OUR STAFF

Albert VarasExecutive Director
Since arriving in Omaha ten years ago, Albert became a big fan of our work and saw something special in our mission, students, and supporters. In January 2017, he was prompted by his similar values and beliefs to become the next Executive Director. Before assuming his role as Executive Director, he helped develop cutting edge career programming at Avenue Scholars Foundation. With a Bachelor’s in History from Midland University, Albert’s education and experiences have allowed him to create invaluable partnerships on his mission to provide the community with the tools needed to not only survive but thrive in their new lives and careers. Albert’s passion – to create better conditions that allow people to leverage life changing opportunities through education and resource access – continues to bring innovation and shape the future of our organization. Constantly staying involved and giving of his time, Albert serves on the boards of the Douglas County Department of Health, the Omaha Public Schools Foundation and is a former board president and avid supporter of City Sprouts. During his free time, Albert can be found with a sow and watering can in hand tending to his garden, hiking throughout beautiful landscapes, and spending time with his beloved family.
Silvia VelezDirector of Operations
Silvia has fulfilled multiple roles and helped the South Omaha community at the Latino Center of the Midlands since January 2010. With a Bachelor’s in Accounting, her education and past experiences have allowed her to go from instructor to administrator. Before joining our team she was an office coordinator, but her interest in sharing her knowledge in computing with adults and members of our community who did not know how to operate a computer or surf the web led her to her first position at the Latino Center. She enjoyed helping community members become more self-sufficient and find better jobs, but now she is able to help every department in multiple ways. Silvia loves spending her free time reading a good book, traveling the country and world, listening to music, and working out.
Tyler Wilcox, CPAChief Financial Officer
Tyler has been managing finances and enabling growth at the Latino Center of the Midlands since December 2018. With a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, his education and past experiences with our organization have allowed him to create opportunities for our organization to grow and remain a constant resource in the community. Before joining our team, Tyler was a as a financial contractor at a local manufacturing company, but his passion for helping the small business community to grow led him to the Latino Center. Tyler hopes to help support the growth of LCM and all its stakeholders including its employees and the community it serves. He loves the mission of the organization, and he believes education is the foundation of growth and all our programs are focused in some way on that key element. Tyler considers himself an outdoors person. He spends most of his free time camping, fishing, and golfing during the spring and summer months, but he also enjoys working out at the local gym.
Viridiana AlmanzaFCW Program Director
Viridiana was introduced to the Latino Center of the Midlands through her position as the coordinator/organizer for the DREAMers Project Coalition in 2013-2014. Her familiarity the Center, and her perspective that it is a place where everyone has a passion for helping others and where staff is full of energy and has innovative ideas led her to join our team in January 2019. Viridiana earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Before joining our team, she was a Bilingual Program Coordinator at Partnership 4 Kids, but she chose to pursue the opportunity at the Center because she hopes to support our families directly though our diverse programming and seeing how their lives transform in a positive way. Viridiana believes that the well-being of an individual is an area that is imperative for everyone and that can lead to so many positive results. She hopes to incorporate her passions of learning about indigenous peoples and advocating for immigrant rights into her current position on our team. During her free time, Viridiana enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and staying involved in the community. She currently stays involved by mentoring three young ladies whom she has mentored since 2015.
Carmen ChagollaP2S Senior Program Manager
Carmen has been working in the nonprofit world and wearing many hats at the Latino Center of the Midlands since February 2014. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from Creighton University, Carmen’s education, experiences, and passion for helping others become their best self, especially women led her to our organization. Carmen enjoys working with youth in our community because she enjoys seeing how the services we offer can make a difference in their lives and the lives of future generations. Before joining our team, she was a Bilingual Liaison for Omaha Public Schools, but her willingness to give back to her community led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. Carmen’s free time is spent dancing, listening to music, watching movies, participating in community involvement activities, and spending time with her friends and family.
Sergio RodriguezOffice Manager
Sergio has been helping manage and enhance the internal operations of our team since November of 2018. With a Bachelor’s degree in Administration from the University of Havana, his education and experiences enable him to work directly with our team to create a welcoming and efficient environment. Before joining our team, Sergio was a self-employed project manage, but his admiration of the services and work our organization offers led him to pursue a position with us. He enjoys being able to create a supportive and helpful environment that will potentially impact those in the community. During his free time, Sergio enjoys spending time with his family, grabbing a good book to read, watching interesting television shows, playing PC games, playing dominoes, and enjoying the nice weather by eating outside.
