Who We Are
Family Bridges is a nonprofit organization that invites people to make their lives a more personally-fulfilling, happier and healthier experience. We empower individuals with practical relationship skills such as communication, conflict resolution and problem solving. We also help them understand the role that emotions, forgiveness, gratitude, commitment and affection play in any relationship.
Family Bridges understands that no ones lives in a bubble. We deliver programs in places where individuals are already most comfortable such as community centers, schools, churches, workplace, etc. We also deliver our family-friendly messaging via the airwaves through our radio novela ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente! and via our theatre production Los Secretos de Santa Mónica.
Family Bridges recognizes that communities that promote healthy marriages have lower divorce rates and strengthen the foundations of our society for the good of men, women, children and communities.
Who We Serve
- We partner with over 1,000 organizations in the Chicagoland & Phoenix areas to host workshops, family retreats, couple’s retreats, marriage and family conferences and other family-friendly events throughout the year.
- We offer hundreds of workshops throughout the year for couples, families, individuals and high school students.
- Our events and workshops are offered in both English and Spanish.
- Our education materials are backed with years of research and have proven to be effective.
- We integrate our program in places where individuals are already most comfortable such as community centers, schools, churches, work, etc.
- We recognize that communities that promote healthy marriages have lower divorce rates and strengthen the foundations of our society for the good of men, women, children and communities.
- Encourage and promote healthy marriages, relationships and healthy families;
- Sustain, enable and inspire couples, families, individuals and students to aspire towards practicing ongoing healthy conflict-resolution and communication skills;
- Help minorities access healthy marriage and relationship supports;
- Develop new, culturally appropriate resources to help individuals prepare for, build, restore and maintain healthy relationships;
- Develop and promote edutainment resources for the latino community;
- Reduce community barriers that keep individuals from using new and existing services;
- Help individuals learn the importance of preparing for marriage;
- Strengthen and educate faith-based and community-based organizations to be equipped to strengthen and sustain healthy relationships in their communities.
Family Bridges promotes thriving communities by delivering services to strengthen family relationships, while embracing their cultural and spiritual values.
Strong families with purpose-driven children, leaders of their generation, committed to their communities.
Give it all You got
Family Bridges provides everyone in the community an opportunity to learn healthy relationship skills that anyone and everyone can benefit from. As one of our participants so aptly said, when it comes to your relationship and your family “… Give it all you got. Don’t ever give up.” And that’s exactly what Family Bridges provides — the skills to empower you to keep working on your relationships and to never give up.
Family Bridges Team
Our staff works tirelessly to strengthen and expand the outreach of Family Bridges. Meet the faces behind our community programs and creative initiatives here!
Alicia La Hoz, PsyD
Founder & CEO
Dr. Alicia La Hoz is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Founder, and Executive Director of Family Bridges. Dr. La Hoz works with the Latino community in the Chicagoland area, where she leads her team in developing and coordinating Family Bridges comprehensive marriage and relationship programs. Away from the office, she spends her time with her two inquisitive children and devoted husband, exploring nature, visiting museums, and building lego-masterpieces.
Omaira Gonzalez is the COO for Family Bridges and a co-writer and actress for ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente! Omaira and her husband of 28 years love adventure, long walks and Broadway shows. With their two kids Yomari and Omar, they enjoy great meals and playing board games. But look out–losing is not an option!
Creative Director & Executive Producer
As Creative Marketing Director for Family Bridges and Co-Writer & Executive Producer of ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente! and The Secrets of Santa Monica. She is Family Bridges’ creative superhero. She’s a three-time Telly Award winner and a Midwest Emmy nominee. When’s she’s not obsessing over pixels, designs and scripts–or brainstorming plans to take over the world–she is coming up with new and different ways to spoil her 13 nieces and nephews.
Frederick Ford Beckley
Creative Content & Project Specialist
Frederick is a member of the German theatre ensemble Bluespots Productions, a series regular on the radio show Qué Gente, Mi Gente, and a playwriting instructor in Chicago Public Schools through American Blues Theater. Most recently, Frederick performed in the Jeff-Recommended run of Photograph 51 with 20% Theatre Company and directed an original production for the Chicago Fringe Festival entitled MUTINY. Since 2005, Frederick has led original classes in acting, playwriting, improv, filmmaking, puppetry, and laughter. He is a proud graduate of Southern Methodist University and the Second City Training Center, as well as the co-founder & Executive Director of The Island Theatre Company, 2009-2015.
