Lots of nonprofits know that a few great volunteers can make all the difference in their organizations. That includes the volunteer work of an organization’s Board of Directors. Board members are often our greatest cheerleaders, problem-solvers, and fundraisers. That’s why IFR is excited to welcome four new members to our Board of Directors.
First up is a face that’s familiar to IFR: Rafael Moreno. Previously working with youth and families at Mission Neighborhood Centers (MNC) for five years, Rafa now works for the City supporting neighborhoods and small businesses. Through IFR’s partnerships with MNC, Rafa has worked with IFR’s Casa Corazón and with RTP. Born and raised in the Mission, he is driven by a passion to serve and empower community. “This is where my roots are,” says this father of two young children.
Viewing IFR as an anchor institution in the community, Rafa became interested in serving on IFR’s board as a way to support the agency’s unique role. When you speak to him, his commitment and heart immediately come through. So, when asked about the specific superpowers he brings to IFR, Rafa shared that he is an active listener, is good at helping people refine their strengths, and training/learning with one another. Welcome Rafa! You will fit in perfectly here!
Next up is Leslie Manjarrez. Originally from Southern California, Leslie grew up in the Imperial Valley and attended college in San Diego. As a result, she identifies her relationship with the border as fluid and a significant part of her identity. Despite an early desire to do field research on the insects of the rainforest, Leslie is a teacher of the Deaf and hard of hearing. Working at Cesar Chavez Elementary, Leslie first became aware of IFR through her work there, and later while working in Early Intervention with La Clínica. She was drawn to IFR because its work is rooted in social justice and community.
Raising a 16-year old dog named Bailey with her partner, Leslie is eager to learn, participate and help build partnerships within IFR to drive our mission forward. She hopes to learn more about Sí a la Vida and issues of intersectionality within the diverse Latinx community. Her superpower is unique and often unrecognized. As she explains it, “I work well with gray spaces and try to find alternative solutions to problems.” Who doesn’t want/need THAT skill? She said it best: “I’m not from the City; I come from a different lens, but am truly her to support and serve.” ¡Bienvenida Leslie! We’re looking forward to working with you!
Next we have Ariel Vargas. Born at St. Luke’s and raised in the Mission, many homegrown Mission folks likely know Ariel. Ariel married his high school sweetheart Chabela in an Aztec ceremony twenty-four years ago, facilitated by IFR co-founder Dra. Concha Saucedo with participation by IFR Executive Director #2 Dra. Estela Garcia and her partner Roban San Miguel, Ariel and Chabela have two children. Ariel has worked
in various roles, including a teacher, an afterschool program director at James Lick, a director at RAP, and for over 20 years, has served in various community partnership and engagement positions at UCSF.
A key reason Ariel chose to join IFR’s Board because he remembers how the organization took the lead in addressing HIV/AIDS in the Latinx community. That impressed him, as did the fact that IFR uses a cultural lens in how it provides clinical support, care management, and interventions. Ariel is eager to see IFR gain support for its work, wisdom, culturally impactful framework, and expertise. Owing to his extensive experience, his identified superpowers include an understanding of policy, politics, and community models. We’re glad to have you onboard, Ariel. Welcome!
Last but never least is Sebastian Alioto. With a grandmother from El Salvador, Sebastian’s mom grew up on 25th and Shotwell. Growing up in Visitation Valley, Sebastian attended college, played sports, and has worked in the City all his life. Even though he’s already been on the Board for a year, he’s considered part of the new wave of activity at the top levels of the organization. In fact, Sebastian offers that, while on the Board, he hopes to support the Executive Director and the agency to help us realize the many goals ahead of us. With a background in finance, Sebastian is blessed with great insight and compassion. He listens well to grasp meaningful information and uses this perspective to propose viable solutions. This is truly a valuable gift! So glad to have you on our team, Sebastian!
IFR sends a collective shout-out to its newest volunteers and are thrilled they have chosen to share their incredible talents with us. We are excited and looking forward to what lies ahead as we continue to assess and respond to community challenges, determine our strategic directions, and work to empower our community.