Team Overview

“The volunteers of the Sierra San Joaquin Area Team (SSJ AREA) welcome you to the Central Valley of California. Our valley is the farming center of California. It’s the richest farmland in the world, producing almost half of the food Americans consume. The mountains near us have hiking trails, lakes, rivers, and ski resorts. Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks are nearby. It is hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and blessed with beautiful weather in the spring and fall.

We get very little rain between the months of May and October, with an average rainfall of 10 inches (25.5 cm). We are between the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ocean and desert are close enough to visit for the day or weekend. Fresno, Stockton, Bakersfield, and Modesto are large cities within our Area Team, with medium-sized cities and small towns making up the rest of the area. Some of our families live in the mountains, others on ranches or farms outside of town, and others in the cities. We are a very diverse area and families represent much of that population.”

– Nancy Howard, AFS Volunteer Chair

Our AFS Team’s website is currently being developed. In the meantime, review the resources below to get involved locally. Contact AFS if you have any questions.

Team Leadership

A.T. Chair/Support North

Nancy Howard, Modesto
[email protected]
209-985-7615 (Cell)

Hosting Coordinator/& Support Coordinator

Marie Edwards, Madera
[email protected]
559-259-2586 (Cell)


Steven Anderson
[email protected]
209-499-3704 (Cell)
209-545-0274 (Home)

Sending Coordinator(s)

David Gravano, Merced
[email protected]

Kristin McCluskey, Clovis
[email protected]
408-821 9899

Orientation Coordinator

Lynne Firpo, Three Rivers
[email protected]

Orientation Guide/Diversity Chair

Jose Ruiz-Salas, Tulare
[email protected]

Sponsored Programs Coordinator

Carol Kim, Fresno
[email protected]

Liasion Coordinator

Gricelda Garcia Modesto
[email protected]

Liaison Coordinator (Assistant)

Roya Gillani, Manteca. (RoRo Ladan)
[email protected]

Fundraising/Outreach Volunteer

Mukasa Kezala-Kingsburg
[email protected]

At the beginning of the year we set up a CLOSED Facebook group for a way of being in contact with volunteers, host families, liaisons, and students for pictures, notifications, contact place, and just for us. We ask that families do not put their friends on this page, that the students do not put their natural families and friends on this page. Strictly for AFS Information. You will each be invited to this page. If you don’t have FB, you will be notified by e-mail. There is also a student Instagram page: ssjafs 2021.

AFS Local & National Scholarships


Sierra San Joaquin Team