77 posts categorized "Front Page"


Blattners Contribute $50,000 to La Luz Center


Kimberly and Simon Blattner of Sonoma have contributed $50,000 to La Luz Center, one of the largest donations the local non-profit has ever received. La Luz is an organization that educates and empowers primarily members of our immigrant community.

The purpose of the Blattners’ gift is to provide seed money to establish a loan fund that will encourage Latino entrepreneurship. 

As Simon Blattner explained, “A good example would be a business person who wants to expand a landscaping business but needs $1,000 for equipment.  He would probably not qualify at a bank, and the process could be intimidating.   We want to create a place where a person can go, and feel encouraged and respected.   Development of small businesses is good for Sonoma Valley and will foster Latino leadership in the community.”  

Simon was the managing partner for the SF Local Development Corporation in 1968. He had the gratifying experience of assisting minority entrepreneurs with their business plans and obtaining permanent financing for their enterprises.  He noted that not only did this process change individual lives, but also contributed to a thriving business climate.

The Blattners' gift was announced at the last board meeting chaired by Kimberly, who served as La Luz’s President of the Board of Directors for two years. Simon has served on the La Luz Advisory Council since 2006 and is dedicated to giving motivated entrepreneurs the opportunity for small loans.

Kimberly stated, “The mission of La Luz is to empower our community through education, self-advocacy and leadership.  We see this program as a significant tool for empowerment.”

Executive Director Juan Hernandez, enthusiastic about the opportunity for La Luz clients, said, “We are grateful to Simon and Kimberly Blattner for their confidence in La Luz's programs and our ability to connect with developing business ideas. While this gift is restricted and won’t cover daily operating costs, it will add a much needed component to our community and to our objectives at La Luz Center.”


ESL Clases Stay in Sonoma Valley

When the Sonoma Valley Adult School lost its funding last spring, La Luz Center immediately stepped in and applied for a grant to continue the English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for Sonoma Valley residents.  The La Luz Center received a $71,000  grant from the Todd Trust - part of the Sonoma County Community Foundation - to continue these crucial classes for the next two semesters.   With the collaboration of Sonoma Valley Unified School District through Principal Maite Iturri, La Luz Center partnered with El Verano School to host two of the ESL evening classes. 

Through the generosity of our major donors, morning classes will also continue at Booker Hall.   Fortunately, the La Luz Center was able to hire back several of the experienced teachers who had had been working with the Adult School and were already familiar with the curriculum.

Maricarmen Reyes Larios, Coordinator of Educational Programs and Leadership at La Luz Center, has been instrumental in organizing all the classes. According to Maricarmen,   “Our mission is to make sure we provide the tools so the students can become active participants who will help shape the economic, cultural and social aspects of our community.”

La Luz Center intern, Rachael Meyn, from the American University in Washington D.C. will also administer a needs assessment for the ESL students. This study will ensure that their basic needs (food, shelter and health) are met in order to create a stable environment for learning that will encourage students to stay with the course, in addition to helping La Luz obtain statistics for current and potential educational grants.

La Luz Center is devoted to offering courses to our community at little or no cost.  All classes began on September 18th and cost only $25 per student per semester.  There has been a great demand for ESL.  Two evening classes meet at El Verano School on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings  for beginner - high intermediate.  Morning classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Booker Hall at La Luz for the beginning to high-intermediate as well, and child care is available for participating parents at low monthly cost of $5 per child.

Although the classes are currently filled to capacity, thanks to our generous donors there will be another semester beginning the second week of January.  La Luz Center is also looking for ESL volunteer tutors who can assist students with English lessons and how to use the ESL textbook. If anyone is interested in volunteering, please call 707-938-5131 Ext. 106 or at volunteer@laluzcenter.org.

“Education is a major part of our mission statement and thus we aim to empower our community through education that leads to self advocacy and leadership in their family and in the community.” states Juan Hernandez III, the new Executive Director at the La Luz Center.   “We are delighted that our community members will continue to be able to attend classes in a convenient location and learn basic language skills that will be crucial to their success.”

