Welcome to your community. A vibrant network for professionals with a lived foster care experience.

How We Started

Altura Collaborative how we started

The Beginning

Previously, there was no existing network that specifically connects college graduates with a lived experience in foster care and advances their personal development, professional growth or educational attainment – in a manner that recognizes the shared, lived experience of the foster care system.

We created Altura Collaborative as a place that would provide members similar networking, mentorship and guidance as a typical university alumni association. Our goal is to develop important connections for members in their post-graduation world while acknowledging the unique needs that would not likely be expressed or considered in typical university alumni associations. In recognition of the unique tribe created among those with a foster care experience on college campuses, Altura is a platform to share ideas, opinions, and advice with peers while working to advance your careers.

Who We Are

Our Vision

People with a lived experience in foster care are able to transfer their educational successes into thriving careers.

Our Mission

Advance a community driven network where we connect people with a lived experience in foster care to resources needed to accelerate educational and professional goals.

Our Values

  • Drive: Great things come with hard work. We find our comfort zone and then challenge ourselves out of it, over and over 
  • Vulnerability: We have real conversations about where we are and what we need to succeed - and are comfortable with change
  • Collaborative: We leverage collective genius and are stronger together than apart
  • Community Driven: We’ve been there. Our engagement and community will reflect how our unique experiences influence us
  • Technological Innovation: We believe in the power of technology to support our progress
  • Integrity: We’re honest, transparent, committed, ethical and fair
Dr. Akin Abioye, Altura Collaborative Founder
Founder/ Director
Dr. Abioye serves as the Manager of Youth Justice at Liberty Hill Foundation. In this role, he manages the day-to-day activities for the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color Southern California, My Brother’s Keeper Los Angeles County, and supports the Ready to Rise public private partnership.

Most recently, Dr. Abioye worked for UNITE-LA as the L.A. Compact Foster Youth Manager where he supported the Foster Youth College Advancement project which is a collective impact initiative committed to transforming postsecondary educational outcomes for foster youth. Prior to joining  UNITE-LA, he was the Director of Public Policy at FosterClub where he worked to elevate the voices of young people in federal child welfare policy reform. He holds a Doctorate in Education from Fielding Graduate University.
Dr. Sara Gamez
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Gamez is a first-generation college graduate, speaker-facilitator, and a scholar-practitioner who currently serves as the Associate Director for Student Support & Equity Programs at Cal Poly Pomona assisting to oversee the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Renaissance Scholars (RS) support program for students with a foster care experience, and the Veterans Resource Center. She has spent over 15 years of her professional career in educational helping roles assisting students who are first-generation, low-income, homeless, and those who have experienced foster care to access resources, empower themselves through education, and graduate from college.

Dr. Gamez serves as chair for the Southern California Higher Education Foster Youth Consortium, where Student Affairs professionals across Southern California gather to share best practices and create a network of support for campus representatives engaged in serving  students with a foster care experience on college campuses. Dr. Gamez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Cal Poly Pomona, a Master of Science in Educational Counseling from the University of La Verne, and an Educational Doctorate from California State University, Long Beach.  She is a passionate advocate for youth dedicated to improving the lives of young people who have experienced foster care through higher education.
Jenny Serrano
Advisory Board Member
Jenny is a program director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Youth Development Services Division. She oversees programs for transition age youth in the areas of scholarships, workforce development, credit checks, post-secondary education and transportation. She has also served as an Independent Living Program manager and Special Assistant to the Deputy CEO of the County before moving to DCFS.

Jenny holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration from California State University, Northridge. She is also an adjunct Professor with the Los Angeles Community College District.
Dr. Noah Nash
Advisory Board Member
A native of Compton, CA, Dr. Nash is an interdisciplinary scholar and activist working at the intersection of technology, education, and social change. He cares deeply about youth leadership and community empowerment and enjoys collaborating with others toward shared goals. Noah’s skilled in audio engineering, filmmaking, and web design. His background also includes research, grant-writing and development, consulting, and professional training/speaking. Dr. Nash completed his undergraduate training at Loyola Marymount University with honors. He holds a Doctorate in Education from Mills College.
Advisory Board Member
Miles is a partner in the global law firm of DLA Piper. His practice is holistic in the entertainment, music, media, and sports arenas in that he serves as counsel to a variety of entertainment and media entities, major multinational companies, and high-profile individuals like celebrities, recording artists, and athletes, in both dispute resolution matters and in talent- related entertainment transactions. Miles earned his JD at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and his B.A., also from the University of California, Berkeley, in Political Science.

Miles serves on the National Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and has worked to protect voting rights since 2004. Miles has also done work for and has been actively involved in the Los Angeles Urban League on various matters related to community empowerment and on local, state and national foster care issues as a board member of the John Burton Advocates for Youth, Peace4Kids and A Sense of Home.
Advisory Board Member
Jennifer is Executive Director of the Youth Law Center (YLC), advocating to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems across the country so youth can thrive. Jennifer spent many years of her childhood in foster care and juvenile justice facilities, and has spent most of her life advocating to ensure justice, compassion and opportunity for system involved youth.

Jennifer’s leadership at YLC has a special focus on ensuring youth in both child welfare and juvenile justice receive the parenting necessary to heal and thrive and live in conditions that meet their developmental and emotional needs. Jennifer previously served for eight years at the California Youth Connection leading efforts resulting in major legislative and policy accomplishments for California probation and foster youth, including stronger educational rights, higher education funding, increased funding for transition services, and promotion of normalcy and permanence for teenagers. Jennifer received her G.E.D. from San Jose Job Corps, her B.A. from UC Davis, and her J.D. from UC Davis law school and is mother to two beautiful children.
Advisory Board Member
A 2012 graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Angelica developed a passion for writing that has translated into music, journalism, and screenwriting. Angelica is the owner of one of the fastest growing Black Entertainment Websites, The Shade Room, for which she was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 in Media. She is a 2014 June and May Sundance Screenwriter Fellow, as well as a 2014 Time Warner Fellow. TIME Magazine named her "30 Most Influential On the Internet". Other accolades include: NBC Black 28, TechCrunch Female Founders Of The Year, Good Housekeeping Magazine's "Awesome Women Of The Year", Marie Claire Magazine's "New Guard - 50 Most Influential Women In America", Cosmopolitan Magazine, New York Times, LA Times, Buzzfeed,Huffington Post and more.


Who You Are

You are a college graduate or a student currently enrolled in a college degree program and in search of support to expand your career horizons, access resources, and build relationships. You have a lived experience in foster care and are interested in connecting with others who share the experience. Through your free Altura Collaborative membership you’ll:

  • Access a like-minded community that is here for you, including peers, colleagues, future mentors, and more
  • Share ideas, inspiration, career advice, tips and experiences
  • Discover work opportunities and land your dream job
  • Skill build at events, workshops and member only webinars
  • Explore regional networks
  • Plan meetups and events in your community
  • Access exclusive virtual and in-person events

One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people. Tribes can be powerful forces of influence and change because each one is a movement waiting to happen, a group of people just waiting to be energized and transformed. A movement is thrilling. It’s the work of many people, all connected. All seeking something better.

~ Seth Godin, "Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us"