Monthly Archives: September 2015

September: Our New Offices

All Staff Retreat


Left to right: Ritchie Geisel, President & CEO, Miriam Gonzalez, Chief Program Officer, Lizbeth Nevarez, Board Treasurer, Renee Pozza, Board Member, Cara Valentini, Board Chair, Diana Buehler, Chief Operating Officer, Mike Still, Chief Financial Officer)

We are happy to share highlights from our all staff retreat and luncheon held at Luminarias. We decided to focus solely on staff appreciation and relaxation this year; our staff was greeted by our Board Chair, Cara Valentini, who graciously thanked them for their hard work and dedication to the families we serve. Following lunch, everyone enjoyed the feature presentation of McFarland USA which closely reflects our mission and vision at Bienvenidos. We’re already looking forward to planning next year’s event.

We’d like to acknowledge the following team members for their continued service and commitment to our Bienvenidos Family; you are an example of our mission in action.


Yvonne Cervantes – Shining Star


Leandra Deeton – 15 Years of Service


Michael Esquivel – 5 Years of Service


Phuong Lane – 5 Years of Service


Elizabeth Mariscal – 25 Years of Service


Anthony Navarro – Shining Star


Lawrence Walker – Shining Star


Sandra Zuniga – 15 Years of Service

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


We’d like to acknowledge the following team members for their continued service and commitment to our Bienvenidos Family; you are an example of our mission in action. Thank you for participating in our administrative offices grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony! It was great to see so many familiar faces and the support of our community. The relocation of our administrative offices from downtown Los Angeles to East Los Angeles is part of our strategic initiative to invest in a greater concentration of programs and services in this community. Through further development of community partnerships, we hope to utilize a model of integrated services to promote healthy minds, bodies, and spirits.


Representatives from elected officials, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, Assemblymember Ed Chau and Supervisor Hilda Solis were on hand to welcome us to the community and present proclamations for the event. Our President & CEO, Ritchie Geisel, expressed thanks to all the guests for their ongoing support and for sharing in Bienvenidos’ vision. He also noted that the decision to move to East Los Angeles is already fostering a stronger bridge between program staff and the administrative staff that supports them.

We are especially thankful to our friends at the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Heavenly Choice Events, and Mercado’s Flowers, who helped contribute to our event’s success.

Community Services

Back to School Resource Fair

Our Community Services and Mental Health Divisions held a “Back to School Resource Fair”, Saturday, September 12th at the East Los Angeles Service Center. Festivities included Ballet Florkorico, Zumba performances, free school supplies, complimentary breakfast and lunch as well as access to much needed resources including dental, health, and school readiness programs.


The event was a huge success largely due to our community partnerships with Atlantic Pharmacy, Avon, Care First, Mary kay, Department of Rehabilitation, EDD, L.A. Care, LA County 211, New York Life Insurance, Super Dental Kids, USC School of Dentistry, White Memorial (Welcome Baby) Herbalife and the East Side Medical Clinic. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!

Special thanks to our staff, volunteers and contributing vendors; your support is critical to our mission of strengthening each family’s resilience in the face of challenges, and enable them with resources to meet their own needs. You are very much a part of their lives too. If you would like to volunteer your time to one of our events, please click here.

Big Sunday Family Fun Day

Thanks to the generous support of Big Sunday, two of our Project Corazón families were able to enjoy a well-deserved mini-cruise from the port of San Pedro to Long Beach. The cruise was an opportunity to learn about the rich history of our ports as well as partake in some dolphin and sea lion sightings. Guests also received t-shirts and continental breakfast in conjunction with the cruise. Bienvenidos is proud to partner with Big Sunday, whose mission is dedicated in helping underserved communities.


Our “Family Fun Days” are hosted by our Project Corazon program which focuses on reducing the maltreatment of children which can result from neglect, domestic violence and/or mental health issues. To learn more about Project Corazon, or to sponsor a Family Fun Day, please contact Georgia Thompson, our Community Services Director, at (323) 268-5442.

