Board Members

 
 
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Liza Oliva

Operations Director 

Mother of 3, employed full time, and Destinee's Mom.

I am one of the Co-Founders of Simply Destinee as the organization began after losing my 16 year old daughter to Suicide. Shortly, after meeting several of the children I realized our children were facing a silent epidemic.  

I have come to know and love many children that have been in our program and feel that it helps spread the awareness so that keep the conversation going and fight to not lose any more children.  My goal is to help as many kids prosper and move forward in life and reach all their goals and dreams.

loliva73@gmail.com

 
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Martin Luna

Executive Director & Founder

Married, Father, Employed Full Time, Coach and Mentor. East Aurora High School Alumni. Martin founded the group with 6 children.  

I felt after losing my niece there was a need in the community.  I was a dance teacher by trade and worked with children hearing their daily struggles.  I realized music was an outlet we could use to teach creativity and confidence.  

Everyone told me I wouldn't make it when I first started this organization but I felt that the need was greater than my fear of failure.  With hope and a prayer I traveled out to find a place where some of these kids have called home.  

Since then I have assisted children with life skills, every day needs such as food and school supplies but every sacrifice is worth the smiles and gratitude.

pikturethis01@yahoo.com

 
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Adriana Francois

Parent Liaison

Giving all her free time to countless not-for-profit youth organizations, Adriana actively volunteers with the hope she can create a better future for local youth.  Her family transferred from Panama to Chicago in 1988 and she understood first-hand how a community can make you feel alienated and unwanted, so she became active with PeaceJam Aurora and Simply Destinee. 

“I feel these organizations are tackling a lot of local issues, such as, poverty, the attack of middle class, and noncompetitive after-school activities; while also providing tools to grow for families that desperately need it,” Adriana says.  

She is passionate about helping the kids at Simply Destinee because they are fervent about tough topics like suicide, bullying and depression and use the art of dance to help kids ages 7 to 18 build confidence and self-esteem.  Adriana volunteers nearly 30 hours a week maintaining a focus on education, tutoring kids and connecting them with scholarships for summer camps; meanwhile working to raise funds for building rent, so they can continue to provide free dance opportunities to area youths.  

 
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Felipe Rocha

Board of directors President

On the board 1 year , organization supporter since day 1

The group opened my eyes to the every day struggles of young adults dealing with mental illness, bullying or thoughts of suicide and the education and awareness of these topics. Simply Destinee showed me the alarming rate of young adults facing these issues and the lack of resources  schools or municipalities have to combat these issues. The group showed me how precious life is and how valuable each and every one is in this world and how together we can give children a light of hope and fight these issues.

Why did you decide to join? I decided to join the group because I wanted to show children hope and give them a light when they feel their world is full of darkness. I wanted to not stand on the sidelines and keep seeing children go through struggles and instead tackle the issue together and be in the front line of this battle. My vision is to help Simply Destinee be a long term self-sustaining program for families and children and grow our in school program to a national level and help these children be the leaders of the future.

 
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Yolanda Ramos

Vice President

Wife, Mother of 2 daughters who attend Simply Destinee and employed full time.  

I became involved after seeing Simply Destinee in a parade and my oldest daughter loved to dance so she joined, a few months later my youngest also joined.  

Simply Destinee has kept me and my children busy and we have learned a lot about Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness.  This group has become family and I wouldn't change any of it. 

 
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LarRy L. Jones,

Board Member

Father of 5 daughters, Grandfather of 6. 

Director of multiple non profits, financial adviser, lecturer and speaker, mentor for SCORE, and entrepreneur.  

I was made aware of Simply Destinee from the past president.  I have also become  keenly aware of the risk of suicide for our children and felt motivated to assist.  

 
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Sinclair Gallagher

Board Member

Community Liaison and Grant Writer/Volunteer

Grandmother of 8, active in Aurora nonprofit community, and husband’s environmental ministry; sustainingcreation.org.  My husband calls me a micro-philanthropist. I believe we are all called to use all our talents- nurse, business degree, self taught videographer, website design.

I have been involved with Simply Destinee since 2015.  I have been involved in many aspects of the organization such as bookkeeping, volunteering, and grant writing.  

I am also on the board and have a passion for at risk youth.

sinclairgallagher@hotmail.com

 
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Hugo saltijeral 

Board Member

I believe we are called to serve and to share out talents with each other, so since joining the Simply Destinee organization I have been able to be part of some new programs, and I have met some amazing young people who have impacted my life much more.

I am a life long resident of Aurora, husband to a wonderful wife, a father to 3 amazing children and get to have my mother be apart of our daily lives. We feel blessed as a family that we get to serve our community together. As an active member of St. Joseph's parish along with my wife and kids we try to walk the walk of a servant. I am also lucky enough to be a volunteer and an employee of Hesed House where I spend most of my nights serving our homeless neighbors. I recently obtained my Associates from Waubonsee Community College and I am currently student at Aurora University.

 
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Angelina Escareño

Treasurer, Board member, and Dance mom

I knew about SD for a long time but waited until my daughter was old enough to join Simply Destinee. SD has made a big impact on my family and myself they were by our side through the most difficult times SD has become our family.

I am single mother of 3 kids, 2 boys, 12, 6 years old and 1 girl 9 years old. I am a very active mother when it comes to being involved in my kids life. I have been part of PTA, volunteer when I can at their schools, attend as many parent cafes and workshops. I used to be part of a non for profit organization during my high school years. My parents were board member and very involved with giving back to the Latino Community. I am currently enrolling to finish my paralegal degree at COD. Simply Destinee has been a big blessing to my kids and I.

angelinaescareno@gmail.com