Meet Our Team

Alma Torres

Alma Torres

Director of Program Development and Research

Alma holds a Ph.D. in Public Health from Oregon State University, an MPH from New Mexico State University, and is trained as a Clinical Dietitian in her native Mexico. At Casa Latinos Unidos, Alma directs the OHA Healthier Oregon project, which involves providing health care navigation support and OHP enrollment to individuals and families of the Latinx community. Additionally, Alma supports the development of new programs and projects, participates in grant writing, and coordinates the organization’s internal evaluation processes. Alma brings to CLU her experience in qualitative research and evaluation and in exploring and understanding the intersection of health and social identities. While she’s not working, she enjoys reading, learning about her ancestors’ culture, and collecting family recipes and stories.

Angelica Giraldo

Angelica Giraldo

(Ella/She/Her)

Outreach Coordinator

Angelica was born and raised in Colombia, holds a B. A. degree in Business Administration from EAFIT University in Medellin and a Master’s degree in Personal Development and Leadership from the University of Barcelona, and completed a one-semester internship in London. At Casa Latinos Unidos, Angelica coordinates the organization’s outreach and social media activities, and manages the volunteering and fundraising programs. Before that, she spent a year and a half with the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center as the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator. In her free time she enjoys spending quality time with her family, going to the beautiful parks and the Oregon coast as well as studying about healthy habits and self-care.

Gustavo Esparza

Gustavo Esparza

Community Researcher, Youth and Leadership Projects

Gustavo was born and raised in Corvallis, OR. The first in his family to complete college, he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health (Health Management and Policy option), minoring in Human Development and Family Sciences. He became involved with CLU as an intern in the summer of 2022. His role shifted towards co-coordinating a youth-led project for Corvallis-area high school students during the academic year, known as Youth en Acción. 11 Students worked together to identify issues within schools, and collected research, which they presented to Oregon Health Authority’s Youth Advisory Council. Gustavo’s free time usually includes staying physically active, in the form of running, basketball, biking, weight lifting, in addition to spending quality time with family and friends.

Gabriela Orellana

Gabriela Orellana

(She/Her/Ella)

Financial Educator

Gabriela is a professional with more than 12 years of experience working in the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. With a passion for serving the community, Gabriela has been part of socioeconomic development and financial inclusion projects in communities of Ecuador and Oregon. Originally from Ecuador, she graduated from two Master’s degrees in the fields of business development and management. In July 2022, Gabriela joined Casa Latinos Unidos with the responsibility of supporting the Latinx community through financial education and coaching, and in summer 2023 started a pilot project to support Latinx immigrants develop micro-enterprises. She says:  “My purpose is to give back to the community, at least a little of everything it has given me.” Gabriela feels deeply fortunate and grateful to live in Oregon with her two children.

Jose Mendoza

Jose Mendoza

Community Health Worker, Lead Healthier Oregon CHW 

Jose Mendoza is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico and immigrated to the United State at the age of 12. He is majoring in Psychology at Oregon State University and has an Associate’s degree in the same from Linn Benton Community College. Starting at Casa Latinos Unidos as a volunteer, he knew from the first day that he wanted to pursue a career with the organization. In his free time, Jose enjoys hiking and playing board games with family and friends. He especially loves to travel to see different waterfalls around Oregon. Jose works in the OHA Healthier Oregon project, providing system navigation and Oregon Health Plan enrollment support to individuals from the Latinx community.

Keiri López

Keiri López

(ella,ellas)

Community Health Worker, Lead of Cultural Projects

​Keiri Lopez (ella,ellas) is originally from Michoacán, Mexico, she immigrated at the age of 3 to Albany, Oregon. Growing up, Keiri played a variety of sports and loved to volunteer. She volunteered at 4-H, church, Samaritan Hospital, First Hands Seconds boutique, and more. It’s important for her to stay connected to her roots, which led Kieri to join a Folklorico dance group in Albany. Her pride is in her culture that is loving, joyful, and hardworking. Growing up, Keiri was encouraged by Latinx leaders to follow her dreams and aspirations by building confidence in her own leadership capacity. Keiri coordinates youth, arts, storytelling, and leadership development projects.

Lidia Mendoza

Lidia Mendoza

(She/Her/Ella)

Community Health Worker and Colonia Paz Coordinator

Lidia was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and was raised in Albany, OR from the age of 6 years old. Growing up, she joined sports like rugby, soccer, and track and field. Lidia worked as an agricultural worker for over six years before deciding to go back to college to get an accounting clerk certificate. While in school, she volunteered for the Greater Albany School district for about two years. After finishing her certificate, she worked at the Oregon Department of Revenue as a civil servant to Oregonians. After that, she wanted to help the Latinx community which led her to find Casa Latinos Unidos. Lidia is passionate about being a community health worker because she went through similar experiences some of CLU clients go through. She is grateful to get the opportunity to advocate for them. Lidia is a dog lover, and in her free time loves to read self-improvement books and enjoys hiking the beautiful trails Oregon has to offer.

Ricardo Contreras

Ricardo Contreras

Executive Director

Ricardo is originally from Chile, where he graduated with a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology. Fascinated by the application of the anthropological perspective to the design and implementation of social and cultural programs, Ricardo came to the United States to study Applied Anthropology, having graduated with an M.A. and Ph.D. in the field at the University of South Florida. He joined the Casa Latinos Unidos Board of Directors in 2017, having held the Board Chair office for three years. He became the organization’s Interim Executive Director in November 2021, taking the permanent position in February 2022. Ricardo is proud of the CLU team and feels lucky for the opportunity of partnering with so many supportive organizations in Linn and Benton Counties.

Susan Ibarra

Susan Ibarra

(She/Her/Ella)

Administrative Manager and Community Health Worker

Born in Corvallis, Oregon, and a first generation college graduate, Susan has an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Linn Benton Community College, and Bachelor’s degrees in Management and Business Information Systems from Oregon State University. As Administrative Manager, Susan manages the office and handles human resources and bookkeeping matters. She is a certified Community Health Worker and has extensive experience in providing wraparound support to the Latinx community. In high school, Susan volunteered with The Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis and later became active with Oregon 4-H Outreach Leadership Institute, where she was able to reconnect with her Mexican roots. In her spare time, Susan enjoys sitting at a big table surrounded by her family and food.

Yanci Hernandez

Yanci Hernandez

Engagement and Community Building Coordinator

Yanci is originally from El Salvador and has been an Oregon resident for ten years. She has a B.A. Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oregon State University (Honors) with a minor in Psychology. Previously, Yanci graduated with an Associates degree in the same from Linn Benton Community College. Yanci is grateful to be part of Casa Latinos Unidos and to be able to help the Latinx community as the coordinator of the CLU Community Building programmatic area.