© 2016 by The Latin America Community Assistance Foundation.  All Rights Reserved. Questions about this website?  Contact WebMaster@LacaFoundation.Org
LACA Foundation

About Us

What we do

The Latin America Community Assistance Foundation (LACA) is dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest of the poor in rural Latin America. Founded in 1992 to conduct medical clinics in Honduras, LACA has expanded in the past 16 years to meet our clients’ urgent needs and help communities become healthy, educated, and empowered to determine their own future. LACA now works in Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Honduras. Major programs have included:

Urgent Needs Programs

Mobile Medical Clinics Basic Needs: Food, Clothing, and Essential Supplies Disaster Relief Long-Term Programs Health Education Training for local health workers Agriculture and Nutrition Housing Water projects Scholarships Adult Literacy Vocational Training Day care for infants through age 5, with medical, nutrition, hygiene and school readiness components. Partnering with local community leadership, LACA typically sponsors several projects clustered around small, remote rural towns and villages where people live in extreme poverty, lacking food, adequate water and shelter, medical care, economic opportunities and basic infrastructure (such as roads and electricity.) Examples of our integrated programs include: In the Salvadoran town of Tacachico and nearby hamlets LACA has operated five annual mobile medical clinics, provided seeds and fertilizer for especially impoverished families to grow their own food, conducted health education classes on diabetes, blood pressure, and self-breast exams for women, as well as training local community health workers to test blood sugar levels. In partnership with local government, we co-sponsored 2 new wells and water distribution systems built by the local citizens. We also provide scholarships to nine university students who do volunteer work in the local community. In Baraderes, Haiti, LACA supports a program to feed 250 people aged 75 to 100, and builds houses for families with inadequate shelter. In another location, our projects include university scholarships, tuition, books, and uniforms for 35 high school students, as well as emergency funding to feed families with children. LACA’s involvement is unusually hands on. In the countries where we have programs, Board Members, volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others visit to monitor on-going projects, counsel our scholarship students, and discuss the community’s other needs with local civic leaders. We all pay our own travel expenses, and we are hosted in-country by our local partners. Many medical supplies and other resources are donated. As a result, over 95% of all funds go directly to helping the poor in Latin America.

Board of Directors

LACA’s Board of Directors is made up of community volunteers who subscribe to the Foundation’s mission statement. Board members are expected to attend a majority of the six annual meetings, take part in the review and funding of programs, actively engage in fundraising as appropriate, and contribute financially to the Foundation as personal means permit. The Board of Directors membership includes the following (alphabetically): Raquel Aguayo-Riffel (Treasurer) Catherine Brozena Jesse A. Canchola (Vice-President) Alexis Lawson (President) Geralyn Martinez Karena McKinley (Secretary) Marisa Mendez (Rear-Secretary) Walt Turner Elvia Villalobos Josephine Zertuche

