Born and raised in the barrio of East Los Angeles, Juan is completely bi-lingual and bi-cultural. He is a counselor, coach, and a seasoned advocate for youth and community outreach. He earned a B.A. degree from UC Riverside, a Fellowship in Management Leadership from New York, and an M.A. in Psychology and Organization Development from Sonoma State University. Juan served as Director of Educational Programs at the Calistoga Family Center, and, while in Calistoga, was elected to the board of the Napa Community Foundation and the Napa Valley Hispanic Network. Juan has been appointed (Sonoma Country) First 5 Commissioner, and he serves on the Sonoma Sheriff’s Advisory Group, the Sonoma Valley Health Roundtable, Portrait of Sonoma County Leadership Team, and the Latino Leaders of Sonoma County. Juan’s wife Veronica is a high school Spanish teacher.
Sharon moved to Sonoma in 1993 and fell in love with the beauty of the valley, the culture and the sense of community. A lifelong believer in the value of strong communities, Sharon has spent her career in the non-profit world, over 25 of those years with Boys & Girls Clubs. Sharon brings a diverse background in programs, operations and development to La Luz. In addition to working with the staff and board at La Luz, Sharon enjoys spending time with her grandson and volunteering for various events and charities.
Born in Michoacán Mexico, Catalina migrated to the United States in 1976. She was raised in Napa and educated in the Napa public schools. She earned her B.A in International Inter-Cultural Communication at California State University, Sacramento and her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco. Catalina has spent the past two decades doing research for nonprofit organizations. She is a member of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Parent School Partnership Program (MALDEF), Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), is a founder of the Association for the Advancement of Latin American Students (AALAS) and founder of the Bi-national Health Alliance of Napa County.
Community Education and Engagement Program Manager
Malinalli is originally from Guanajuato, Mexico. She comes from a working class background and her parents instilled in her the value of education at a very early age. She grew up in Sonoma County and is the first of her family to graduate from a four year university. She holds a B.A. in Chicano/a Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and is currently in the process of finishing a Masters degree in Film & Television from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. In addition to film and television production Mali is very passionate about health, education and financial literacy programs. She is a member of the Sonoma County Mental Health Board and the North Coast Wells Fargo Community Advisory Board and has over 10 years of experience in working with the community on various health and human service outreach campaigns. In her spare time she loves cooking, dancing and spending time with her daughter and family.
Health and Wellness Advocate
Angie was born and raised in Sonoma Valley. From a young age she has been involved with the community in volunteering and is a returning staff member at La Luz Center. She is currently finishing her B.A. at California State University, Sacramento in Sociology. After graduation she plans to continue her education for a Masters degree in Social Work. Angie’s passion for helping families has motivated her to coordinate and facilitate programs like Family Latino Literacy, Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors parenting workshops and Charla Café, monthly meetings with alternative topics designed to improve the overall well being of community members. Angie hopes to develop new programs for Sonoma Valley residents. She is proud of being the recipient of the Sonoma Valley Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award both in 2007 and 2011. Aside from her work at La Luz, Angie enjoys spending time with her family, her husband of 10 years, Francisco, and her 8 year-old daughter Natalia, who attends the dual immersion program at Flowery Elementary School.
Yuliana Camarena Torres
Client Resource Associate
Yuliana Camarena Torres was born in Michoacán, Mexico and grew up in Sonoma. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dominican University of California, with concentrations in accounting and marketing. She has volunteered at Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH), the La Luz Center and the Leadership Lecture Series held by Dominican University’s Institute of Leadership Studies. Aside from being part of La Luz Yuliana is also an intern at Women’s Global Leadership Initiative (WGLI), where she servers as their media relations specialist. Yuliana believes that it is important for women to realize their full potential and to follow their dreams. Today, she is working toward opening her own business.
Volunteer Coordinator and Client Resource Associate
Born in Santa Rosa, Eduardo was raised in Rohnert Park. His upbringing consisted of spending time in a rural community in the State of Puebla, Mexico where his parents took him and his siblings each year. He spent a year living with his grandmother in Acatlán de Osorio, Puebla, while attending the 5th grade. Eduardo earned his B.A. in Sociology & B.A. in Chicano Latino Studies from Sonoma State University. He has been a legislative intern in Sacramento through the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP), an intern for Rohnert Park City Hall, an intern at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, and a student advisor with the Migrant Education Advisory Program (MEAP). Eduardo is a founding committee member for the Hispanic Chamber Young Professionals (HCYP), and is a Co-founder of Latino Leaders at Sonoma State University (LLSSU).
Health And Wellness Program Manager
Veronica was born and raised in Sonoma County where her parents settled to work in agriculture, after emigrating from Mexico. Her family background has played a significant role in fostering her commitment to help individuals reach their full potential with the appropriate resources and guidance, as well as to the importance of collaborative and equitable economic community development. Veronica received her Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University in both Economics and Urban Studies. After graduating she worked for four years with the County of Sonoma’s Human Services Department. She then returned to school and is currently working towards a Masters of Arts in applied Economics at San Jose State University. Her research and area of focus is in gathering empirical data that guides effective evidence-based decision making, which as a result leads to fair economic development and healthier communities.