RAÍCES 2021 National Volunteer Conference

RAICES first ever National Volunteer Conference will take place on June 25, 2021 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Central Time. We are excited to have so many wonderful speakers present on a variety of topics related to volunteerism, immigration, and social justice. We invite you to join us for as many sessions as you can.

Meet the Speakers

Mượn Thị Văn


Keynote Speaker

MƯỢN THỊ VĂN loves to read books of all shapes and sizes. She first began reading yellow-spined hardbacks about a certain girl detective before graduating to longer novels and then picture books ...

MƯỢN THỊ VĂN loves to read books of all shapes and sizes. She first began reading yellow-spined hardbacks about a certain girl detective before graduating to longer novels and then picture books (it’s true, she doesn’t remember reading picture books as a young child). So few books reflected her formative experiences, that she desired to bring new and different stories into the world. From her New York Times acclaimed debut, In a Village by the Sea, illustrated by April Chu, Mượn's books have received many distinctions, including a Northern California Book Award, a Golden Kite Award, a New York Public Library Best Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and an Irma Black Honor Award. When she's not writing, Mượn likes to roam the forests of California with her family. Website: https://kids.scholastic.com/kids/book/wishes-by-muon-thi-van/

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Vara Cooper


Centering Stories: Storytelling for a Cause

Vara Cooper is a white woman of privilege who strives to be more antiracist and intersectional every day. She is a flawed, fallible human being with degrees, credentials, and years of experience in ed ...

Vara Cooper is a white woman of privilege who strives to be more antiracist and intersectional every day. She is a flawed, fallible human being with degrees, credentials, and years of experience in education and public speaking, but in this context, she is just another white person with enough chutzpah to start and sustain conversations that others are reluctant to have. Website: www.varacooper.com

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Laura Maltz


Volunteerism and Your Career

Laura Maltz is a long-time career coach and storyteller. Having grown up in a low-income household, Laura connected strongly with the impact that finding a stable career path could have on a person’s ...

Laura Maltz is a long-time career coach and storyteller. Having grown up in a low-income household, Laura connected strongly with the impact that finding a stable career path could have on a person’s family and life. She currently serves as the Career Services Manager for the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy. She also has a private career coaching practice. Prior to this, she was the Director of Experiential Education at Columbia University and built out customized career programming for first-generation college students. Laura spent the earlier part of her career managing workforce development programs at multiple nonprofit organizations including StreetWise Partners and New York Cares. She has her Master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College of Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. In her free time, you can find her writing and telling stories, showing strangers on the subway pictures of her nephews (pre-COVID), and seriously considering going for a jog. Website: https://lmaltz1.wixsite.com/lmcareercoaching

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Melanie Rivera


Charity vs. Solidarity

Melanie is passionate about building teams and organizations that produce exceptional results and where every team member, and especially team members on the margins, are enabled to thrive. Melanie is ...

Melanie is passionate about building teams and organizations that produce exceptional results and where every team member, and especially team members on the margins, are enabled to thrive. Melanie is the CEO of Breaker28, an organization that coaches, consults, and trains organizational leaders to manage with H.E.A.R.T. - in ways that are healthy, equitable, anti-racist, real and trust-centered. Through July 1st, Melanie also serves as a Partner in the Management Center’s Education Practice, where she trains, coaches and consults dozens of nonprofits and organizational leaders annually to produce sustainable, equitable and excellent results in service of their mission. Prior to joining The Management Center’s Education Practice, Melanie served on the Executive Teams for DonorsChoose.org and Learning Heroes and founded an HR Business Partner team at Universal Service Administrative Company, a $10B not-for-profit that subsidizes broadband access nationwide. Before that, she worked as the Principal-in-Residence at Excel Academy, an all-girls public charter school in Washington, D.C. Melanie earned her professional certificate in Organizational Consulting and Change Management from Georgetown University, an M.S. in Organization Development from American University, and an executive certificate in Diversity Coaching from Howard University and her Senior Professional in HR Certificate (SPHR) Certificate from Human Capital Institute. She regularly publishes thought-leadership about H.E.A.R.T.-capable management on LinkedIN, Medium, and Forbes.com. Website: https://www.breaker28.com

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Lynsey Tucker


Migration and Mental Health

Lynsey Tucker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 10 years of experience working in mental health recovery with veterans, clients experiencing homelessness, and in her new role with RAICES, wi ...

Lynsey Tucker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 10 years of experience working in mental health recovery with veterans, clients experiencing homelessness, and in her new role with RAICES, with clients in the agency's refugee resettlement program. Ms. Tucker specializes in treatment for trauma-related issues and is formally trained in Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education & Therapy (TARGET), Gottman Method Couples Counseling, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness skills. Ms. Tucker's guiding framework is rooted in honoring each person as the the expert of their own experience and that recovery is a reality that can and does happen. Ms. Tucker's overarching career objective is to provide quality therapeutic services to clients who have the most need, but often have the least access.

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Rodolfo Moran


Welcome from National Volunteer Director

Rodolfo Moran is the National Volunteer Director at RAICES. He started this position in March 2020 and has been key in developing and enacting a National Volunteer Program at RAICES. Moran is original ...

Rodolfo Moran is the National Volunteer Director at RAICES. He started this position in March 2020 and has been key in developing and enacting a National Volunteer Program at RAICES. Moran is originally from El Salvador and now resides in New York with his family.

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Homero López, Jr.


Antiracism and Migrant Justice

Homero López, Jr. is the legal director at Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy (ISLA) which he co-founded in March 2018 to focus on providing pro bono legal representation to detained immigrants i ...

Homero López, Jr. is the legal director at Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy (ISLA) which he co-founded in March 2018 to focus on providing pro bono legal representation to detained immigrants in Louisiana. Originally from the Rio Grande Valley, Homero is the son of a migrant worker and spent the majority of his childhood moving around the midwest and living among immigrant communities. Before starting ISLA, he worked at Catholic Charities-Baton Rouge focusing primarily on detention work and then at Catholic Charities-New Orleans where he created and expanded their UC program. Homero is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Sarah Sánchez


Migration and the LGBTQ+ Community

A queer brown woman from Espanola, New Mexico--a small town cocooned and dotted by the Tewa lands of Kha’po Owingheh and Ohkay Owingeh--Sarah grew up shaped by a valley made up of pueblo, genizaro, an ...

A queer brown woman from Espanola, New Mexico--a small town cocooned and dotted by the Tewa lands of Kha’po Owingheh and Ohkay Owingeh--Sarah grew up shaped by a valley made up of pueblo, genizaro, and nuevo mexicane/a/o cultures. This little valley of BIPOC communities is surrounded by two cities inhabited by much larger white populations with greater access to resources like education and investment. The scars and open wounds of colonialism and its cousin, environmental racism, manifest through significant wealth disparities in the region, as the median household incomes of these two cities are two and four times those of Espanola respectively. While attending the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate, much of Sarah’s coursework focused on the historical context of U.S. capitalist interests, imperialist interventions in Latin America, and their continued influence into the present-day. Her courses were often direct reminders of her hometown of Espanola, which was affected by the same colonialists and imperialists (the US and the Spanish). The impact of colonialism and imperialism have continued to reverberate throughout her valley community, where the highest heroin overdoses per capita in the nation were recorded a full two decades before the opioid crisis was coined a term. These overlapping identities and struggles in liberation with the same oppressors eventually led to her work with Santa Fe Dreamers Project (“SFDP”). Sarah began working for SFDP in the autumn of 2018 by accompanying individuals from the LGBTQ+ migrant caravan in Mexico as they asked for asylum at US/MX ports of entry. Her current work as immigration law practitioner includes advocacy for trans and queer migrants waiting in Mexico due to Title 42, immigration court representation in detention, and collaborating with the sponsorship and post-release team to pair sponsors with clients released from ICE detention.

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Stay Engaged

Interested in connecting with other volunteers and discussing what you learned at the conference? Join us on our Slack channel for RAICES Volunteers. There will be dedicated slack groups for each session where you can keep the conversation going and connect with volunteers across the U.S.