Current Bios

Raquel Aguayo-Riffel - Raquel joined the Board in 2013 and is  currently serving as Treasurer. Catherine Brozena - Catherine is a senior communications professional who has been serving the non-profit, public health, education and environmental sectors for more than 10 years, helping people and organizations advance their cause and articulate their purpose in a clear, compelling manner that connects with their audiences and brings their story to life. Catherine thrives on being a “Jane of all trades” in the creative arts, with expertise in writing, graphic and web design, video production, media outreach, public relations, social media, storytelling and music composition and performance. In her former profession, Catherine led choirs and congregations in celebrating rites, rituals and liturgies. With both a BA and MA education in theology, religion and cultural studies, she brings a deep understanding and respect for how people’s spiritual and cultural orientations operate beneath the surface of our daily interactions and influence how we find meaning and communicate with one another. Catherine is a practitioner of regular meditation and yoga. She enjoys long-distance running, bicycling, cooking, baking and gardening. She also makes killer pies. For more information, please visit her website: www.ColorThisWorld.com Jesse A. Canchola - Jesse joined LACA in 2005. Though a native Californian, his parents came from Mexico. Jesse is a bio/statistician by training from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Los Angeles.  Currently, he is a Principal Biostatistician at Roche Molecular Diagnostics in Pleasanton, California.  Jesse is also a dedicated photographer and videographer. Close to his heart is LACA’s mission to the Tarahumara Indians in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. In one recent LACA mission there, he took over 600 still pictures as well as several hours of video, which, in his labor of love, he melded into a wonderfully moving short film for all to see. Jesse has served as Vice President and President of the LACA Board of Directors.  He continues with the LACA vision of helping others help themselves and to serve as an example for others to to the same. Alexis Lawson - Alexis joined the Board in 2013 and is  currently serving as President. Geralyn Martinez - Geralyn joined the Board in 2010. Marisa Mendez - Marisa joined the Board in 2010 and is currently  serving as Secretary. Karena McKinley - Karena joined the Board in 2016. Karena McKinley retired from a 33-year long illustrious career at the Lawrence Livermore National Library (LLNL) as a mechanical engineer, project manager, and later, as the director of the laboratory’s technology transfer organization. Throughout this time, she had the privilege of having a wide variety of interesting jobs and greatly enjoyed the work that she did. Her only regret was a lack of time to explore other activities dear to her. Some are having enough time to help others and make a more direct difference in the lives of people who are so much less fortunate.  The transition of the management contract for the Laboratory from the University of California to a newly formed consortium represented an ideal time to move on to new horizons. In 2007 she retired from the storied institution. Karena is blessed with a wonderful family: a loving and supportive husband of 36 years, BJ; four step children, of whom she is very proud; seven fun and lively grandchildren; and the recent addition of an adorable great granddaughter. She loves reading, learning new things, hiking, traveling, feeling that she is helping others in some special way, qigong, gardening and enjoying nature and the company of friends. Karena was drawn to volunteering with LACA for a variety of reasons. Particularly the fact that almost all of LACA’s funds go directly to paying for projects rather than ad- ministration! She has always had an interest in Latin America, and having grown up in a rural setting herself, especially looks forward to the opportunity to help the rural poor of Latin America. Walter R. Turner – Walt has been a member of the Board of Directors  since its inception in 1992. Walt is a transactional attorney who has been in private practice in Oakland CA for almost 30 years. He has been working feverishly to improve his fluency in Spanish–which remains at the kindergarten level despite his participation in LACA’s three most recent missions in Latin America. “Yo soy tambien y salsa!” he recently exclaimed in his first complete (albeit nonnsensical) sentence in the language he intended to master before he returned to Nicaragua in 2008. Elvia Villalobos – Elvia joined the board in 2005, served as president in 2008 and was chair of the scholarship committee  from 05-08. She went to two medical clinics– to El Salvador and Nicaragua. Elvia’s professional background is in higher ed administration and non-profit management, specifically working with low-income, first-generation-college students. For the last three and half years, Elvia has been working with Citizen Schools, as National Director of Recruitment. Prior to this work, Elvia worked at the University of California, Berkeley, managing extensive college access programs, and multicultural competency trainings, and student development. Elvia was born in Jalisco, Mexico and was raised in Los Angeles, CA. Elvia obtained a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Political Science and Spanish Literature. She also lived in Granada, Spain for a year, where she studied Latin American Literature. Josephine Zertuche – Josephine joined the Board in 2014 and served  as president in 2015. Our Founder Lillian R. Trillo – Lillian’s background is in public health nursing, tending  the disadvantaged both in Detroit’s inner city as well as among migrant workers inn Gilroy CA. Even so, she was overwhelmed by the poverty she found among the rural poor on a trip to Honduras in 1988. She founded LACA in 1992 and has served as the Foundation’s president for 13 or its 15 years. Prior to LACA, Lillian volunteered with four International Health Service medical teams to Latin America, and has led two eye clinics and five medical clinics with LACA.

Advisory Board

Martha O. Duarte Judy Howes

History

The Latin America Community Assistance Foundation (LACA) was established in February 1992 by Lillian Trillo, a bilingual Hispanic public health nurse based in Castro Valley, California. In the mid-1980s, Lillian visited central Honduras as a tourist. Though she had extensive experience working with the poor in Detroit slums, central California migrant camps, and Oakland ghettos, she was deeply affected by the living conditions of the rural poor in Honduras. Entire families live in one-room, drafty, smoke-filled houses with dirt floors, no electricity, running water or sanitary facilities. She also discovered that neither medical nor dental care was readily available to residents of many rural Honduran communities. Consequently, Lillian returned to Honduras many times to apply her professional skills, and she began enlisting colleagues to join in providing basic health care and health education. As more and more relatives and friends donated money to help with medicines, school supplies and clothing for needy children, she realized the necessity for the creation of a formal foundation. Lillian recruited a board of directors to share in fiscal management, fundraising, and planning projects to aid the rural poor of Latin America and thus LACA was founded. Since 1992, LACA’s services have expanded to eight countries in Latin America: El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama. The Foundation’s projects now include much more than basic medical and dental care for the poor. Among them are health education, clean drinking water supplies, housing construction, self-help co-operatives, micro loans, solar cookers, scholarships at all educational levels and disaster relief. LACA is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. Even those board members and professionals who participate in our medical clinics pay their own expenses. As a result, over 95% of the funds raised go directly to aid the rural poor. This is one of the highest funding success ratios among all non-profits. As the budget allows, LACA will target new areas of operation in Latin America.

a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of the rural poor in Latin America

