KEYNOTE SPEAKER   Thursday, Sept. 19

Don't Wait for Permission to be the Artist in You

Conference supports youth health programs

Macedonio Arteaga, Jr.


Mr. Arteaga was a part of San Diego Unified School District Race/Human Relations and Advocacy Department for 16 years, training staff and entire departments on Culturally Relevant Instructional Strategies, Cultural Proficiency and Restorative Practices.  


Arteaga is the Executive Director of Izcalli, a local nonprofit organization that has worked with at-risk youth for over 20 years through the arts. Also an actor and a writer with Teatro Izcalli with their book ‘Nopal boy and other acto’ which has been used at major universities, high schools and middle schools throughout the country. In 2011 the book received an English Award from the California English Teachers association for its contribution to literature. 


He has presented at world and international conference on Restorative Practice and his work has appeared in documentaries in England, Canada and National PBS.  Macedonio also runs traditional Native American healing ceremonies for his community.  He has received local, national and international Hero awards for his work with the community. 

KEYNOTE SPEAKER  Friday, Sept.20

How I Earned my WINGS - Lessons on Transforming Trauma

Conference supports youth health programs

Zulema (Ruby) White Starr


Zulema (Ruby) White Starr is President of National Initiatives, Director of Latinos United for Peace and Equity (LUPE),  the national arm of Caminar Latino. Like Caminar Latino, LUPE’s mission is to create opportunities for Latino families, affected by violence, to transform their lives and their communities. Nationally, and internationally,

Before launching LUPE, Ruby served as the Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Casa de Esperanza’s, National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities (NLN). Here, she led programs such as the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women’s (OVW) program to Enhance Culturally Specific Services for Victims and the Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus program to strengthen the response of institutions of higher education. Prior to the NLN, Ruby spent the bulk of more than 15 years as Assistant Director of the Family Violence Department for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). At NCJFCJ, Ruby directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, national Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody and the OVW’s Safe Haven’s Supervised Visitation and Exchange Technical Assistance Program; the Adolescent Relationship Abuse Training for Judges Program; and the Federal Greenbook Initiative, an interagency collaboration to address the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment.

From 2004 to 2012, Ruby served as President of the Board of Directors for the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence, the most prominent national organization of its time working to eliminate domestic violence in the Latino community.

She is a former national advisory committee member for the Women of Color Network and past president of the Board of Directors of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence. Ruby is the author of several articles including Resiliency in Children Exposed to Family Violence in Resiliency in Action Practical Ideas for Overcoming Risks and Building Strengths in Youth, Families, and Communities published by Research Press; Promoting Safety in Cases Involving Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment in The Connection, published by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.

In addition to her professional experience, Ruby shares her personal experience as a child witness and child, adolescent, and adult victim of violence in hopes that her experiences will lead to better practices and outcomes for women, children, and families who experience

Michael J. Allen, MA, MFTI, IMF

MINDFULNESS: Emotional Intelligence & Door #5. Michael facilitates a program called “The Incarceration of The Mind.” This work is designed for participants to practice Emotional Intelligence. Using Mindfulness, Energy, Thoughts, Feelings, Emotions, and Beliefs. What’s possible if we demote the Mind? Focus on teens is personal leadership and character development. Teaching and coaching teens to create a successful life by focusing on Door #5. This is experiential work.

Consultant - Speaker - Facilitator - Practitioner

For the past 20 years Michael has been an inspirational speaker, coach, and organizational development consultant.  A practitioner in diverse environments that include prisons, schools, non-profits & corporate organizations.

Michael explains the focus of One Foot Journey coaching is to build a greater capacity to understanding how heart & mind combined allows for the best emotional and intelligent decisions that bind people across all cultures and environments. 

Michael is also a Life Coach, teaching, facilitating and speaking to schools, non-profits, correctional facilities, private companies, faith-based community’s individuals, teens, & families, about Emotional Intelligence with the following: The Invisible Five * Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Seminar); Team Building, ;Group Facilitation; Keynote Speaker; Successful Life Coaching 4 Teens;  Life Coaching - The One Foot Journey Process

Luann Baldwin, LCSW

LGBTQ Gender and orientation matters for Latino/a youth. Examine perspectives of SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) with Latino youth from Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties. Shared experiences of challenges, road blocks and resources to embrace the intersection of gender spectrum with Latino culture will be presented.