English Parenting Class


Parents show off their certificates after completing a 12-week program of Los Niños Bien Educados, which helps parents increase positive behaviors in their children. Participating parents learned the power of praising their children, understanding the causes of child behaviors, and the importance of having family conversations. In addition, parents were also taught the stages of child development. Many of the participants in our English Parenting class were also involved in the Parent Café, Money Management classes, and Family Fun Days. Each of the parents were honored for their efforts and commitment to the program. Congrats parents!

Fatherhood Program Graduation

Proud graduates of our Fatherhood program received their diplomas at a special ceremony on September 15th in our Administrative offices. Fatherhood is part of our Partnership for Families and Prevention and Aftercare Programs; it is a support group dedicated to enhancing parenting skills and help equip participants to become nurturing fathers.

To learn more about the Fatherhood Program or to register, please contact Hugo Garcia, our Family Specialist at (323) 268-5442.

Foster Care & Adoptions

Foster Family Picnic

Our Foster Care & Adoptions division held their annual Foster Family Picnic, September 19th at Arcadia park in the city of Arcadia. This fun-filled event featured family-friendly games, bingo, piñatas, prizes for all the winners and complimentary food. We welcomed 328 resource families to Santa Anita Park for our 23rd year partnering with A.J. Picnics, whose D.J. always engages our kids in exciting and entertaining games and activities. Board Vice Chair, Jesse Cripps, was accompanied by his wife and their children, and the Cripps children wouldn’t let mom and dad leave until they had participated in all the games. The afternoon was so successful that we all forgot about the 102 degree temperature… except that all the ice cream did disappear!

Martial Arts & Leadership Program

On Sunday September 20th, the students in the Martial Arts & Leadership Program participated in two unusual training sessions. The first hour they learned African drum rhythms on 5 hand-made drums with Djibril N’Doye. Mr. N’Doye is an artist and musician from Senegal, where he is renowned as a national treasure. He engaged our students in discussing how the drums are made, and then taught them the rhythms for welcoming guests and for healing.  The second hour, our students participated in instruction with 21-year old Aaron Cruz.  Mr. Cruz was born completely hearing impaired and unable to speak yet has achieved first level black belt rank.  Our students saw firsthand how life challenges can be overcome; they learned how to, and did communicate with Mr. Cruz even as they practiced their martial arts techniques.  We were extremely proud of the respect they demonstrated and their excitement in learning.

Are You Registered to Vote?

In 2016, for the first time ever, people of color, young Americans and unmarried women will likely cast over half of all the ballots in the presidential election. Think about that. For the first time in our nation’s history, the most diverse electorate ever will enter voting booths on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

We would like to encourage you, our Bienvenidos family, to vote! Ask your friends and families if they are registered to vote. For our part, all of our locations are stocked with voter registration forms, stop by and fill one out or take some to go. Your voice matters!

Bienvenidos is hiring!

Would you like to join our team? We are currently seeking qualified and dedicated candidates to fill the following positions: Accounting Associate, Prevention Specialist, Program Navigator and Community Resources Coordinator, Project Coordinator, Respite Worker, Social Worker. Visit our website for more information and to apply.

Board News

Board Recruitment

We are actively seeking seasoned business professionals who want to volunteer their time and expertise on a nonprofit board and make a difference.

Bienvenidos is looking for volunteers to bring expertise in various areas including, but not limited to finance, legal/risk management, strategic development/planning, marketing/communications, and fundraising. We appreciate the value of your contribution of your time, talent and financial resources. We will continue to offer you meaningful opportunities to further the mission of Bienvenidos. Interested parties may email Desire Reyes at

Please include your location, area(s) of interest, skills/experience, and/or other nonprofit boards on which you’ve served. Be sure to include a resume/cv and/or LinkedIn link.