Rita Mancera Hernandez was born in Mexico City and grew up in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. She comes from a small family that values education, hard work and family time. Her experience with non-profit organizations goes back all the way to her teen years.
Rita’s previous work with the YMCA of Mexico and the Latin American and Caribbean Alliance of YMCAs gave her a foundation for understanding the many challenges and strengths of North, Central and South America, an introduction to poverty, inequality and immigration, and a taste for the results of collaboration among agencies.
However, it has been her ten years of living in Pescadero and her relationships with local immigrant friends and neighbors (as well as with community leaders and mentors) that opened her eyes to a different implication of immigration. She has seen poverty right next door to wealth, injustice in labor practices and the challenges and opportunities of living in an isolated rural community such as the South Coast.
Rita joined Puente in 2006 with responsibilities for home visiting families with children ages 0-5 to talk with parents about early childhood development. Later she became Puente’s Community Builder with the primary goal to create programs that would introduce the Latino and the Anglo community to each other. For four years she served as Puente’s Program Director overseeing a diversity of programs from immigration to physical activity to education and youth leadership. She is currently Puente’s Deputy Executive Director where she is responsible for integrating all aspects of Puente’s programs and activities, including grant writing, fundraising and budgeting.
Rita’s goals for the community are to continue closing the gap in education for children, youth and adults, increasing services so youth can succeed academically and personally in the 21th century, expanding the development of local leadership and supporting local individuals and families to move out and stay out of poverty.
Rita lives in Pescadero with her husband Jim and son William.