Who We Are

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.

Our Goals

  • 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.

Our Mission

Family Bridges promotes thriving communities by delivering services to strengthen family relationships, while embracing their cultural and spiritual values.

Our Vision

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

COO

Omaira Gonzalez is the COO for Family Bridges and a co-writer and actress for ¡Qué Gente, Mi Gente!  Omaira and her husband of 30+ 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!

Sarah Pichardo

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, Sarah 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 ways to spoil her 13 nieces and nephews.

Family Bridges

Nancy Duarte-Gómez, PsyD

Program Director

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.

Veronica Avila

Communications Manager

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.

James Hommowun, PsyD

Project Analyst

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 and Juliette.

Juana Arellano

Micro Enterprise Program 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.

Isabel Miranda

Graphic Designer

With a Bachelors in Visual Communication & Design, Isabel Miranda uses her magic to convert concepts into bright visuals. Like any good graphic designer, she bleeds CMYK, breathes Helvetica , enjoys white space and cries every time a font is stretched.

Savannah Gonzalez

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.

Elizabeth Woehr, MA

Family Coordinator

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.

Maria Buchanan, MA, MDiv

Expansion Director

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.

Josie Cardona

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.

Eduardo Morales

Program Manager

Eddie Morales has a passion to see young adults live their best lives relationally, financially, and spiritually. As a serious baseball player in college, Eddie promised to give back to the community if he didn’t make it big. He may not have made it big on the field, but he strives to make a big impact on the lives of those he serves in the community. In addition to his work with Family Bridges, Eddie writes blogs on emotional growth and delivers public speaking engagements to audiences that have ranged from 3 to 1,000 people.

Damaris Bran

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.

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.

Richard Lara

Technical Support

Richard was born in Los Angeles, California, but most of his childhood was spent in Mexico. He lived in Atlanta for two and a half years before moving to Chicago, where he has lived for the past 7+ years. Richard is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in software development from DeVry University. His passions include traveling and meeting new people, along with playing sports and keeping up with emerging tech trends.

Richard Lara

Susana Sanchez

Avance Outreach Coordinator

Susana has her law degree from the Universidad de Occidente in Mexico. She loves teaching workshops, working with families and doing community outreach. When she is not working, she loves to assist families at her local church. She dearly loves her husband and her 3 children, who she considers her biggest treasure in this world.

Carina Gallegos

Intake Workshop Coordinator

Carina has her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Child & Adolescent Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her goal is to eventually obtain her Doctorate’s Degree. In her free time she enjoys reading, coloring, and planning her future trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Analiese Morales

Social Enterprise Coordinator

Analiese is originally from Florida, where she earned her Masters in Social Work. She moved to Phoenix with her husband in 2017 to help support Family Bridges’ expanding work. Her goals are to make an impact in the community and to eventually travel.

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

Advisory Board

  • 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