STR0NG PARTNERSHIPS EXPAND OUR SERVICES AND CAPABILITIES

FAMILY

SERVICES

Ensure residents in Sonoma Valley can improve their lives and strengthen their families by providing easily accessible family services, effective child-parent development programs, and culturally relevant mental health services.

 
 

HEALTH

La Luz Center Family Advocates assist individuals and families in signing up for Calfresh and Medi-Cal insurance. We provide support with initial enrollment, Sar-7 mid-year reporting and help with county paperwork.*  Certified enrollment counselors can help also enroll, navigate, and answer general questions about Covered CA.

Focus:

• Appointments and support from La Luz Center Family Advocates

• Referrals to county-wide agencies or partners that provide healthcare and medical services

• La Luz Family Advocate on-site at the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center

• On-site medical clinic:  St. Joseph Hospital Mobile Clinic – La Luz Center Parking Area:

   Every Friday 8:30AM-1:00PM; first come, first served; come early

• Food Support:

            • Redwood Empire food supplies distributed twice monthly at La Luz Center

            • Brown Baggers free hot lunch every Friday in Booker Hall, La Luz Center campus

            • Food gift cards for emergency relief

Impact:

La Luz provides Family Advocates and case management that helps untangle the complexities of health programs, insurance and the paperwork that often prevents families from accessing essential healthcare. La Luz provides the only free, bilingual mental health services in the Valley and also provides food support to families in need.

For more information or appointments, contact:

Patricia Galindo, Family Services Coordinator, or by calling La Luz Center.

 
 

INFORMATION AND REFERRAL

La Luz Center has become a hub for information and referrals. Our bilingual interview process helps determine the best resource to meet a client’s need. We answer questions, provide guidance and connect clients to local resources.

Focus:

• Medical Services

• Legal Assistance

• Mental Health Services

• Health and Wellness Programs

• Housing Assistance

Impact:

La Luz clients trust and rely on La Luz staff for accurate, up-to-date information and proven, quality referrals. La Luz has earned the reputation as the go-to place for the right answers. The range of La Luz Center services enables clients to access the support they need, locally.

For more information or appointments, contact:

Patricia Galindo, Family Services Coordinator, or by calling La Luz Center.

DIRECT & EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

Often clients require support beyond an answer or referral. They have an unforeseen emergency or are faced with complex issues that require short or long term support from the La Luz staff to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Focus:

• La Luz Center Family Services Advocates with direct emergency relief or help

   navigating resources

• Case management until emergency relief is secured or issues are resolved

• Goal setting to move from a difficult to a desired state

Impact:

La Luz provides emergency relief that helps clients recover from financial and personal setbacks. With the direct support of La Luz Family Services Advocates, clients have been able to secure employment, resolve landlord disputes, gain access to low income housing and find transportation solutions to get to work or to get children to school.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Family Services Advocate, contact:

Patricia Galindo, Family Services Coordinator, or by calling La Luz Center.

 

AVANCE - La Luz Center Partnering with Hanna Boys Center

La Luz leads AVANCE, a national early childhood education program, for Sonoma Valley parents and children under the age of three.  The AVANCE program strengthens families with a powerful eight month curriculum for the parents and children that participate.  AVANCE aims to improve parenting skills, provide tools to enrich the development environment at home and create fun early childhood learning experiences

Focus:

• Two May-September classes /year; 20 parent-child participants in each class

• Program classes are once weekly for each participant group

• Parent education on early child development, parenting skills, literacy and creative toys

• Play based education for the children 0-3

• Parenting support group and home visitations

• Health and wellness education

• Mental Health support and services

• La Luz Center information and referrals

Impact:

The AVANCE program has proven to improve kindergarten readiness and create stronger long term parental involvement in their children’s education. Monthly home visitations reinforce class learning and can explore other support services that may be needed by the family. AVANCE helps build a sound foundation for success in school.

For more information, contact:

Betzy Chavez, AVANCE Program Manager, or by calling La Luz Center.

Staff

Betzy Chavez
AVANCE Manager
Manages AVANCE early childhood program


Since 2016, Betzy Chavez has serves as the Director of La Luz Center's school programs and education programs. She oversees the Family Resource Center (FRC) on the campus of El Verano Elementary School, the only community school in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD). She also manages AVANCE in Sonoma, a Parent-Child Education Program. For seven years, Chavez served as a bilingual school counselor at Sonoma Valley High School, where over 50% of the students are Latino. She has an M.S. in School Counseling from Sonoma State University. 

Elvira Barboza
Early Childhood Education Toddler Instructor
Assist Lead ECE Childcare Provider in providing safe, warm stimulating environment and implementing routines
for infants and/or toddlers


She was borned and raised in Michoacán Mexico. She currently lives in Sonoma with
her family, her two sons and her husband. She was a representative of ELAC and DELAC commities in the Sonoma Valley School District. She is curretnly and active member of LEA (Logrando Exitos Academicos). She enjoys getting involved in the community, gardening, exercising, and improving herself, she got her GED diploma at the Santa Rosa Junior College in 2007. Prior to moving to USA she was studying at the Instituto Tecnoligico de Morelia and at the same time working ina day care center.

