Kara West
Board Member

Although, I was very young, I distinctly remember my first introduction to extreme poverty. My grandfather, who had retired in Costa Rica, brought me to a deeply impoverished town to distribute food baskets to hundreds of families. I was shocked at the families’ severe living conditions and it has fueled my dedication to improving the lives of others ever since. Attending San Diego State University, I started the journey towards a career that would enable me to make a positive impact in the world for underserved populations both in my local community and across the globe, from working at a homeless boys shelter in Tijuana to later joining the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. After earning my MA degree in Oxford, England, I made my way to upstate New York as the Director for a Youth Advocacy Program supporting at-risk youth. It never ceased to amaze me seeing each young individual rise above their circumstances and achieve their goals when they were provided with the smallest spark of an opportunity.

Returning to my San Diego base, I have been honored to work with our local refugee and low-income communities around City Heights and more expansively in international development programs to improve the livelihoods of our neighbors across the globe. With over a decade of experience as a leader in non-profit operations and finance managing multi-million-dollar portfolios across Africa, Latin America, and the US, I have come to believe that meaningful program impact lies in an organization’s passion, dedicated staff, efficient structures, measurable outcomes, and transparency. As a current residential lender, I am able to experience the joy each of my clients feels when they have found their new “home.” But not everyone in our community has the advantage of owning a home in San Diego, let alone finding affordable housing. This is why I am so proud to serve as a board member for Wesley House and wholeheartedly stand behind its mission to empower students in achieving their goals through affordable housing and support services!