Juan Hernandez, Executive Director, La Luz Center
This summer, the girl & the fig restaurant, Proprietor Sondra Bernstein, and Executive Chef John Toulze will celebrate 20 amazing years of business in Sonoma Valley.
We were deeply humbled by the overwhelming enthusiasm from our community when tickets were released to the 20th Anniversary Celebration. (A portion of the proceeds for each ticket purchased will be donated to a local charity - and they quickly sold out!) Those of you joining us: thank you for your generosity!! You warm our hearts!
the girl & the fig would not be what it is today without the incredible support of this town, our community, our friends. Now that the celebration is fast approaching, we'd like to share a little more about our featured charities and their great work.
Today, La Luz Center's Executive Director Juan Hernandez:
Juan Hernandez was raised in the barrio of East Los Angeles. He earned a B.A. from UC Riverside, a fellowship in management leadership from New York, and an M.A. in psychology and organization development from Sonoma State University.
Juan served as director of educational programs at the Calistoga Family Center, and, while in Calistoga, was elected to the board of the Napa Community Foundation and the Napa Valley Hispanic Network. Juan has been appointed a Sonoma County First 5 Commissioner, and he serves on the Sonoma Sheriff’s Advisory Group, the Sonoma Valley Health Roundtable, Portrait of Sonoma County Leadership Team, and the Latino Leaders of Sonoma County. He took over as executive director of La Luz Center in 2012.
tg&tf: What's the best part of your day at La Luz?
J.H.: "The best of part of my day is hearing from our clients. La Luz Center serves as the local community hub and whether someone walks in to share community concerns and fears, good news on how businesses in the Springs are thriving, or to share how we helped them find employment, I really enjoy listening to their stories, learning who they are and offering support. I find joy in how this community is bound together in schools, churches, work and play. I see everyone working to build a stronger community and I'm proud La Luz Center plays a key role."
What impact do you hope La Luz has on the individuals you work with or the community as a whole?
J.H.: "My hope is La Luz Center serves as a backbone organization in Sonoma Valley. We thrive to expand our impact and build a stronger community presence. We work to increase focus on other key external activities such as building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing funding with a focus on the Latino community. Helping community members build strong life skills they then in turn pass onto their children is a major goal. Moving to solving problems focusing on long term physical and financial health vs filling an immediate need."
How can people who are interested support your efforts?
J.H.: "There are many ways interested parties can support La Luz. We graciously accept donations of all levels to support our programs and outreach efforts. Volunteering at the front desk, as program assistants, working with businesses in the Springs, helping with cultural events such as Cinco de Mayo and Dia de los Muertos and supporting our immigration education efforts. The best way to support is get involved, lend a listening ear, help ease fear and be a friend, advocate or ambassador and help share the word of the work we do."
To learn more about La Luz or to donate visit www.laluzcenter.org.