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The team at Connect Casino Road is a dedicated group of individuals representing the neighborhood that they serve. Together, the CCR team provides staffing and support to the CCR partnerships through connecting and facilitating, fundraising, engaging partners in opportunities, developing programs, and bringing learning and training opportunities to the community.  

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Alvaro Guillen

Village on Casino Road Director

Born in Peru, Alvaro was in contact with remote indigenous communities in the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest since an early age and witnessed the profound inequities and exclusion that those communities suffered. As a young entrepreneur studying business management in Lima, he started a small nonprofit to provide adequate sports equipment and access to training facilities to low-income athletes. Before coming to the US, Alvaro worked and lived across Central America, South America, and the Caribbean as the Marketing and Sales Manager for a German company. After immigrating, he worked with Latinx communities as the publisher of the newspaper La Raza del Noroeste and as Washington’s spokesperson for the US Census Bureau.  Alvaro works with cross-sector organizations, stakeholders, and government amplifying the community’s voice and advancing equity with the goal of breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty in the Casino Road neighborhood.

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Jillian Robinson

Assistant Director

Jillian believes that strategic investments in families benefit entire communities. This passion for direct service and community impact drives her work as Assistant Director. Prior to joining Connect Casino Road, she spent several years working for organizations in the homelessness and trauma-informed care sectors, including raising funds and building partnerships for Covenant House, a nonprofit that serves youth who have experienced trafficking and homelessness. Jillian holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington, where she specialized in nonprofit management and had the opportunity to support the work of organizations such as Imagine Housing, Team Read, and the King County Local Food Initiative. Through these projects, Jillian furthered her experience in collaborative work and the centering of community voice. She draws on this background in her role as Assistant Director to support Connect Casino Road’s vision for local families.  


Yelitza Medina

CORE Program Manager

One of the teams that make up Connect Casino Road is our "All Families are Ready" Action Team. At the heart of this model is our Community and Family Development Coordinator, Yelitza. Yelitza joined us in January of 2019 as the Lead Family Development Coordinator but has been working with this community for years through her position as a Family Support Specialist with ECEAP and a Case Manager with South Everett Goodwill. She is a shared employee among the 8 formal partners that make up the Action Team and acts as a central point of contact for the families being served and the partners serving them. Yelitza is bilingual and bicultural, with both a Bachelors and Masters in Education. Yelitza brings over a decade of community and education-based work to Connect Casino Road.

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Esmeralda Rivas

Family Development Coordinator

Coming from a Hispanic immigrant family, Esmeralda is the first in her family to attend College and is currently a student at the Edmonds College, where she is working on getting her associate degree in Family Support Studies. Her experience in translating for her family, neighbors, and friends at clinics and courts, has given her the opportunity to make her translation and interpreting skills stronger, aspiring her to discover her passion in helping others. This then led to her volunteer work at ChildStrive where she got to work with families one-on-one, set goals for their future, and provide them with the resources they needed in order to achieve their targeted goals. The more she worked with families, the more it allowed her to enrich her problem-solving, listening, positive intervention, and engagement skills. Not only was she volunteering at ChildStrive, but her devotion to helping others in need grew very strongly, which led to her spending her spare time at Hand in Hand Safe Place. There she provided support to children as they transitioned into foster care, always ensuring a safe environment.


Arcelia Cruz

The Village Center Coordinator

Growing up in the state of Washington, originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, as an immigrant mother of two wonderful children, Arcelia understands and experienced firstand the struggles of navigating the system in America. Arcelia has gained experience over the years as a Spanish interpreter at the school district and helped families along the way. The strive for Arcelia to continue helping her community, began when she was a child translating for her family and friends, along with vounteering at her childrens school, planning multi-cultural events, and acknowledging other diverse cultures. Thus, demonstrating a passion to help her community. As our current center coordinator, she continues to create trust, connections, and build relationships within the community.

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Leonor Bejarano

Community Resource Navigator

She is a Hispanic immigrant and a first-generation college graduate in her family. Leonor graduated from the University of Washington Bothell in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Global studies and a minor in Health Studies. Right after she graduated, she started volunteering at the Arlington Resource Center, helping Hispanic clients with limited English language proficiency finding resources for their needs. She has always aspired to help others, especially those who face language barriers. Prior to joining Connect Casino Road, Leonor worked at Volunteers of America as a Community Resource Advocate at Edmonds College supporting students and community members, it was in this position where she found her passion for Social Services work helping clients in person and providing them access to benefits, resources and services. Coming from a family that immigrated to the United States to have a better life and education, she knows firsthand the barriers that many immigrant families go through.

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