Haley Wiggins became the Executive Director of The Family Place in September 2008 after working with the organization for four years as the Adult ESL/Family Literacy Coordinator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies: Development and a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Brigham Young University. Haley is fully bilingual (English/Spanish) and has been working with the Latino community since 1999. She is committed to The Family Place’s mission of empowering low income families to foster the optimal development of their young children through educational and support services. Her knowledge and experience as a teacher, along with her meaningful and real interactions with Family Place participants – their literacy and familial struggles – and her big picture perspective as Executive Director help her to lead and guide the success of The Family Place.
Director of Parent Engagement
With more than 7 years in the multi-cultural milieu of international affairs, development projects and non-profit work, Andrea has committed her energy to promote international development, education and empowerment of women and young adults, social entrepreneurship, and the respect for human rights. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the National University of Colombia and will be graduating soon from her master’s degree in International Relations, Europe-Latin American studies from the University of Bologna, Italy. She has worked in several countries, including her native Colombia, Tanzania, Spain, Argentina and the US. She is fluent in English and Spanish, with working knowledge of Italian and French. Andrea got involved with TFP in 2011 when she volunteered in the evening Spanish Literacy program (Plaza Comunitaria); in 2014, she started working with us as the Parent Support Case Manager. In November, 2016 she became our Director of Parent Engagement, overseeing the HIPPY program, Case Management services and the “Circle of Latino Women in Action”, as well as the Parenting Journey and the Parent Support Group meetings. Andrea is a firm believer in TFP’s two-generational approach to its educational and supportive services for low-income families in order for them to progress within our society.
Shawn Chakrabarti is currently the Assistant Director of Education and Lead Adult Instructor at The Family Place, Washington, DC. He is passionate about education, lifelong learning and a firm believer in 2Gen educational models. He is a Ralph J Bunche Scholar, Colby College, and after graduating traveled and taught in several countries. In August’15 he completed the Graduate Certificate in Adult Education at the University of the District of Columbia and is one of the first licensed Adult Educators by the Office of State Superintendent of Education. He is proud to be a part of the changing landscape of adult education in the District and have a leadership role in an organization where innovation and professional development are encouraged. He is continuing his graduate studies at UDC and hopes to complete his masters in the following year. When not emailing his supervisors in the middle of the night with new ideas, he can be found surrounding himself with good eats and drink.
Valentina Ballesteros joined The Family Place as the Executive Assistant in October 2016. She has a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Psychology from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Before joining TFP, Valentina had experience working with marginalized populations such as refugees, individuals with mental health, and LGBTQ. As an immigrant, Valentina feels personally connected to the mission of TFP, and how strongly it impacts the lives of many Latinx families.
Spanish Literacy Coordinator Plaza Comunitaria (Evening)
Originally from Uruguay, Tony Brun joined The Family Place 2008. He has had the privilege of traveling and living throughout South and Central America. This has profoundly enriched his cultural background. During his travels, Tony has studied and worked in different universities in Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Guatemala. While in Costa Rica, Tony earned two MAs in Latin American Studies and Theology. He then furthered his interests by earning his PhD in Education in Brazil. His studies later brought him to the United States where he earned his second PhD in Misión y Ministerio(Theology). Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, Tony is currently the Spanish Literacy Coordinator for TFP’s Plaza Comunitaria program. Tony deeply believes in the power of education as a way to improve the quality of life of the community. When asked about his job, Tony likes to give the following example to summarize the reason why he works at TFP. One night one of his Spanish Literacy students came to class with great news. For the first time the night before, he was able to read a story to one of his two children.
Early Childhood Educator
Angelica Castro joined the TFP team as the Infant & Toddler Assistant Educator in 2006. She received her CDA training and certification from Centronia and has continued her education by participating in refresher courses periodically; along with receiving Creative Curriculum trainings. Angelica, originally from El Salvador and a mother, is a key member of the staff as she is able to relate on a more personal level to the mothers while also using her expertise in child care to better the Early Childhood Education program here at TFP. In May 2011, Angelica joined the HIPPY team for five months. She brings with her the knowledge of both Spanish and English and expertise in Early Childhood Education. Angelica loves to be involved directly with mothers, some of whom are past participants of the TFP Family Literacy program.
Adult Spanish Literacy Instructor (Daytime)
Luselia Uribe Tuirán joined The Family Place in September 2006 as the Spanish Adult Education Instructor. Throughout the years Luselia has been involved with different projects within the organization and in addition to Spanish class she started to work with the Computer class starting September 2010. Originally from Colombia, Luselia earned her degree in Communication from the Universidad Autónoma del Caribe. After working as an Administrative Assistant in Colombia, Luselia moved to Denver, Colorado where she worked in insurance and at a travel agency. It was by arriving at TFP that Luselia was able to broaden her experience and understand her real passion for literacy. She describes her interest in joining TFP with these words: “… the idea of working with a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and cultures intrigued me as well as the idea of working with the Latino community. I was fascinated with the idea of working with adult mothers and contributing to a positive change in their lives.”
Bilingual Case Manager & Outreach Coordinator
Estefani Flores joined the Family Place as Data Manager/Volunteer Coordinator in October 2015. She is originally from El Salvador, but has lived in the US for the past 10 years. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. After graduating from college Estefani completed a year of service through AmeriCorps as a Site Coordinator/Member Service Fellow at a non-profit organization in D.C. that focuses on lifting people out of poverty. She was drawn to The Family Place due to the great direct services and support it provides to families in D.C. In her spare time Estefani enjoys hiking, dancing, biking, traveling, and photography.
Bilingual Parent Liaison and Service Coordinator
Lidia Fleitas is one of The Family Place’s longest standing employees. With over 15 years of experience serving the Latino community at TFP, Lidia has flourished in a variety of different roles and responsibilities. She has worked in both direct services and administration. Lidia is fluent in Spanish and English and has roots in Latin America. She relates well to The Family Place participants, has two children of her own and brings a wealth of knowledge to her present position at The Family Place. Lidia has a keen ability to connect the participants to a wide array of community resources. She helps participants feel welcome at The Family Place and normalizes their experience in a new and different culture. Her long-standing tenure at The Family Place provides for a sense of confidence to the participants as they come to TFP to take advantage of a variety of educational and emergency services.
HIPPY Home Visitor
Silvia Webel serves as a Home Visitor for the HIPPY Program Position in The Family Place. Prior to joining TFP, Silvia worked as a Psycho-Educational and Psycho-Social Tutor, developing assessments and implementing individualized educational programs for pre-school and elementary students and for students with motor and Intellectual Disabilities. Silvia is originally from Venezuela. She studied Special Education and has a Master’s degree in Mental Health from the University of Leon in Spain. Silvia has spent the last six years living in Washington D.C., where she has enjoy volunteering with immigrant families. Through the Hippy Program she wants to support low income families, helping prepare their children for success in school.