Vote for our Dance Team Here!

Our very own Salena Bracamontes is dancing with her instructor Ernesto Martinez on behalf of Project Understanding.

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Salena Bracamontes

Salena Bracamontes a local native to Ventura County, growing up in Santa Paula currently residing in Camarillo. She is the mother of three children ages six, four, and six months old!

Salena graduated from Ventura College with an Associate’s degree and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Long Beach State University. She has been with State Farm for 18 years, eight of those years owning her own agency and more recently opening up a second location. She is currently the only female State Farm agent in Ventura County to have two locations with an all-women team.

Salena is very active in the community through both membership and leadership roles, and she thrives when she’s helping people in any capacity (insurance related or not!). Salena is excited to be dancing on behalf of Project Understanding, where she serves on the Board of Directors.

Ernesto Martinez, Dance Instructor

Ernesto Martinez hails from Irapuato, Guanajuato. He has 10 brothers and has lived in Santa Barbara since 2002. Ernesto has worked at the Bacara Resort and Spa since 2003.

Ernesto has always liked to dance and has been a quinceañera choreographer and a salsa and bachata teacher since 2004. His stage name is the cat, "EL GATO." He says he was the first bachata teacher in the Santa Bárbara area. In his spare time, Ernesto likes to sing and watch movies. The advice he gives to his students is to dance with the heart. “If you have a heart, you have a rhythm,” he believes.

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Giving a Hand Up,
Not a Handout.

Project Understanding Provides hope by developing and directing resources for the purpose of transforming lives and community through justice, mercy and compassion.

The Basics of Change

Find out more about the programs and services Project Understanding offers.


The Food Pantry at Project Understanding helps to provide groceries once a month to families whose budget cannot support the purchase of their own.


Housing at Project Understanding consists of a number of programs designed to help people get back on their feet, providing a place to live and become self reliant.


Tutoring Centers at Project Understanding provide extra instruction for students grades K-5 with volunteer tutors in one-to-one interaction.

You Can Be Someone's Hand Up!

On average, we serve 1,400 individuals each month with personal, face-to-face help. We couldn't do this without volunteers.
Our team of mission-driven volunteers serve and transform lives and our community!

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