Our organization thrives because of our inspiring and dedicated team. The partnership they form with our families is the foundation for the transformative work we see at Family Connections every day.
Director of Infrastructure & Clinical Services
Eric Valladares joined Family Connections as the Executive Director in November 2021. For more than a decade, Eric has worked at various nonprofits in San Mateo County where his focus has been on supporting some of our most vulnerable families and communities. His work has included home visiting services for children and their families, family reunification, school-based counseling, therapy in childcare settings, supporting survivors of sexual assault, and supporting survivors of domestic violence. More recently, Eric has taken on leadership roles in which he has overseen programs that focus on Early Childhood, Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention, and Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. Eric has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University and holds a license in Marriage and Family Therapy through the State of California. Eric loves spending time with his wife and two small children and, whenever he can, loves to visit Disneyland!
Carolina Caldarón Balladares joined Family Connections as Program Director in May 2022. For over 25 years Carolina has worked in the early childhood and family services field in San Mateo and San Francisco County, including working as a preschool teacher, early education trainer, and program manager for several non-profit organizations including the Resource & Referral Network, AbilityPath (Help Me Grow-San Mateo County), Homeless Prenatal Program and The Primary School-East Palo Alto. Her work is driven by the understanding that during the first five years of life, children need emotionally nourishing relationships to lay the foundation for lifelong learning, health, and well-being. Carolina is the proud daughter of parents who emigrated from El Salvador in the late 60’s. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a minor in child development from St. Mary’s College. Carolina and her husband have two adult sons. In her free time she enjoys sharing a nice meal with friends and family, going on long walks, listening to music and journaling.
Marsha Quita joined Family Connections in August 2013 as a volunteer supporting our Preschool and Young Scholars Program. Since then, she has performed many roles in the organization. Currently as Director of Administrative Operations, she is responsible for overseeing all administrative and operational duties including human resources, finances, administration of payroll, savings and investment funds, annual audits and monitoring of the operating budget. Marsha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of San Francisco and has past nursing experience from Stanford Hospital. Marsha continues to volunteer in her child’s organized school events and athletic and sporting organizations. Marsha has two children, with one son in college and a daughter in high school. Marsha enjoys playing with her dog, traveling with her family, and loves visiting Disney Parks all over the world.
Our program coordinator, Veronica Rincón, has displayed her passion for education in both her personal and professional life. Prior to joining Family Connections, Veronica has worked as an assistant teacher working with infants and toddlers at a private early child development center, as a paraprofessional working with K-12 students on the autism spectrum, and as a program assistant working with Spanish-speaking families of infants and toddlers in East San Jose through a literacy and language development program based at Stanford University. Veronica was born and raised in San Jose, California by Mexican parents. She has an Associate Degree in Sociology from Evergreen Valley College and attended the University of California, Berkeley in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Education, and Public Policy. In her free time she loves camping, hiking and swimming as well as singing, dancing and playing video and board games.
Stephanie Loera joined Family Connections in 2019 as the in-house clinician for parents. Throughout her career, Stephanie has worked with individuals and families using a trauma-informed, social justice, and strength-based approach. A Pilates instructor, Stephanie is passionate about families and children being aware of their mind and body connections. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies and Spanish and Portuguese and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. During her free time, she likes to arrange flowers, read the latest books, and go hiking with her rat terrier Toby and her husband.
Prior to joining Family Connections as our Family Services Coordinator, Georgina Almaraz worked in Southern California as a home visitor, lactation education specialist, domestic violence advocate, Board-Certified Supervised Visitation Provider and Board-Certified Autism Technician. The daughter of immigrants who came to the US from a small town in Mexico, Georgia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from University of California, Riverside. When she is not working, she is probably listening to music, solving sudoku puzzles or exploring her new home, the Bay Area.
Born and raised in San Jose, Isabel Gonzalez has worked alongside children and families in both academic and recreational settings, including working as a community worker aide where she helped parents and their children prepare for kindergarten. Isabel has an Associate Degree in Child Development from De Anza College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development, with a community focus, from San Jose State University. Isabel was born and raised in San Jose and currently lives in the East Bay. Outside of work Isabel enjoys going to the beach, eating, and attending Body Combat, a mixed-martial art class!
Young Scholars coordinator Sofi Acuna has worked supporting children, teenagers, and adults at a variety of organizations in San Mateo County including San Mateo County Public Libraries and Skyline College. She is passionate about helping the community learn more about resources and opportunities available to them. Born and raised in El Salvador, Sofia moved to the Bay Area six years ago. Sofi graduated from Skyline College with an Associate Degree in Communication Studies and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication Design at San Francisco State University.
Maribel Agredano has worked as a behavioral therapist and as a preschool teacher for infants, toddlers, and kindergarteners. A native of Northern California, Maribel is the daughter of Mexican immigrants whose dream was to start a family in a more promising place. The first in her family to graduate from college, Maribel received her Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Media studies, with a minor in Chicano Latino Studies, from UC Irvine. Her passion for learning did not end after college and she is now pursuing an Associate Degree in Child Development at Cañada College. In her free time, Maribel enjoys being outdoors camping, grilling, and having picnics at the park. Despite not knowing how to swim, Maribel also loves spending her weekends at the beach close to the shore to relax or catch up on some readings to unwind.
Erendida Gonzalez joined Family Connections as an Early Learning Teacher in December 2022. She has worked in non-profit organizations for over six years as a Resource Coordinator and Educational Specialist. Erendida was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States when she was a young girl. During the pandemic, she decided to return to school and is currently attending Cañada College to get her associates degree in Humanities. She is also working on getting her Inclusion Certification. Erendida's older son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of three. This started her passion and love for working with children with special needs. Over the years she has gained experience supporting children with varying needs and their caregivers. Erendida is a proud mom of two children who keep her busy with their baseball and softball schedules. In addition, she enjoys taking long walks with her children and dog.
Karina Meneses is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and joined the Family Connections team as their Early Intervention Consultant. As a Consultant, Karina works collaboratively with the whole early childhood team: supporting and empowering caregivers (staff and parents) to keep in mind the social and emotional development of young children while delivering care and interventions in the context of the child’s and caregiver’s everyday activities and caregiving.
Karina has provided Early Childhood Mental Health services to Family Connections since 2016 through an outside agency. She has 14 years of experience working with children and families in preschool, community and outpatient settings. Karina is a proud mother of an 11 year old daughter. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking long walks and going on road trips.
Join our Team
Joining our organization means you will be a part of an experienced, hard-working, kind, and welcoming team who all work together to support our community and our families. With funding secured through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we have funding to provide our staff with a wide variety of high-quality professional development opportunities with the goal of setting up our staff for success and sustainability.