Senior Special Content & Project Specialist
Elsa Monroig was born in Manhattan, NY and lived all her life in Puerto Rico. She has a bachelors degree in Education and a master’s degree in Curriculum with a specialty in Spanish and Literature. Elsa is a co-writer, co-director, and actress of the radio novella ¡Que Gente mi Gente!
Eva Fleming is a mother, blogger and teacher. She lives in south Florida where she does writing and translation for Family Bridges. She has a degree in Education but has also spent many years studying Christian Education, Psychology, History and Religion. When she’s not writing books or driving her darling children from one activity to another, you will probably find her scrapbooking, hiking or walking.
Creative Content and Project Assistant
Savannah Gonzalez is the Creative Content and Project Assistant and a cast member of ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente! She expresses her creativity most in social media. When she’s not working, she spends most of her time with her husband watching movies or serving at her church, #WeLoveGod.
Veronica Avila has a Bachelor’s degree in Radio from Columbia College Chicago. She is now co-director, and actor for ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente!, as well as the Communications Manager and Chief Firecracker of Family Bridges. Everywhere she goes she leaves a little spark of positivity. When she’s not communicating, she’s home with her three little sparklers lighting up trouble.
Maria Buchanan, MA, MDiv
Maria Santos Arellano-Buchanan, Expansion Director for Family Bridges, has her Master’s degree from the School of Social Services at University of Chicago. She loves to work with families; doing community outreach, teaching workshops, and serving families in need. When she’s not working, she’s teaching couples at her church. She dearly loves her husband and daughters, whom she considers her biggest treasures in this world.
Juvy B. Radford, MPH
Community Liaison Manager
Juvy B. Radford is the Community Liaison Manager for Family Bridges, working specifically with the Deep Roots, Long Branches program. She appreciates opportunities to minister with her husband and to learn how to play like a kid again with her two young children. A California girl at heart, Juvy enjoys sunshine, warmth and simple, carefree days with her family. Her future endeavors include running a half marathon and becoming a certified PraiseMoves instructor.
Bill Ferrell is the Strategic Director for Family Bridges. Prior to this position, Bill was the Executive Director of Pinnacle Forum Greater Chicago, a ministry whose mission is to transform marketplace leaders through the power of Jesus Christ in order to transform culture. He has also been a pastor of a number of local churches, serving the adult congregation. Mr. Ferrell mentors groups of men and has a ministry for marriages in crisis.
Eddie Morales was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, and always had a passion to make an impact on his city. He grew up playing baseball and made it to the college level (IIT ’10 – Bachelor’s in Business Administration). He decided if he didn’t make it professionally he’d give back in some way. After working with at-risk youth for three years, he came to Family Bridges with a passion to impact the entire community.
Nancy Duarte-Gómez, PsyD
Dr. Duarte is a Clinical Psychologist native from Chile and the Program Director at Family Bridges. She came to the USA for first time in 1993 to pursue graduate studies. While in the US worked in two social service agencies in the Chicago area as psychotherapist, working with families, couples, and individual therapy. After her studies, she returned to Chile and worked as Psychology Department Chair for 13 years in university setting. She has experience in Coaching, both groups and individuals, in conflict resolution, team work, and communication skills. She has also served in two boards, providing services to undeserved population (indigenous group in the Chilean Andes); and in an educational corporation, serving low-income families. Dr. Duarte likes biking, reading, movies, and enjoys good wine along with a good meal.
Barbara A. Linek, MA
Community Outreach Coordinator
Barbara Linek is a people person with a particular fondness for immigrants. She happily spends her days talking to lots of people about Family Bridges. After completing a Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Lewis University, she started working in community education, joining Family Bridges as Community Outreach Coordinator in 2011. Outside work, she’s likely to be found cooking, reading, or singing Spanish children’s songs with her little granddaughter.
Avance Regional Manager
Damaris Bran is the Volunteer Mentoring Coordinator for Family Bridges where she also facilitates workshops for parents and students. Damaris throws herself into community projects, particularly in Humboldt Park in Chicago. One of her passions is the performing arts, and she is part of the cast of Family Bridges ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente! radio show. Nonetheless, she considers parenting two kids her most important job.
