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ABOUT US

OUR MISSION

To empower and engage Chattanooga's Latino population through advocacy, education, and inclusion.

OUR VISION

A thriving Latino community within
an inclusive Chattanooga.

OUR TEAM

STACY JOHNSON

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Stacy has been on the La Paz team since 2004, serving as a board member prior to joining the staff as the Executive Director in 2008. After extensive travel and volunteer work in Latin America, Stacy developed a passion for working with Latino communities. Her work at La Paz encompasses all areas of the organization including operations, growth and fundraising efforts.

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Staff

Jessica Cliche

Director of Community Education

& Engagement

Born in Philadelphia, Jessica grew up in Guatemala City. She moved back to the US in 2000. Formerly a Bilingual Parent Facilitator at Girls Inc, she has been with La Paz since 2009. Jessica is passionate about serving the Chattanooga Latino community. She believes in empowering others through education and in the importance of building relationships within the community. She believes in offering a safe environment for Latino women to meet and have a space to share and learn from one another, and that it is essential to connect with the community in order to learn from them and dismantle harmful stereotypes.

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Vivian Lozano

Director of Social Impact

Vivian is a first generation Colombian-American, and has worked for La Paz since 2012. Vivian focuses on creating programs and initiatives that offer support, resources, and opportunities to meet community needs. She also focuses on sustaining and creating partnerships with different agencies and organizations so that they can better serve the Latinx community in Chattanooga.

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Lily Sanchez

Communications Manager

Lily was born to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic and lived in the D.R. for six years. She has worked for La Paz since 2017. She has always been passionate about Latinx advocacy and empowerment and enjoys telling stories and building relationships within Chattanooga's Latino community. At La Paz, Lily serves as the Communications Manager, providing communications, marketing, and development support to the organization.

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Ashley Valencia

Case Manager

Ashley has been with La Paz since April 2021. Born to Colombian parents and raised in Chile, Ashley has found joy in serving the unique landscape of Chattanooga's Latinx population. She is passionate about providing essential resources and support for family stabilization. As a bilingual case manager, Ashley serves our community in vital ways by empowering and advocating for her clients and connecting them to resources in our city.

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Diana Silva

Case Manager

Diana has been with La Paz since May 2021. Born in Michoacán, MX, Diana emigrated to the US as a child. A graduate of Dalton State College with a Masters in Social Work from Barry University, Diana is passionate about seeing others empowered and is motivated by being able to change someone's life, even in just a small way.

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Jesus Lopez

Office Coordinator

Jesus was born in Georgia from Mexican parents. His family is what has helped him be more intact with his Mexican/Latino heritage. With a BSW from Dalton State College, Jesus has always enjoyed helping people; he loves to communicate and to hear people's stories. His dad's stories about his youth in Mexico and his early days in the USA are his favorites. "These stories are what blossomed my passion in working with the Latino community". At La Paz, Jesus ensures that the office runs smoothly by assisting the team with logistics, administrative duties, and early client engagement.  

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Faviana Gaspar

Community Engagement Coordinator

Faviana is La Paz’s Community Engagement Coordinator. Born in Alamosa, Colorado and to parents from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, Faviana has lived in Chattanooga since she was 10 years old, experiencing firsthand the growth and development of our city’s Latino community. She holds a degree in Music of Arts from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Faviana is passionate about music, language, the outdoors and arts for mental health, advocating for the Latino community, and building meaningful relationships.  

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Annie Durán Pérez

YHDP Case Manager

Originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Annie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In her time living in Tennessee, Annie has found a great passion for the empowerment of the Latino community around her through her experience in community outreach and involvement. Under the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project grant as a Case Manager, Annie provides a myriad of services related to the assessment, education, advocacy and support for Latino youth and/or youth-headed families in our area.

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Jenny Pontarelli

YHDP Navigator

Born and raised in Venezuela, Jenny is a graduate from Southern Adventist University with a degree in Social Work. She is passionate about advocacy and empowerment.

 As a Youth Homelessness Navigator, Jenny conducts navigation services and works with assigned youth and/or youth-headed families to assess their identified needs and provide referrals, education, assistance, and advocacy.

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Wendy Reynoso

Associate Case Manager

Wendy was born in Guatemala and emigrated to Chattanooga as a young child. Wendy has been volunteering with La Paz since high school and served as a Social Impact intern during her time as a student at UTC, where she graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Honors College. During her time involved with La Paz she has grown passionate about the work the organization does. As Associate Case Manager Wendy provides short-term case management services and administrative support for the Social Impact department.

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Jasmin Celis

Operations & Admin Coordinator

Jasmin has been with La Paz since January 2023. As Operations and Administrative Coordinator, Jasmin works closely with the Executive Director to provide administrative support with HR, donor cultivation, volunteer engagement, and special events.

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Vanessa Parras

Legal Access Coordinator

Of Salvadoran descent, Vanessa holds a J.D. from the University of Tennessee and is an alumna of UTC. She comes with legal and community experience, having worked with Georgia Legal Services Program and the University of Tennessee Legal Clinic. As Access Coordinator, Vanessa will work closely with legal providers, local pro-bono attorneys, and state non-profit attorneys in order to advocate for and assist in advancing youth client immigration cases in the Chattanooga area.

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Giovanni Román-Torres

Research & Special Projects

Giovanni Román-Torres (‘Gio’) is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Michigan. A first-generation Mexican-American and college graduate, Gio focuses his research on social mobility, racial/ethnic stratification, immigration, and spatial inequality, with a particular interest in Latina/os in the United States. At La Paz, Gio works on population research with our city’s evolving Latino demographic, providing critical data to the organization in order to best serve our community.

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Gary Lozano-Sterchi

Chief Good Boy

Gary is the manager of La Paz’s Welcoming Committee. He is committed to ensuring that everyone who walks in the front door is welcomed and greeted with a friendly disposition. Gary is passionate about finding sunny places to nap, playing with his toys, receiving treats and daily pets, and wearing bandanas to promote the organization. 

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OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Eric Myers, Board Chair
Chattanooga Design Studio

 

Bilda Acuna Small, Board Vice Chair
Girls Preparatory School

Carmen Quezada Hutson, Board Secretary
Partnership for Families, Children and Adults

Corinne Henderson, Board Treasurer
Henderson + Gouger, PLLC

Shadrina Booker
Big Brothers Big Sisters

Rosite Delgado
University of Chattanooga

 

Jay Elliott
Kenco Group

Rick Huffines
TN River Gorge Trust

Erwin Ovalle
MCS

Josselyn Neilson

 

Daniela Paz Peterson
Trust for Public Land

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