• Meet the Staff

Sahar BalighSAHAR

My name is Sahar Baligh. I moved from a war-torn country, Afghanistan, in February 2016. Moving to USA was the biggest opportunity for me to reach my goals and it felt like a dream. I promised myself that I would try my best and take advantage of any opportunity that came my way in order to achieve the goals I had set for myself. Because of all the triggering scenes I saw in the media and around me while living in Afghanistan, I only dreamed of being a doctor. Even when I moved to USA, the whole four years of high school I had only had the dream of becoming a doctor in mind. In June 2020, I graduated from high school with an IB (International Baccalaureate) associate degree. Getting an associate from IB was a huge accomplishment for me as someone who had just moved into a whole new environment, language, and society. I was quite pleased of myself. However, after graduating high school, and as I was researching for majors, I found out I really don’t have any passion for becoming a doctor. I began my first semester of college as a Chemistry student at American River College, intending to follow my dream of becoming a doctor. But then I thought to myself, “Why am I pushing myself if I don’t have a desire for being a doctor?” Then I began my research to discover the majors that I truly desire. I found out I enjoy working with technology and computers, which is why I became a computer science student. Throughout this lengthy process, I discovered that we must pursue what we enjoy and are passionate about. As we grow older, our careers become a large part of our lives, and if we don’t enjoy what we do, we’ll soon lose interest.


My name is Chelsey Johnson. I graduated in 2018 from Laguna Creek high school and moved to  Southern California for school at Azusa Pacific University. Unfortunately after the first semester I could no longer afford it and had to move back to my home town Sacramento. Moving back was devastating because it felt like my dreams had fallen apart and I wouldn’t be able to go back to a university. The following semester in 2019 I decided to go to a community college, Cosumnes River college where I majored in communications and found hope again. Even though I wasn’t at the same school, I was still pursuing education which is very important to me. Fast forward to 2021 and I have graduated with my AA to transfer to Long Beach. You know things may not go according to your plan but I have learned to enjoy the journey. After reading this I hope you see my resilience and know more about me.

Langston GainsLANGSTON

Hi my name is Langston Gains. I am a 20 year old college student attending Sacramento state. I am majoring in early childhood development. My goal for my future is to work with kids full time.

ANDREAAndrea Sanchez

I’m Andrea Sanchez, a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. I obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University in 2009, after having graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a minor in Education. I have spent nine years providing therapy in community mental health settings, focusing about half of that time on treating children, and the other half on adults with a history of trauma. Throughout these years, I have also led the youth in my community alongside my husband, who has been a youth pastor for over 10 years


My name is Zach Punh. I am 20 year old, Iu Mien American. I was born in Berkeley, CA and moved to Portland, OR and lived half of my life there. I then moved to Sacramento, CA in 2012. I graduated from Sheldon Highschool in 2019 and attended Consumnes River College. In midst of COVID I took a break from college and worked at multiple jobs and gained a tremendous amount of experience in the job field and still continue to learn and grow. I currently work at Sac Youth Center and love the work we are doing there, such as working with kids, helping them learn new skills and give them opportunities not everyone youth receives.

BOBBIEBobbie Bray

Hey this is Bobbie
I so grateful to be in partnership with Sac Youth Center! In 2020 we met in the #sacyouthworks program and SYC shared their socio-emotional online curriculum with us. Since then we have opened a youth center at Common Ground Church in the Valley-Hi neighborhood of South Sacramento and a coffee shop in the Artisan building. I have developed a workforce training program for hands on barista skills and hospitality. This program paired with a work and employment initiative from the City of Sacramento has made it possible to hire youth workers at the café! Follow us @uptowngrounds.Like the Shipps I also raise support to sustain my personal expenses. If you are interested in partnering with me in my work I would love to connect and share more. Contact me at bobbie@commongroundcov.org

Adam Shipp

Adam Shipp

Program Director

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