Jim CunninghamESL Construction Apprenticeship Supervisor
Jim has been helping adults in the South Omaha community with the Latino Center of the Midlands since July 2017. With a Bachelor’s of Science from Creighton University and a Master’s of Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, his education and past involvement from 2010 to 2012 at the Latino Center have allowed him to wear many hats while he has been on our team. Before rejoining our team in 2017, Jim taught locally for forty years. After his retirement, his passion for teaching led him back the Center where he worked as an ESL Instructor before becoming the ESL Construction Apprenticeship Supervisor. His past experiences have allowed him to adjust his teaching style to the cultures, ages, and lives of the students in our community. Jim enjoys working with adults and seeing the progress they can make in a short amount of time. He spends his free time birding, setting up tee times for rounds of golf, staying active through exercise and hiking the trails.
Aida LamelasGED Instructor
Aida has been helping people and teaching them important skills needed for getting their GED at the Latino Center of the Midlands since November 2017. With a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism from the University of Havana, her education and past experiences have allowed her to successfully work with adults on their journey towards earning their GED. Before joining our team, Aida was new to the area and chose to join the team to help the community and build a community for herself. During her free time, Aida enjoys pursing her passions by reading and traveling, watching TV, playing dominos, and packing her outdoor gear for a nice camping trip.
Aidan PoseyESL Level 1 Instructor
Aidan is one of our new members of our Adult Basic Education program at the Latino Center of the Midlands. He is currently a student at the University of Nebraska Omaha studying Business Administration and Spanish as a Foreign Language. Although he had already been volunteering for the Latino Center since 2017, he decided to take the role as one of our ESL Instructors to help the community learn and understand something new. He’s passionate about helping others and making others smile and enjoys seeing the progress of his students, especially once they understand a new concept. During his free time, Aidan enjoys volunteering, traveling, and reading books.
Alejandro ChaconHealing Circulos Facilitator & Student Advocate at Marrs Middle School
Alejandro’s search to find a place that works as a team, does things with passion and heart, and goes above and beyond to help others led him to join the Latino Center of the Midlands in September 2017. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Spanish from Minnesota State University at Mankato, his education and prior experience as a student liaison has allowed him to build relationships with youth and families in our community. Our work has allowed Alejandro to follow his passion of seeing others happy and helping them become successful. Although he has a big heart, he loves competing and roughing it up on the rugby field. He also enjoys playing board games, reading, drawing, listening to music, and watching movies.
Cecilia SaavedraFamily Garden Instructor/ Cultivadora de Salud
Cecilia was brought onto the team at the Latino Center of the Midlands in February of 2019 to help with the Family Gardening aspect of our Family and Community Well-Being program. She currently holds an Associate’s in Horticulture, Land Systems Management and is working towards her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science with a focus on geography and planning and minors in Chicano Studies and Sustainability at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Before joining our team, Cecilia served as a Marketing Intern at No More Empty Pots, Program Manager at the UNO Collaborate, and an Environmental Geology Tutor. Cecilia’s education and passion to help assist individuals in the community who are suffering from food insecurity led her to the Latino Center. She appreciates our mission and loves the opportunity to share her horticulture knowledge with our families. Cecilia hopes that the family gardens will empower families by providing them with the skills, resources, and knowledge needed to assist them in their journey. During her free time, she enjoys camping, hiking, gardening, farming, photography, web development/bogging, and volunteering for a multitude of organizations throughout the community.
Diana LinaresFamily Garden Instructor/ Cultivadora de Salud
Diana took on one of the newest roles on the team at the Latino Center of the Midlands in February of 2019 to help with the Family Gardening aspect of our Family and Community Well-Being program. She holds a Secretary and Account Assistance diploma in Mexico. Before joining our team, Diana served as a Human Resources Specialist at Gordman’s DC. Her education and passion to help families and friends when they need someone by their side led her to the Latino Center. Diana is excited about the opportunity to teach families to grow their own garden, eat healthy, provide them with information about services available in the area, and creating a good relationship that will help them thrive. During her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, biking, working out, traveling, being with her family, playing with her gorgeous grandkids, and attending and serving her church.
Diana RamirezCitizenship Instructor
Diana has been helping her community and recently started teaching Citizenship classes at the Latino Center of the Midlands. She’s a recent graduate from Bryan High School, currently studying at Metropolitan Community College majoring in social work. She heard about the mission and programs we offer at the Latino Center and before joining our team, Diana consistently volunteered at the Latino Center to gain experience and knowledge in human services while helping her Latino community. During her free time, Diana enjoys reading a book or listens to music.
