Our team

Unveiling Esperanza United’s Mural for Hispanic Heritage Month

Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza) is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by unveiling a new mural inspired by our community. This breathtaking painting was created by a group of Latin@ artists who asked youth, advocates, and community leaders what being a woman and Esperanza United means to them. It now hangs […]

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Meet the Team: Irene Ochoa

Meet Irene Ochoa, Senior Family Advocate  Where are you from? I’m from Chihuahua, Mexico. Where do you feel most at home?  I feel at home in Minnesota where my family is. Three of my children and grandchildren are here. I also feel at home in Chihuahua because my oldest, my father […]

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Policy Manager Olivia Garcia looking up smiling at President Biden who is greeting her

The VOCA Fix: Bill Signing Day at the White House

By Olivia Garcia, Ph.D. Policy advocacy has two speeds: slow and really fast. Legislation and system change is typically a long game that can take years before a small, minor piece falls into place that allows greater movement. Yesterday was an exceptional day because, after years of advocacy efforts with lawmakers, […]

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Meet the Team: Jenny Lee

Meet Jenny Lee, Finance Director Where are you from?  I was born in Australia and my father moved us to the United States (I was 5 years old) to be closer to family.  We spent a couple months in California and came to Minnesota. I’ve been in Minnesota since. Where do […]

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Reflections from 2020

Join us for a conversation reflecting on the one-year anniversary since the COVID-19 quarantine began in the U.S. Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza) staff discuss how our work has shifted during the pandemic and how we’re adapting to meet the needs of our community.Esperanza United created a bilingual virtual library […]

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Meet The Team: Lillie Macias

Meet Lillie Macias, PhD, Director of Research and Evaluation Where are you from? My family moved around growing up. I was born in California, and I also lived in Utah, Texas, and New Jersey.  Where do you feel most at home? I feel at home whenever I’m with my family and […]

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Meet The Team: Annika Gifford

Meet Annika Gifford, Program Strategy and Fund Development Advisor Where are you from? I was born in South Korea and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Where do you feel most at home? Nature. What inspires you, professionally and personally? Many things inspire me – right now given current conditions, I’m most […]

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Meet The Team: Cristina Escobar

Meet Cristina Escobar, Director of Communications and Marketing Where are you from? My parents are academics so we moved around a bunch but I’d say I’m from Arizona. I went to middle and high school there. My claim to fame, though, is that I’ve lived in all four US-Mexico border states. […]

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Meet the Team: JJ Lara

This week, we feature JJ Lara, national trainer for Esperanza United Where are you from? I’m a native Tejano living in Austin, originally from Brownsville, Texas, which is the southernmost tip of the state neighboring Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Where do you feel most at home? I feel most at home in […]

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Meet the Team: Nallely Castro Montoya

This week, we feature Nallely Castro Montoya, Esperanza United’s Youth Initiatives Specialist. Nallely has been working at Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza) since May of 2014.  How did you start with Esperanza United? I started as a Peer Educator when I was a junior in high school (2009). During my […]

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