Our Volunteers    

  Elisabeth Tatum   

Founder & Visionary


Elisabeth Tatum was born and raised in South America. She has a combined Bachelor's Degree in Child Development, Family Relationships and Elementary Education, and she is  a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has worked in her private practice in Aptos, Ca.for over 35 years to the present.
She speaks four languages fluently. Among her extensive travels she arrived as a tourist in Oaxaca in 1999  where she discovered the orphanage Casa Hogar. Since then she has passionately worked
towards supporting, guiding, educating and encouraging these children to pursue their education in order to be able to defy their predetermined life of ignorant poverty. Elisabeth has spent over a decade committed to helping VIDA children through education and empowerment.

  Damian Maldonado   



Damian Maldonado is professionally and personally involved in a broad range of activities that facilitate the improvement of working and living conditions for underserved individuals. Raised both in the United States and Mexico, Damian worked side by side with his parents as migrant farm workers for many years.  He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz, and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University of Fresno.  His diverse, professional experience has included working with private, government and non-profit organizations both in California and nationally. Damian has served on numerous boards including Tulare County Child Care Planning Council, California-Mexico Health Initiative Regional Advisory Board, the California Department of Health Services/Nutrition Network Advisory Committee, Cieba Public Schools Board, Santa Cruz Community Foundation’s Diversity Fund Board and others. In his current position, Damian serves as the Training & Development Director of the Central California Alliance for Health, a $1B public, non-profit Medicaid managed care health plan serving over 300,000 members in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced counties.  He and his partner reside in Santa Cruz.

 Ms. Candelaria Lourdes "Lulu" Vasquez Díaz      

VIDA Hub & Care


Lourdes has worked for the past 22 years with numerous generations of children for whom she has been: teacher, confidant, mother, cook, disciplinarian, comforter and nurse. She is currently housing and being foster mother to two Jr High students and two High School students.

Lourdes is “The Hub” of V.I.D.A.’s program since she is the one everyone turns to first when there is any need. Her skills are grounded on her Childhood Education Degree and in her enormous heart and intense passion to further children’s wellbeing.

    Lourdes "Lulu"       



Enrique has worked with our children and youngsters for the past 17 years. He has been a father, coach, sports teacher, disciplinarian, social skills educator, mentor and extra curriculum director.

Enrique has a degree in Physical Education as well as in law.


Both Ms. Vasquez Díaz (“Lulú”) and Mr. Aragón Canseco (“El Profe”) are the pillars in Oaxaca without whom our work would have hardly taken place.

 Mr. Eriberto Enrique "Profe" Aragón Canseco    
  Gina Isaacs 

Board Member

Aaron Zweigle

Board Member

Tara Thomas

Board Member

  Cristina Carluccio  

Board Member