La Luz is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting our Sonoma Valley neighbors, who contribute to the economic, cultural and social well being of our community. La Luz provides English language training, teaches computer skills, distributes food, hosts medical services, offers crisis counseling, and supports events that celebrate the richness of our multicultural community.


Index Tribune: "First Latino director hired at La Luz"


Souce: sonomanews.com

After securing the annual $100,000, Impact100 grant, and celebrating the most successful fundraiser in its history, La Luz Center has been on an upswing this summer. The Valley nonprofit marked another milestone by installing the first Hispanic executive director in the organization’s 27-year history when it hired Juan Hernandez III in August.

“He is the very first Latino to work as the director,” beamed Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, president of the La Luz board of directors. She added that the change was important as the organization largely serves the immigrant population, most of whom are Hispanic.

“Our clients can look up to him and their children can see what he is doing and know that they can do it too. Their parents can say, ‘Look, look who you can become.’ That’s one thing we don’t have in Sonoma Valley, those types of role models,” Mendoza-Carruth said. “That’s one of the most powerful things we can give our community and the clients we serve.”

Hernandez brings with him a vast array of experience, which Mendoza-Carruth said made him an ideal leader for La Luz. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Hernandez grew up with a minister father, and working with the community played a significant role in his childhood. He earned a bachelor’s degree at UC Riverside, and then was one of a handful of fellows selected for the Management Leadership for Tomorrow program in New York City, a specialized training aimed at getting minorities into advanced business degrees. He went on to earn a master’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on organizational development, from Sonoma State University. Most recently, he served as the director of educational programs at the Calistoga Family Center, an organization similar to La Luz providing resources and information to the immigrant community.

“It’s not just my time in Calistoga, but my life experience and my education that I’ll bring to La Luz,” Hernandez said. “When I first came to La Luz, I said, ‘This is exactly the type of organization I want to work in.’”

Hernandez explained that he briefly volunteered at La Luz while he was attending Sonoma State, but the commute proved difficult for a fulltime student. He also applied for the position of executive director two years ago, but the board ultimately selected Yvonne Hall.

“It was a time of administrative turmoil at La Luz. (Hall) came to fill the desk for almost no pay,” Mendoza-Carruth said, adding that Hall had always said she’d give La Luz two years before she wanted to go back into retirement. During her tenure, Hall brought financial stability to the organization, even convincing all staff members to take a pay cut so no one would get laid off. As the two years drew to a close, the 22 members of La Luz’s board of directors formed a search committee and reviewed 40 applicants before selecting Hernandez for his ambition, experience and education.

“She (Hall) is now happy in retirement again. We’ve invited her to be a permanent advisor to the La Luz board,” Mendoza-Carruth said.

Hernandez began in August, just as La Luz was working on plans to expand its physical space, thanks to the $100,000 grant from Impact100. “Juan basically arrived and on the first day was looking over financials and budgets for the project,” Mendoza-Carruth said.

While he spent the first month working closely with the staff to understand how the organization functions, Hernandez is now interested in strengthening La Luz’s outreach in the community by collaborating with other groups and organizations. He said he plans to review the programs and services to find opportunities to better serve clients. He also plans to work more closely with the county, especially when it comes to grants.

“We don’t receive any money from the county, which has grants for the exact services we offer. I want to know why,” he said.

He said he was most excited to get involved with the Sonoma Valley community. “I see me in our clients and I am able to connect, it is a unique thing,” he said. “They kind of look at me like, ‘Wow, there’s a Latino here now.’ It changes the dynamics.”

But he said he doesn’t want the fact that he’s Latino to define his role or the organization. “One of the things I want people to know is that La Luz doesn’t only serve Latinos. We’re an organization that helps people in need,” he said. “I want our organization to be nimble enough where we can focus on the needs of Sonoma Valley.”