Martha Gil de Varguez
Early Childhood Education Lead Infants Instructor
With the support of and direction from the Parent Educator, Program Coordinator, and/or Program Manager, the
Lead ECE Childcare Provider will lead infant or toddler ECE Childcare Providers in providing a safe, warm and
stimulating environment for young children including implementing the AVANCE curriculum and appropriate
routines


My name is Martha E Gil De Varguez and come to sonoma from Yucatan, Mexico. I have been married for 29 years and have 3 kids, two girls and one boy that have all graduated. This is my third year working with the AVANCE program. I have found that I love working with kids and have a passion for seeing them grow. I am very happy with what I do.

Nena Gutierrez
AVANCE Supervisor & Toymaker
Responsible for teaching mothers enrolled in the AVANCE Program how to make educational toys, and to supervise the ECE staff to a stimulating learning experience to children between birth and age 3.


Amelia(Nena) currently teaches courses at the FRC, including Health and Nutrition I and II, and Art. In the summer of 2017, she had a leadership role in the FRC Summer Literacy program, where she helped to organize, coordinate, and deliver "Readers" and "Writers" workshops to children.  Part of the 3-hour summer program she led was an hour of crafts, involving both parent and child.  She is a graduate of the Santa Rosa Junior College High School Equivalency Program (HEP).  Prior to moving to Sonoma Valley, she studied in Mexico towards a degree to become a kindergarten teacher. She is the El Verano School representative to the SVUSD District-wide ELAC.

Rosy Ledezma
Early Childhood Education Infant Instructor
Assist Lead ECE Childcare Provider in providing safe, warm stimulating environment and implementing routines
for infants and/or toddlers 


My name is Rosy Ledezma, I am 28 years old and am married with two beautiful sons. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco but made my way over to Sonoma. I have 6 years of experience working with kids as a childcare provider at El Verano elementary but this is my first year joining the the AVANCE team as an early education childhood teacher. So far,  I have enjoyed it because the parents and kids are learning at the same time. I work in both areas, the Infants and Toddlers room and its amazing learning to adapt to a child's individual needs because I'm being taught at the same and learning more about the AVANCE program itself.

Sonia Mendoza
Parent Educator
Directs curriculum and program fidelity by creating stimulating environments and implementing in class room learning for parents


Sonia was born and raised in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México. She graduated from Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa from Law School. She came to Sonoma in 2006 and is now married with three kids. In 2018 she graduated from AVANCE, andin 2018 started volunteering in the program and now she is a teacher of AVANCE.

Rebeca Ramirez
Early Childhood Education Infant Instructor
Assist Lead ECE Childcare Provider in providing safe, warm stimulating environment and implementing routines for infants and/or toddlers 


Rebeca was born and raised in the city of Guzman, Jalisco and now resides in Sonoma Valley with her husband and her two children.   In college, she studied to become a teacher and was a pre-school teacher for 3 years. She mentions that she’s really happy and excited to be a part of the AVANCE program as a teacher.  It’s going to be her first year with this program and can’t wait to give it her all.

Enedina Reyes
Early Childhood Education Toddler Instructor
Assist Lead ECE Childcare Provider in providing safe, warm stimulating environment and implementing routines
for infants and/or toddlers


Enedina was born and raised in Sonoma. She currently lives in the Valley with her husband and four children. Enedina began her first job as a babysitter at the age of 15 and she has loved working with children ever since that time.  She started working with La Luz in 2014 and, for the past three years, has been a childcare provider with AVANCE.  Enedina enjoys spending time with her family, taking walks, and being with children where she can help them along on the learning process.

Yessica Velasquez
Early Childhood Education Lead Toddler Instructor
With the support of and direction from the Parent Educator, Program Coordinator, and/or Program Manager, the Lead ECE Childcare Provider will lead infant or toddler ECE Childcare Providers in providing a safe, warm and stimulating environment for young children including implementing the AVANCE curriculum and appropriate routines


Yessica is 24 years old and came to this country at the age of 14. She mentions that her parents gave her the wonderful opportunity of becoming a resident of the United States and in 2015 she became a citizen of this country.  In 2018, she graduated from the Santa Rosa Junior College with her associates’ degree in early childhood education.  Yessica is very proud to be part of La Luz and be a part of AVANCE. She mentions that in 2016, she graduated from the AVANCE program with her son Oliver and has been part of AVANCE for 3 years. Her hobbies are playing soccer in her spare time and dancing.

 

MENTAL HEALTH

La Luz Center has created partnerships with mental health organizations to provide access to quality mental health resources: workshops, counseling and therapy. Group and individual sessions are provided through an in-house therapist and professionals from the YWCA.

