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BREAKING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY THROUGH EDUCATION, NUTRITION & CARE

LANTERN
HILL

FRIENDS OF

 

 

Abby has a BA in Spanish Literature and theater. Throughout her twenties, Abby learned spanish, traveled throughout Central and South America with different volunteer organizations. After getting married and moving to California, Abby and her husband, JJ, co-founded Lantern Hill in 2007. They moved to Mexico with a desire to make a change and help eradicate poverty. As they led volunteer groups from churches across the United States, and worked with other non profits in Mexico, they realized that long term change would come from education. If children didn't drop out of school to help work and support their families, then there could be more opportunities for the future. After adopting five Mexican siblings and having a surprise biological baby in Mexico, Abby and JJ began their own education center in Canon Buena Vista. It quickly grew into an educational and feeding program as the neighborhood was in great need. They spent years creating a foundation alongside the Mexican leaders in the community. Abby took over the role of director in 2015. She continues to oversee Friends of Lantern Hill, the US non profit and Linterna del Camino, the Mexican non profit. Abby currently lives in San Diego  and goes back and forth to Mexico. Abby works closely with the staff in Mexico and the board of directors. She still leads our volunteer groups, travels, speaks and raises money for the one  hundred students that Lantern Hill currently serves. 

Abby Williams

Executive Director

Alma began with Lantern Hill in 2013.  After completing her high school diploma, she went on to receive a Master's in Education in a local university.  Since 2016 she has worked as the program director.

Alma Jimenez 

Iracema began teaching math at Lantern Hill the summer of 2016.  Since then she has remained an essential part of our teaching and administrative team.  She also received a Master's in Education in 2022.

  

Iracema Adame

Walfre first joined us to help build our current program building during the Pandemic.  When we were able to reopen, he became a permenant member of our teaching staff.  This year he will begin studying Architecture in a local university.

 

 

Walfre Adame

Issac became an official member of our staff in 2021.  Having formerly taught math in a local high school, Issac has helped many of our older students with their upper level courses and university entrance exams.  He is also our technology guru and keeps our program running smoothly.

Isaac Avalos

Although her children have been a part of the program from the beginning, Ofelia began working with Lantern Hill in 2018.  She keeps our program buildings clean and well maintained.  She even learned to lay tile during the construction of our new building!

Ofelia Bonilla

Rufina is the newest member of our staff.  She prepares delicious meals for the children so that they can focus on their studies, full and content.

Rufina Bonilla Jimenez

Though many think first of the beautiful bracelets and bags that Marcela sells, she has also worked in our kitchen since 2018.

 

 

Marcela de Jesus

Not a single part of our program buildings would exist without Manuel.  He has worked with Lantern Hill longer than any other staff member.  So much more than a caretaker, he keeps our buildings running, fixes whatever breaks and builds whatever we need.  

Manuel Jimenez

Isaí has helped ensure our building are well maintained since the beginning.  He is always ready to help with whatever the task.  In 2016 he obtained his high school diploma.  This year he will begin studying civil engineering at a local university.

Isai Jimenez

Board of Directors

Jennifer Hare Mirabella - President

Jennifer is honored to serve as the new president of Friends of Lantern Hill. She first visited Lanten Hill two years ago on a small mission trip with my church, Maricopa Lutheran Church. After 11 years serving as a United Methodist pastor, Jennifer transitioned to the nonprofit world where she has served as the Executive Director of Family Promise - Salt Lake (helping homeless families achieve lasting self-sufficiency) and the Executive Director of The Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (exonerating the wrongfully incarcerated.) After 8 years of nonprofit work, Jennifer moved to China to teach English for two years. Since then, Jennifer married and moved to Phoenix, AZ. There, she works part time, volunteers at church and with Lantern Hill. Jennifer is driven in her passion and finds it a privilege to serve the mission and ministry of Lantern Hill where lives are visibly transformed, healthy community is created, and hope shines brightly. 

Robert Harper - Treasurer

As a retired teacher and coach in the St Louis area, Rob is passionate about education. He believes that children everywhere should have access to a quality education. From his first visit in 2014, he has believed in the mission and vision of Lantern Hill and has been an integral part of our growth and development.  In 2018 Rob helped form the non-profit Friends of Lantern Hill and was the first president of our Board of Directors.

Alissa Burrall - Secretary

Alissa has been teaching Spanish in a Maryland middle school for 26 years.  She first visited Lantern Hill for a week in 2013.  She connected with the people and the vision and has returned every summer since for as many weeks as possible.  (Except for the first summer of the pandemic!) Her first summers were spent coordinating the summer program and mentoring teachers. Now each time she returns she marvels at the growth and strength of the program.  Through education, lives are being changed.

Kellie Reiman - Marketing

A part of Lantern Hill in the early years, Kellie lived in Mexico with the founders of Lantern Hill, Abby and JJ, for 2 years, working with community members and volunteer groups.  Kellie now lives in Las Vegas with her two children. She has a business degree from Southern Illinois University.  Kellie is excited to be once again partnering with Lantern Hill to change lives.

Shana Nielson - Member at Large

Shana lives with her husband and two daughters in Seattle Washington.  She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist and manages the pediatric therapy department at Providence Swedish Medical Center.  Shana joined the board in 2020. The summer of 2019, she and her youngest daughter traveled to Lantern Hill as part of a multi-generational team of 12 individuals from Saint Andrews Lutheran Church.  Prior to that trip, she questioned when people claimed "life changing" about an experience, however after visiting Canon Buena Vista and Lantern Hill, Shana actually understood as that phrase had new meaning.  The mission of breaking the chains of poverty through education truly spoke to her; education is power and a gift that every child should be able to access. Lantern Hill puts its resources to helping children succeed; it is inspiring and the program is working. When you visit Lantern Hill, you hear joy in the classrooms, you watch students play in safe places, you see community members gainfully employed, and you smell food which is provided to hungry bellies;  what is there not to love?

 

Sheila Choate Siino-Member at Large

Sheila has her MA in Education, and BS in Social Work. She has been a Probation Counselor and Marriage and Family counselor. She is retired after teaching in the Gifted and Talented Ed program for twenty years. After retiring, Ms. Siino was an Adjunct Professor at UNLV and served many elementary schools conducting Professional Development classes and workshops. She also co-wrote a book, “Spiritual Pop UP: Creating Your Own Memorial. In 2018 she became a Stephen Minster along with becoming the lead with Lantern Hill Ministry at New Song Church in Henderson. Ms. Siino is a board member and works with Lantern Hill to organize the Back to School supplies in the summer, and the Angel Tree gifts at Christmas. She believes strongly with the work the staff and Friends of Lantern Hill are doing to break the cycle of poverty through education, nutrition, and care.

Our Staff in Mexico

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Executive Director

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