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.
Amistades is a Latino non-profit community development organization committed to providing culturally responsive services, advocacy for social justice, and community empowerment.
Amistades envisions empowered communities that inspire cultural preservation, social equality, and self-sufficiency.
- 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
- Founder/CEORicardo M. Jasso was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with...read more
- Chief Development OfficerAs Chief Development Officer, Claudia keeps Amistades productive and on track to reach its goals. She provides leadership to strategic...read more
- Senior Project ManagerMelissa Gomez was born in Los Angeles, California, however has a strong tie to the Tucson community. She holds Bachelors...read more
- Project ManagerAlexandra Boneo is from the Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Sonora border communities. She has over 15 years of experience...read more
- Project DirectorJoseph was born in Summit, New Jersey, and graduated from Monmouth University with a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in...read more
- Project CoordinatorMonica Ybarra was born and raised in Douglas, Arizona. She is currently a member of AmeriCorps and assigned to the...read more
- Project CoordinatorElsa Orozco was born and raised in the wonderful border communities of Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Sonora. She has...read more
- Finance Manager...read more
- Staff AccountantKaren Funk Blocher is a staff accountant with more than twenty years of experience in a variety of organizations, now...read more
- Lead EpidemiologistMario Cruz Jr. was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona, and has been living in Tucson, Arizona for the past...read more
- Project CoordinatorBorn in Arizona and raised in Mexico, Yulisa has been passionate about helping her community from an early age. After...read more
- Project CoordinatorDenisse Luna was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She earned her associates degree at Pima Community College then transferred...read more
- NavigatorFernanda Garcia Rochin was born and raised in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, a small border town dependent on agricultural...read more
- Lead NavigatorMelissa was born and raised in Haverhill, MA a suburb north of Boston. Her family is from the Dominican Republic....read more
- Project CoordinatorEstefany Nidez-Acuña was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Ms. Nidez-Acuña grew up with in the Sunnyside Unified School District,...read more
Board of Directors
Carlos Gonzalez, Aztlan Associates
Manuel Medina, Multicultural Associates
Juan Ibarra, Owner, The Right Juan, LLC
Secretary & Treasurer
Ricardo M. Jasso, Amistades, Inc.
Steve Torres, AZ Dept. of Economic Security
Magdalena Santos, Becton Dickinson
Blanca Valera, Community Advocate
PAST BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ernie Feliz, Felicia Granillo-Mendivil, Claudia Jasso, Harry Kressler †, Francesca LoMonaco, Francisco Moreno, 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.