Life at IFR
IFR provides community mental health and wellness services for the SF Latino community. We offer family support, early intervention, case management, youth services, & more.
“I feel extremely lucky...
Ruben - Si a la Vida staff
I feel extremely lucky to work for an organization that truly understands the importance and healing power of our indigenous, cultural practice in its approach to healing. For the last 7 years, Ruben has worked as the Program Liaison for Si a la Vida. A native of Southern California, Ruben grew up in a close-knit, Mexican-American family where his favorite pastimes consisted of playing the piano, gymnastic classes, taking photos using his Kodak Disc camera, reading books at his local library and writing. His love and flair for writing led Ruben to pursue his undergraduate degree in Modern Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Ruben joined IFR's family after working for the SF Dept. of Public Health for many years. While serving as an Eligibility Worker for the Dimensions LGBTQ youth clinic, Ruben decided that working in public health - specifically LGBTQ health services - was where he wanted to be. Ruben currently ensures that the Latino Wellness Center (LWC), Si a la Vida's home, runs smoothly. Along with his fellow health educators, HIV test counselors, and program managers, Ruben supports the LWC to provide HIV and mental health services to the LGBTQI Latinx community. "There's so much stigma in the Latinx community when it comes to mental health & sexuality that it makes me proud to work in a space where our clients feel comfortable and safe," he adds.
When asked what have been some of his favorite experiences while working at IFR, Ruben is quick to answer. “Working on the Miss & Mr. Safe Latino pageant is a highlight every year. There aren’t many spaces in SF where queer Latinx’s, particularly the transgender & non-English speaking individuals within the community, can come together and celebrate.” Ruben is a key organizer of the annual pageant, and is also one of the event photographers. “I’m also beyond grateful that IFR allowed me to study photography in London for a short time,” he adds thankfully. “ I’m grateful to IFR for having allowed me to continue to pursue one of my passions while also allowing me to grow in my current role within Si a la Vida.”
“I feel extremely lucky to work for an organization that truly understands the importance and healing power of our indigenous, cultural practice in its approach to healing," Ruben says proudly. "Instituto understands the important role these practices play in providing culturally appropriate services to the Latinx community in San Francisco. Plus, working at IFR is like working with family."