Monika holds an MSW from NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. Monika and her mom immigrated to California in 1986 from Guatemala. She graduated with a Social Work degree from California State University, Los Angeles in 2004. She was one of the Co-leaders for the Latinx Social Work Student Organization. Monika was part of the Puebla, Mexico program during the summer ’16 semester. Her experience in the program inspired her to co-lead a discussion with other fellow latinx social work students addressing the experience of unaccompanied minors and immigrant youth utilizing the Social Justice Diversity Grant. Her global interest did not stop there. Monika was one of the 13 pioneering students of the full semester in Buenos Aires MSW program. In Buenos Aires, Monika had two field placements in the public and private health sector. She was placed at Rivedavia Hospital and Fundacion Zambrano. Working in this global context was reminiscent of her and her mother’s volunteer work in indigenous Guatemalan communities. Monika is interested in working with immigrant Latino families, children and youth. She knows first-hand about the immigrant experience. In her first year placement in the Lower East Side, Monika worked primarily with immigrant youth who had recently arrived to New York. She worked to create a safe place for her students and advocated on their behalf. Monika created programs to help them adapt to their new life here in New York. She adapted a reading program tailored to increase reading levels in elementary age children with the use of therapy dogs. The reading program was a success, and still continues to be implemented.
Monika is excited to be a part of El Nido and Washington Heights/ Inwood community. She looks forward to come alongside first-time parents, to help them create strong bonds, fostering healthy relationship with their babies and providing psychoeducational classes on developmental milestones, emotional and cognitive stimulation and stressing the importance of literacy in their children’s lives.
Blanca Lucia is a mother of two children, Mar and Daniel. She lived most of her life in her native country, Colombia, where she had the incredible experience of working as a commercial manager, business trainer, family counselor, and children’s teacher. As a Life Coach, she trained organizations, executives, and teams to develop their skills to reach their highest potential. She arrived to the United States in 20__, where she has challenged herself to cross another barrier, the language barrier. She loves being Latina and being part of a transformational leadership where she can contribute with her values, knowledge, and skills.
Talking about El Nido and her role as family coordinator, she says: ” El Nido is about social impact with a sense of belonging. In this space we motivate human beings coming from different countries and ways of living, so that they meet and share from love and respect. This experience helps them to model love and patience in their children, sowing in them the desire to learn and prepare themselves for the future. Another very important point is the affection and communication between the parents and children. To encourage these values, El Nido has designed different activities such as Reading Corner, Oruguitas, English classes for Parents, etc. I am the Family Coordinator and I support Monika, our Director, in the processes involved in the programs. How do I do it? I would say that I am a human bridge between her and the families, built from interaction of ideas, shared agendas, and direct contact. What I’m looking for is to synchronize communication and execution when planning each activity, this allows us to be an effective team with flexible thinking and strong logistics. Day by day I explore how to empower the participating groups with experiences of leadership and coaching, while taking care of our focus: The children.
El Nido’s organizational culture is fortified by the teamwork of the administration and by the opinions and ideas of the member families. This is powerful because it allows us to evaluate and rethink in a growing and systematic way towards our vision and to foster change and social responsibility.”
Holly graduated from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. She was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company where she worked for 13 years. She also ran McKinsey’s New Jersey Office. She is the mother of two children. She is passionate about helping parents achieve their dreams and helping children realize their potential.
Lara earned a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a Master’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Virginia. She worked as a tax consultant for seven years at Deloitte, rising to the position of Tax Senior Manager, before retiring to raise her two children. Lara is an avid practitioner of yoga and has loved to read since early childhood. Her passion for literacy developed as she saw the effect of reading to her children, including empowering them with an extensive vocabulary, creating empathy for others, spurring boundless imagination, and of course, developing a love for reading. Lara has read the seven book Harry Potter series three times and looks forward to listening to the audiobooks of the series. Her favorite book from her childhood is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and possibly her favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Lara believes that every child should have the opportunity to grow into a literate global citizen.