Sharon Armbruster (Board Vice-Chair/Secretary)
Sharon was introduced to Doxa as a sophomore in high school in 1994 as part of The Edge, the youth ministry at University Presbyterian Church. Attending the house building trip through high school, she found it had a profound impact on how she lived her life at home. From being empowered by the sheer fact she contributed to building an actual house, to the life long relationship she made with her peers, to being exposed to a culture and people who changed the scope of her world. After graduating with a degree in Journalism from Western Washington University, her path took her into youth ministry and eventually back to University Presbyterian Church, where she helped provide opportunities to push high school students outside their comfort zone through missions. Leading trips with the youth of UPC, her view of Doxa expanded beyond house building to a desire to invest somehow in the community of Tijuana that had helped shape her. As a board member she brings a passion for the mission and organizational skills to Doxa. Her career took her into healthcare information technology at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and in her free time she tap dances and places basketball (but not at the same time). Her favorite memory in Tijuana when she led the first ever, all women’s house building trip. A bunch of ladies rocking it with hammers and shared an incredible time together while serving each other and the community of Tijuana.
Cesar Camacho (After-School Tutor)
My name is Flavio Cesar Camacho Dominguez and I’m 19 years old. I’m from Tijuana and I study mechanical engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana. I started coming to Doxa in 2009 when I was in 4th grade. I would come and do my homework, review new things, and seek help with ideas I didn’t understand. After several more years, I’m now in college and am a tutor to the middle school kids at Doxa. I help them with their homework, things that they don’t understand, and explain new ideas. We also do school review so the students reaffirm what they already know. Even if they don’t have homework, I give them problems and exercises to complete. This leads to all middle school students being extra prepared for when new material is presented by their teachers and little by little they can become the best students in their class.
Angeles Dominguez Perez (Education Administrator)
My name is Angeles Dominguez Perez. A large portion of my life has been spent at Unidos por Siempre. Since I was little, my family was in a lower economic class and we came searching for some help. Without thinking we would actually get help, Unidos por Siempre took us in and we quickly became part of the family. During this time we underwent some large changes and grew a lot. It brings great satisfaction to see Unidos por Siempre grow from its humble beginnings as a soup kitchen; realizing this growth in our community to help more people. I’m sure that we can continue to grow! In the moment that I started working with Doxa, things got better at Unidos por Siempre. Most notably, the administration and organization of family information has improved. In addition, the education of the boys and girls is better now that they have more resources and tools to succeed in school. I am delighted to help with these projects.
Sabino Espindola Hernandez (Dance Teacher)
My name is Juan Sabino Espindola Hernandez and I’m 27 years old. I started dancing in a folklore dance group for kids at my elementary school, Primaria Ricardo Flores Magón. This was in 2003. After two years, I joined another dance group called Ballet Folklórico Ixchel and have been with them for 15 years. I have participated in countless events and shows. In 2016, with the motivation of continuing to communicate the beauty of our culture with a new project, I formed Grupo Yelitza with kids from Doxa. This has taught me the value of hard work and the effort that Doxa puts behind the community through cheerful education to kids who need it the most. I was compelled to follow Doxa, serving these kids for their future and helping them to grow culturally through dance.
Maria Figueroa (Unidos por Siempre Founder)
My name is Maria Esther Figueroa Torres and my motivation for doing everything I do is my family, love of kids, and becoming a better person every day. My love for this project started when I was a single mother of three children and experiencing many shortcomings in my life. I had a job, but couldn’t spend very much time with my kids because of the long work hours. In order to change I needed to seek support and help. After applying to various government resources with no answer, I came into contact with a children’s home (Casa Hogar de los Niños) and they helped me out with food, clothes, shoes, and other resources. Years later, I decided to move to the other side of Tijuana and start a soup kitchen. I saw the great poverty in the Rojo Gomez area, the difficulties that some people had with their children, and was compelled to action. As time went on, the soup kitchen gradually attracted more people and I saw a different need emerging. There were many street children, parents who searched for help, and others without a permanent home. It was then that we converted the soup kitchen into an orphanage.
Alex Knopes (Executive Director)
Alex has enjoyed the privilege of being involved with Doxa in varying capacities since the early 2000s (starting as a high school student). Through Doxa, Alex discovered a love and call to the people of Tijuana. He has seen, experienced, and believes in the transformative power of serving through Christ, especially when carried out across cultures. Alex has degrees in Biology, Economics, Global Finance & Trade, and an International MBA. His too-many-years-in-school have led to a never-stopping inquisitive mind, systems thinking, and continual improvement. He likes to explore what could be and steward along current structures and people into new growth; all in partnership with the Holy Spirit. He and his wife currently live in San Diego, but not before making pit stops in North Carolina and Denver. All beautiful in their different ways! His favorite memory in Tijuana is a Midnight New Year’s celebration with tacos de cabeza (cow head)! A very typical New Year’s dish and quite a surprising sight (especially if you’re not expecting it). Delicious!
Elizabeth Martinez Salgado (Director of Operations)
My name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Ely. I’m originally from Morelia, but have lived in Tijuana for almost my entire life. For 12 years I volunteered with World Vision and learned a great deal from that experience. I’ve currently been working 6 years with Doxa and originally came to know Doxa through my son Angel. He was in 2nd grade and needed some more structure around his school work, so I went to inquire about helpful resources. One of my strengths is organization and administration. I’m a fast learner and believe that everyone goes to school to get straight A’s. If we’re not shooting for the best, then why are we here?!?! One of my favorite aspects of Doxa is the strong relationship to kids and how their faces light up when they do something they previously thought impossible. I strive to be a great mother to my 4 kids, providing the encouragement and love that they need to succeed in their own lives.
Ben Notkin (Board Member)
Growing up, Ben towed after his parents on yearly trips to Tijuana with Doxa. These childhood visits instilled an interest in the built environment and the question of how it intersects with justice and access. Led by this question, he worked for architecture and political theory firm Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, which focuses its practice on the Tijuana – San Diego border region. He now studies urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he concentrates on the politics of land ownership and democratic processes of development. Ben reconnected with Doxa in 2016 when he surveyed past recipients of Doxa’s homes. He joined the board in 2018. His favorite memory in Tijuana is from 2015 when he got to be on a trip’s work crew with his dad, repeating memories from when he was 5, now as a Spanish-speaking and hopefully now-helpful adult.
Sam Saito (Long-Term Volunteer)
Sam’s first experience with Doxa was in 2018, when he went on a housebuilding trip with his church from Spokane, Washington in order to impress a pretty girl. He thought little of the impact he was making until the new house-owner burst into tears upon receiving the keys. As a senior he looked into gap year and service opportunities because of his lackluster grades and eventually got in contact with Alex. He now serves as a long term volunteer, living full-time in Mexico and working with groups to help their trips go as smoothly as possible. He hopes that they may have the same impact on the families he had on his first and vise versa. His term ends in late July and he intends to attend university to study music education at the high school level. His favorite memory in Tijuana is returning with his youth group for a second year and getting to visit Jose, the man he built with his first year. Finding him well and in high spirits brought so much joy and helped Sam further understand the impact the house-building project has on the lives of these people.