Mario F. Garcia, Executive Director

Mario F. García has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management with specializations in organizational development and training. Prior to taking the Executive Director position at Onward Neighborhood House in 2004, Mr. García led García Consulting where he offered advising and training related to board development, team-building, strategic planning and leadership. He has worked with a variety of community based organizations, government agencies, professional associations and local school councils. He is currently a member of Chicago’s Early Childhood Education CEO Roundtable, and a board member for the ACLU of Illinois. 

Mr. García was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and speaks fluent English and Spanish. He has a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago and an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Illinois State University.

Darica Charles, Program Director

Darica Charles has been with Onward Neighborhood House since 2005 and has held roles with increasing responsibility across multiple Onward House programs. She started in the classroom at the former West Town location as a School Age Coordinator, then Site Manager. When Onward House initiated the move from West Town neighborhood to Belmont Cragin, she took roles as Special Projects Manager, then Director of Youth & Community Services. In 2018, Ms. Charles was promoted to her current role as Program Director where she oversees the planning and implementation of Onward House’s services.

Prior to working at Onward House, Ms. Charles worked as a Kindergarten Teacher/Site Director for Mary Crane Center. Ms. Charles received her B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University. 


Ernesto Delatorre, Director of Finance

Nikki Way, Director of Development & Communications

Virgil Hernandez, Human Resources Director

Nereida Barreno, Finance Specialist

Early Childhood Education & School Age Leadership

Dr. Kimberly Thier, Director of Special Education & Quality Assurance

Maria Deniz, Site Manager

Miriam Williamson, Education Coordinator

Kathy Alanis, Intake Coordinator

Tashi McIntee, Partnership Coordinator

Rosemary Solis, Family Support Services Coordinator


Blue Birds 1 – Early Head Start
Marlene Ontiveros
Hortencia Rubio

Blue Birds 2 – Early Head Start
Rosita Feliciano

Little Bears 1 – Early Head Start
Martha Aich

Koalas – Head Start
Marteen Wrencher

Butterflies – Head Start
Magarita Acosta

Bumble Bees – Head Start
Nancy Avile
Kareena Machunas

School Age

Matilde Lebron, Penguins Classroom
Rocio Varela, Panthers Classroom
Ms. Crystal, Tigers Classroom

Home Visitors

Carmen Trejo, Home Visitor
Vanessa Avila, Home Visitor

Family Support Workers

Sofia Rebollar, Family Support Worker
Daisy Barrios, Family Support Worker
Thelma Tolentino, Family Support Worker

Adult Education

Roxana Montesdeoca, Support Services Coordinator for the Illinois Immigrant and Refugee Welcoming Center
Juan Martin, Computer Coordinator

Food Pantry

Guadalupe Zenon, Food Pantry Manager

Support Staff

Araceli Navarro, Paraprofessional
Brandon Avalos, Data Management Specialist
Edna Medrano, Food Aide


Norma Salinas, Custodian