Jenny Ocón is the first Executive Director for UpValley Family Centers, and has been with the agency since January 2014. Prior to joining UpValley Family Centers, she was the Executive Director of Parent Services Project in Marin County. Jenny also brings experience coordinating a network of family resource centers at the Children’s Network of Solano County. Jenny currently serves on the steering committee of the Napa Child Abuse Prevention Council, and the Leadership Council of Live Healthy Napa County. She has 20 years of experience working with nonprofits, family resource centers and schools in the areas of family engagement, parent leadership, collaborative social service models, community organizing and immigrant rights. Jenny holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Studies and Latin American Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz, and Master’s Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis.
Cristina Aviña is Family Services Coordinator for UpValley Family Centers, working directly with families to provided guided referrals, emergency assistance and domestic violence counseling. Cristina began working with the St. Helena Family Center in April 2009 as a receptionist and brings additional experience in customer service. Cristina is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has a certificate as a Domestic Violence Counselor, a certificate on Suicide Prevention and is an accredited provider of Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). She has always had a passion for helping others and gets a great feeling of satisfaction working with residents of the UpValley communities.
Danny Almanza works is Youth Program Specialist, joining the team in the summer of 2015. Danny coordinates CLARO mentoring program groups in St. Helena and Calistoga for middle school and high school boys. Prior to joining UpValley Family Centers, Danny served at the Calistoga Junior/ Senior High School starting in 2014 as an AmeriCorps member through the CalPREP Program, completing 1,700 hours of service work. Danny set up a brand new college mentoring program for the high school students in Calistoga. He is a first-generation college graduate and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sports Management from Saint Mary’s College of California. Danny was born and raised in St. Helena and is excited about giving back to the youth in the same community where he grew up in. Danny is also very passionate about the sport of soccer and is the head coach for the boy’s varsity soccer team at Calistoga High School.
Rosa Cachú is Outreach Specialist for the UpValley Family Centers. She began working at the Calistoga Family Center in 2001 as a volunteer and was then hired on as staff. Rosa’s role is to provide information to the community about the programs and services available at the family centers. Rosa also assists with coordinating different activities including, parent education classes, nutrition classes and a parent/child playgroup called Niños Activos/Active Kids. Rosa is grateful for the opportunity to know and work deeply in the UpValley communities and to gain the trust and respect of individuals and families.
Blanca Dixon is the Immigration Program Coordinator for UpValley Family Centers. Blanca provides outreach, education and application assistance on citizenship and immigration-related matters to local community members. She is a partially-accredited representative by the Board of Immigration Appeals to assist individuals with immigration proceedings before the Department of Homeland Security. Blanca also coordinates our volunteer Promotora Program, comprised of local community residents taking leadership on grassroots projects that support residents’ health and wellness. Blanca started with UpValley Family Centers as a Receptionist/Data Intake Coordinator with the St. Helena Family Center in September, 2010. Blanca was born and raised in Peru. She graduated from the Instituto Carlos Medrano Vasquez in San Clemente and was a primary school teacher for six years in Peru before moving to the United States. Blanca speaks Spanish and English fluently.
Norma Ferriz is Operations Director for UpValley Family Centers. She began working with the St. Helena Family Center in January 2008. Norma ensures our sites operate smoothly, and provides administrative and budget oversight for the UpValley Family Centers. Norma has over 25 years of experience working for nonprofits in Mexico and the United States. She is an active volunteer in the St. Helena community, serving on the St. Helena Star Editorial Board, serving as a Trustee of the St. Helena Library and is also a member of the Napa Valley Community Foundation grants committee. Norma has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with emphasis on Nonprofit Management from University of Washington.
Norma Godinez is Community Liaison for UpValley Family Centers at our Calistoga site. She has been with the organization since 2008. She serves families by enrolling their children in health insurance and coordinating the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Clinics each year. Norma served for eight years on the Hispanic Council of St. Helena Catholic Church, during which time she was a member of the Multicultural Committee in St. Helena. Norma was born in Mexicali, México, but was raised in the beautiful state of Michoacán.
Ricky Hurtado is the Development Manager for the UpValley Family Centers. He joined UpValley Family Centers in January 2014, working part-time in our Calistoga After School Program and Youth Mentoring Program. He became full-time in June 2014, taking on additional duties supporting our communications and development efforts. Ricky has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento, where he served as a Board Director for Student Government overseeing a $7 million budget. He has interned for Congressman Mike Thompson’s Napa Office, and has volunteered his time with our partner agency, Puertas Abiertas. He currently serves as the Secretary on the Napa County Hispanic Network that provides scholarships to graduating high school and junior college students. Ricky enjoys putting his passion of helping others to work for families and individuals in Napa County.
Indira López is the Program Director for UpValley Family Centers, providing program oversight and program development planning for the agency. She is a partially-accredited representative by the Board of Immigration Appeals to assist individuals with immigration proceedings before the Department of Homeland Security. Indira is also an accredited provider of Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). Indira has over 20 years’ experience in social services and early childhood programs. She is active in the community and is currently a Trustee of the Calistoga Joint Unified School District. Indira has been the Program Director for UpValley Family Centers since 2005. Indira studied Early Childhood Education at Pacific Union College. She speaks Spanish and English fluently.