Luann Baldwin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), has extensive experience working on Mental Health issues throughout counties similar to Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency. She has developed, promoted and expanded Mental Health Family Advocate positions in Kern County.
Education: University of Nevada, Reno, School of Social Work, MSW
University of Colorado, Boulder, B. S. Recreation
State of California Board of Behavioral Science Examiners
Licensed Clinical Social Worker LCS 20078 since 2000
Tulare County HHSA – Mental Health Department Mental Health Family Advocate Manager Kern County Mental Health Department Mental Health Family Advocate
Turning Point of Central California Psychiatric Alternative Resources Director
Kern County Mental Health Department Mental Health Clinician

Debra Camarillo, MA, CAADAC, CATC-I

MINDFULNESS: Medicinal (Therapeutic) Drumming is a culturally congruent behavioral health approach. Based on indigenous wisdom, behavioral medicine, psychological principles, ceremony, song, story and Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms. Evolved of indigenous traditions (Afro-Puerto Rican and Native Southern America) and world view. Activities at a Drumming Session: Craft sacred holding space Acknowledge traditions and life source Use herbal medicine Collective drumming,

DEBRA CAMARILLO  is Executive Director, The Latino Commission.  She is responsible for management and supervision of all aspects of the agency including financial management, budgeting, accounts and procedures to assure effective operations. She has a 30-year career in crisis management, substance abuse counseling and administration. She is the Developer of the Nuevo Comienzo -Teen Pregnancy Prevention Cultural Pride Model. 

Debra has been a trailblazer in both the provision of language and culturally appropriate treatment services for the Latino community; she takes pride and is honored to work with her dedicated bilingual/bicultural staff. Debra has continuously worked to address the quality of life needs of the Latino community with innovative community informed approaches to treatment that are culturally enhanced. Her unique background gives her a strong understanding of the Latino community. She has led TLC in groundbreaking work and has played a catalytic role in providing the Latino community a voice in their recovery process. She tirelessly promotes TLC, seeking grants to address the community needs, conducting research on the latest methods of recovery and offering endless support to the community and her staff. Under Debra’s leadership, the Commission has gained local and national recognition for its groundbreaking work and success rate. She has played a fundamental role in bringing services to the many who would otherwise be without. Debra’s passion and dedication for changing treatment services for the Latino community has made her a recipient of many awards. Previously she worked for the Department of Public Health of San Francisco as a contract manager with oversight responsibilities of programming for women, criminal justice and DUI. Before that she worked with the Height Ashbury Free Clinics in San Francisco directing their parolee services providing reentry services for long termed formerly incarcerated individuals.

Paty Cardenas

Demystifying sexual trauma in Sacred Spaces - An honest and open discussion regarding the truths of sexual misconduct in sacred spaces, including our homes and ceremonial circles. An interactive conversation about creating a safe/healthy environment, being prepared for disclosures of sexual misconduct, and holding space keeping indigenous principles, spiritual practices and cultural resiliency at the center of the healing work.

Patty Cardenas has over 25 years working with survivors of violent crime including domestic violence, sexual abuse and homicides. She currently works at the Riverside District Attorney’s Office, Division of Victim Services as Regional Manager. Patty’s personal search for healing has extended to her community and melded with her lifelong interests in culturally based spiritual traditions including; curanderismo, healing circles, prayer, meditation and danza as a form of healing. Patty is a member of Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas and serves as a Board Member for the National Compadres Network.  

Elizabeth Contreras, MSW

AOD SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Resilience and Motivational Interviewing for LatinX. “You are the Key to the Empowerment Journey” Learn to engage the most difficult clients/situations with the utmost respect by understanding the core competencies of Motivational Interviewing. Our clients have been judged, discriminated, and have suffered tremendous setbacks…Let’s be part of the SOLUTION GENTE!

Elizabeth Contreras, MSW, graduated California State University of Sacramento with a BA in Psychology and a Masters of Social Work.

She recently retired as Training Coordinator/Planner/Instructor for the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Services Division, where she trained County employees and Community Based Organizations in AOD and other social work issues. Her duties include coordinating and planning AOD trainings for the AOD Division and contract providers.

