Meet The Team
Kyle Whalen, Executive Director
Kyle started at La Luz Centro Cultural in November of 2021. He has a B.S. in business administration with an emphasis on management. He has worked in a variety of positions within the non-profit realm that have helped him learn various skills. Although an administrator, his passion is to help people develop the skills needed to succeed in life. Kyle's ultimate goal, outside of having a happy family and maintaining a strong faith in God, is to prepare all children and youth to have a positive outlook on life.
Valeria Gonzalez, DOJ Accredited Representative
Valeria holds a Diploma in Culinary Arts from Western Culinary Institute, along with a BA in Spanish and a MA in Post-Secondary Education: Student Affairs from the University of Northern Iowa. Her education and work experience has allowed her to work and interact with a multitude of people of different cultural backgrounds, viewpoints and personalities. Val enjoys working one on one with people on a personal, grass roots level, in the community. From gastronomic exploration, world travel, and professional experiences in hospitality, human services and most recently, higher education, she has been provided a well-rounded look at life. This global perspective has provided a lens that has allowed her to work closely with the growing Latinx demographic locally and across the state and has opened her eyes to the discrimination, injustices and micro-aggressions that happen and the stress that underrepresented populations, minorities and people of color deal with, and endure, on a daily basis. This motivates her to help make a difference in this world, no matter how small. Val believes it is our job to provide hope and to ensure that everyone’s rights to a quality education is enacted, while supporting individuals to gain the caliber of education needed to walk through the door of opportunity when it is opened.
Eiza Castillo, Intake Specialist
Thelma Rivera, Program Coordinator
Thelma was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. She grew up in Alamo/Donna, Texas since she was 3 years old and moved to Belmond, IA in 2017. She loves working with kids of all ages and has a passion for helping others in general. She has a son named Dorian who is in 5th grade and a daughter, Noemi in 8th and both attend school in the Hampton-Dumont CAL school district. She is currently enrolled with Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge for her Associate’s Degree in Human Services. She enjoys spending time with her family and her pets. She loves to craft and listen to just about any kind of music. She is excited to form a part of La Luz and looks forward to a wonderful experience here!
Janette Flores Acolt, Development Coordinator