Diana RogelStudent Advocate at Ralston High School
Diana was brought onto the team at the Latino Center of the Midlands towards the end of 2018 to help with the expansion into Ralston High School of our Pathways to Success program. With a Bachelor’s of Arts in Latino & Latin American Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, her education and past experiences with the community we serve have enabled her to work well with students and help advocate for them. Before joining our team, Diana was a Fiesta Patrias Event Coordinator. Her roles as a community advocate, Latino history and culture studies student, and community stakeholder, led her to the Center since she finds it imperative to work in support of Latinos. She proudly joined the LCM family because of its mission to to enhance the lives of youth and Latino families. During her time at the Center, she has learned that working with youth requires truth and unconditional love. As a mother of two beautiful children, she has learned youth need a supportive and positive learning environments. For that reason, Diana strives to work hard everyday so she can pave a bright future for her own family and families in the community. Due to her family-oriented outlook on life, Diana enjoys partnering with organizations that are family oriented and offer positive environments for families to grow. She engages her own family in community events, such as cultural festivals, health fairs, youth centered activities, and education oriented events. During her free time, Diana loves to read, watch documentaries, and play tennis.
Erik BatlleGED Instructor
Erik has helped students reach their goal of earning their GED at the Latino Center of the Midlands since October 2016. He graduated from the University of Havana in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. After he graduated, Erik became a biochemistry instructor at the Veterinarian College in Honduras. With years of teaching experience, he decided to move and teach in the United States. Erik chose to take a position with R.M. Marrs Middle School as a 7th grade science teacher, but he wanted to find a way to help the Latino community so he pursued our position as a GED instructor. Erik enjoys working with his adult students because they are eager to learn. During his free time, he enjoys bowling and watching and playing sports.
Felipe RinconComputer Instructor
Felipe has been connected with the Latino Center since 2013 as a member of the Pathways to Success program and Ollin. Recently he was given the opportunity to be part of the Latino Center of the Midland as a staff member as a computer instructor for the Adult Education Program. Felipe decided to join our team to interact with members of the community and loves to see the progress of his students. He’s passionate about helping others and for that reason, he decided to switch his major from Engineering to Social Work. Although he can not change the world or help everyone in need, he wants to do something for his community, family, and friends. Whenever he’s not too busy at school or at work, he likes to play guitar, edit videos, and play video games.
Itzel MarquezAdministrative Assistant
Itzel, a recent graduate from Omaha South High School, has been helping community members and our organization at the front desk since November of 2018. With a passion for helping others and making sure everyone feels listened to and included, she has been able to create relationships with community members and our team to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. Itzel joined the Latino Center of the Midlands team because she likes how our mission aims to help everyone in the community not just those who identify as Latino. During her time with us, she has enjoyed the interactions she has been able to have with each person who walks in or calls and the support of each member of our team. Itzel enjoys picking up a controller and playing video games, expressing her artistic side through drawing and painting, listening to music, cooking delicious meals, working out, hiking and discovering what the world has to offer.
Juan CruzCírculos Facilitator
Juan is passionate about helping youth in our community. Before joining the LCM team, Juan worked at Boys Town National Research Hospital where he worked with at-risk youth using problem-solving techniques to teach critical thinking and assist with behavioral problems. He hopes to use these techniques and skills while at the LCM to continue to help out the youth in the community who are struggling and hopefully be part of that progress of them turning their life around. In his free time, Juan enjoys playing video games, playing guitar, and going to sporting events with friends.
Leticia CrismanFamily Strengthening Coach & Cara y Corazon Facilitator
Leticia has been helping build positive and healthy family relationships with the Latino Center of the Midlands since March 2013. With a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and an emphasis in Spanish as a Second Language, Leticia’s education and experiences have allowed her to connect with families through a shared culture and love for learning. She is passionate about the history of the Hispanic culture and is constantly learning from her students. Before joining our team, she was a Language Associate in Spanish for the Elkhorn School District, but her love for the Latino community and her culture led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. Leticia loves to spend her free time reading, listening to music, and traveling to new and exciting places.
Magda BatizHealing Circulos Facilitator & Student Advocate at Omaha South High School
Magda has been helping youth in the South Omaha community with the Latino Center of the Midlands since August 2017. With a Bachelor’s degree in Library Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, her education and past experiences have allowed her to successfully work with youth and support them during their high school careers through Joven Noble. Before joining our team, she was an Orientation Leader/Ambassador at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, but her interest in working for an organization with a history of serving the South Omaha community led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. Magda spends her free time riding the trails on her bike, watching her favorite musical artists perform live concerts, and settling back with a good book to read.
