Growing Up in San Francisco
Kimberly Alvarenga was raised in San Francisco’s Mission district. Immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, her parent’s first met in the early 1960’s at El Farolito Restaurant on 24th and Florida, where her mother waited tables and her father took his daily lunch breaks while working for the Sunset Scavenger Garbage Company. After they separated, Kimberly’s mother raised her on her own while working as a domestic worker and having to rely on public assistance when she could not make ends meet for her and her daughter. When Kimberly was eight, she and her mother moved to the Holly Courts housing projects in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. Being raised by a single mother would have a profound influence on Kimberly’s future advocacy work.
While growing up in San Francisco, Kimberly attended local public schools, including Hawthorn Elementary (Cesar Chavez), Visitation Valley Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School (Philip Burton). She studied part-time at City College of San Francisco while working nonprofit jobs. At the age of 37, she earned a B.A. in Women Studies with a minor in Ethnic Studies from Mills College in Oakland, CA.
Fighting for Working Families
Kimberly started her career serving working families at Bay Area Legal Aid as a Legal Advocate, where she managed the Eviction Defense Clinic and also represented low-income families seeking assistance with Public Benefits issues, including Food Stamps, Medi-Cal and CalWorks. Kimberly went on to manage numerous comprehensive social services, economic development and housing programs for Catholic Charities, BRIDGE Housing and Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, where she continued to support families in need. In 2005, Kimberly was Director of Economic Justice & Human Rights at the Women of Color Resource Center, where she primarily focused on statewide policy advocacy on behalf of women and girls.
Striving for Change
In 2008, Kimberly joined California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano as District Director, where she spent six years advocating for policy change at the local and statewide level. Kimberly also managed and directed a broad range of constituent services and support for San Francisco residents who sought the Assemblymember’s assistance. Kimberly advocated on behalf of working families and other underrepresented communities including women, children, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities.
Among her accomplishments, Kimberly played a significant role in the campaign to Save City College of San Francisco, The California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and Seth’s Law, California’s landmark Bullying Bill, which protects children who are bullied in California schools.
Currently the Political Director for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, which represents over 54,000 workers across Northern California, Kimberly is working on a number of critical local and statewide issues that impact working families, including workers’ rights, statewide minimum wage and affordable housing. Kim Alvarenga is raising her 4 year old son with her partner Linnette Haynes in the Excelsior neighborhood in District 11. Linnette has devoted her career to working for economic and social justice for underrepresented communities. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with an emphasis in schools (Pupil i Personal Services Credential).