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.
Born and raised in Sonoma, Kara is a graduate of Sonoma Valley High School and Sonoma State University, where she received a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies. She first learned Spanish while living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and later studied at the University of Seville in Seville, Spain. Kara started working as Client Service Coordinator at La Luz and then became a Family Advocate. Now in her tenth year, she also coordinates La Luz’s many programs. In addition to her duties at La Luz, Kara is a busy mother of two young boys and a member of both the Redevelopment Advisory Committee for the Springs Area and the Sonoma Law Enforcement Advisory Committee.
Maricarmen Reyes Larios
Coordinator of Educational Programs, Family Advocate
Daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, Maricarmen was born in Sonoma Valley in 1981. In 2000 she graduated from Sonoma Valley High School and was fortunate to receive a La Luz Center Scholarship. In 2005 after having worked five wonderful years for Migrant Education California MIni-Corps she graduate with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chicano and Latino Studies from Sonoma State University
Community Outreach & Vineyard Worker Services Coordinator
Michele is a resident of Glen Ellen, born of Spanish immigrant parents who had originally emigrated to the Mid-West. She came to the Bay Area in 1995 to work as an interpreter and fell in love with California, particularly the Sonoma Valley where she has made her home for over 10 years. Michele holds a B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of La Verne, CA, as well as a D.E.L.E. Superior in Spanish Language from Universidad de Salamanca. She brings a strong background in community service and education to her position at La Luz.
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.
Maria E. Calvillo Moncada
Receptionist and Client Resource Assistant
Maria was born in Zirahuen, Michoacán, Mexico, and came to Sonoma when she was seven years old. She attended all local schools and graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2000. As a young child, she remembers accompanying her mother to La Luz for services. Maria began working at age 16 and has developed a strong work ethic. She has been a bilingual teacher assistant at Sonoma Valley High School and a teller at Banco de Sonoma for four years, where her goal was to always provide the best customer service. Maria loves helping the wide spectrum of people from many cultures who come to La Luz.
Maritza was born in Tepatitlán, Morelos, Jalisco, and came to Sonoma when she was 9 months old. Maritza attended all local schools and graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2006. After attending Santa Rosa Junior College, she decided to volunteer at La Luz Center, to give back to the community that had welcomed her with open arms. She was hired as La Luz’s Receptionist in 2010, and has since been promoted to Family Advocate where she can assist clients with more in-depth counseling. In addition to her duties at La Luz, Maritza spends her time with her young son, her husband Miguel and their three horses. This year, Maritza is proud to have become a U.S. Citizen!
Alyson was born and raised in a small town in Maryland. She studied Graphic Design and Marketing at James Madison University in Virginia. After graduation she went to Costa Rica, where she spent two years traveling, teaching English and coordinating a children’s program in Centro de Idiomas Intercultura. While at the school she established a volunteer training program to encourage and train foreign students to work in Costa Rican schools.
Alyson enjoys spending her free time outside, photographing nature and creating jewelry. Her goal is to enhance La Luz’s many programs by providing increased support from community volunteers.
Community Outreach & Navigator
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 degree 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.