58 posts categorized "Front Page"

04/10/2015

La Luz Center's ESL volunteer is the Sun's "Volunteer of the Year"

JOyce-Moldovan-200x267For her volunteer work teaching English at La Luz Center, educator Joyce Moldovan has been honored with The Sun’s second annual Spirit of the Valley Award. The award celebrates the volunteer who has provided extraordinary, unpaid service over a significant period of time to a community cause in the Sonoma Valley.

 Read whole article at sonomasun.com

03/31/2015

La Luz's Free Tax Preparation Service Getting Results

Appointments for help with income tax preparation are available at La Luz Center on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and can be arranged by calling 211.

More than 48 individuals and families have participated so far this year in this free service.

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 and part of a coalition of  EKS tax services that was formed by United Way.

“The tax assistance program is a great way not just to save money but also to have the opportunity to benefit from La Luz’s Financial Literacy Program and other resources on site,” says Malinalli López the Manager at La Luz in charge of the Financial Security Program.

La Luz Center’s Executive Director Juan Hernandez says, “Financial Security for our community is one of La Luz’s main concerns.  We are excited to be able to provide this critical support for Sonoma Valley. “

Families with adjusted gross income of more than $52,000 can get free tax help online at myfreetaxes.com/eks.

The mission of La Luz Center is to be the catalyst for change in our Sonoma Valley community-- through Health, Education and Financial Security. La Luz is located at 17560 Greger Street in Boyes Hot Springs.

 

02/09/2015

Noche Latina! Save the Date: Sat, August 1st, 2015

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Come let our sassy salsa, sultry tango and sexy samba entice you to a Latin night!

Save the date August 1st, 2015 when La Luz Center presents a high-spirited evening embracing the many exciting celebrations of Latino heritage.  Savor the zest of authentic cuisines and signature libations, then experience the rhythmic beat of passionate performers and seductive dancers!

A Latin band, bright pageantry and abundant Latino passion will transport you to NOCHE LATINA!

Another fabulous NOCHE event!

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 1st, 2015

11/12/2014

La Luz Named Leader of the North Bay

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La Luz Center was recently honored as a “Leader of the North Bay” by the North Bay Leadership Council.  The award was presented to recognize La Luz’s role in empowering the Latino community. 

The North Bay Leadership Council was founded over twenty years ago as an employer-led public policy advocacy organization committed to providing leadership in ways to make the entire North Bay (Sonoma and Marin) sustainable, prosperous and innovative.

 Other honorees at the event were the Buck Institute for Aging, Marin Sanitary Service, Marin County Cultural Services Director Jim Farley, and Willie Tamayo of La Tortilla Factory. 

“We were honored last year to receive the Jefferson Award in Sonoma County,” said La Luz Executive Director Juan Hernandez.   “I am very proud that our work is now being recognized in the entire North Bay.”

11/11/2014

Día de los Muertos

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This year La Luz Center hosted a celebration for the Sonoma community to honor their loved ones who have passed in the annual Día de los Muertos event. Approximately 100 people came to celebrate two days of creating altars, honoring friends and family, dance performances, candle decorating, food and a special blessing from Danza Xantotl.

La Luz is grateful for the generous contributions from local businesses as well as the many volunteers that represented Sonoma State, Community Action Partnership, Alcoholics Anonymous and Líderes Campesinas.

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10/02/2014

Andy Radolf is Honored as La Luz’s Star Volunteer!

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Andy Radolf, a valued volunteer who for two years has devoted his time and energy to La Luz, was recently honored as our Star Volunteer by the Sonoma Valley Fund. 

Andy always goes the extra mile to move us forward into our community.

Andy previously worked for UNESCO in Central America.  When he retired and moved to Sonoma, he immediately put his professional skills to work for us. 

He has been a vital player in our Business Micro-Lending Program, whose goal is to help people start or improve their small business. Andy’s connection to Latino business owners in our community allowed him to recruit participants for a focus group, which has evolved into this valuable new program.

Andy was a driving force behind La Luz’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, visiting many Latino owned businesses in the Springs area along Highway 12 to secure food and drink so we could offer free refreshments for the event.

Congratulations, and thank you, Andy!

 

09/30/2014

Friday Night Computer Class Empowers Students

Nine students recently completed an eight-week course teaching not only basic computer skills, but also helping the students improve their typing, analyze problems, and share their knowledge. The class helped develop critical thinking and allowed students to use computers to write about their new skills, create email accounts, learn about operating systems, organize their desktop with Microsoft Office, and use the Internet.

