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Meet Osbaldo Hernandez, our new Community Engagement Coordinator

Osbaldo Hernandez is the newest addition to our Community Outreach and Engagement team. Osbaldo joined us from Lutheran Community Services NW where he served as Program Manager developing programs to support homeless families and individuals. He is also co-owner of Frelard Tamales! Osbaldo currently serves as our Community Engagement Coordinator for South and West Seattle.

Get to know a little bit more about Osbaldo below:

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a very small town outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, named El Gargantillo. It’s a lovely small town with the pros and cons that come with a small town. I miss riding my bike down to the river or through the fields of pineapple, papaya and watermelon. The town had one kindergarten, one elementary, and one middle school. To attend high school, we needed to travel 45 minutes out of town. It was an opportunity to get out of town and see the bigger municipal town where we bought all our groceries.

What neighborhood do you call home?

North Beach/Ballard

What makes your neighborhood special?

It’s a very quiet green neighborhood. It’s an easy walk to the beach or a short bike ride to Golden Gardens. We have a coffee shop and bakery within walking distance.

What did you do prior to joining the Department of Neighborhoods?

I was a Program Manager at Lutheran Community Services NW in Everett. I supervised three community resource centers in South Snohomish County that provided information and emergency resources to low-income families and the growing homeless population. I was excited to not only grow my management experience but also to help the centers grow by increasing the services and resources we could provide to the community. I was thrilled to bring my former teaching and family engagement experience into this work and support the families in the community.

What made you want to work at the Department of Neighborhoods (DON)?

There were several reasons why DON’s work encouraged me to apply:

  • DON’s mission to connect people to its government and all the services provided by the city;
  • DON’s focus on empowering people within their neighborhoods to improve the quality of life;
  • My desire to find a place where I could continue to use my community engagement experience and skillset;
  • My desire to not only live in the city but also contribute to the city I live in;
  • My passion for community engagement, connecting with people and helping people connect with complex systems;
  • My never-ending nerdy passion for government and public service;

What’s your favorite place in Seattle and why?

Capitol Hill around Seattle University since that is where I went for undergrad and it was my first ever encounter with the city. Close second is downtown Ballard.

What are you passionate about??

At work, I am passionate about meeting people, empowering others through education and removal of systemic barriers.

In my personal life, I am passionate about biking (my husband and I completed the STP), brewing (my husband is about to start a masters of brewing at UC Davis), our two fur babies (a chocolate lab and a mix mutt), growing our business, backpacking, and sleeping in nature (even though I am super scared of the dark as a result of growing up in a culture that uses myth, witchcraft and the belief of the spirits as a parenting tactic).

Anything else you want folks to know?

  • I entered the seminary to become a priest at the age of 18 but quit only three months into the process.
  • I have been doing hard labor since the age of five years old either as a field worker on my family’s fields or as the neighborhood’s tamale boy in Bellevue/Redmond.
  • My right eye is not only lazy, it doesn’t really work. It can see stuff but it’s just blurry and confusing so never trust my right eye. I did use this to my advantage when I was a teacher because I would tell kids I had fish eyes that could see them even if my head was turned away – it usually worked during tests the most.
  • I don’t have a middle name.
  • I crossed the border at the age of 11 with my four-year-old brother inside the freezer compartment of a semi-truck along with another 14 people. This was the journey my family had to pursue to be with my father after three failed attempts to receive a visa to come to the U.S.