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3 posts from May 2014


Lisa Nevins Elected to La Luz Center’s Board

Image 9La Luz Center is pleased to announce the election of Lisa Nevins to its Board of Directors.  She joined the board in April.   

Nevins has over 25 years’ experience in sales management and strategy development. She had key roles at Levi Strauss & Co. in Sales and Marketing Management,  Adidas, where she was General Manager for the Western region, and ultimately as Vice President at the Walt Disney Company, Consumer Products Division.  At Disney she managed business relations and sales for all Disney licensed products in apparel, footwear, home décor accessories, toys and electronics.

“I have a passion for using creativity when building a business or leading a team—it’s the best way to inspire and bring people together towards one goal,” says Nevins. “I am excited to bring these skills to La Luz.”

“We are lucky to have Lisa, who has already been hard at work with us on our strategic plan process, “ says La Luz Board Chair Anna Pier. “Her strategic planning talents and team-building experience are invaluable assets for our organization.” 

Lisa and her husband Bert moved to Sonoma three years ago when she retired and began an online home décor business featuring her own hand made products.  She is an avid athlete, loves to travel and is a Mentor for the Sonoma Mentoring Alliance.


Over 100 Tax Returns Filed at La Luz

La Luz Center’s free tax preparation service was a big success this year.  Total refunds returned to the community top $140,000.

 La Luz’s tax help, staffed by volunteers, is part of the “Earn it! Keep It! Save It!” program (EKS) for low-income people funded by the IRS. La Luz is part of a coalition of EKS tax services that was formed by United Way.

“The tax assistance program is part of a new element in our strategic plan to promote economic security in our community,” said La Luz’s executive director, Juan Hernandez.

 "This is a great money-saving resource for the Sonoma Valley community,” remarked Ryan Janos, one of the program’s volunteers. “For many of our clients, a tax refund has a big effect on their annual budget, and the money they save by using free income tax preparation is substantial."

 The tax help program also provides advice on saving and managing finances and  assistance enrolment in programs like CalFresh for food assistance and Covered CA for healthcare.


Thanks for a Great Cinco de Mayo!

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Over 300 people spent a lovely afternoon celebrating  “Cinco de Mayo” at La Luz Center this year.

A highlight of the event was fiery Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez along with our local Rep. Mike Thompson discussing with the attendees the importance of getting the stalled immigration reform bill passed.  

Entertainment was provided throughout the afternoon, including the Mexican folklore dance company Quetzalen and the Brazilian group Capoeira Mandinga, whose performance combines dance, martial arts and acrobatics. There was classical guitar music with accompanying vocalist from Arnulfo on Strings, and  DJ music.

Many Sonoma Valley businesses donated food and typical Mexican drinks for the party.   Again this year there was the popular “jumpy” castle for the children, and a raffle.

Volunteers are the backbone of an event like this.  There were 35 volunteers assisting throughout the day with set-up, cleanup, food serving and raffle ticket sales. 

This year's "Cinco" featured tables by local businesses and organizations which are working to promote economic development in the Springs area.

“I can’t imagine a better Cinco de Mayo celebration, right here in our neighborhood,” said La Luz Executive Director Juan Hernandez. We couldn’t do this without our incredibly dedicated volunteers.  And the support of all the local businesses really showed the heart of the Springs.”

This “hometown” Cinco de Mayo celebration was organized by community members, Sonoma Valley High School students, businesses primarily in the Springs area, and volunteers.

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