by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Spark Photography

Immersed in Community

family_rizzo4When Frank and Kimberly Rizzo were 16 and 18 years old, respectively, they met as AFS foreign exchange students in the Basque region of Northern Spain. Frank grew up in Massachusetts; Kim on the other side of the country in Tahoe. They had to go all the way to Spain to meet each other! They’ve been living near Battle Mountain at The Greens since 1999, and they love the community and their church. “We have made some amazing friends here,” the Rizzos said.

The three Rizzo children all attend Rancho Bernardo High School, where mom Kimberly has been teaching Spanish since 1991. Junior Patxi plays varsity and club soccer, is president of the Fight Against Hunger Club, Ryan’s Best Buddy, works at Chick-fil-A, and is a soccer referee. Sophomore Nikolas is in drumline, wrestles for RBHS, and is event coordinator for the Fight Against Hunger Club’s food packing event. Freshman Amaia plays soccer on the high school team, Color Guard for the marching band, and competes in Winter Guard. She is a Best Buddy for a girl with special needs, and is also a soccer referee. All three attended a Poway Unified School District Dual Immersion program at Valley Elementary, becoming bilingual and biliterate. The program was put to great use when they joined Kim in Spain for eight months, as she built an exchange program for high school students. The students in this program travel to Spain for three weeks, are immersed in language and culture, and upon their return host the student whose family they lived with while they were there. “This has created tremendous cross-cultural awareness,” the Rizzos explained, “not only for the students but for their families.”


Parents: Frank and Kimberly Rizzo
Children: Amaia (14), Nikolas (15), Patxi (17)
Community: Rancho Bernardo since 1999; Battle Mountain since 2007
Hometowns: Kim – San Diego and Truckee, CA; Frank – Duxbury, MA
Occupations: Kim – Spanish Teacher at RBHS since 1991; Frank – Technology Sales
Favorite Places to Visit in 92128: Souplantation, Rancho Bernardo Community Park, Church at Rancho Bernardo, Bernardo Winery, Rancho Bernardo Swim and Tennis Club, Golden Spoon, Rancho Bernardo High School, Urge Gastropub


The Rizzos love to volunteer. Through the Fight Against Hunger Club/Friends Family Community Connection, they participate once per month in homeless outreach downtown at The Salvation Army. They also help once a month at a food pantry in Poway, make mats for the homeless from plastic bags, and help with the Thanksgiving Food Drive and Stamp Out Hunger. Patxi recently went to Haiti on a missions trip, and Frank and Nikolas will be going to Mexico in May to build houses. Kim is the Fight Against Hunger Advisor and leads programs/fundraising events.


The Fight Against Hunger Club hosted its first food packing event at RBHS on April 30. “The club has raised over $10,000 in two years,” the family cheered. “The students are amazing!”