Volunteer Spotlight: Yoka van Woerden

September 3, 2020

“I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, then moved to Vancouver before moving on to Milan and Paris, then returning to Cape Town, only to set off again to Italy and end up years later in Monterey, California.

I am a fashion designer by trade, but over the years have ventured into fashion buying and start-ups. 

Growing up in South Africa opened my eyes and my heart to the multiple facets of life. On returning to live in Cape Town after many years in Europe it was particularly difficult to adapt to the high crime and everyday dangers of living in a country where you are always alert and aware of your surroundings. In December 2018, I moved to California to be close to my son who is studying at SJSU, as the realization of one's mortality awakens a burning fire of survival and appreciation for life is born.”

Yoka has been serving as a volunteer advocate since 2019. She enjoys life sketching, black and white photography, attending the opera, jazz music, and studying psychology.

When we asked her what is rewarding about being an advocate, she said, “I believe everyone counts, and saving one life, is one child or woman given another opportunity at living their dream.”

Yoka also adds, “My release is driving with my car top-down and singing along to an opera - best on an open road where no one can hear me.”