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Oldest community center in Pilsen announces first Latina CEO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Denise Stennis
312/226-0963 ext 296
dstennis@gadshillcenter.org

Maricela García to Assume Leadership Role of Gads Hill Center

Chicago, IL April 1, 2012 – The Board of Directors of Gads Hill Center announced today the appointment of Maricela García as its new Chief Executive Officer. Ms. García is the first Latina in the agency’s history to hold this position and succeeds Barbara Castellan who led this 114-year old non-profit organization for the past 19 years.

Ms. García has extensive experience in nonprofit management. She held the position of Executive Director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and of the Latino Policy Forum. These organizations became strong and influential institutions under Ms. García’s leadership. Most recently, she held the position of Director of Capacity Building and Juvenile Justice Policy at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Ms. García has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a policy fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University’s Leadership Program.

“The Board of Directors is very excited about bringing Maricela García to lead Gads Hill Center into the future” stated Jorge Cazares, Board President. He added, “After an extensive national search, we are pleased that we selected a Chicago resident who knows the City and especially the communities we service. Maricela has demonstrated experience leading and building organizations with vision and integrity.”


Gads Hill Center was founded in 1898 as part of the Settlement House Movement in Chicago. Maricela García is the sixth Chief Executive Officer in the 114 years that the organization has served Chicago families in the Lower West Side. “I am excited to join an organization that for more than a century has helped families make a better life. I pledge to work hard to accomplish the mission of Gads Hill so that our children and youth have the opportunity to achieve their full potential,” stated Ms. García.

Gads Hill Center is a family resource center that serves economically disadvantaged families to make a better life for their children with programming that provides learning support and educational enrichment, early childhood development, and out-of-school care and support for children and youth. Every year, the Center provides services to over 2,500 children, youth, and adults from the Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park, and North Lawndale communities. Gads Hill Center has been a constant in Pilsen throughout its history. The Chicago community of Pilsen has an ethnically rich and diverse history. The Irish and Germans were the first to occupy the neighborhood, arriving after the Chicago fire of 1871. Czechs, Bohemians, Lithuanians, Poles and Italians settled in the neighborhood at the turn of the 20th Century. Since World War II, Pilsen has welcomed Latino immigrants, mainly of Mexican origin.

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Tags: Chicago, Gads Hill Center, Latinas, Non-profit

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