who we are

Amistades is a Latino-led, Latino-serving, 501 (c) 3 non-profit community development organization with six focus areas: substance abuse prevention services for high-risk youth and families; family support services for low-income populations; training for health and human services providers; civic participation; policy impact, and cultural enrichment initiatives. The organization was founded in 2006 and has established itself as a leader in the prevention community by developing and implementing programs and activities grounded in grassroots outreach and evidence-based best practices.

Mission Statement

Amistades is a Latino non-profit community development organization committed to providing culturally responsive services, advocacy for social justice, and community empowerment.

Vision Statement

Amistades envisions empowered communities that inspire cultural preservation, social equality, and self-sufficiency.

Guiding Values

  • Foster Latino core values
  • Promote deep cultural pride
  • Create barrios saludables (healthy communities)
  • Champion bilingualism
  • Advocate social justice and racial equity
  • Utilize Latino evidence-based, best practices
  • Acknowledge acculturation
  • Honor multiculturalism
  • Trabajar con corazon (work from the heart)
  • Facilitate community change
  • Lead innovative, cutting-edge initiatives
  • Collaborate in strategic partnerships
  • Implement good business practices
  • Maintain financial sustainability



our team

  • Ricardo M. Jasso
    Ricardo M. Jasso was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with...
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  • Claudia Jasso
    Chief Development Officer
    As Chief Development Officer, Claudia oversees the organization’s operations and keeps Amistades productive and on track to reach its goals....
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  • Melissa Gomez
    Project Coordinator
    Melissa Gomez was born in Los Angeles, California, however has a strong tie to the Tucson community. She holds Bachelors...
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  • Anahí Valenzuela
    Project Coordinator
    Anahí Valenzuela was born in Yuma, Arizona and raised on both sides of the border. As a proud Mexican American...
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  • Jaime Tadeo
    Senior Community Health Educator
    Jaime was born in Guadalajara Jalisco, and migrated to Tucson, Arizona when he was ten years old. Jaime grew up...
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  • Veronica Valenzuela
    Prevention Specialist
    Veronica Valenzuela was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Embracing her Mexican-American roots, Veronica has sought to make connections and...
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  • Alexandra Boneo
    Project Manager
    Alexandra Boneo is from the Douglas, AZ- Agua Prieta, Son. Border community. She has been a small business owner for...
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  • Joseph M. Gill
    Project Director
    Joseph was born in New Jersey and graduated from Monmouth University with a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Criminal...
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  • Patricia Chiquete
    Finance Manager
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  • Karen Blocher
    Staff Accountant
    Karen Funk Blocher is a staff accountant with more than twenty years of experience in a variety of organizations, now...
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  • Veronica Lugo
    Lead Epidemiologist
    Veronica Lugo was born in Mexicali, Baja California and migrated to Yuma, Arizona, when she was three years old. She...
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Board of Directors

Carlos Gonzalez, Aztlan Associates

Manuel Medina, Multicultural Associates
Vice Chairman

Francisco Moreno, Business Owner
2nd Vice Chairman

Juan Ibarra, San Miguel High School
Secretary & Treasurer

Ricardo M. Jasso, Amistades, Inc.

Steve Torres, AZ Dept. of Economic Security

Magdalena Santos, Becton Dickinson
Ex Officio



Ernie Feliz, Felicia Granillo-Mendivil, Claudia Jasso, Harry Kressler , Francesca LoMonaco, Clara Ortiz, Rene Salgado

The White House Selects Amistades for Bright Spot in Hispanic Education

The White House announced on September 15th that Amistades is one of the Bright Spots in Excellence for Hispanic Education. Amistades was selected because it uses a holistic perspective to support Latino families by building from their inherent strengths and providing them with the resources needed to achieve educational and life success.

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential,” said Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative.

To learn more about the Initiative and to view the Bright Spots in Hispanic Education national online catalog visit www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative.

“It is an honor to be recognized alongside other Latino-serving organizations, programs, and schools also fighting for educational equity and fostering educational achievement,” said Carlos González, Chairman of the Amistades Board of Directors.

According to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, nearly one in four students in our nation’s public schools is a Hispanic youth. Making sure these young people have the opportunity to achieve their dreams isn’t just the right thing to do- it’s also a matter of our shared success as a country. In just the next few decades, Hispanics will represent nearly one in three American workers. It’s clear; the future of our nation is closely connected to the future of our Hispanic communities. When we lift up the Hispanic community, we strengthen our nation. When we create more ladders of opportunity, we provide the chance for all Americans to reach their greatest potential.

Amistades places a strong emphasis on youth and family engagement in its programming within the school districts and community at large. Racial equity principles for community engagement such as demonstrating regard for other ways of knowing, doing and being and diminishing social and cultural isolation are the foundation for Amistades’ ability to make systemic, sustainable change. For these reasons and the remarkable outcomes, Amistades is a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education in the United States.