Elizabeth continues to train, write curriculum and work with the community and often delivers keynote trainings statewide with hundreds of people interested in Alcohol & Drug Issues and Cultural Standards. She is also  Adjunct professor in the Social Work Division at California State University, Sacramento since 1999.

Tina Curiel-Allen

Pick up the Pen: How to Run a Creative Writing Workshop for Facilitators and Service Providers. An experiential learning style workshop where attendees will learn how to run a creative writing workshop for clients or groups. Attendees will go through the writing workshop themselves and then have workshop broken down for them with instructions and suggestions for how to run themselves. There will be time for questions and discussion as well.

Tina Curiel-Allen is a queer Xicana/Boricua writer and artivist living in Modesto, CA with her partner Brad Allen and their four cats. A writer and confessional poet, Tina believes deeply in the power of the pen to heal and communicate with oneself and each other. Tina brings over a decade of experience running groups in various settings, ranging from youth and community centers to recovery treatment facilities and school settings. Her work has been published in Teen Vogue, along with other in-print publications.  Having created or co-created several California zines (mini-magazines) with topics ranging from education, incarceration, addiction, and the Xicanx identity in the Central Valley, Tina brings a spirit of collaboration and openness with her to her work and relations. Tina’s activism, suffering, addiction, recovery, and cultura informs her work and organizing. Thrifting, community-building, sci-fi, cat-loving, and reading are a few of her favorite activities. 

Lidia Doniz and Tiffiani Darks

Introduction to Cultural Humility “not a discreet endpoint, but a commitment and active engagement in a lifelong process that individuals enter into on an ongoing basis with participants, communities, colleagues, and with themselves.” - Leland Brown, 1994 Objectives • Develop a common understanding of the principles of cultural humility • Practice using the principles in our work through activities

Lidia Doniz is a Community  Specialist  for The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. Currently she provides technical assistance through the Safe and Peaceful  Neighborhood Strategy. Lydia has 18 years of experience working directly with families. She has worked in the fields of dependency, economic opportunities development and the arts.  Lidia is an aztec dancer and has been involved in the Mexika movement for the last 25 years. She's a proud mother of two sons, Pakal and Balam. Lidia was born in Guatemala, from Inglewood, and considers herself a San Jose transplant. 

Co Presenter Tiffiani Darks  has worked in the human resources industry for over 13 years in various roles including Payroll, Talent Management, Learning and Development, Customer Service, Employee Benefits Design and Recruiting.

I have strong program and project management skills with a Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Sciences. I am a true believer in "people over process." 

Behind any business there are people, if companies do all they can to take care of the people, the people will take care of the processes productively, proactively and happily!

San Jose State University,  Bachelor's Degree,  Behavioral Sciences

Rosa Granadillo-Schwentker, PhD, R-DMT

MOVEMENT-EXPRESSION FOR BALANCE: VOICES FROM LINEAR AND METAPHORIC WORLDS. In this Movement based Expressive Arts approach, the aim is to promote the respectful utterance of people. Mindful meditating, visualizing, dancing, and producing art together, participants get immersed in this experience of discovery and creativity. The Movement-Expression approach provides a container for the creation of art as tangible presence thus giving an articulated linear meaning to the experience.

Dr. Rosa Granadillo-Schwentker, PsyD is a bicultural Latina. Born and raised in Venezuela, she is a registered Dance Movement Therapist and Certified Expressive Arts therapist. Rosa directs the Transpersonal Integrated Energy Therapies Center in Berkeley. Being an adjunct faculty for Sofia University, John F Kennedy, California Institute of Integral studies and others, she has been using movement expressive arts for counseling, teaching, and coaching.
She was the founding/director of the Movement-Expressive Arts Center for nine-years working with children and adolescents with a history of trauma, abuse, and neglect. Majority of children and adolescents were coming from the juvenile justice system facing high disciplinary issues.

Sara Haskie-Mendoza

INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS: Xinachtli.- Rites of passage for girls. Girls development, wellbeing and leadership. Learning objectives · The presentation will engage participants in developing an understanding of how cultural and gender informed programs are an effective way of empowering girls of color. · Participants will be exposed to a framework of incorporating cultural and gender based assets to support healing trauma.