Focus:

• Appointments and support from La Luz Center Family Advocates

• Referrals to the appropriate mental health resources

• Mental Health classes and workshops

• Group and Individual therapy sessions (bilingual therapist at no or low cost)

• Childcare during group therapy

• Morning & Evening appointments available

Impact:

Many Sonoma Valley adults have little to no access to quality, affordable mental health services, provided in their native language. In the aftermath of the 2017 fires and uncertainty surrounding immigration policies, La Luz recognized and helped address the increased need for mental health support services.  Our current month long wait-list is a reflection of the need for Mental Health services in our community.

For more information or appointment with a Family Services Advocate, contact:

Patricia Galindo, Family Services Coordinator, or by calling La Luz Center.

 

LEGAL SERVICES

In collaboration with Sonoma County legal organizations, La Luz Center  provides answers to legal questions and access to their legal services

Focus:

• Appointments and support from La Luz Center Family Advocates for referrals

  to the appropriate attorney or legal service

• Sonoma County Legal Aid—attorney on-site at La Luz Center weekly

            • Housing law

            • Family law

            • Immigration law

• La Luz on-site Legal Counsel - International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA)

            • Citizenship applications

            • Immigration law

            • DACA information and renewals

Impact:

Legal services at La Luz are free to clients who qualify.  Services are bilingual and enable clients to more easily access legal support locally.

For more information or an appointment with a Family Services advocate, contact:

Patricia Galindo, Family Services Coordinator, or by calling La Luz Center.

VALLEY OAK HOMES

Valley Oak Homes is a local low-income apartment complex, that serves as a satellite site. Inside the clubhouse you will find Adriana, our Family Services Advocate, twice a week. This allows us to reach and provide all La Luz Center services onsite for the 42 families living at Valley Oak Homes.

For more information, contact:

Adriana Jacinto, Family Services Advocate, or by calling La Luz Center.

 
 

FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER - La Luz Center Partnering with El Verano School

La Luz Family Resource Center (FRC) is on-site at El Verano elementary school. The FRC helps families connect to services and navigate resources related to the academic, social and emotional needs of El Verano K-5th grade students and their parents. The Family Resource Center offers La Luz classes and services to help provide the missing links between family, school system, and support services that often impact children’s success at school.

Focus:

• Campus space for parents to easily access support during school hours

• Collaborative partnership with El Verano principal and staff

• La Luz Family Navigator supports families referred by teachers and counselors

• Leadership opportunities for parents: FRC Volunteers and Aides

• Connection to cultural and social activities in the community

• Childcare during parent classes and counseling

• On-site services:

            • On-site classes & workshops: ESL, Citizenship, Health & Nutrition

            • Information & Referrals

            • Case management

            • Mental Health services

            • Parenting classes, support groups and other educational opportunities

Impact:

Parental support of children’s education can be lost in the many demands of work and home. Together with the El Verano teaching staff, the Family Resource Center promotes the involvement of parents in their children’s school life, provides services to at-risk families and brings enriching activities to the El Verano school community.

For more information, contact:

Yuliana Camarena, La Luz Family Resource Site Manager, or by calling La Luz Center.

Event Calendar

Staff

Yuliana Camarena Torres
El Verano Family Resource Center Manager
Works with parents in identifying and achieving goals; accessing support services, education, and training programs and opportunities; and facilitating positive parent, school and student relationships. Advances the El Verano Family Resource Center mission, vision, and programs through maintaining, sustaining, and developing new relationships with community partners and Sonoma Valley Unified School District.
 

Yuliana was born in Michoacán, Mexico and grew up in Sonoma. She earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Dominican University of California, with concentrations in accounting and marketing. From a young age, Yuliana has been connected with La Luz. She received the Language Award from La Luz while in both elementary and middle school and received the La Luz Scholarship in high school. Yuliana started as an intern in 2014 and joined the full-time staff later that  year. Yuliana enjoys creating learning opportunities through programs. 

Diana Cervantes
Family Services Navigator
Provide health and wellness related client services, including assessing families’ needs, connecting families to community resources, assisting families to apply for benefit programs and providing ongoing one-on-one coaching and support as needed in addition to providing on campus support for students at El Verano Elementary School.
 

Diana was born and raised in Sonoma Valley. As a child, she attended El Verano Elementary School where she currently works as part of the Family Resource Center team. Diana graduated Santa Rosa Junior college as a first-generation student, with an A.A.-T in Sociology and an A.A. in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She transferred to Sonoma State University and is studying to earn a B.A. in Sociology. Diana has grown a deep passion for helping others and loves to give back to the community. 

Juanita Padilla de Hernandez
Family Engagement Coordinator
Connects families with School

I'm Juanita Padilla de Hernández. I was born in Mexico and have been living in Sonoma since 1999. I'm married and have 3 children. I took English and Computer classes at La Luz Center, I have also been a volunteer and worked at El Verano School. Now I'm working through La Luz Center at the El Verano Family Resource Center as the Family Engagement Coordinator. My role will be to connect families with the school.

Adriana Jacinto
Family Services Advocate

Coordinates health and wellness-related client services

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 in Income Qualifications and Enforcement of House Rules and 7 years in the 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.

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La Luz Center is a 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit organization
​Tax ID #68-0228235

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