Laura Armstrong, Executive Director
DOJ Accredited Representative
Laura became La Casa Hogar’s Executive Director in April of 2015. She has worked with non-profits and Latinx immigrant communities throughout the country since 2006. She has a particular passion for working with and learning from immigrant and farm-working families in the Yakima Valley and central WA region. Laura contributes a background in Spanish, non-profit development, affordable housing, community organizing, domestic micro-finance, and public health. Passionate about asset-based community work, Laura loves to work at La Casa Hogar because, “I am privileged to learn from our remarkably resilient students; I work with an insightful, innovative and adaptive team to collectively catalyze positive community change in our Yakima Valley.” Laura grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC with a degree in Political Science, and minors in Latin American Studies and Poverty Studies. When not working, Laura embraces the Pacific Northwest through biking and hiking.
Cristina Arellano, Early Learning Assistant
Cristina originally came to La Casa Hogar in 2007. She took computer classes and parent education and later became a volunteer with the STEM classes and several events. Since October 2013 she has been an assistant teacher in the ELC. During that time she has learned how to work with pre-school children and has been trained in infant music education. Cristina worked in social services in Mexico.“I like to work at La Casa Hogar because I believe we meet a great need in our community, and I continue learning from La Casa Hogar’s programs and my co-workers. My goal is to be a very good English speaker.”
Cecilia Gonzalez, Early Learning, and Parent Education Coordinator
Cecilia began working for La Casa Hogar in 2008. As the Children’s Program Coordinator, she is trained in the Foundations of Early Literacy, the Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers, Preschool, and Family and Child Care, Facilitation, Conevyt, Play and Learn 101, Habilidad de Comunicación y Resolver Conflictos, and Basic Concepts of Music. About working at La Casa Hogar, Cecilia likes to know that one way or another I’m contributing to the educational development of children and road beside mothers during Process.
Aurora Guevara, Children’s Program Assistant/Receptionist
I started at La Casa Hogar as a student in the English classes in 2012, while my children were also learning and developing their own skills in prekindergarten. In 2015, I was invited to participate as a teacher assistant in the Early Learning Center “La Escuelita,” which gave me the opportunity to collaborate in teaching preschoolers. The courses I have completed are the following: First Steps in Math Overview, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Los Niños Bien Educados, Tomando Control de su Salud y It Takes Two to Talk. “What I like about La Casa Hogar is the way it helps families strengthen and discover their talents, achieving with them a better and more active community.”
Magaly Solis, Citizenship Program Manager
DOJ Accredited Representative
Magaly started working for La Casa Hogar in 2014. She began her journey as a volunteer teacher for the citizenship class in Wapato and was then offered to coordinate the Intergenerational Poverty Project in Wapato. In June of 2014, she assumed the responsibility of the citizenship program. In 2014 Magaly completed an Immigration Legal Training which allows her accreditation by the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) and to better assist people that are interested in becoming citizens. “I’m passionate about social justice, empowerment through education, and serving my community; working at La Casa Hogar has allowed me to positively impact the lives of many in our community.”
Mireya Chavez, Citizenship Program Associate
DOJ Accredited Representative
Mireya began working for La Casa Hogar in 2003 with the children, after studying with La Casa for a number of years. She started as a volunteer and then became an employee. Currently, she instructs the citizenship, computer, and driving classes. She is also trained in peer mental health.“I love what I do in my work and I like to help my community thanks to La Casa Hogar and all employees for supporting me.”
Diego Perez, Citizenship Program Associate
“I was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. when I was 5 years old and have lived in Toppenish since then. I graduated from Toppenish High School in 2011 and graduated from Central Washington University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in History/Social Studies teaching. I also have a background/minor in TESL. I enjoy living in the Yakima Valley where lots of fruits and hops are produced and harvested. I enjoy the Latino community in the valley because they are hardworking and share a similar background with mine. I hope to teach in the future at a middle or high school but for now I enjoy working at La Casa and helping the Latino community. My goal is to get DOJ Accredited so I can help fill out naturalization forms. I like working at La Casa Hogar because it’s a friendly bi-lingual environment that makes you feel at home.”
Angelica Reyes, Adult Education Coordinator
Angelica began her journey with La Casa Hogar in 2003 as a volunteer instructor for the Learning Basket program (a parenting class), and in 2008 was hired to work for the program. She is currently the Classes Coordinator, receptionist, an instructor for various programs. She also supports the Early Learning Center.She has been trained in the Learning Basket curriculum, Leadership (through the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic), the Creative Curriculum, the Salsa, Sabor y Salud nutrition program, Conevyt (Secretaría de Educación Pública Mexicana), Leadership through Education (through Hispanic Affairs), and is a DSHS certified Peer Mental Health Counselor.“I like that our students feel safe here at La Casa Hogar. They grow trust through relationships with staff and gain confidence to achieve their goals.”
Mirna Rojas, Financial and Operations Coordinator
Mirna grew up in the lower valley in a small town named Buena and graduated from Toppenish High School in 2006. Her goal is to further her education and receive her Business & Administration Degree to further her career. Mirna started working at La Casa in 2017. Prior to La Casa she worked in banking for eight years.
“La Casa Hogar is an amazing organization, very inspirational, dedicated, supportive and educational for immigrant families like her very own. Many of her family members have became U.S. Citizens through La Casa’s Citizenship classes. Including the most recent, her mother who has been in this country for over 30 years with barely any educational background. Mirna looks forward to being a part of transforming lives along side with La Casa Hogar for her community.”
Alejandro began as a financial assistant volunteer at La Casa Hogar during the summer of 2016. He enjoyed doing his internship as a volunteer in La Casa Hogar, because he had the opportunity to build good relationships, learn many things, and share his knowledge. Alejandro joined La Casa Hogar as a staff member with the role of financial assistant in August of 2016. He graduated from Yakima Valley College in June of 2016 with a certificate in Business Technology as a General Office Assistant. He is currently attending Yakima Valley College to obtain his AA degree as a Bilingual Administrative Office Assistant.
“For me, La Casa Hogar is a home where families or individuals have the opportunity to get an education, learn English, become a U.S. citizen, and improve their skills.”
Anna Estrada, Program Developer
Anna grew up in Wilbur, Washington, a small wheat farming community. Working in orchards and picking wild Baby’s Breath to sell with her family during the summer are among her favorite childhood memories. The extended family brought her to the Yakima Valley after high school and this is where her heart still is. Her love for the Latino/a families she worked with motivated her to tackle Spanish with a passion. After she graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). in Spanish Language and Literature she developed a passion for adult education first as a bilingual GED instructor with CWU HEP. Her continued activities in the community have focused on education in basic skills, English, Spanish, and above all, empowering people with knowledge. Currently, she is completing a Masters of Arts (M.A) in Multicultural English Literature and Language. After teaching ESL at La Casa Hogar for the last two years, she welcomed the opportunity to join the team in as a Program Developer to work in community education and the citizenship program. The vision is to continue to develop creative experiences and workshops that create lasting connections within our community.
Elizabeth Torres, Pre-GED Instructor