Sara Haskie-Mendoza has worked 20 years as a grassroots community organizer, trainer and outreach specialist. Sara developed Xinachtli, an innovative healing informed rites of passage curriculum for girls, in which she has trained hundreds of facilitators nationally. She is a fellow of the California Women’s Policy Institute and a recipient of the 2007 Los Angeles Peace Maker Award.  Sara worked as a fundraising trainer for Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training and has served as a field representative for the International Indian Treaty Council, working at the U.N. Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. As the Manager of Women and Girls programs at the National Compadres Network, Sara’s work focuses on lifting up the strengths and voice of Indigenous and Latin@ women and girls.

Ismael Huerta

INDIGENOUS TEACHINGS: Ollin Xi is a mindful practice that improves the mind, heart, and body with regular movements, meditation and breathing. This is a simple technique that, if practiced for as few as 8 to 20 minutes each day, can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation and oneness..

Ismael Huerta is a educator, youth advocate, mentor, consultant and motivational speaker. Working primarily with Latina/o youth facing many challenges, he has dedicated his adult life to inspire the lives of our future generation. Growing up in public housing "Project Raised", Mr. Huerta experienced the harsh realities of growing up on the streets of East Los Angeles. Through hard work, resilience, and the support of his family, Mr. Huerta pursued his college studies at Rio Hondo College and UC Santa Barbara. He decided to dedicate his life to making a positive difference in helping others, like himself, to explore better opportunities outside of their harsh environments. 

Mr. Huerta has actively worked within Santa Barbara’s K-12 public school system for 10 years now. As part of his creative and effective strategies to help our youth advance, he has introduced mindful practices, Ollin Xí better known as T'ai Chí and tapping meditation. He has also employed these strategies with the larger educational community (i.e., staff, teachers, administrators, youth conferences and universities). 

Daisy Lopez, MA

Tobacco Use in Hispanic/Latinos Communities - The goals of this workshop include: 1) Participants will become aware of tobacco-related health disparities that continue to exist among the Hispanic/Latino population. 2) Participants will learn about new and emerging tobacco products that are enticing a new generation of Hispanic/Latinos to nicotine addiction. 3) Participants will learn about local solutions to increase health equity among Hispanic/Latinos and decrease tobacco use among Hispanic

Daisy Lopez, M.A. is a graduate of Fresno Pacific University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology and Restorative Justice, a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership Studies, and a Master of Arts Degree in School Counseling. Over the last 14 years, Daisy has partnered with hundreds of youth advocates in various federal, state and county funded projects to create policy, systems, and environmental changes designed to prevent the use and availability of tobacco and marijuana in their communities. As a professional, Daisy has demonstrated expertise in: 1) developing advocacy initiatives with a youth focus, 2) developing and executing campaigns and initiatives designed to create environmental changes in Hispanic/Latino communities, 3) partnering with members of local communities to increase their capacity to serve as community leaders and change agents, and 4) developing media campaigns surrounding the topics of substance use prevention. Daisy currently serves as the Director of Program Services at the California Health Collaborative, a statewide non-profit organization. She works with various youth serving programs including Performing Above the High, Regional Advocates Countering Tobacco, Unidos Por Salud, CA Personal Responsibility and Education Program, and Asian Pacific Islander Partners and Advocates Countering Tobacco. Daisy is born and raised in the Central Valley. 

Mario Lopez, LCSW, DCSW

MENTAL HEALTH: Treating Self-Injury in Teens Discussion of the reasons why teens self-injure. Learn several ways to help them stop: Understanding Addiction Dealing with bullies, Alternatives to self-injury Dealing with negative internal dialogue and improving communication skills among others.

Mario Lopez, LCSW, DCSW, a contracted Licensed Clinical Social Worker/ Therapist. Mario is a graduate of Fresno State where he received his Master’s in Social Work. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Mario is a bilingual clinician who is fluent in Spanish. Mario has worked with Kings County Mental and Behavioral Health.  Mario is a Vietnam Veteran and served with the United States Navy.


