Toni Salgado: A Positive Influence Within Our Community

By Sammy Nishihama 

March 4, 2024

While SLO County is filled with many people who help the community as a hobby, I’ve never met anyone more committed to this mission than Toni Salgado. An avid diver, passionate conservationist, and overall wonderful person to be around, Toni is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. 

Having moved to SLO County in 1989 from Colorado, Toni has lived here for 34 years. She describes herself as a conservationist, which is incredibly evident through her work within the community. Not only does she participate in monthly highway and street cleanups in Atascadero and Paso Robles, but recently, she has become involved in a program that works with at-risk youth and adults, called Revive Dive. This program takes teens and adults who are struggling with substance abuse, mental health issues, and various other issues, and gives them a new goal, something to distract them from their day-to-day struggles. 

Not only can this program help people who are struggling, but by using diving as the main focus, the program also helps to clean up our oceans along the coast. “With the diving comes the harbor clean up,” Toni explains, “we did an hour just picking up trash under the piers. We came up with tires, nets, a full toilet, chairs, fishing poles, and so on.” I learned so much about not only her, but the community she strives to help and the reasons behind it. “It’s our duty, really. We have kids that we’re leaving this word to. It’s theirs and we want to leave it in as good of shape as possible,” she explains. 

Before COVID, Toni was also heavily involved in helping the homeless community. Every day, she and a group of volunteers would feed a group of 50 homeless people a hot meal, truly creating change in our community. Overall, Toni is one of the most passionate, enthusiastic people I’ve ever met, and it truly shows through her actions. When I asked her what words would describe her, she told me, “conservationist. Family-oriented. And happy. I’m just a happy person.”