Staff Spotlight: Meet Damian Villa!

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August 27, 2018

Damian smiling with a partner in East Palo Alto
Damian smiling with a partner in East Palo Alto
Welcome to our August installment of our Staff Spotlight feature, where we share a brief interview to introduce you to some of our amazing staff members here at GRID Bay Area! This month, we are introducing you to our Outreach Coordinator, Damian Villa! Damian is GRID’s Outreach Coordinator for the South Bay/Silicon Valley. As a Bay Area native from East Palo Alto and an advocate for the environment and in empowering disadvantaged families, Damian is an incredible resource to both GRID and the communities we serve.

Pronouns:

he/him

How did you come to GRID? 

I came here going on 2.5 years ago. I was born and raised here in the Bay Area, specifically in the Peninsula in East Palo Alto. I’ve worked with nonprofits for quite a while. I used to work at this nonprofit called Morrissey-Compton Education Center. The main focus of that nonprofit was to help children and adults with learning disabilities.  I also worked at another nonprofit on the Peninsula called Scout Reach focused on encouraging and including the disadvantaged community to be more involved in the outdoors. I’ve always enjoyed or had a passion to help people in need and helping specifically in my local community. In college I majored in environmental studies at De Anza College and San Jose State.  I wanted to make a transition more toward sustainable building and renewable energy, and I ended up coming across GRID. I never knew that GRID existed even though they had done work in my community. When I came across GRID I thought, “Wow, perfect! It’s combining both of my interests - helping out disadvantaged local community, and also tackling the issue of climate change and encouraging transitioning our society to clean energy!”

What GRID value most resonates with you?

GRID's value of equity resonates with me the most. The main focus of GRID is to include the disadvantaged community in the transition that California is going through. We want to transition to clean renewable energy and GRID is not only helping individuals do that, but also helping those that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to do so. There is this quote from a homeowner that always resonates with me. She said, “thank you for helping me help the environment.” The governor and California come up with these standards, and we as administrators, we’re able to help disadvantaged community be involved and I think that’s great!

Favorite GRID moment?

I’ve had a few! Seeing a lot of people that I know from growing up in East Palo Alto qualify for GRID's program has been a real highlight, including my grandma and other family members. Being able to be in the client’s shoes and see the electricity payment assistance first-hand that way also has been really meaningful.