Some of Mario’s specialties include treating depression, ADD/ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorders, Military Combat Trauma, and grief. He is a Certified Family Wellness Instructor, and a Within Our Reach Instructor. Additionally, Mario is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Mario also conducts the training for the Valor series for Behavioral Health.

Mario is currently in the process of completing his research, compiling data and information on "cutting" among teens with hopes of publishing his experiences in working with such populations. “My goal is to continue in providing therapeutic services to children and adults so to improve the quality of their lives.”

Jaime Molina, MSW

CARA Y CORAZON - a family strengthening, leadership development program that maintains that at the base of every culture, community, family and parent are the resiliency factors that can be tapped to assist parents and family members to build positive, healthy relationships with their children. Building on positive cultural values and traditions the curriculum guides parents to reflect on how they can maintain this positive form of identity while integrating and adapting positive elements today

Jaime Molina, retired in 2017 after 19 years at Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health. He was workforce education and training coordinator, prevention and early intervention coordinator. He also was the Coordinator for the “Cultura Cura” (Culture Heals) programs called Cara y Corazón (geared towards parents), Joven Noble (leadership development for boys), and Xinachtli (leadership development for girls).

San Jose State University Class of 2002 · Master's Degree in Social Work · San Jose, California

Luis R. Orozco, LCSW

MENTAL HEALTH: S.T.A.M.P. De- Escalation Training: A Method to Prevent Interpersonal . Learn methods proven to resolve conflicts in various types of situations with an emphasis on de-escalation techniques and emotion regulation in the context of a 4-Step Conflict Resolution Model: Recognizing the conflict; Evaluating possible solutions; Engaging in a solution focused decision making process; and Taking actions that lead to resolving conflicts effectively.

Luis Orozco is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience in the behavioral health field. His areas of expertise include mental health, conflict resolution, organizational behavior, violence prevention, crisis management, trauma, family counseling, couples therapy and substance abuse. Mr. Orozco has provided numerous trainings to mental health professionals, medical practitioners, educators, clergy and community leaders on these areas. In addition to this, he has worked intensively in helping individuals and families reach wellness and recovery through therapeutic interventions that are highly effective and culturally competent. Mr. Orozco has a private practice where he provides psychotherapy to individuals and consulting services to organizations on issues related to mental health, threat management and domestic violence. Mr. Orozco was a Mental Health Clinical Supervisor at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Emergency Outreach Bureau. Mr. Orozco obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Work with an emphasis in children, youth and families from California State University, Long Beach and B.A. degree in Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles. He is certified as a Domestic Violence Counselor and is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

Mario Ozuna-Sanchez

Sacred Fatherhood: Raising our children with PRIDE - be introduced to the transformational healing philosophy that supports providing young and adult fathers with a safe place to discuss their personal experiences while building teachings to maintain healthy connections with their children and personal circles, and provide positive kinship mentors that honor the teachings and serve as examples.

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Mario Ozuna-Sanchez grew up in a family impacted by alcoholism, domestic violence, gangs, and drug addicted family members.  As a result of decisions he made during his adolescence, Mario became a father at the age of 15.  With many barriers and obstacles set before him, and with the help of his mother, Mario was able to accomplish his goals of finishing high school and going to college. Mario Ozuna-Sánchez has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing healing informed services; cultural rites of passage, teen pregnancy prevention, gang intervention, and community violence prevention, in Santa Clara County, specializing in East San Jose.  He is nationally recognized for his skills at developing and delivering culturally relevant services to reach and welcome the most marginalized young and adult men in the community.  

Mario is the Senior Manager of Training and Capacity Building for the National Compadres Network, a national voice for racial equity, racial healing, training, technical assistance, system change and culture infused efforts to create change that is transformational. It brings together culturally-rooted, nationally recognized leaders in the fields of health, trauma, healing, education, fatherhood, rites of passage, family violence, teen pregnancy prevention, cultural competence, juvenile justice, social services, advocacy, racial equity and evidence-based research and evaluation. It works with community leaders and decision makers to create strategic, sustainable systems of change and provides support in the areas of transformational trauma and healing-informed services, capacity-building and training, technical assistance, collective impact building, research, leadership development, and resource and material development.  NCN provides technical expertise to system leaders who are looking for tangible ways to move from understanding and quantifying trauma and converting that knowledge to a pathway towards healing.  

