I am originally from the Aurora area and have lived here most of my life. When I was a young child I moved to Mexico with my family for about five years. There, I became fluent in Spanish and was able to experience life from a different perspective. I learned to appreciate diversity, the effects of good education, and parent involvement. I now live with my wife in Aurora and we have two beautiful girls, Rubi and Frida who we are raising bilingual.
I earned a double major in Early Childhood Education and Spanish at Millikin University in Decatur, IL in 2010. During my studies I traveled to Latin America to visit schools and to continue learning about different cultures. After graduating, I taught bilingual preschool for four years in St. Charles before moving to the West Aurora school district where I would be able to work with a much larger Spanish-speaking population.
Throughout my career I have facilitated different parenting groups. I have also started several programs in the districts I have worked in which focus on engaging parents and strengthening the school and home connection. For me, seeking out programs and opportunities to involve fathers in their children’s development is what I am most passionate about. I work with Changing Children's Worlds Foundation in order to meet my goal of promoting parental involvement in education and supporting parents as they advocate for their children.
Fernando Molina was born in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi, Mexico and received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Marista University in 2000. Fernando has worked extensively with community projects in Mexico. He worked with a literacy project for people with limited access to services with the National Council of Education Development, as well as working with the State Congress in San Luis Potosi to create, develop, plan, execute and evaluate a Community Assessment. Fernando has participated in Civil Peace Campaigns promoting human rights in Chiapas, Mexico and worked as a counselor for a program called Children of the Streets. Fernando began facilitating workshops about Human Rights, self-esteem and leadership with the School of Civic Training. After arriving to the United States in 2000, Fernando has been collaborating with various community organizations as a volunteer and/or consultant promoting the development of sustainable communities based on the Popular Education methodology by offering workshops about self-esteem, leadership and civic participation.
Originally from Minnesota and a mother of one daughter, Kassia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Luther College. Kassia has worked in a variety of contexts including: as a Child Development Specialist with pregnant mothers, doing home visits and play groups with children 0-3 years for Two Rivers Head Start Agency; as a Community Systems Developer at Kane County Health Department where she aided in tripling the number of programs for birth-3 programs; as an Organizer and Trainer with COFI (Community Organizing and Family Issues) working with parents on personal, family and community goal in leadership training and as a Workshop Facilitator for Latino Policy Forum’s Promotores de Imigracion (Immigration Promoters) program on topics such as parent involvement, self-esteem, communication and stress relief. In addition to facilitating English and Spanish workshops for Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation, currently Kassia works at SPARK (Strong Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) in Aurora as a Family Resource Specialist. At SPARK, Kassia works to connect with families in the area to help enroll their birth to 5-year-olds into quality early childhood programs. Kassia has also been a bilingual Parent Café Facilitator and Trainer with Be Strong Families for over 5 years. There she is the secretary on the board of directors and represents the voice of the parents on the board.
I am Luz Palacios, I have 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren. I have been a West Aurora School District Parent Educator and Home Visitor since 1992 to present. My main focus is to support parents to be their child’s first and most important teacher.
“With a solid beginning, parents lay the foundation to their children success”
Michelle J. Clark,
M.S.Ed., LCPC, NCC
Michelle provided therapy to youth in a residential treatment center before joining TCFS in 1999. She began by offering youth crisis assessment/intervention and family therapy, and has since expanded her clinical work to include therapy with adults and couples, including Employee Assistance Program work.
Over the years, Michelle’s passion for prevention and early intervention programming grew. In 2006, she joined the TCFS management team as Coordinator of Community Services. In that role, Michelle supervises all of the agency’s Prevention, Early Intervention, and Wellness programs, as well as continuing to co-facilitate groups, develop new programs, and offer both community presentations and facilitated networking discussions.
Michelle has special training in anger management for youth and adults, the treatment of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders, clients who self-mutilate, strengths-based wraparound services, implementation of parenting programs, and the use of play techniques in therapy. She has been trained by the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation in the facilitation of the International Child Development Program (ICDP-USA) and is pursuing trainer status.
Michelle received her Master’s of Science in Education with an emphasis on Counseling in a Community Setting from Northern Illinois University. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor.