Uniting for Our Community

Centro Latino Americano, Downtown Languages, and Huerto de la Familia are combining in order to increase our capacity to serve Latino and immigrant families in our community. Our three organizations have a long history of collaborating together, and our work together has been united, impactful, and powerful. We are excited to transform our individual organizations into a broader, more comprehensive service provider and community-building hub.

'Nuestra oportunidad de crear algo nuevo': Cómo latinos de Lane ayudaron a los más vulnerables


Lea aquí el artículo completo

Building Latinx, Immigrant Power Through Unity

El Compromiso

  • Combining our strengths to provide a multitude of resources. Families will be able to access all existing programs from the three organizations at locations in both Eugene and Springfield.
  • Empowering Latinx to have a voice on issues that impact their lives by launching a new Leadership Institute. 
  • Advocating at the local and state level to amplify our community’s perspective and ensure the needs of Latinxs are elevated, valued, and included.

Meet Our Board Members

Alex Arruda, Board Co-President

Preferred Pronouns: he/him/el

Alex has been a resident of Eugene since 2007 when he and his family relocated from Rhode Island. He has studied early childhood education and hospitality management at Lane Community College. A lover of language, Alex speaks Spanish, which he studied for nearly a decade, and has begun learning Russian in his spare time. Starting in 2016, he began a career at Eugene’s Pacific Continental Bank and has continued this career through Pacific Continental’s merger with Columbia Bank, where he currently works as an Assistant Client Care Supervisor. At Columbia Bank, Alex has worked to develop a comprehensive training program for his department and also worked as a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and was also a recipient of the bank’s Emerging Leader Award in 2020.

Maya Rabasa, Board Co-President

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

After immigrating to the US from Mexico as a child, Maya Rabasa grew up speaking Spanish and French at home and learning English at school. Though Maya originally came to Eugene 25 years ago to attend the University of Oregon, she fell in love with the community and the mountains and stayed to raise her three kids. Maya is an artist and teaches fiber arts and handwork to children. A former teacher, Maya has dedicated her life to serving the community by advocating for public education justice and actively works to transform our public school system into a culturally responsive, equity-focused institution.

Shayna Higashi, Board Vice President

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

Shayna is originally from the island of ‘Oahu in Hawai`i. She has a Master of Nonprofit Management degree and graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies from the University of Oregon. Shayna has over ten years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and currently works as the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) coordinator for Willamette Family Treatment Services. Shayna is passionate about strengthening family units and is an advocate for justice and equity in community spaces.

Becky-Jo Samples, Board Treasurer

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

Becky-Jo Samples is the Marketing Director for Connected Lane County. She holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Oregon and a master's of business administration from Northwest Christian University (now known as Bushnell University). Becky-Jo served on the board of Downtown Languages for four years and assisted with the merger, further fueling her passion for creating a more equitable community. She enjoys reading and learning about the experiences of others, traveling, cooking, gardening, and spending time in nature.

Ashley Espinoza, Board Member-at-Large

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

Ashley was raised in Junction City, Oregon and has spent most of her life in the Willamette Valley. For over 10 years, she has served the community in a variety of volunteer roles and capacities. She is passionate about assisting community partners in developing strategies, highlighting opportunities of growth, and providing solutions to help eliminate barriers. Ashley strives to create spaces of understanding and heightened consciousness to support working families and marginalized communities. Since joining Lane Workforce Partnership as the Sector Strategy Director in 2018, Ashley has been an active partner in furthering the mission of meeting the workforce needs of employers and individuals through partnerships and innovation.

Guadalupe Quinn, Board Member-at-Large

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

Guadalupe is a Mexican Immigrant who came to the United States with her family in 1951. She grew up in California and moved to Oregon in 1978. She has been a community organizer, activist and advocate for more than 25 years. She is highly dedicated to issues of Human Rights and Social Justice and has spent most of her life working for racial justice, economic justice, worker rights and has focused her work for the last 20 years on immigrant rights. Guadalupe has been recognized many times for her work in the community. Here are a few of them: The City of Eugene's Human Rights Commission MLK Award and also International Women's Day Award. The NAACP Community Leadership Award, The Lane County Commissioners Distinguish Service Award, CAUSA's In Defense Of The Community Award and also the Life Time Achievement Award.

Madison Stewart, Board Member-at-Large

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

Madison is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in international business and a focus in cultural anthropology. She is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones where she is able to serve her community through financial education. She served on the JCHM Habitat for Humanity board of directors for 3 years, where she was a member of the grant-writing committee. She has also been heavily involved with The Boys and Girls Club and Oregon Networking Exchange. In her free time, she and her husband Scott love to travel, and spend time at the dog park with their 2 Corgis.

Christina Bentrup, Board Secretary

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/ella

Christina works for the City of Eugene as the Hendricks Park Volunteer Coordinator and has a small farm business in Springfield, Oregon. Christina has worked as a gardener and farmer in the private and public sector for a long time now. She is happiest in a garden with her friends and community members, caring for the land and producing delicious food. Christina believes that connection to the land and sharing good food are deeply healing acts.


Most frequent questions and answers

The board of directors has selected a shared leadership model. David Saez and Marissa Zarate will serve as Co-Directors of the new organization. Brook Edwards will serve as Associate Director.

For now, we will remain in the offices that previously housed Centro Latino Americano and Downtown Languages allowing us to have a presence in both Eugene and Springfield. Our future plans include a capital campaign to raise funds for a community center where we could have a kitchen, classrooms, rooms for community events, and office space for staff.

Our board of directors and staff are in the final stages of their process to select a name for the new organization. We anticipate announcing the name by early 2022.

We will continue providing the programs of all three organizations as usual. Our hope is that families will simply access more of them.

Instead of dissolving all three 501(c)(3) structures, we will be recycling the legal structure of the largest of the three organizations, Centro Latino Americano.

Donations can be made by using the DONATE button below or by mailing a check to Centro Latino Americano. If you would like your donation to go towards a specific program, you can put that information in the memo line of your check or as a note in your online donation. Thank you for your support!

Checks can be sent to:
Centro Latino Americano
944 W. 5th Ave 
Eugene, OR 97402

We are looking for a branding consultant!

For more information:

Click Here

Join Us

Help us achieve our mission