Mahatma LargaespadaHealing Circulos Lead Facilitator & Student Advocate at Bellevue West High School
Mahatma loves working with youth and helping them become successful men and women with an identity and appreciation for their culture. With a passion to serve others, he has become a support system for youth who may not have anyone to rely on outside of family and feels honored to be able to work with all types of families regardless of race/ethnicity. Before joining our team in October of 2014, he was a paraprofessional/mathematics tutor for the ESL department at Omaha South High School. Mahatma said the Latino Center of the Midlands caught his attention after he noticed “the Center does not seeks praise from the world, but instead seeks to serve those who are underrepresented in our community.” Searching for a place to be part of something meaningful and important, he joined the team and found staff that inspire and encourage him through their self-sacrifice and similar passion to help others. During his free time, Mahatma enjoys spending time and playing with Loki – his dog, biking, playing guitar and bass, going to the movies, and expressing his creativity through painting, drawing, and finding awesome pens to use.
Maira HernandezStudent Advocate at Bryan High School
Maira joined our Pathways to Success team and started helping students at Bryan High in February of 2019. Before joining our team, Maira was a bilingual case manager with a contractor of the State of Nebraska. Her past experiences with the community we serve and passion to continuously help children and families in need has enabled her to help students at Bryan succeed in every aspect of their life. Maira enjoys working with our youth to help them achieve their goals by giving them the support they need to create their bright and successful futures. During her free time, she loves to listen and dance to all types of music and traveling the world with her family.
Maria RamseyLiteracy Instructor
Maria has been volunteering and helping the Latino Center of the Midlands accomplish our mission for many years, but became the literacy instructor in September 2017. With certifications and an associates in ESL and Art from Metropolitan Community College, her education and prior experiences with our organization have allowed her to help the Latino community directly and indirectly. She is passionate about helping others and enjoys when her students tell her that they appreciate and are happy with the way she teaches her class. During her free time, Maria enjoys dancing, cooking, oil painting, and picking up a tennis racket to play tennis.
Octavio SordoGED Instructor
Octavio has been teaching our community in multiple positions at the Latino Center of the Midlands since October of 2007. With a Master’s degree in World Languages and Bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Biology, his education and his passion for helping the community have made him a versatile instructor. Before joining our team, he taught locally, but Octavio’s family history encouraged him to join our team since his family members had worked for the Latino Center in the past. During his free time, Octavio enjoys sports and continuously learning by studying.
Rosana PerriFCW Lead Program Assistant
Rosana has been a constant figure at the Latino Center of the Midlands. Her strong belief in the mission and the Latino Center as an organization led her to join our team in August of 2007. Rosana has worn many hats within the Center and with her certification as a Commercial Secretary, she started off in our organization as the receptionist and is now the FCW Lead Program Assistant. Her constant dedication to her community and joyful spirit has enabled her to help a multitude of individuals throughout the Omaha Metro. Before joining our team she was a receptionist at a hotel and served as a secretary at an insurance office. Rosana loves working with the community the Center serves, and she is passionate about helping others and strives to find the best services for those who step in the door. During her free time, Rosana enjoys picking up a good book to read and taking time to meditate.
Ruth MoralesESL Instructor
Ruth has been helping the LCM community since 2017, at the time she was an ESL Level 1 Instructor. Now, she rejoined our Adult Basic Education team and became an ESL Level 2 Instructor. Ruth is currently a student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and when she’s not there she dedicates her time to her community. Her passion for helping the community is what led her to the Latino Center of the Midlands. She believes people who’s come to our organization want to become a better version of themselves, and with her passion, she hopes to bring self-empowerment and knowledge in another language. Given the opportunity to teach adults once again, she continued to share her passion with our ABE students. When she has free time, she enjoys reading books and going on bike rides around the town.
Teresa FelixReceptionist
Teresa is our newest addition to the Latino Center of the Midlands team. She joined in as our new receptionist in June of 2019. She attended Riverside Community College and Chaffey College studying humanities, social behavioral science, and multicultural studies. Working previously as an adult ESL educator and a resource specialist, she continues to do what she loves at the Latino Center by serving and helping the Latino community. She’s passionate about teaching and assisting in the communities needs. When she’s not busy answering phone calls, Teresa gets creative with art, embroidering, and crafting; as well as reading and doing some research.
Yicel HernandezESL Instructor
Yicel is one of our youngest instructors at the Latino Center of the Midlands, but that doesn’t stop her from helping our students overcome language barriers by teaching them English. She joined our team in May of 2018, and she currently attends the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language and Literature with a Spanish concentration and business minor. Before joining our team, she was an instructor at a daycare. Her passion for supporting others with their needs and helping our community led her to our organization because she views it as a great opportunity to connect with her community, especially the Hispanic/Latino individuals. Yicel finds joy in giving others the opportunity to advance in their lives because they have learned the English language. During her free time, she enjoys playing tennis matches, picking up a good book, and helping others through volunteerism.