“Results were good,” one student, Jorge Martínez, said. “These classes have contributed to my improved computing skills. Now, I am more dependent on myself.”

Alicia Olvera said, “I did not know what the USB is; now I can save my files in there.” Both students attended all classes during the course.

“In the beginning as in the ending, we were like a family that shared smiles, happiness, and frustration,” commented instructor Jerardo Martinez. 

Thank you, Union Bank!

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Robin Gold, Manager of the Union Bank Sonoma Branch, recently presented La Luz Center Executive Director Juan Hernandez, with a donation to support the center’s many initiatives including community health programs, bilingual education, financial and computer literacy, and parenting skill classes. Thank you, Union Bank!!

08/13/2014

NOCHE en SOUTH PACIFIC a Great Success!

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View full slideshow here


Thank you to all our supporters who made “Noche en South Pacific” our most successful fundraiser ever.”

On Saturday, August 2, Marcelo Defreitas and his Noche committee presented a fun and memorable party to celebrate and support La Luz Center.  

 According to La Luz board president Anna Pier, “over $400,000

was raised.  “These funds will power the new direction La Luz is taking, collaborating with El Verano School and focusing on the areas of health, education and financial security for our Sonoma Valley Community.”

A sold-out crowd of over 450--white clad sailors and guests in Hawaiian shirts and leis --mingled in the lush gardens at Cline Cellars, enjoying passion fruit bikini cocktails with Skye vodka, champagne and wines from Highway 12 and Cline Cellars.

There were fresh caviar and shrimp ceviche stations, and ahi tuna and pork belly hors d’hoeuvres. Rob, Robin and Lynette Lyons brought their tropical macaws, cockatoos, a New Zealand wallaby and a porcupine.

Dinner by Elaine Bell began with a Kalua pig paraded in by native dancers, a Polynesian conch shell call, and a haunting Hawaiian dance blessing. Tiki torches lined the entrance to the dining area.

A dramatic red Polynesian backdrop and stage were set in the gardens, and colorful aquariums lighted the dining tables.

Master of Ceremonies Defreitas, bare-chested in a grass skirt and henna tattoos, delighted the crowd.  “I love you all and I love La Luz!” he said.  “That’s why we work for nine months to give you this party.  It’s a token of our appreciation for you-- our donors!”

Ligia Booker, founder of La Luz and Director Emeritus told of working through the Catholic church to start helping “the almost invisible Hispanic community” 40 years ago.  “Thanks to the involvement of so many people, this community now has an identity and is proud to take its part in the Sonoma Valley community. 

 “The heart of La Luz is empathy and dedication,” said Juan Hernandez, La Luz Center’s Executive Director.  “Hard work is the soul --and you are the hands.”

In a clever outdoor “Mash” shower Sheila Whitney and “island maidens” -- Susan Lee and Abbey Lee (not related) and Sonoma Valley High School students Mariana Garcia and Sofia Williams—delighted the crowd as they sang and danced  “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair.”

A rousing performance of Polynesian dancers from Island Breeze entertainment then took over the stage, shaking coconuts and grass skirts.  Defreitas appeared as an intrepid fire dancer, followed by native dancers with swirling fireballs. 

Not a beat was missed as DJ music amped up and the crowd moved its party on to celebrate together on the stage.

La Luz Center envisions a Sonoma Valley community working together where all have equal opportunity to succeed, through support in the areas of health, education and financial security.

The generosity Noche  donors will power this mission.

View full slideshow here

08/12/2014

John Perez Joins La Luz Board

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John Perez has recently been elected to the La Luz Board.

John and his wife Mary moved to Sonoma from the Seattle area in 2011.  John spent 20 years as a senior executive managing turnaround companies in the healthcare and manufacturing markets.    Earlier in his career, he worked for several successful startups in the healthcare industry as a software developer, software architect and product line executive.    John studied architecture and music at the Catholic University of America and enjoyed a peripatetic upbringing as a military dependent, moving around the world and attending 12 different schools before graduating high school.   John currently divides his time between tennis, playing classical guitar and doing community service.  John has served on the Quality Committee for Sonoma Valley Hospital and is currently an active member of Rotary.  

Perez says, “As a second generation Mexican-American I am a direct beneficiary of the opportunities that this country offers immigrants to achieve their dreams.    I am very aware that without the many helping hands opening doors for me as I have gone through life, I might not have had access to these opportunities.   I hope by working with the La Luz Board and staff that I might be able to open some doors for others.”

 

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17560 Greger Street

Sonoma, CA 95476

707-938-5131

Mon-Thu 9am-5pm

Fri 9am-4pm