Hernandez is married and his wife, Veronica Ortiz-Hernandez, is a high school Spanish teacher. In addition to his work and family, Hernandez is a passionate sports fan, especially when it comes to USC football.

“I am an excellent football coach, so maybe Sonoma Valley High School will let me come and coach one of their young teams,” he laughed.

Reflections from Patti England, Chair, Impact100 Grant Program.

La Luz Wows Members and Prospective Members.
Reflections from Patti England, Chair, Impact100 Grant Program


On Saturday morning, September 29th, more than 50 Impact100 Sonoma members and prospective members met at Booker Hall, a former church building, now the meeting room for a vast array of activities sponsored by La Luz and their community partners. After a warm and enthusiastic welcome from La Luz Board President Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, Impact100 Sonoma President B.J. Bischoff and Membership Chair Ann Reder shared a bit of Impact100 history and described the benefits of membership.

But that day, the focus was really on La Luz. We enjoyed a tour of their facilities and learned all about what happens in the relatively small footprint of La Luz. In Booker Hall (named for Ligia Booker who started La Luz 30 years ago from the back of her car) and the adjoining patio, everything takes place from child care to counseling sessions, to English and computer classes, to parenting classes and food distribution, to a free animal spay clinic sponsored by Pet's Life Line. Every space is utilized in multiple ways to provide services to the largely immigrant and low income population that La Luz serves.

The tour moved to the offices next door and Juan Hernandez, the new Executive Director, and Kara Reyes, the Program Director, continued to amaze us with what can be accomplished in the small house where clients are met and helped with whatever brings them to La Luz on any given day. Roughly 1200 people are served in some capacity each month. It was obvious that La Luz needed more space in which to provide their growing services. Local Architect, George Bevan, shared some ideas for the expansion build-out that the Impact100 grant will help to fund. The majority of our $100,000 grant will fund new and expanded staff for counseling and education.

The best part of the morning, though, was listening to the personal stories of some staff members and how La Luz fostered them first as clients, then as volunteers, and eventually to becoming paid members of the staff, learning the skills necessary to be advocates for the community. One young mother shared her story of coming to La Luz as a small child with her parents, volunteering at La Luz as part of her senior project, becoming a receptionist, and later becoming a skilled Family Advocate. When another staff member congratulated her on her recent U.S. Citizenship, there wasn't a dry eye in the whole room.

La Luz' mission 'to empower the community through education, advocacy and leadership' happens every day and it is done with dignity, respect and sensitive compassion that touched everyone attending.

All photos provided by Russ Johnson.


Film Society celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at La Luz

Image002-fixedJoin Sonoma Film Society in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month!

When: Saturday, Sept. 22

Location: La Luz Center  ~ 17560 Greger St. ~ Sonoma, CA 

Time: 6:00 - 7:30 ~ Reception. Food by Rancho Viejo & Winecourtesy of Robledo Winery

Tickets: $30 (non Film Society Members) - includes film, food & wine

Buy Ticket

Canela has screened at the Chicago Latino Film Festival and The Berlin Film Festival this year and this is your chance to see this wonderful film.

Tradition, family and the love for cooking are a little girl’s gifts as she touches the lives of the people she loves. Maria, a precocious child, has enough energy and creativity to bring joy and happiness to her grandmother and the residents of the community. She shows the community the meaning of love and respect for the traditions of our grandparents. A wonderful film for the whole family.

La tradición, la familia y el amor por la cocina son el regalo de una pequeña niña que toca las vidas de las personas que ama. María, una niña precoz, tiene la suficiente energía y creatividad para aportar alegría y felicidad a su abuela y los residentes de su comunidad. Ella les muestra el significado del amor y el respeto a las tradiciones de nuestros abuelos. Una película maravillosa para toda la familia.