Everardo Pedraza, MA, MS, MFT

Teaching Mindfulness in Diverse Spaces. Learn how students have been inspired to practice meditation and take interest in their personal development while preparing themselves for high school and college success. Learn how to create a culture of peace and to reaching out to teach the community. “The Mindfulness Club continues the work to bridge the breakthroughs of the human potential movement with public education, bringing these two worlds together to contribute to the evolution of humanity.”

Everardo Pedraza is a registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern with an emphasis in integral psychotherapy.  He serves on the Board of Directors of Integral Community Solutions Institute in Fresno.  Everardo is an English teacher and founder of the Mindfulness Club at Sunnyside High School. 

Maria Elena Ramirez, MS

ChicanaHerstory- You've Heard 'History', Now Hear Hers. Utilizing the Indigenous art of storytelling, music, rap and Teatro, Maria presents a feminine perspective to the 500+ years since Christopher Columbus invasion, rape of the America’s, in 1492. Maria shows how honoring the divine feminine, women’s rights were in existence through the Clan Mothers teachings, long before white women got the vote 100 years ago, and it is time to reclaim our leadership in defense of Mother Earth.

Maria is a woman of Chicana, Puerto-Rican and Apache ancestry.  She holds a Master's degree in Counseling.  She recently retired from Ohlone Community College, in Fremont, CA. after working there over 25 years.  She has a history of educational, political, cultural and community, social justice work going back to the late 60's
 Her activism began by supporting the farmworker’s struggle and the fight to open up the colleges and universities to non white communities and the need for Ethnic Studies in the curriculum. She has performed her inspiring show for many high schools, colleges and also for cultural event and women audiences, including the Storytellers of the Americas conference in Buffalo,New York, and internationally in Helsinki, Finland, and Inari, Finland, homeland of the Sami Museum, New Zealand, and Spain,  She recently returned from Toronto, Canada, where she presented at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference of Education.     

Laura Rios-Ramirez and Madelein Santibanez.

​Unpacking Resiliency: A liberatory approach to Neurodecolonization and Self-preservation. Raise awareness about the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) in the classroom dynamic. Build knowledge on how to identify and navigate through the collective trauma of historical and systematic oppression, while acquiring skills rooted in the shared reclamation of self-care as an act of radical healing. Group dialogue, participatory action, and empowerment by sharing indigenous self care.

Laura Rios-Ramirez Yohualtlahuiz is a trained pedagogue, performance artist, and community organizer based out of occupied Yanaguana, Coahuiltecan/Esto’k Gna territory, commonly known as the settlement of San Antonio, Texas. Aka San Quilmas. A Mexican-born Xicana of Guachichil/Tepehuan/French/Spanish ancestry, her canon of youth-based and culturally intersectional curriculum design and presenter experience includes elements of Social Justice, Hip Hop, and Earth-based cultures as vehicles for personal and collective transformation.  She holds a BA in  International Relations and Latin American Studies from St. Edward’s University and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership at Our Lady of the Lake University.  Laura is a Bgirl, Danzante, Cihuatlatohki, dualidad, and mama with a passion for building comunidad and healing intergenerational and colonial trauma through familia, traditional indigenous teachings, and the arts.come...


Co Prenter, Madelein Santibanez. Experienced Educator with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit industry. Skilled in Youth Development, Asset Building, Data Analysis, Supervisory Management, and Curriculum Development. Supervisory and Management Certification, San Antonio Area Foundation, Board Member of Society of Native Nations and Southwest Workers

Rodolfo Rodriguez, BA, CADAC II

Nurtured Heart Approach (in Spanish) a powerful tool that will transform a difficult child and build you up as a family member or professional. Understanding the unique dynamics of the “challenging” child. Ending the punitive cycle that reinforces negative behavior. Building families and school cultures on authentic connection and trust. Reduction of reliance on psych medication to control difficult children’s behavior. Reduction of risk of children using addictive substances.

Rodolfo Rodriguez BS in Psychology with and emphasis in substance abuse disorders. I have worked in the field of substance abuse for 17 years in groups and individual counseling. I am a certified CADAC!! Instructor. I am also an advance trainer in the Nurture Heart Program (parenting), Domestic Violence and Suicide prevention/intervention trainer (Safe-Talk and ASIST). I received a bachelor’s degree from Argosy University in Arizona.


