Mario F. García | Executive Director

Mario García has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management with specializations in organizational development and training. Before taking the Executive Director position at Onward Neighborhood House in 2004, Mr. García led García Consulting where he provided advising and training for 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 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 our former West Town location as a School Age Coordinator, then moved to Site Manager. When Onward House initiated the move from West Town to Belmont Cragin in 2008, she held 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

Virgil Hernandez | Human Resources Director

Nereida Barreno | Finance Specialist

Early Childhood Education & School Age Leadership

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

LaTanya Cobbins | Education Coordinator

Sofia Aguilar | Site Director

Tashi McIntee Hamilton | Partnership Coordinator

Tatiana Bermeo | Parent Engagement Coordinator

Thelma Tolentino | Health Coordinator

Gabriela Munoz | ERSEA Coordinator

Karim Escobar-Franklin, LSW | Mental Health Specialist

Early Childhood Teachers

Blue Birds 1 — Early Head Start
Hortencia Rubio

Blue Birds 2 — Early Head Start
Martha Aich

Little Bears 1 — Early Head Start
Pamela Castro

Koalas — Head Start
Nancy Avile
Corinne Cook-Scales (Teacher Assistant)

Butterflies — Head Start
Magarita Acosta
Janice Johnson (Teacher Assistant)

Bumble Bees — Head Start
Sandra Jimenez
Jasmine Pinon (Teacher Assistant)

School Age

Guadalupe Zenon | School Age Group Worker
Lilith Pond | School Age Group Worker
Geselle Garcia | School Age Group Worker

Home Visitors

Tatiana Bermeo | Home Visitor
Carmen Cuevas | Home Visitor
Dora Lopez | Home Visitor
Carla Cuellar | Home Visitor
Irma Guzman | Home Visitor

Family Support Workers

Daisy Barrios | Family Support Worker
Angelica Negrete | Family Support Worker
LaTasha Williams | Family Support Worker

Adult Education

Juan Martin | Computer Coordinator

Illinois Welcoming Center for Immigrants and Refugees

Roxana Montesdeoca | IWC Support Services Coordinator
Erika Meza | IWC Social Worker
Nayla Rodriguez | IWC Social Worker
Jessica Bustamante | IWC Social Worker
Vanessa Segura | IWC Case Manager

Food Pantry

Philena Price | Food Pantry Coordinator


Emilio Araujo | Director of Development
Joel Stenftenagel | Grant Writer

Support Staff

Araceli Navarro | Paraprofessional
Donna Roman | Paraprofessional
Dayanara Velazquez | Health Aide
Sandra Baez | Food Aide
Jacqueline Ocampo | Kitchen Aide
Lisseth Bustamante | Administrative Receptionist
Stephanie Robles | P.M. Administrative Receptionist
Zitali Farias | P.M. Administrative Receptionist
Crystal Bell | Data Entry Aide


Norma Salinas Molina | Custodian
George Hayden | Maintenance Worker