Mariela joined the Friends of Front Street Board in August 2022, but had been fostering and volunteering at Front Street for many years prior. Her love for animals started when she was a young child, since her parents were known by their community for taking in and helping any animal that needed it. Her small home would have various dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, fish and reptiles at any given time. She started volunteering at her local animal shelter when she was 16 years old and worked at an animal hospital in her 20’s. She is currently a Deputy Director of Community Engagement for Mayor Steinberg’s Office, where she oversees animal welfare as part of her portfolio. In 2018, Mariela started the City Hall Pet of the Month program to create an even stronger partnership between the Mayor’s Office and Front Street Animal Shelter. The goal of the program is to highlight animals that are struggling to get adopted; typically, due to old age, health issues, breed stigma, or because they’ve shut down in the shelter environment making them appear less adoptable. By partnering with the Mayor’s Office, Front Street is able to highlight their true personality across the City of Sacramento. To date, the program has a 100% adoption success rate.
Mariela’s goal in joining the Friends of Front Street Board is to be able to take a more hands on approach in increasing fundraising efforts and community engagement. She is also part of the Events Planning Committee, which focuses on large fundraising events.
Mariela currently only has one dog, Tucker. A Boxer, German Shepherd, Husky mix she adopted from Front Street in 2021. They love to hike, swim, camp, and road trip across the state together.