicing my thoughts, and became lifelong friends with my peers and adult advisors. It was a community that fostered safety, connection, and learning. Since then I have been driven to help create similar spaces for people of all ages.

I am thrilled to have joined such a dynamic, creative, and community-driven organization and team! For the past fifteen years I’ve been working in education in some capacity and was looking for a way to continue the work while reaching a broad community of people throughout the Bay Area, and beyond. I have definitely found that in The Practice Space, and am really looking forward to meeting all of you in the extended family of this organization.

I want to share a little more about the path that has led me here. After traveling and learning Spanish post-college, I taught social studies in public schools for seven years, including as a program coordinator for Peer Resources in San Francisco, which develops youth leaders to be agents of change in their schools and communities. In this program, I experienced the power of building people’s confidence to be advocates and actively engaged community members. Before joining The Practice Space team, I helped launch WiseTech Ed, an education startup that empowers students, families and schools to develop community-wide solutions that address the unintended consequences of technology.

I love that this has all led me here to a wonderful organization that I know will continue to only grow its positive impact on the world. I look forward to meeting you all and continuing to experience all the fun events with inspiring speakers!


Caitlin Healy, Program Associate

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