BA Psychology, CADAC II certified, Prevention early intervention Coordinator for Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health. Certified Strengthening families’ program train of trainers, Advance NHA trainer, and Suicide prevention trainer, Adult Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid, DV certified.

Dr. Roberto De La Rosa, JD

MENTAL HEALTH: Impact of Immigration on the Mind, Body and Soul. Immigrants encounter a number of unique factors that can have implications for their health, including separation from their country of origin, family members, and culture, as well as having to navigate a new and unfamiliar culture and physical environment.

Dr. Roberto M. de la Rosa received his undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Sociology from the University California Santa Cruz. He then attended UC Hasting School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate in 1978. While in Law School he founded the Organization for the Legal Advancement of Raza whose mission is to provide access to the legal system through legal education and services to new immigrants, students and poor communities.

Mr. de la Rosa can be heard on La Campesina Networks weekly radio program on Immigration that broadcasts from Washington State to Mexicali, Mexico. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Cesar Chavez Foundation, y La Comision Honorifica Mexicana Americana, Inc.

Ana Soto-Limon, LCSW

MENTAL HEALTH | Using Nature for Self-Care for Mental Health Professionals. There are many ways we can practice self-care and in this workshop, we discuss how nature and hiking can be one of the best tools for self-care. More and more scientific studies are proving that nature can be restorative and that it can help improve physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Natural environments promote calmness and wellbeing. They allow for people to decrease levels of stress.

Ana Soto-Limon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience working in the behavioral health field. She is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work.  She currently works as a Crisis Co-Responder for Kings View Rural Triage in Fresno County where she co-responds to mental health crisis with law enforcement personnel. Her areas of expertise include victim advocacy, violence prevention, crisis intervention, co-occurring disorders, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, mental health court, and trauma informed care. Ana went from a novice hiker to an avid explorer in the last six years and has found great joy through her love of nature, the mountains, waterfalls, big trees, and beautiful views. Ana wants participants to claim their own wellbeing and to be the best version of themselves by intentionally practicing self-care. 

Manuel Vasquez, MSW

AOD/Substance : CRAVING MENTAL HEALTH - Addictive mental qualities enmeshed in our thinking Patterns compromise our innate goal to live free from our addictive behavior. Participants will increase their understanding of the theoretical knowledge of mental factors related to craving and clinging behaviors embedded in our addictive mental states. He will present a culturally sensitive model for addressing addiction by including spiritual factors to be considered for our clinical outcomes.

Manuel is a retired Clinical Social Worker, who provided a administrative and clinical support for culturally diverse populations for over 30 years. He was instrumental with establishing dual diagnosed programs at Mission Mental Health in San Francisco from 1996 to 2007. He was Chief Psychiatric Social Worker for Alameda County where he provided oversight of outpatient partial hospitalization programs, administrative support for County’s mobile crisis intervention team, and played an active role with the providing transitional services from higher levels of care to community  programs.

David Veira, M.Ed.

MENTAL HEALTH: Ayúdate, ayuda a los demás: The value of mental health screening in the Latino Community Review and discuss current mental and behavioral health statistics and trends with a focus on Latino mental health with strategies and digital resources to reach and engage Latino families. Mental health screening is a strategy playing a vital role in early identification of behavioral health disorders and creating a culture of awareness and support vital in building a resilient community.

David Veira, M.Ed. is the screening programs manager at MindWise Innovations where he works with colleges, universities, workplaces and community organizations to maintain existing relationships, build new connections and implement screening programs. Prior to joining MindWise, 

David worked in higher education administration for 20 years and held positions at Wheelock College, Arizona State University, Boston University, Lasell College and Brandeis University in academic advising and enrollment management. Throughout his career in education, he worked with traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students, graduate and professional students and international students. 

Proud of his heritage, David is committed to learning more about how to best serve Latino communities to provide behavioral and mental health resources. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, wrestling with his two young boys and being an avid New England sports fan.

