Who We Are

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Administration Staff

Erika Lubensky

Erika is a passionate supporter of women, children and families. Most recently, Erika was Chief of Staff at Women for Women International where she worked to improve the lives of marginalized women in countries affected by war. Prior to that, Erika worked with the Landmines Survivors Network in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and was part of the Board of Directors of Opening Doors, a non-profit organization in Sacramento dedicated to work with refugees, immigrants and underserved people in Northern California. Erika’s industry experience includes Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, and the wine industry. Erika grew up in Ecuador and received her Master of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Ms. Lubensky is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow and has frequently participated in speaking engagements for the Forté Foundation and the University of Michigan. Ms. Lubensky has addressed global women’s issues across the media, appearances include: CNN Café, La Diferencia, Telemiami, The Record of Stockton, and Pacifica Radio.

Maria Bernal

Maria was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico. She moved to the Napa Valley after graduating from a private Accounting and Business Administration academy. Currently Maria is working on a Computer Studies Degree and has taken several accounting and business courses at NVC. Maria has been employed at CRC since 1998, and in her spare time enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and her dog. Her favorite quote is: “Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.” Bronnie Ware

Maribel Miranda

Maribel, a graduate of Napa High School, has been taking early childhood classes through Napa Valley College and UC Davis Extension. At CRC she wears a variety of “hats”. She is involved in many aspects of the Resource & Referral Program including assisting with preparation of workshops and Active Minds sessions, Registration and enrollment for Active Minds and other administrative tasks for the Toy Library & Early Learning Center. She is responsible for our many beautiful flyers and is the editor of our e-newsletter, the “Early E-dition”. In her spare time Maribel enjoys going out with friends and watching action movies.

Katie Schmidt

Katie was born and raised in the Napa Valley. She is a graduate of New Technology High School and is currently a student at Napa Valley College, working on obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a concentration in Accounting. She enjoys reading, watching movies, going to concerts, hiking, and is an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants! Katie loves working for an agency that has such a fun and creative environment where the bottom line is helping others and the community.

Eva Simonsson

Eva is originally from Sweden, but grew up in Mexico, Venezuela and Germany. She came to this country 25 years ago to pursue her studies; She holds a Master’s degree in International Business Diplomacy from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. A former wine industry sales and marketing executive, Eva became an advocate and a primary caretaker of children with special needs after the birth of her children. She is a recent graduate of Leadership Napa Valley and has a passion for developing programs and community partnerships to improve the lives of children. Eva lives in Napa with her husband and two boys and on weekends can be found in her vegetable garden or on a hiking trail in the hills around town.

Alternative Payment Program Staff

Jeanne Fridolfs

Jeanne, Manager for our Alternative Payment Program, joined CRC as a Case Manager in 1999. Previous to joining CRC she worked for many years with children and families in a variety of preschool settings. Jeanne loves understanding and working with regulations. She likes the fact that “every day is different”-you never know what to expect and it keeps things from being too routine. Most of all Jeanne genuinely likes the families she works with and enjoys helping others. Her favorite children’s author is Robert Munsch who wrote the ever popular book “I love you forever”.

Joann Acantilado

Joann was born in Oxnard, California but grew up all over the world, being part of a military family. She has traveled to many countries including: most parts of Europe, Mexico, Spain, Greece, the Philippines, and her favorite-Italy. Joann speaks Spanish and Tagalog, and would love to learn more languages. She enjoys playing the piano, crafting, scrapbooking, cooking, watching movies, photography, beading, and going to the beach. She has an interest in, and personal experience with, children with special needs. One of her favorite quotes is “When you fully trust a person without doubt you’ll get one of two results, a person for life or a lesson for life.” (Author Unknown) The loves of her life are her children: Christian, Isabella, and Anai. Joann has been with CRC since 2005.

Sonia Garcia

Sonia is integral part of the CRC “family”, having joined CRC in 1999! She worked in both the Toy Library and our Resource & Referral Program before becoming a Case Manager. What she enjoys the most about her job is empowering and encouraging her clients to reach their self sufficiency goals. One of her favorite quotes is “Live your life as if this was the last day of your life because surely one day it will be.” She loves to spend time with her grandchildren and read them stories from one of her favorite children’s book authors, Eric Carle, books like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?”.

Heather Whitacre

Heather started at CRC in 2015. She grew up in Hercules, California, and finished her degree in Child Development at CSU, Chico. She stayed in Chico for 15 years before moving to Napa. While in Chico, she worked as a teacher and then a supervisor at a Child Development Center on site of a transitional housing facility for homeless families. This is where she developed a love for working with families in need and their children. She also spent about 2 years at Butte County’s local resource and referral agency as a Resource and Referral Specialist before joining CRC. Heather enjoys exploring Napa, photography, reading, and spending quality time with her husband and son.  

Other Programs

Debora J. Ferrero-Waite

Debora J. Ferrero-Waite is a native Californian and longtime resident of Napa Valley with a life long passion for teaching and learning. Debora holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Supervision. During her twenty-six year career in education, Debora was employed by the Napa Valley Unified School District for fifteen years. She served as an elementary school teacher, principal, district administrator, and founder of Shearer Charter School. Now in her second career, Debora is involved with the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining the staff at Community Resources for Children, Debora served as the first Executive Director of the St. Helena Family Center and Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center. She co-designed and directed the Middle School Connections Collaborative Project. With a spirit for exploring, discovering, and connecting – ideas, people, and resources – Debora has a special interest in program design and development and collaborative partnerships.

Lleraldy Chavez

Lleraldy Chavez has studied Early Childhood Development in Morelia Michoacán, at the University Montrer. She has worked four years for the Child Development Center as an Early Learning Assistant. Lleraldy has also worked for an orphanage in Morelia Michoacán as a case worker for special needs children. Lleraldy enjoys spending time with family and friends and exploring Northern California with her partner Cesar and daughter Yamileth. She is enjoying her position in the Toy library and Early Learning Center and looks forward to serving Napa’s children and seeing new faces.

Esmeralda Gil

Esmeralda was born and raised in Napa Valley. She is a graduate of Justin-Siena High School and has BA degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish from UC Davis. Esmeralda has a passion for helping underprivileged families and children of Napa Valley. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, painting, photography and learning new things; she is currently learning to play the guitar and Korean. One of her favorite quotes is “It is important to work hard, but what is more important is to believe in yourself” (Author Unknown).

Judy Nielsen

Judy has been in the field of Early Care and Education (ECE) for almost 15 years. Her previous roles include, infant/toddler teacher, preschool teacher, camp counselor, ECE Program Coordinator and ECE Program Director. Judy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University in Psychology, with a minor in Child Development and Family Studies and has taken additional ECE classes along the way. She spent the majority of her childhood in New Jersey and moved out to California over twelve years ago. Judy and her husband have two young children and love exploring all that the Bay Area has to offer.

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