Elizabeth Woehr, MA
As Family Coordinator, Elizabeth Woehr, is dedicated to the needs of couples in crisis. She loves to walk alongside them and share in their sufferings and trials. To counterbalance this she has a great sense of humor and enjoys being witty. She loves a good conversation and spending time with others. Her favorite times are when she is with her sweet husband, surrounded by their children and grandchildren.
Victoria Infante, MA
Social Emotional Learning Director
Victoria is a seasoned leader with over 10 years of experience in community and business functions; her roles have included program director, community liaison, outreach, public relations, event planning, fundraising, marketing, and operations. During the last six years, Victoria oversaw a diverse team of professionals in the start-up and delivery of various grant and private funded community and schools programs that included Youth and Parenting Programs, After School Programs, Adult Education, Domestic Violence, and Healthy Relationships. She is driven by the desire to make a positive difference and notable contribution in the community and among youth. Victoria has a master’s in business administration from the University of Monterrey.
Intake & Workshop Coordinator
Josie Cardona is the Family Bridges Workshop Coordinator. If you are interested in a workshop for your church, school or organization, she’s the one to talk to! Josie is very active in her church and gets a kick out of organizing their big Christmas event. She loves spending time with family, including two energetic grandchildren who keep her busy.
Subsidized Job Coordinator
Juana is the Subsidized Job Coordinator for Family Bridges, where she also wears many hats as a Sales Lead Specialist, a voice on the radio novela Que Gente Mi Gente!, and as an actress in the theater production “Los Secretos de Santa Monica”. Before Family Bridges, she worked for 10 years as an office assistant and tutor, and taught for Seminario Biblico Hispano for 4 years. Juana is also working on her Masters in Art.
I was born in Los Angeles, California, but lived most of my childhood in Mexico. From there, I lived in Atlanta for two and a half years before moving to Chicago, where I have lived for the past 5 years. I work as the Technical Support for Family Bridges. I also teach the basics of HTML and CSS to high school students and am part of the cast of Family Bridges ¡Que Gente Mi Gente! radio show. My passions include traveling and meeting new people, along with playing sports and keeping track of the latest technology.
James Hommowun, PsyD
James Hommowun is a Doctor of Psychology who wears many hats for Family Bridges (but his favorite is still the top hat!). Professional responsibilities include writing, editing, number crunching, training, and speaking softly to machinery (carrying a big stick when that doesn’t work). In his free time, James enjoys reading, playing outdoors, video games, and the performing arts – especially with his wonderful wife, Sarah, and two delightful daughters, Lillian (5) and Juliette (2).
David Toledo is a University of Illinois College of Engineering alumni. He was born in Mexico and grew up in Chicago’s south side where he met his wife while serving in his church. 2David loves music and occasionally plays the keyboard with different groups and churches. Serving the community is his passion, which he does through his church and different organizations. A huge dog lover at heart, David has 2 very active and very mischievous dogs. At Family Bridges he serves as the Systems Administrator among other roles.
Board of Directors
Family Bridges Board of Directors consists of highly dedicated individuals representing our diverse community with various professional backgrounds including executives, financial professionals, business consultants, business owners and community leaders. The committed members of our board of directors assist with governance, fundraising efforts and the overall guidance of Family Bridges.
- Nancy Brown, Meier Clinics
- Susy Francis, PsyD, MBA, Thrive Group International
- Ken Kalina, New Life Centers of Chicago
- Alicia La Hoz, Psy.D., Family Bridges (Ex-Officio)
- Alma Amado, First Community Financial Bank, AVP Lon Servicing/Spanish Center Inc., Avance con Lazos de Familia Joliet/Spanish Center Inc
- Regina Madigan, Finance Director Latin America at ZimmerBiomet
- Rick Rivero, Connections Marketing
- Debbie Speck, Elevate USA
- Glenn T. Garlick, K&G Specialty Sales
- Richard Kohel, Stoelting, COO
- Theresa Beck, Tango, Co-Founder
- Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association, CEO
- Ruben Cruz, First Spanish Christian Church, Pastor
- Chris Ellerman, Outreach Community Ministries, CEO
- Art Holton, SFA Strategies, President
- Kathleen McCreary, Newberry Group, President
- Larry Mollner, Barnabas Group Chicago, Director
- John Held, McAndrews Held & Malloy Ltd., Attorney
- Gary Kinneman, Nothing But Grace LLC, Rev Dr.
- Judy and Steve Holt
- Charles Johnston, Community Volunteer