Ruben Avelar was raised in East Palo Alto; attended Kavanaugh and Green Oaks and was bused to Carlmont High School. He attended Cal State Northridge for two years and then graduated from UC Berkeley with a B/A in Political Science. After graduating, he worked as a substitute teacher for the Ravenswood School District. He taught Mexican folkloric dance and founded the “Raices de Mexico” dance troupe in East Palo Alto. The troupe performed throughout the Bay Area for over 30 years. After East Palo Alto’s incorporation, Ruben participated on the City’s Arts Commission. He worked with at risk youth and high school dropouts at Bob Hoover’s Youth Development Center. During East Palo Alto’s Redevelopment era, Ruben was a relocation sub-contractor helping tenants qualify to receive relocation benefits. Ruben is currently the Director of Career Center Services for Job Train, where he has worked for 26 years.