The Team – Meet the LYHEPers

John Moreno-Escobar – President / Chair of the Board

Amada Santiago – VP of Operations
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”- Nelson Mandela

“Since inception, L.Y.H.E.P. has served as a vehicle of opportunity and a great developer of young, Latino, immigrant leaders. Through L.Y.H.E.P., I have seen the changes that can be made to families and communities, when its members are empowered to unite, mobilize and assist each other in a common cause- the pursuit of education.  As part of the leadership team, I passionately support L.Y.H.E.P’s vision of a place where all, documented and undocumented alike, have the right and equal access to pursue education and self-development in order to improve the lives of themselves and their families. L.Y.H.E.P’ers lead, advocate, and inspire.”- Amada

Amada holds a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Bernard Baruch College. She also served as a distinguished Education Pioneer Fellow in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as a symposium consultant for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Sonia Sendoya – VP of Education, Learning & Development
“LYHEP is a home away from home, it is a community that grows with the narratives, the aspirations and the minds of the young immigrant Latino students that come to the United States for a better future. Being a core member of the organization, I have experienced and seen the transformation of the young people that have come through our doors and evolved as leaders in their own unique way.  I am LYHEP because it provides the opportunities, the vision and the passion that our young Latino immigrant leaders are in need of today.  I am LYHEP because it builds bonds and provides a space for our young scholars to envision a successful bright journey that they themselves define.  I am LYHEP because it empowers and educates the future leaders of our time.” -Sonia.

Sonia received her undergraduate degree from Bernard M. Baruch College, and received her Masters of Social Work degree from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College with a focus on immigrants and refugees and a concentration in Group Work.

Diana Araujo – Assistant VP of Education

Diana is a youth mentor and educator. She advocates for youth rights, education and empowerment. For the past four years, she has worked with high school students including, recently arrived immigrant Latinos, Latinas and students from other ethnicities in New York City supporting them to redefine their success. She has been a member of Latino Youth for Higher Education – LYHEP since 2011, where she has enhanced her youth work skills. She is currently a prime member of the organization’s Educational Team, where she blends her passion to support young immigrant Latinos and Latinas and constantly reminds them they can achieve anything they set their minds into; whether that is going to college as a first-generation college student or making a change in their communities. Her passion to make information and resources available to her community was born when she noticed the low number of Latinos and Latinas accessing higher education and other services due to lack of information. Diana is a proud Ecuayorker Latina — a  native of Ecuador and raised in Brooklyn, New York.

Diana studied Politics and Hispanic Studies, with a concentration in migration at The New School University. She believes in and struggles for a social change and equality for all.

Catherin Ardilla – Curriculum Developer Assistant  & Facilitator

Ruddy Vasquez – PR Manager
Ruddy has been a long time supporter of LYHEP’s mission being that she was a Ecuadorian recently arrived student who received all the support and empowerment from the team back when she was a sophomore in high school. She joined the admin team when she entered Baruch College as a freshman and has enjoyed helping out with the marketing aspect since then. Her passion in education for the underserved students of New York and the Latino community has taken her to also coach SAT classes for the organization Let’s Get Ready and to join many Latino clubs on campus while an undergrad student. Ruddy also had a passion for numbers and business which motivated her to finish her bachelors degree in Accounting this past spring of 2015 and hopes to continue to work in her field while also following her passion and growing as a person as a part of the LYHEP family.

Gerard Boucher – IT / Marketing Advisor