L-R:  Martha O. Duarte (ex-oficio), Raquel Aguayo-Riffel, Josephine Zertuche, Alexis Lawson, Elvia Villalobos, Walt Turner.  Not pictured:  Jesse A. Canchola, Geralyn Martinez and Marisa Mendez.
©  2016 by The LACA Foundation.  All rights Reserved.
LACA Foundation

About Us

What we do

The Latin America Community Assistance Foundation (LACA) is dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest of the poor in rural Latin America. Founded in 1992 to conduct medical clinics in Honduras, LACA has expanded in the past 16 years to meet our clients’ urgent needs and help communities become healthy, educated, and empowered to determine their own future. LACA now works in Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Honduras. Major programs have included:

Urgent Needs Programs

Mobile Medical Clinics Basic Needs: Food, Clothing, and Essential Supplies Disaster Relief Long-Term Programs Health Education Training for local health workers Agriculture and Nutrition Housing Water projects Scholarships Adult Literacy Vocational Training Day care for infants through age 5, with medical, nutrition, hygiene and school readiness components. Partnering with local community leadership, LACA typically sponsors several projects clustered around small, remote rural towns and villages where people live in extreme poverty, lacking food, adequate water and shelter, medical care, economic opportunities and basic infrastructure (such as roads and electricity.) Examples of our integrated programs include: In the Salvadoran town of Tacachico and nearby hamlets LACA has operated five annual mobile medical clinics, provided seeds and fertilizer for especially impoverished families to grow their own food, conducted health education classes on diabetes, blood pressure, and self-breast exams for women, as well as training local community health workers to test blood sugar levels. In partnership with local government, we co-sponsored 2 new wells and water distribution systems built by the local citizens. We also provide scholarships to nine university students who do volunteer work in the local community. In Baraderes, Haiti, LACA supports a program to feed 250 people aged 75 to 100, and builds houses for families with inadequate shelter. In another location, our projects include university scholarships, tuition, books, and uniforms for 35 high school students, as well as emergency funding to feed families with children. LACA’s involvement is unusually hands on. In the countries where we have programs, Board Members, volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others visit to monitor on-going projects, counsel our scholarship students, and discuss the community’s other needs with local civic leaders. We all pay our own travel expenses, and we are hosted in-country by our local partners. Many medical supplies and other resources are donated. As a result, over 95% of all funds go directly to helping the poor in Latin America.

Board of Directors

LACA’s Board of Directors is made up of community volunteers who subscribe to the Foundation’s mission statement. Board members are expected to attend a majority of the six annual meetings, take part in the review and funding of programs, actively engage in fundraising as appropriate, and contribute financially to the Foundation as personal means permit. The Board of Directors membership includes the following (alphabetically): Raquel Aguayo-Riffel (Treasurer) Catherine Brozena Jesse A. Canchola (Vice-President) Alexis Lawson (President) Geralyn Martinez Karena McKinley (Secretary) Marisa Mendez (Rear-Secretary) Walt Turner Elvia Villalobos Josephine Zertuche