Lupe Maldonado is Student & Family Advocate for the UpValley Family Centers. She works with students at Calistoga Elementary School using the Second Step program, and coordinates the CLARA mentoring program for Calistoga middle and high school girls. She is an accredited provider of Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). Lupe completed a year of leadership training with the Innovations Project through our partner agency, On The Move, focused on expanding mental health services for minority groups in Napa County. Lupe started at the Calistoga Family Center in 2009 as an AmeriCorps member through the Child Abuse Prevention Alliance, committing 1,700 hours of service work, after which she was hired full-time. Lupe was a first-generation college student who received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from California State University, Sonoma. She was born in Mexico but migrated with her family to the United States when she was 2 years old. Lupe believes, “It only takes a minute to make a difference in the life of a child.”
Elena Mendez is the Senior and Family Services Manager, providing guided referrals and case management services to local residents, with a special focus on the Calistoga senior population. Elena began working for Calistoga Family Center in October, 2008. Elena has over 30 years of experience working with children, families and individuals. Prior to her work with us, Elena worked for Child Start Inc., as a health advocate and in family services. She has also served as a Mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Elena has an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice, a Certificate in Early Childhood and Family Studies, and studied Medical Administration at MTI Business College.
Adriana Montanez works part-time as Youth Program Specialist leading our CLARA mentoring program in St. Helena for middle and high school girls. Adriana has worked with St. Helena Family Center since August 2013. Adriana also works as a home visitor for UpValley families who are expecting a baby or have a baby aged 0-3, through a collaboration with Cope Family Center. She has been a home visitor since December 2012. Adriana is passionate about helping her community and working with children and youth. She was born and raised in Napa, CA. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Chicano Studies from California State University, Sacramento. She is proud of her Mexican cultural background and is fluent in both English and Spanish. Adriana wants to help others achieve their educational goals.
Yuliana Moreno is the Operations Associate for UpValley Family Centers at our St. Helena office, and joined our team in August 2014. Prior to this, Yuliana worked with our partner agency, Children’s Health Initiative (CHI), and assisted families to get health insurance coverage. Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Yuliana came to this country at a young age. She has overcome many obstacles and knows the struggles that many immigrant families face in their everyday lives. Her desire to help others has brought her to the UpValley Family Centers. Yuliana attended Napa Valley College and received her Associates of Science Degree in Human Services. She’s now working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.
Andy Mughannam is the Community Schools Manager for UpValley Family Centers, beginning in the summer of 2015. Andy brings 20 years of experience working in education to the collective impact approach, having served as a teacher, dean of students, and assistant principal, in addition to work in the non-profit and private sectors. Much of his work over the last 10 years has been focused on aligning the needs in the classroom with the needs of the greater community by engaging students in a critical analysis of their environment, empowering families, supporting teachers and engaging community partners. Prior to joining UpValley, Andy was a program director with New Leaders, a national non-profit supporting equity in education by providing leadership development to school staff. Andy holds a teaching credential from National University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from UC Davis and a Master’s Degree in Geochemistry from the University of Michigan.
Mariela Padilla – Community Liaison
Mariela is the Community Liaison for UpValley Family Centers St. Helena location. A recent graduate from the University of California Santa Cruz, she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In the past, she has worked for GEAR Up, Hermanas Unidas Inc., and other nonprofit organizations in the Santa Cruz area. Mariela is also bilingual, and passionate about serving her community. Born and raised in the Napa Valley, she is familiar with this community and is excited to give back through her work at UpValley Family Centers.
Annette Smith – Tutoring Volunteer Coordinator
Annette Smith is the Tutoring Volunteer Coordinator for the UpValley Family Centers. She conducts community outreach, provides support and ensures coordination of local volunteers who tutor students in St. Helena Primary and Elementary Schools. Prior to joining us, Annette was a teacher for 40 years, serving the last 19 years as the Reading Specialist for the St. Helena Unified School District. Annette is a third generation St. Helena resident and since her retirement from the school district has dedicated herself to becoming more involved in the community. She is actively involved in the St. Helena Historical Society, the Catholic Church and the St. Helena Federated Women’s Club. She received her Elementary Teaching Credential from Chico State University and her Reading Specialist Certificate from UC Davis. Teaching children to read is her passion.
Loralyn Taylor – Program Coordinator, UpValley Partnership for Youth
Loralyn Taylor is a Program Coordinator for the UpValley Family Centers, joining the team in the Fall of 2015. Loralyn coordinates a prevention coalition called the UpValley Partnership for Youth, aimed at reducing alcohol and marijuana use amongst up valley youth. She is also an accredited provider of Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). Prior to joining UpValley Family Centers, Loralyn spent ten years working in women’s health care as a reproductive health specialist and HIV educator. She completed her public health internship with Napa County Health and Human Services and is excited to work within the same community. She is an active volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind as a guide dog puppy raiser. Loralyn has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from UC Davis, a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Regis University, and a Master’s of Public Health from Touro University.