Our Mission

To empower youth to be active and valued participants in decision making processes at all levels.

Our Team


James Muldavin

Founder/Executive Director

Jim is the Executive Director of the California Center for Civic Participation. Prior to founding the organization in 1980, Muldavin mowed lawns, scooped ice cream, moved furniture, sorted mail, washed dishes, cleaned buildings, poured beer, drove trucks, worked on the docks, and waited tables. After college at UCSB and working for a political awareness project for Boston area teens founded by his Aunt Albie, he returned to California to establish Capitol Focus, the flagship program of the California Center. He is amazed at the longevity of the organization and grateful for the thousands of youth and adults whose curious spirits, generous hearts and thoughtful minds have made his work so rewarding. After a good day at the office, Muldavin's perfect day includes a ride on his bicycle, a short nap, and a big plate of Mexican food (made with fresh local ingredients of course) enjoyed with his family and friends, old and new. Email Jim at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Belen R. Flores

Associate Director

Belen Flores was born and raised in north Sacramento, CA where she enjoyed playing soccer and engaging in outdoor recreation.  After graduating from high school she was recruited to the Sierra College women’s soccer team.   After a few years of classes she decided to move to San Diego for a fresh start and a change of scenery, but a year and a half later decided to return home to finish her college education.  While majoring in Mass Communication at CSUS, she simultaneously gained a passion for politics during the historical 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama.  Interning for places like the district office of Pro tem Senator Steinberg and the California Center for Civic Participation, she established her interest in engaging low-income and diverse groups of youth to the political process so that they may take meaningful action in their communities.  Over the past six years at the CA Center Belen has helped mobilize hundreds of youth through her environmental program Green Focus and as Associate Director, intends to expand several civic education programs for youth across the state.  Email Belen at bflores@californiacenter.org

Margarita (Maggie) Ortiz

Executive Assistant & Program Assistant

Margarita (Maggie) Ortiz was born and raised in Hayward, CA to a single mother of nine children.  Her mother instilled the value of hard work and education at an early age.  Upon graduating from high school, Maggie was ecstatic to continue her college career at the University of California at Davis.  After graduation, she married Jesse Ortiz and shortly gave birth to twin girls.  Five years later, another baby girl was born.  Maggie is content she was available to her family and involved in their school functions and extracurricular activities.  Throughout those years Maggie was able to maintain her Administrative and Office skills by working in her husband’s law office and working part time jobs.  In her spare time, she loves to cook and bake.  She is also an avid “Gym Lover” and runner.  Having raised three daughters, Maggie realizes the importance of youth empowerment and constructive time management.  She is thrilled to be employed by such a resourceful organization and hopes to make an impact on its continued development.  Email Maggie at mortiz@californiacenter.org

Carson Watts

Program Coordinator

Carson Watts is here to bring people together who don’t realize they’re on the same team. He grew up in the Sierra foothills near Yosemite, and his passion for social justice and public service was sparked at Columbia Community College where his eyes were opened to the bigness of the world. He transferred to UC Santa Cruz and to study Sociology and Politics, and research environmental sanitation in slums, which you can read about in this article. After university he lived in the SF Bay Area and worked in grassroots fundraising and nonprofit capacity building before travelling and settling down in Midtown, Sacramento. Carson loves Sacramento and the surrounding landscapes; in the summer he works as a whitewater rafting guide on the American River, and on weekends and evenings he teaches AcroYoga/partner acrobatics. He is inspired by his work at the California Center and a firm believer in empowering young people to shape a better world for generations to come. Email Carson at cwatts@californiacenter.org