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SAR Board

Daniel SIlva

SAR President/Founder

Daniel is the founder of Self of Awareness & Recovery (SAR), a former inmate, and is a passionate reform and rehabilitation advocate. He was sentenced to state prison at 19 years old, and served 38 years; before being paroled. While serving time, he completed many rehab programs, but there was one program in particular that opened the doors to his second chance at life: Houses of Healing . This experience gave him the inspiration to create his own rehab program, and thus Self Awareness and Recovery was born. Had there been intervention and rehabilitation programs earlier in his development, Daniel believes that more of his years would have been spent on the outside helping others, as opposed to being locked-up on the inside - both figuratively and literally. It is his mission to fight for those who have no one to fight for them, by intervening before young people get stuck in the system, as well as advocating for the rehabilitation and healing of those who remain inside prison.

Mike Steffen

SAR, Vice President & Board Member

Mike is a member of the California State Bar and a licensed real estate broker. He was among the founding board members of Restoration House, a transition residence for parolees in Sacramento. Over the years, he has served as mentor to parolees, and facilitated personal growth workshops at Old Folsom and Mule Creek State Prisons. Mike met Daniel Silva and Henry Ortiz at Mule Creek in 2005 and there helped with the development of SAR in its early stages. In 2015, he assisted with SAR’s incorporation. A native of Fresno, Mike obtained undergraduate and law degrees from the University of San Francisco. He had a long career with the California State Automobile Association in San Francisco and in Sacramento, and is currently associated with Security Pacific Real Estate Brokerage in Fair Oaks.

SHELLIE HIGUERA, Ed.D.

SAR Board Member

Dr. Higuera has been in education for 27 years. She started her career as a K-12 bilingual teacher (Spanish) and then served in various roles as a School Psychologist, Special Education Program Specialist, Assistant Director of Special Education, and CSU Sacramento university-level Disability Management Counselor. Dr. Higuera is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and has completed her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, Social Justice. Her field experiences include a variety of settings: public schools, correctional settings (Department of California Youth Authority, CYA) for incarcerated youth, California Department of Education, and CSU Sacramento university-level adjunct professor.

Veronica Preciado

SAR Treasurer

Veronica Preciado brings both life experience as well as professional training in human services to the SAR board. As an immigrant, she moved to the US and experienced first hand the exploitation of the immigrant community. This motivated her to go to college, learn english, and obtain a human services degree in order to advocate for others. She started her volunteer work with the Coachella Valley’s Sexual Assault Services in Palm Springs, and continued on to the CASA Program which advocates for children in foster care. Se also worked with the Family Center for Solutions, where she facilitated anger management groups. In El Centro, CA she volunteered with the helpline Crisis Center. Because of her combination in human services and technical expertise she was recruited to work for CALPIA in Centinela where she supervised job training for inmates. She now resides in the Sacramento area and works for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as a sponsoring incarcerated men and women’s Leisure Time Activity Groups program, where she helps inmates improve their opportunity for parole and reduce recidivism rates.