Current Bios

Raquel Aguayo-Riffel - Raquel joined the Board in 2013 and is currently serving as Treasurer. Catherine Brozena - Catherine is a senior communications professional who has been serving the non-profit, public health, education and environmental sectors for more than 10 years, helping people and organizations advance their cause and articulate their purpose in a clear, compelling manner that connects with their audiences and brings their story to life. Catherine thrives on being a “Jane of all trades” in the creative arts, with expertise in writing, graphic and web design, video production, media outreach, public relations, social media, storytelling and music composition and performance. In her former profession, Catherine led choirs and congregations in celebrating rites, rituals and liturgies. With both a BA and MA education in theology, religion and cultural studies, she brings a deep understanding and respect for how people’s spiritual and cultural orientations operate beneath the surface of our daily interactions and influence how we find meaning and communicate with one another. Catherine is a practitioner of regular meditation and yoga. She enjoys long-distance running, bicycling, cooking, baking and gardening. She also makes killer pies. For more information, please visit her website: www.ColorThisWorld.com Jesse A. Canchola - Jesse joined LACA in 2005. Though a native Californian, his parents came from Mexico. Jesse is a bio/statistician by training from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Los Angeles.  Currently, he is a Principal Biostatistician at Roche Molecular Diagnostics in Pleasanton, California.  Jesse is also a dedicated photographer and videographer. Close to his heart is LACA’s mission to the Tarahumara Indians in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. In one recent LACA mission there, he took over 600 still pictures as well as several hours of video, which, in his labor of love, he melded into a wonderfully moving short film for all to see. Jesse has served as Vice President and President of the LACA Board of Directors.  He continues with the LACA vision of helping others help themselves and to serve as an example for others to to the same. Alexis Lawson - Alexis joined the Board in 2013 and is currently serving as President. Geralyn Martinez - Geralyn joined the Board in 2010. Marisa Mendez - Marisa joined the Board in 2010 and is currently serving as Secretary. Karena McKinley - Karena joined the Board in 2016. Karena McKinley retired from a 33-year long illustrious career at the Lawrence Livermore National Library (LLNL) as a mechanical engineer, project manager, and later, as the director of the laboratory’s technology transfer organization. Throughout this time, she had the privilege of having a wide variety of interesting jobs and greatly enjoyed the work that she did. Her only regret was a lack of time to explore other activities dear to her. Some are having enough time to help others and make a more direct difference in the lives of people who are so much less fortunate.  The transition of the management contract for the Laboratory from the University of California to a newly formed consortium represented an ideal time to move on to new horizons. In 2007 she retired from the storied institution. Karena is blessed with a wonderful family: a loving and supportive husband of 36 years, BJ; four step children, of whom she is very proud; seven fun and lively grandchildren; and the recent addition of an adorable great granddaughter. She loves reading, learning new things, hiking, traveling, feeling that she is helping others in some special way, qigong, gardening and enjoying nature and the company of friends. Karena was drawn to volunteering with LACA for a variety of reasons. Particularly the fact that almost all of LACA’s funds go directly to paying for projects rather than ad- ministration! She has always had an interest in Latin America, and having grown up in a rural setting herself, especially looks forward to the opportunity to help the rural poor of Latin America. Walter R. Turner – Walt has been a member of the Board of Directors since its inception in 1992. Walt is a transactional attorney who has been in private practice in Oakland CA for almost 30 years. He has been working feverishly to improve his fluency in Spanish–which remains at the kindergarten level despite his participation in LACA’s three most recent missions in Latin America. “Yo soy tambien y salsa!” he recently exclaimed in his first complete (albeit nonnsensical) sentence in the language he intended to master before he returned to Nicaragua in 2008. Elvia Villalobos – Elvia joined the board in 2005, served as president in 2008 and was chair of the scholarship committee from 05-08. She went to two medical clinics– to El Salvador and Nicaragua. Elvia’s professional background is in higher ed administration and non-profit management, specifically working with low-income, first- generation-college students. For the last three and half years, Elvia has been working with Citizen Schools, as National Director of Recruitment. Prior to this work, Elvia worked at the University of California, Berkeley, managing extensive college access programs, and multicultural competency trainings, and student development. Elvia was born in Jalisco, Mexico and was raised in Los Angeles, CA. Elvia obtained a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Political Science and Spanish Literature. She also lived in Granada, Spain for a year, where she studied Latin American Literature. Josephine Zertuche – Josephine joined the Board in 2014 and served as president in 2015. Our Founder Lillian R. Trillo – Lillian’s background is in public health nursing, tending the disadvantaged both in Detroit’s inner city as well as among migrant workers inn Gilroy CA. Even so, she was overwhelmed by the poverty she found among the rural poor on a trip to Honduras in 1988. She founded LACA in 1992 and has served as the Foundation’s president for 13 or its 15 years. Prior to LACA, Lillian volunteered with four International Health Service medical teams to Latin America, and has led two eye clinics and five medical clinics with LACA.

Advisory Board

Martha O. Duarte Judy Howes

History

The Latin America Community Assistance Foundation (LACA) was established in February 1992 by Lillian Trillo, a bilingual Hispanic public health nurse based in Castro Valley, California. In the mid-1980s, Lillian visited central Honduras as a tourist. Though she had extensive experience working with the poor in Detroit slums, central California migrant camps, and Oakland ghettos, she was deeply affected by the living conditions of the rural poor in Honduras. Entire families live in one- room, drafty, smoke-filled houses with dirt floors, no electricity, running water or sanitary facilities. She also discovered that neither medical nor dental care was readily available to residents of many rural Honduran communities. Consequently, Lillian returned to Honduras many times to apply her professional skills, and she began enlisting colleagues to join in providing basic health care and health education. As more and more relatives and friends donated money to help with medicines, school supplies and clothing for needy children, she realized the necessity for the creation of a formal foundation. Lillian recruited a board of directors to share in fiscal management, fundraising, and planning projects to aid the rural poor of Latin America and thus LACA was founded. Since 1992, LACA’s services have expanded to eight countries in Latin America: El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama. The Foundation’s projects now include much more than basic medical and dental care for the poor. Among them are health education, clean drinking water supplies, housing construction, self-help co- operatives, micro loans, solar cookers, scholarships at all educational levels and disaster relief. LACA is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. Even those board members and professionals who participate in our medical clinics pay their own expenses. As a result, over 95% of the funds raised go directly to aid the rural poor. This is one of the highest funding success ratios among all non- profits. As the budget allows, LACA will target new areas of operation in Latin America.