La Luz chosen by San Francisco Mexican Consulate as Community Forum Host during Labor Rights Week

Community Forum "Labor Rights for Agriculture Sector Workers"

Sonoma CA-- La Luz Center was chosen as a community agency to host Labor Rights Week to present the community forum "Labor Rights for Agriculture Sector Workers" on August 30, 2012. Labor Rights Week  (August 27, 2012- Septemeber 1,2012) activities are hosted by the San Francisco Mexican Consulate in collaboration with federal and local authorities, unions, and community organizations. The theme for this year is “Protecting Labor Rights is Everyone’s Responsibility.” and has the participation of consulates of Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in addition to leading Mexican Consulate.

At the forum EEOC, OSHA, USDOL, UFCW, and Boxer & Garson representatives will provide compliance assistance materials, answer questions and take complaints. Representatives are bilingual and the forum is open to farmworkers as well as stakeholders of the farmworker community  For more information please for this forum call La Luz Center at 707-938-5131 Ext.106 and for more information about Mexican Consulate participation in Labors Rights Week,  you may contact Gabriela Madero atgmadero@sre.gob.mx  or at 415-354-1736.

  WHO: La Luz Center

  WHAT: Labor Rights Week: Community Forum "Labor Rights Agriculture Sector Workers"

  WHEN: Thursday, August 30, 2012, 6pm-8pm

  WHERE: La Luz Center , 17560 Greger St., Sonoma, CA 


Noche en Casbah Raises over $300,000!


View Slideshow

La Luz’s Moroccan themed fundraiser, conceived and orchestrated by board member Marcelo Defreitas, with the help of his dedicated Noche Committee, was the best and most successful ever---raising over $300,000!

500 guests glittering in their jeweled caftans, turbans and sultan robes were greeted by Hump-Free the camel, from Lyon Ranch as they entered the Moroccan bazaar at Hanna Boys Center.  The stunning desert scene on the stage was created by Jaime Pandolfo.

IMG1854-LFalafel, kabobs, and cous-cous provided by Elaine Bell Catering were enjoyed by all, as well as Skyy Vodka martinis and wines from Highway 12 Winery.   Auctioneer Ed Vaughn, and our beguiling “genie” Shelia Whitney, entertained the crowd as guests raised their paddles for auction items. 

Board president Claudia Mendoza-Carruth pulled the winning raffle ticket for winners Diane and Henry Mayo.   Yvonne Hall introduced Juan Hernandez III, La Luz’s Executive Director who will assume the position late in August.

The Fund a Need, preceded by a poignant “Thank You, La Luz” video also produced by Defreitas, began with a bang when Alber Saleh and Dean Sereni, followed by Tom and JaMel Perkins, kicked off the bidding at $10,000. Loyal supporters Pam and John Story, Bill and Laurie Hake, and Mark and Linda Brewer each added $5,000. 

As the night grew dark, the brightly colored belly dancers of Troupe Joweh returned to the stage to dance with snakes and swords, and many revelers.

Yvonne Hall, La Luz Executive Director, says,”Noche en Casbah was one of those just-about-perfect evenings -- hundreds of friends of La Luz having a wonderful time and giving generously to support our many programs.  We were thrilled and humbled by the record-breaking response by our guests, and we can't thank Sonoma enough! I'll be retiring at the end of the month with a very full heart.”


"At La Luz Center, everybody wins!"  says winner Diane Mayo, as she receives her $10,000 "Noche en Casbah" prize raffle check from La Luz Executive Director Yvonne Hall.  


“Noche en Casbah,” una fiesta con tema Marroquí con el fín de recaudar fondos para La Luz,  concebido y orquestado por el miembro del consejo Marcelo Defreitas, con la ayuda de su Comité dedicado Noche,  fue el mejor y más exitoso jamás --- recaudando más de $ 300.000!

“Hump-Free” el camello de Rancho Lyon, recibió a los 500 huéspedes, brillantes en sus caftanes, joyas, turbantes y túnicas sultan, cuando entraban en el bazar marroquí en Hanna Boys Center. La escena del desierto impresionante en el escenario fue creado por Jaime Pandolfo.

