Our stellar team is made up of four full-time staff, three part-time staff, a number of affiliated volunteer staff, and four Border Fellow interns. Our leadership is comprised of individuals with varied backgrounds and experience, creating a team that is able to effectively impact our community with their unique giftings.
FULL TIME STAFF
Sami DiPasquale has served as the executive director of Ciudad Nueva for the last 11 years, living with his family in the Ciudad Nueva community (Rio Grande District) in the heart of El Paso, Texas. Born to American parents in the country of Jordan, Sami spent the majority of his childhood and young adult years in the Middle East – living in Jordan, Cyprus, Egypt and India – before completing college in the United States. He holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (International Development) from Wheaton College and an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso. He has spent the last fifteen years immersed in refugee and immigrant communities in the U.S., working in refugee resettlement with World Relief in the greater Chicago area prior to joining Ciudad Nueva.
Sami serves on the national board of directors of the Christian Community Development Association and the international board of directors of Micah Global – both networks focused on bringing people together who are striving for flourishing communities free from poverty and injustice. He has also helpe*.d form a number of local or regional groups focused on poverty alleviation and bridge-building in the business, community development and church sectors. Sami’s driving motivation is to join others, close and far, in bridging divides and moving toward reconciliation with God, his neighbors and the rest of creation.
Sami loves to learn more about his neighbors and the border region, walk across the border into Ciudad Juarez for tacos, go on backpacking trips into the mountains, visit the small farm that he and his wife are long-distance partners in, dream up new entrepreneurial and job-creation schemes, help lead trips to the Middle East, or discover back alley coffee/tea shops in unfamiliar cities across the world.
Jose Luis “Joe” Gavaldon is the Outreach Director for Ciudad Nueva Community Outreach. Joe was born in Juarez, Mexico and raised right across the Rio Grande River border in the Segundo Barrio of El Paso, Texas. As a young adult he worked with youth and college students through various local churches, become an ordained minister, and worked with Urban Young Life in the same neighborhood.
After 25 years with Young Life he brought his experience working with the kids of the Barrio to Ciudad Nueva, continuing to build relationships with the parents of kids, and seeing churches getting involved in the local community, working together regardless of race. He has received awards from local businesses, and continues to speak locally regarding his work. When not reaching out to families, one will find Joe reading books, fishing, or working on graduate studies in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Bethany Rivera Molinar
Bethany Rivera Molinar is the Youth & Family Programs Director and Grant Writer for Ciudad Nueva. She was born and raised in El Paso and is a graduate of University of Texas at El Paso.
After earning her bachelor of science degree she moved to Waco, Texas to pursue graduate studies at Truett Seminary and the Baylor School of Social Work, where she earned both Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work (with a concentration on Community Development) degrees.
Bethany is passionate about faith based community development and worshipping God with mind, body and spirit. In 2013 Bethany and Adrian returned to El Paso and continue to learn what it means to better love and serve their local community within their hometown.
Bethany’s community development experience includes living in and co-managing an intentionally diverse living community, case management, administration, job training, bridging the local church to their own community, coordinating a statewide faith-based community development conference and faith-based community organizing.
Bethany’s research experience includes understanding and defining social work in congregational settings and learning how to more effectively engage parents with their children’s education through community organizing. When she is not pursuing faith based community development, she enjoys spending time with her family, singing and performing music, travel and pursuing the crafty arts.
Claudia Chavez is the Immigration Legal Assistance Program Coordinator for Ciudad Nueva. She is a native of El Paso and grew up in the central part of the city, attending St. Joseph and Loretto Academy.
In order to pursue her degrees, Claudia moved to San Antonio, Texas. She attended St. Mary’s University where she actively participated in Campus Ministry and the President’s Peace Commission. While completing her degree, she volunteered with The Visitation House and Proyecto Hospitalidad, and engaged in an independent study with Patricia Owen, PhD. The Visitation House is a non-profit organization that addresses the needs of vulnerable women and children by helping them achieve self-sufficiency. Proyecto Hospitalidad was an organization led by Laura Sanchez that provided housing, food and legal assistance for immigrants. Claudia’s independent study participation focused on working with students identified as “at risk” due to their family’s economic, or social stressors. She graduated from St. Mary’s with a BA in Psychology and Minor in Art. Between degrees, she worked for a children’s home where she served as a child care worker and later the Therapeutic Art Program Director.
