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.
Operations and Donor Stewardship Manager
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 as a volunteer and she 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 Master’s 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. She is very excited to have the opportunity and role as the El Verano Family Resource Center Coordinator.
Yuliana Camarena Torres
Marketing and Program Assistance
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.
Health &Wellness Advocate
Adriana Jacinto was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a major in Business Administration. A few months after graduation, she moved to the United States and into a new world. She now lives in Napa with her husband and two daughters. For the last 20 years Adriana has worked for Low Income Housing-- 13 years in the Housing Administration Department as an Income Qualifications and Enforcement of House Rules, and 7 years in Resident Service Department, as a Health and Wellness Advocate. She has a strong background and experience working in the community. One of her biggest passions is to better the quality of life and provide equal opportunity for the underserved.
Technology & Employment Navigator
Jerardo Martinez was born in El Salvador, but moved to Nicaragua with his family when he was just a few months old to escape the violence of the Civil War. After living in Nicaragua for ten years, Jerardo, his mother, and two brothers moved back to El Salvador. In 2007, he earned a degree in Computer Science from the Universidad de Monseñor Arnulfo Romero in Chalatenango—the first in his family to graduate from college. He worked for five years at the nonprofit FUSALMO in San Salvador, where his duties included teaching computer classes, providing IT support, and coordinating a number of technology programs. He moved to Sonoma in 2013 and immediately volunteered at La Luz Center. Jerardo loves having the opportunity to share his passion and knowledge of technology with others. In his spare time, he also enjoys volunteering with other organizations and coaching youth sports teams.
Parent Engagement Coordinator
Mario Castillo was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico. He then migrated to Sonoma at the young age of 15 on his own in search for better opportunities. He has been part of the El Verano community area for many years. He has always had an interest in getting involved and helping in his own community by doing volunteer work and working for various local non-profits. He then became involved with El Verano Elementary School as a parent. With being a parent he became aware of the needs to get parents to be engaged in their children’s education. Through his observations he made it his personal commitment to help with the process of developing spaces for parents to be involved in their children’s success. His desire to create the capacity for parents to engage is what led him to be hired as the full time Parent Engagement Coordinator at the new El Verano Family Resource Center. In this new role he will be able to expand programs, classes and services for parents to become full participants in their children’s school success.
Client Resource Associate
Born in Zirahuén, Michoacan. Immigrated to the United States when she was seven years old and since then she has lived in Sonoma Valley so there for she considers herself a SONOMAN at heart. She lives in the Valley with her husband and her two children. She is the second oldest out of six children. She has worked since she was fifteen years old in Sonoma Valley. Her focus has always been to work for and with the community of Sonoma Valley. She volunteers as a translator for F.I.S.H as needed. She loves and enjoys what she does and she knows that if made a difference in at least one person she knows that she has done her job correctly.