Falafel, brochetas, y cous cous-proporcionada por Elaine Catering Campana fueron disfrutados por todos, así como martinis de vodka Skyy y vinos de la carretera 12 Winery. Subastador Ed Vaughn, y nuestra seductora "genio" Whitney Shelia, entretuvo a la multitud como invitados levantaron sus remos para artículos de subasta. 

La presidenta de la Junta Claudia Mendoza-Carruth sacó el boleto ganador para perteneciente a Diane Mayo Henry. Yvonne Hall introdujo a Juan Hernández III, Nuevo Director Ejecutivo de La Luz, quien asumirá el cargo a finales de agosto.

El Fondo de la Necesidad, precedido de un conmovedor "Gracias, La Luz" video producido también por Defreitas, comenzó con una explosión cuando Alber Saleh y Dean Sereni, seguido por Tom Perkins y Jamel, dio inicio a la subasta en $ 10.000. Partidarios leales Pam y John Story, Bill y Laurie Hake, y Mark y Linda Brewer sumaron cada uno $ 5.000. 

A medida que la noche se hizo oscura, los colores brillantes bailarines del vientre de Joweh Troupe regresó al escenario para bailar con serpientes y espadas, y muchos juerguistas.

Yvonne Hall, Director Ejecutivo de La Luz, dice, "Noche en Casbah fue una de esas noches justo unos perfectos - cientos de amigos de La Luz pasando muy bien y ofreciendo fondos generosamente para apoyar nuestros programas. Nos quedamos encantados y humillado por la respuesta sin precedentes por nuestros clientes, y no podemos agradecer lo suficiente a Sonoma! Voy a retirarme al final del mes con un corazón muy completo. "


La Luz Hosts “Dreamer’s Forum


Dreamer’s Forum in Sonoma Valley

In response to the recent announcement about President Obama’s Deferred Action program, La Luz Center and California Human Development (CHD) engaged in a new collaboration which will facilitate those interested in completing their application packets. 

Kathy Differding, Program Manager of Immigration and Citizenship at CHD, and agent Ana Cahill of CHD were on site at La Luz on the evening of August 8th, 2012 to provide an informative presentation about the current requirements and what will be needed to complete the application process.

Over 55 individuals attending the forum had the opportunity to learn first-hand about this exciting and significant change in immigration, which will have a tremendous impact on the future of many young people in this country.

Eligibility is extended to any person who arrived in the United States under the age of sixteen and who:

  • Has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012
  • Is currently in school, has graduated from High School, obtained a G.E.D., or has been honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
  • Is not over the age of 30.

La Luz Center Coordinator of Education Programs Maricarmen Reyes-Larios, welcomed the forum attendees to the CHD presentation and assisted them throughout the evening during the Q&A, and with sign-ups for more information, which CHD will be providing in the weeks to come.

Kathy and Ana addressed many individual questions throughout the evening stressing that, when collecting the required documentation for their packets, applicants must be very proactive in explaining the reason why they may need such documentation as an old series of pay stubs, school transcripts, or immunization records to prove their residency. 

“It’s not enough to just call up the school and say: ‘hey, do you have my records,’ you need to tell them it is for a very important application for your immigration case,” Kathy explained to a young woman concerned about how to obtain school records dating back several years.

“People are really much more willing to help you when they learn what this is for,” she continued.   Several questions came up regarding the potential negative impact applying to the Dream Act may have on anyone who may be currently a non-resident.   Kathy explained that people should not fear this process, as it is not set up to attempt to identify and deport young students to Mexico.  “The government is not interested in deporting young people.  They are busy assuring that possible criminals do not enter the country, not in targeting students.”