Rahsmia Zatar and Beria Gaxiola

Violence/Criminal Justice: Rising from the Outskirts to Bridge Toward Healing - Latinx leaders as members of marginalized communities are the ones who can bridge the gap to bring disconnected factions in our community together as we move toward healing. By understanding the gaps and possibilities in the current national landscape, we can create organizational cultures that allow our Latinx leaders to step into their role as bridge makers.

Rahsmia completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from Hofstra University in Dec.1999 and went on to obtain her Masters in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College for Criminal Justice and her MSW from SUNY Stony Brook.  Rahsmia met S.T.R.O.N.G.’s founder while attending graduate school at Stony Brook University.  After just a couple of conversations, they both realized S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth was where she needed to be. It was a place where she could not only apply the knowledge acquired through school and previous work experiences, but could assist in enhancing communities and uplifting youth of promise who were desperately seeking compassion, healing and a chance to shine in positive ways.  Hired in Sept. 2005, she helped establish and run S.T.R.O.N.G. University, a gang intervention program working with previously incarcerated, gang involved youth and acted as the organization’s only social worker.  Ms. Zatar’s passion and innate understanding of the dynamics playing out in the lives of STRONG youth and their families quickly made her a part of the organization’s executive staff.  She worked closely with the Executive Director helping to design programs, provide input on the vision and direction the organization was headed in and representing S.T.R.O.N.G. at public forums and events, and committees. She was promoted to Assistant Director in July 2011 and then to Executive Director in January 2012.  S.T.R.O.N.G’s mission to empower youth and communities in becoming active agents of change and building resources from within falls directly in line with Rahsmia’s overall philosophy in life. Since her appointment as Executive Director, Rahsmia has become a prominent voice speaking out against the systemic causes of youth and gang violence and advocating for the resources youth and families impacted by violence and incarceration need to become social change agents. Rahsmia hopes to continue building awareness around the issue of gangs and build a full service organization where youth can cultivate their leadership and social skills in positive, productive ways, helping them resist the lure of gang and street life.

Beria Gaxiola, Although she has faced her share of suffering and struggle, Beria has maintained a unique faith in others that she weaves into her work. As a child of a migrant farm worker who attended 14 different schools by the time she graduated high school, Beria was exposed to many of the perils that plague the youth in our communities today. But it was her love for learning and the influence of positive adults in her life that led her to overcome her many challenges and lead a successful life. She graduated Highland High School number 12 in her class and went on to earn a dual Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish making her the first to graduate college in her family. She then completed a Masters in Counseling with a specialization in family and adolescent therapy.  Beria is grateful that working with S.T.R.O.N.G. allows her to use her clinical skills and program creativity to infuse faith in our youth and their families so that they too can overcome the obstacles they face

Susy Zepeda, PhD

Indigenious Teachings: Decolonizing Indigneous Knowledge. This session will center on decolonizing Indigenous knowledges and practices to build community spaces that are open hearted healing spaces where community members can share their stories, testimonies, and energía. The goal is to create practices to decolonize ourselves, our communities, our hxstories, and ultimately hold sacred space for each other. We will root ourselves in practices such as: building a sacred altar, deep listening,

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California to Mexican immigrant parents, Susy Zepeda is a queer Xicana Indígena Assistant Professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UC Davis. She is an interdisciplinary and transnational feminist scholar.


Currently, Zepeda is writing her first book manuscript, which is a historical and contemporary tracing of queer Xicana and Latina cultural producers that examines layers and tensions of race, class, gender, sexuality, spirituality, land, nation, and generational silence. In it, she argues that the roots of Chicana and Latina feminisms are forms of diasporic and ancestral knowledge. Working at the intersections of frameworks such as feminisms of color, queer of color critique, and studies of race and colonization; her work highlights the often overlooked yet intertwined legacies of Chicana feminisms, queer theory, and decolonization.


Zepeda is part of a writing collaborative, the Santa Cruz Feminist of Color Collective, who published the article “Building on “the Edge of Each Other’s Battles”: A Feminist of Color Multidimensional Lens” in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy.   Professor Zepeda works closely with the México-based filmmaker collective Mujeres y Cultura Subterránea who inspire her scholarship on transnational visual culture.

- Ph.D., Sociology Department, Designated Emphasis in Feminist Studies and Latin American & Latino Studies, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2012.

Please reload