Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors is the nation’s first evidence-based comprehensive training program developed by and for Latino parents with children ages 0-5.
Parent input informs the Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors curriculum, which uses the “popular education” approach to engage parents in lessons that reflect the culture of the target audience. The ten interactive sessions draw from real-life experiences, incorporate data about local schools and communities, and focus on helping Latino parents understand their important role in the development of and long-term impact on their children’s educational outcomes. Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors' train-the–trainer model helps local family service providers improve their outreach and interaction with families, and create a sustainable program that reaches beyond the initial training sessions.
Sandra Gutierrez is the Founder and National Director of Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors. Ms. Gutierrez led the development of Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors-the nation’s first evidence-based, comprehensive training program for Latino parents with children 0 to 5. Prior to her work with Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors, Ms. Gutierrez developed a series of training programs to support children and families involved in the child welfare system for Parents Action for Children. She brings over forty years of experience with legal, children’s advocacy and community service organizations. Her multi-faceted career has included founding the first service organization to assist Central American Refugees, developing health education programs for the United Farm Workers of America and leading campaigns to promote the benefits of preschool to the Latino community.
In addition, for seven years, she served as a founding member and State Commissioner for First 5 California where she established the Advisory Committee on Equity. Ms. Gutierrez serves as an Advisory Board member for the Too Small To Fail Initiative. In March 2014, Ms. Gutierrez was named by the White House as a Cesar E. Chavez Champion of Change, and in February 2015 she received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award.
Debbie Ignacio is the National Program Manager of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors. In this role, Ms. Ignacio is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program. Debbie began her nonprofit career a few years ago providing office and finance management with the Ehler Danlos National Foundation. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, minor in Accounting from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines.
Magdalena Benitez is the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors Consultant for the Los Angeles County Implementation Project. Magdalena has enjoyed working in partnership with families and community leaders in the field of family strengthening for over 20 years. As a proud Master of Social Work, she is passionate about facilitating conversations that enhance our openness to cultural understanding and humility. Magdalena is a native Angelena, loves world travel, and loves being a Tia and Nina!!
Daisy Castaneda is the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors Project Coordinator. She is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing all tasks that relate to the Los Angeles County Implementation Project. She is passionate about helping her community, public education, immigration, and public policy. Daisy is a first-generation college graduate, and will be pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy next winter. Her favorite things to do are to travel and explore new hiking trails.