In the weeks ahead, CHD will provide applicants with assistance in completing their application packets via individual appointments, both at their offices in Santa Rosa and well as at La Luz Center.  As more information is made available from Washington regarding all the exact forms needed, adjustments to the application process may be made, and the amount of time involved to complete the process may fluctuate, but what is certain is that the door to a new future is being opened for many hopeful young people to not only further their education, but to work and significantly contribute to the very communities in which they have been residing and building their lives.

If anyone is interested in obtaining more information, or an individual appointment with CHD reps at La Luz, please call 707-938-5131.

Michele Alba
Community Outreach & Vineyard Worker Services Coordinator


Foro “DREAM” en Sonoma Valley

En respuesta al reciente anuncio sobre el programa de acción diferida del presidente Obama, La Luz Center y California de Desarrollo Humano (CHD), que efectúen una nueva colaboración que facilitará a los interesados en la realización de sus paquetes de aplicaciones. 

Kathy Differding, Gerente del Programa de Inmigración y Ciudadanía y el agente de CHD Ana Cahill estaban en el sitio de La Luz en la noche del 8 de agosto, 2012 para ofrecer una presentación informativa sobre los requisitos actuales y lo que se necesita para completar la aplicación de proceso.

Más de 55 personas asistieron al foro tuvieron la oportunidad de aprender de primera mano acerca de este cambio emocionante y significativo de la inmigración, lo que tendrá un impacto enorme sobre el futuro de muchos jóvenes en este país.

La elegibilidad se extiende a cualquier persona que llegó a los Estados Unidos bajo la edad de dieciséis años y que:

  • Ha residido continuamente en los Estados Unidos por lo menos cinco años anteriores a 15 de junio 2012
  • Actualmente es estudiante en una escuela, se ha graduado de la escuela secundaria, obtuvo un GED, o que haya sido dado de baja honorablemente de la Guardia Costera de los EE.UU. o las fuerzas armadas de los Estados Unidos.
  • No ha sido condenado por un delito mayor, un delito menor significativa, delitos múltiples delitos menores, o de otra manera representan una amenaza para la seguridad nacional o la seguridad pública
  • No es más de 30 años de edad.

La Luz Coordinador de Programas de Educación Maricarmen Reyes Larios, dio la bienvenida a los asistentes al foro para la presentación CHD y les ayudó durante toda la noche para sus preguntas y con pedidos para obtener más información, que CHD proporcionará en las próximas semanas.

Kathy y Ana abordado muchas cuestiones individuales durante toda la noche haciendo hincapié en que, al recoger la documentación necesaria para sus paquetes, los solicitantes deben ser muy proactivo en la explicación de la razón por la cual es posible que necesiten documentación, como una vieja serie de talones de pago, transcripciones escolares o inmunización registros que prueben su residencia. 

"No es suficiente con sólo llamar a la escuela y decir: 'Hey, ¿tienes mis documentos?' es necesario decirles que es una aplicación muy importante para su caso de inmigración", explicó Kathy a una joven preocupada por cómo obtener los registros escolares que data de varios años.

"La gente está realmente mucho más dispuesto a ayudar cuando comprende la situacion," continuó. Hicieron varias preguntas con respecto a los posibles efectos negativos que la aplicación de la ley de the DREAM Act puede tener en cualquier persona que pueda estar actualmente un no-residente. Kathy explicó que la gente no debería temer a este proceso, ya que no está configurado para tratar de identificar y deportar a los jóvenes estudiantes a México. "El gobierno no está interesado en la deportación de los jóvenes. Ellos están ocupados asegurando que posibles delincuentes no entran en el país, no en la orientación de los estudiantes ".

En las próximas semanas, CHD proporcionará a los solicitantes de ayuda para completar sus paquetes de aplicaciones a través de citas individuales, tanto en sus oficinas en Santa Rosa y así como en el Centro La Luz. A medida que más información se pone a disposición de Washington con respecto a todas las formas exactas necesarias, ajustes en el proceso de solicitud puede ser hecha, y la cantidad de tiempo necesario para completar el proceso puede variar, pero lo que es seguro es que la puerta a un nuevo futuro es se abre para muchos jóvenes esperanzados, no sólo para continuar su educación, sino para trabajar y contribuir significativamente a las mismas comunidades en las que han estado residiendo y la construcción de sus vidas.

