Klarissa was born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley and has been married to Johnny Pena for 25 years. She is the proud mother of six children and grandmother of nine. She is also a Caregiver to her brother and foster son with developmental disabilities. She is Special Projects/Governmental and Community Relations Director at Youth Development Inc. (YDI). She is President of South West Alliance of Neighbors (SWAN) a coalition of 14 neighborhood associations committed to enhancing the community. She is the Executive Director for the West Central Community Development Group (WCCDG) a 501(c)3 dedicated to revitalizing Route 66 a stretch of the historic road on Albuquerque’s Westside, a member of Alamosa Neighborhood Association, honorary member of West Central Merchants, member of New Mexico Family Living Providers and chair of the Albuquerque Interstate Landscaping Task Force. She is a former City of Albuquerque Environmental Planning Commissioner. In 2011 she was honored to receive the South Valley Pride Day Outstanding Citizen Award.