Claudia completed her MS in Counseling Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University. She spent six years with a non-profit organization providing services for children and their families with the goal of helping children to be more successful in school. She also worked with a private practice providing counseling for elders and children. After several years away, Claudia returned to El Paso to care for parents and raise her family with her husband Paul. She worked as a Parental Engagement Leader, then joined the team at Ciudad Nueva.
Claudia has spent her career serving others, working alongside them to help them move toward their best quality of life. In her new position at Ciudad Nueva, she hopes to continue that mission as she works with people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families.
PART TIME STAFF
Marianne DiPasquale is the Office Manager for Ciudad Nueva Community Outreach, Inc. She was born in San Antonio, TX and moved to El Paso, TX when she was 6 years old. She graduated from Wheaton College in 1999 with a degree in Spanish. Marianne’s family frequently had people from different cultures living with them during her childhood and that, combined with growing up on the US/Mexico border, developed in her a lifelong interest in cultures and languages. She loves to travel and was lucky as a teenager and young adult to have many opportunities to visit other countries, including studying for a year in Italy.
Marianne initially began volunteering as a bookkeeper for Ciudad Nueva in 2007 which eventually led to her current position as the Office Manager. Prior to working with Ciudad Nueva, Marianne had multiple years of experience as an administrative assistant and bookkeeper. She also co-owns a family farm and an e-commerce business, and is pursuing graduate studies in accounting.
Marianne, her husband Sami and their four children love living in the neighborhood where Ciudad Nueva is located, and have had the privilege to watch many of the kids that they first met as 3rd graders, grow up, graduate from high school and attend college. The relationships with neighbors and with the local kids and their families is what keeps Marianne committed to Ciudad Nueva. In her free time, Marianne mostly likes to spend time with her family, lift weights, garden, and read science fiction novels.
Jen Kaufmann is the Program Coordinator for Launch Pad, a program for elementary school students. Jen was born and raised in Chicago, IL and moved to El Paso in 2005 after graduating from Valparaiso University with a degree in English and Education. Community Development and mission work brought Jen to the El Paso/Juarez area. In Juarez, Jen taught English classes, organized children’s programming, coordinated a teen girls’ home and worked with a variety of mission teams.
Jen’s connection to Ciudad Nueva started soon after her move to El Paso. She was a volunteer for many programs before coming on staff. She volunteered in the middle school art program, the Launch Pad art program, worked the climbing wall for middle schoolers and took high schoolers to Young Life Camp. Jen and her husband, David, moved into the Ciudad Nueva neighborhood in 2009 to be able to get to know neighbors better and invest in the lives of kids.
After teaching 2nd grade for 4 years at a local school Jen stepped into a role coordinating elementary school programs at Ciudad Nueva. As a staff member, Jen has attended a CCDA national conference, a one week intensive community development workshop, and various other small conferences. She also participated in the Border Fellows class.
Yolanda (Yoli) Milliorn is the Border Fellows Director. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, she graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Music Performance.
She has been a member of the Church of St. Clement for 25 years and has taught Christian Education at St. Clement’s Parish School for 18 years. Active in church life she has been on mission trips to Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. She serves on the prayer team, flower guild, and small group ministry. She is married to the Rev. Rick Milliorn, associate pastor and contemporary worship director at the Church of St. Clements. They have 3 grown children: Andrew, Aaron and Laura.
I am excited to be working with Ciudad Nueva and the Border Fellows program.
I am honored to work with a program that serves the needs of our El Paso community.
Gustavo De Los Rios
Gustavo De Los Rios was born and raised in El Paso, TX. He is the current youth program assistant for middle school and high school programs in
Ciudad Nueva. Gustavo has attended all three programs which included Launch Pad (Elementary), Kids Create (Middle School) and then eventually attending Young Life (High School) which have provided him with many great experiences and has helped him gain many qualities you find in a leader. Gustavo has always lived in the neighborhood which has helped him better understand and relate to kids in the neighborhood that attend Kids Create and Young Life. When he attended high school when he started volunteering at Ciudad Nueva in 2013 he did that all the way up to his senior year of high school. In 2015 he got offered an internship that lasted for a year where he would be specifically volunteering at Kids Create (Middle School).
