Dionne Ybarra arrived in Pacific Grove as a young mother in the early 90’s to raise three sons with her then husband. She graduated just before the birth of her third son from Chapman University with a degree in Liberal Studies. She quickly pursued a Teaching Credential and became a Parent Educator. With a job offer at the University of Monterey Bay the family moved to live on campus. Dionne moved back to Pacific Grove as a single mother a few years later.
Intent on keeping her boys in the community where they could thrive, Dionne continued her work as a Parent Educator and assisted mothers through childbirth, attending over 100 births in a 17-year span. All the while being a community activist, working on campaigns in the 90’s and working for the rights of families. Especially for the rights of her own family. As a single mother she relied on Social Services to see her family through living on one income.
Always drawn to the empowerment of underserved communities it was in 2010 that Dionne founded The Wahine Project, an international non-profit whose mission is to eliminate the barriers that prevent a diversity of girls from a relationship with the ocean and with one another. In 9 years it has served thousands of youth throughout the world. In 2017 it was recognized by the Non-Profit Alliance of Monterey County as Non-Profit of the Year for Youth, Children and Families.
Dionne is deeply committed to community. As a second generation Mexican-American she believes the pride and hard work of her grandparents and parents has given her the drive to want to be a leader in her own community. Serving on Boards of Directors over the last 20 years, participating in leadership trainings , currently participating in County Government and working in international non-profits has given Dionne the experience to understand a broad scope of business, environmental, civic and fiscal challenges that our City faces.
Dionne and her husband Dave are raising their 3 year old son who goes to the same neighborhood daycare, known as Diana’s House, that his 19-year-old brother went to. Inviting a daughter into their life as a late teenager has grown their family to 4 adult children. There is nothing they like more than having big family meals where they can all cook and make lasting memories together.
As a 20 year resident of Pacific Grove, Dionne is deeply committed to the well-being of Pacific Grove. She is a strong leader who brings all stakeholders to the table so their voices can be heard. She strives to build community among diversity in Pacific Grove and Driven by YOU she will leverage that diversity to inspire grassroots, bottom up solutions.