In 1997, Hector Sanchez stumbled upon Community Coalition to fulfill Manual Arts High School graduation requirement of completing 120 volunteer hours. He quickly immersed himself in the work to ensure South LA schools received their fair share of public funds to address the deteriorated conditions the schools were in. As a member Community Coalition’s youth program, South Central Youth Empowered thru Action he helped organize youth from 7 South LA High Schools to improve the physical structure of the schools, through the Proposition Better Building campaign. The campaign helped reallocate $153 million back to South LA schools to address much-needed repairs. While Hector did not always agree with the staff at Community Coalition, he continued to participate because the Coalition was a place that allowed youth to engage with adults around larger political and social issues impacting South LA.
In 1998, Hector was admitted to the University of Southern California where he received a degree in Political Science and minored in Chicano Studies and Law and Society. While in school, following some of the strategies and tactics learned while at Community Coalition, Hector organized annual High School forums to ensure students from Manual Arts understood the eligibility requirements for students to attend a four-year university.
Hector returned to Community Coalition in 1999 to help organize several successful campaigns that have improved the quality of life for South LA residents, including a campaign to improve the quality of food sold at the local Ralphs stores. Furthermore he led a campaign to ensure South Los Angeles received its fair share of schools to address overcrowding in the schools and organized parents in support of the A-G campaign.
After seeing the organization struggling to sustain its administration department since the departure of original administration director, Hector decided to leave his comfort zone of organizing and help fill that void. Since then Hector has been instrumental in ensuring the organization’s administration and finances are well taken care of.