After he graduated he started attending the University of Texas at El Paso in 2016 where he started a degree in social work. After his internship he joined the Ciudad Nueva staff part time and would be assigned to be the youth program assistant for both Kids Create (Middle school) and Young Life (High School) programs.
Simon Lu is a Border Fellow working with middle schoolers for Ciudad Nueva. He also works as a immigration legal assistant for Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services. Simon was born in Los Angeles, and graduated from the George Washington University in 2014 with a degree in International Development. Simon is motivated by his desire to develop friendships with Latino neighbors and reunite families. Simon enjoys writing stories in his free time.
Tamy serves as our first Community Connector. She also coordinates the food co-op groups, ensuring that they run smoothly and also sharing with the neighborhood about the co-ops. Tamy also just started as our Elementary School Program co-Coordinator with Alison.
Tamy is pursuing a BC degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Anthropology. Her children have participated in Ciudad Nueva youth programs for ten years, and she has volunteered her time and talent throughout the years with Ciudad Nueva Programs and special events.
She has lived in the Rio Grande Neighborhood her entire life. Tamy is a strong Christian and provides love and encouragement to those she leads.
Alison Conrad Schulte is the Partnership Development Coordinator and co-director of LaunchPad. She moved with her husband, Spencer to El Paso from Washington state in the summer of 2016.
Alison has a bachelor of arts in education degree from Eastern Washington University. Her background includes working with public library systems, teaching and working as an administrative staff member of her home church in Washington.
She enjoys working with youth of all ages and has been a mentor in Ciudad Nueva’s elementary program, LaunchPad, since arriving in El Paso. Additionally she supports the partnership development at Ciudad Nueva by assisting with donor, volunteer and fundraising needs.
Living in El Paso has provided the opportunity to learn about the borderland and she is hopeful to continue learning about the culture, city and needs of the neighborhood Ciudad Nueva serves.
Alma serves as our Food Co-op Manager. Alma was born and raised in Juarez her first fourteen years, before moving to El Paso, where she graduated from El Paso High School, and has completed two years of Community College coursework. She was drawn to Ciudad Nueva because she liked the people and the programs, the love and caring she saw exhibited, as she and her family became involved. As Alma became more involved, her ability to organize has demonstrated itself. As our food co-op manager, she loves helping others. Alma loves spending her free time with her kids. Though she claims to be naturally shy, her infectious personality is winsome.
AFFILIATED VOLUNTEER STAFF
Gary does administrative work for Ciudad Nueva Community Outreach. Gary was born in Argentina to Southern Baptist missionaries, living in Argentina for nine years before moving to El Paso, where he graduated from high school. Gary has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from New Mexico State University, and Masters in Theology and in Education from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Gary is fluent in Spanish. Gary was drawn to Christian community development work because he feels it bridges evangelism (which tends to emphasize the spiritual while neglecting the physical) and social work (which tends to emphasize the physical while neglecting the spiritual). Gary was drawn to Ciudad Nueva Community Outreach for its pursuit of Christian community development. Gary likes to help out in behind the scenes details and logistics. As Ciudad Nueva Community Outreach continues to grow, Gary wants to help navigate the administration that comes from growing a community center. Gary loves to Facebook his experiences at Ciudad Nueva Community Outreach and in the Rio Grande neighborhood and browse news websites during his introvert time. Gary is a member of the Christian Community Development Association family, the Border Southwest CCDA Regional family, the Texas Christian Community Development Network family, and the El Paso CCDA family. Gary loves being part of one-on-one question-filled conversations where a person has been involved in relief work, and is wondering what the next step is.
BORDER FELLOW INTERNS
Lexi Moles is a Border Fellow for the 2017-2018 year and will be working with the middle schoolers at Ciudad Nueva. Lexi was born in Colorado Springs but was raised in Northern Virginia in the D.C. – Metro area. She graduated from James Madison University (JMU) in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Social Work. Lexi is a Jazzercise instructor and loves to share her passion for it. She was involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship while at college where she learned the vital importance of community and leadership. As a senior at JMU, Lexi led a college freshmen small group with a co-leader. She was privileged to travel to many places around the world for mission and school trips, including Israel, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Russia, England, France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Meeting different people across the world inspired Lexi to pursue social and economic justice for everyone. Lexi is excited to be in El Paso, grateful to be a part of a wonderful team with Ciudad Nueva and the Church of St. Clement, and is looking forward to the year ahead.