Si alguien está interesado en obtener más información o una cita individual con los representantes de CHD en La Luz, por favor llame al 707-938-5131.

Michele Alba,

Extensión Comunitaria y Coordinadora Vineyard Worker Servicios

Corre la voz!


1st Anniversary-Fundraising Party for "Líderes Campesinas"

On Saturday, Jul 21, from 4 to 9 PM, Líderes Campesinas will be celebrating the first anniversary of its first chapter in Northern California.  The party will include live music for dancing from Showcase the Band, as well as food and beverages from Los Three Chiles. The cost is $30, and all proceeds benefit Líderes Campesinas.  The party is in La Luz’s Booker Hall.  Call 938-3151 to sign up. 



La Luz Receives Impact100 Sonoma $100, 000 Grant!


On Saturday, July 23, La Luz received a milestone endorsement from the Sonoma community.  We were awarded the annual $100,000 grant from Impact100 Sonoma, a three year old “giving circle” comprised of nearly 200 Valley women who each contribute $1,000, then visit and meticulously vet each applicant before awarding the grant.

This year La Luz’s grant proposal was called Fortaleciendo las Familias y Nuestra Comunidad–Strengthening Families and our Community, and was in the Social Outreach category of applications.  The grant was to expand our Family Resource Center to meet the growing demand for programs and services, and to create a professional office environment to provide privacy, dignity and respect for our clients.

In their assessment of La Luz, the Social Outreach Committee found, “ La Luz is a well managed center for dozens of bi-lingual social outreach services for our underserved Hispanic community. For many of the services La Luz provides, it is the ONLY bi- lingual support services provider in Sonoma Valley. It is critical to the social and economic progress of our Hispanic and immigrant community. “

Over the past 5 years, La Luz has experienced a 400% increase in the number of walk-in inquiries each month.  In 2007, La Luz responded to 200 walk-in inquiries per month. Today we respond to over 800 walk-ins per month. Despite this significant increase and due to the reduction in available funding, we have been forced to reduce our staffing at a time when we should be building capacity to respond to our community’s growing needs.

Yvonne Hall, La Luz’s Executive Director, says the Impact grant “will allow us to:

1) Expand and improve our ability to meet the growing demand for our programs and services. We will achieve this by hiring an additional part-time Family Advocate.

2) Increase access to mental health counseling and emotional support for low-income residents of our community. We will accomplish this by doubling the hours of our bilingual licensed MFT from 6 hours per week to 12 hours per week. This will position La Luz to build on the initial success of our mental health program, which was piloted last fiscal year with funding from the California Endowment. The program will provide individual, couples, and family counseling two days per week and a 12-week support group program for men, women, and parents. Child care will be provided on site.

3) Create a professional office environment that provides privacy, dignity, and respect for our clients. Currently, La Luz's reception, intake, and waiting areas share one cramped 13' x 13' space. Further, at any given time there could be 5-10 individuals who must wait outside until we are able to see them due to the fact that we do not have a designated waiting room. We will accomplish our goal by increasing our footprint by 500 square feet, and reconfiguring our existing space to allow for private offices for our Family Advocates, a private waiting room for our clients, and a private intake area. Lastly, we will enhance our entranceway making it easier for those who are disabled or the many that arrive with a child in a stroller to easily and safely enter and exit the building.

“A door has been opened for so many people with this grant,” said Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, La Luz board president. “We have hope. We have a great sense of pride in our community that we have so many generous people who gave their money and their time to help us.”

Spread the word!

17560 Greger Street

Sonoma, CA 95476


Mon-Thu 9am-5pm

Fri 9am-4pm