Board of Directors
Dra. Martha Melgoza
Martha’s passion lies in working with young children and their families. Her main focus is to support adults' understanding of children from a developmental perspective.This lens provides adults with the opportunity to build more authentic learning and living spaces and to better appreciate children’s unique perspective of themselves and the world they live in.
Through this work Martha hopes to provide the basis for children to be an integral part of their community, to learn to speak for themselves, participate in growing their knowledge of the world,have fun, and contribute to the dismantling of systemic oppression.
Martha’s 35 years of experience are predominantly centered in early childhood education in one form or another. Whether it be as an early childhood educator, director, teacher in elementary school, teaching college classes in early childhood, or leading parenting classes, her focus is on children and how to better create spaces for raising and educating them in community and with respect.
Michael Aldaco is a retired higher education executive. He began as a counselor in the Educational Opportunity Program at UC Santa Barbara. When he retired from the University in 2008 he was serving as the Assistant Vice President for Student Development & Academic Services for the University of California system. His entire 36 year career centered around educational equity. In each position he held he worked on increasing the number of students from groups who were underrepresented in higher education, who were academically prepared to succeed in rigorous academic programs, and who graduate from college. He has deep experience in data analysis, staff management and development, budget development and management, and service delivery. When he led California’s Statewide Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program, the organization was awarded the prestigious 2001 Innovations in American Government award from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
Michael graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1975. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and a M.A. in Education. Michael and his wife, Luci Castruita, have three children and three grandchildren. Two of their children, Natalia and Nico, attended Centro Vida as did one of their granddaughters, Cristina.
In her present position, Lupe advocates for Chicana/Latino undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and also serves as a community affairs liaison. She has a Masters from the University of California, Berkeley in Social Work. As an instructor at UCB her courses include: Community and Leadership Development, and Fundraising and Philanthropy in Latino communities. She has served as a council member of the North Fair Oaks Advisory Council and commissioner on the Commission on the Status of Women in San Mateo County. Among many commitments she has also served as chair to the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies and is currently the national treasurer to Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) a national Mujeres higher education organization. Lupe is currently the Vice-Chair of the Chicana/Latina Foundation, and resides in Berkeley.
Vladimir Foronda is Senior Prospect Analyst on the University Development and Alumni Relations department at UC Berkeley. Since joining Cal's Prospect Development team in 2014, Vladimir has focused on performing affinity-based prospecting, portfolio optimization, and donor pool analysis to further the university's fundraising efforts. He has also provided assistance to a number of smaller units that lack the resources and/or know-how to undertake prospecting projects. Vladimir enjoys applying his problem-solving skills to tackle varied projects that often involve dealing with large volumes of information with the aim of positioning his clients to succeed. He has taught database use, reporting, and search classes as well as provided customized one-on-one trainings, and actively participates in working groups and other efforts to improve data collection, data quality, and reporting. Prior to his current position at Cal, Vladimir worked at UC Davis, Earthjustice, a national non-profit public interest law firm, Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and Centro Latino. He has a long history of working for or supporting non-profits. Currently, he volunteers on the boards of two Bay Area nonprofits and serves as finance chair on Alianza, a Latino staff organization on campus. Vladimir is a UC Berkeley alumnus, having earned a dual degree in Sociology and Development Studies.
Angelica graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Chicano Studies. After college, she began working for the University of California, Berkeley as an Administrative Assistant. During her time in this administrative role, she developed an interest in finance and now works as a Financial Analyst for the university. In her spare time, Angelica enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.
Jesús Mena is the son of undocumented Mexican immigrants from the Rio Grande Valley who grew as a migrant farm worker. He was a prize-winner in the UC-Irvine Chicano Literary Contest. His stories won first prize in the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference and is an alum of the Mesa Refuge Writers’ Residency. He served as managing editor of Homenaje a la Ciudad de Los Angeles, a pioneering Latino literary journal. His columns and commentaries have been published in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, Hispanic Link, and aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
He worked as a journalist for the Brownsville Herald, Orange County Register and Oakland Tribune, and served as director of communications for UC-Berkeley and the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
Margo has been a West Berkeley community member since she and her family moved close to Centro Vida over 25 years ago. She retired from EBMUD in 2018 and joined the BAHIA Board shortly thereafter. While she focused her working career on the water, transportation, energy and communication systems that make it possible for us to live our modern lives, she is committed to the education and childcare infrastructure to ensure that we nurture children who become compassionate, caring, involved community members. She holds a BA in Sociology from UC Riverside and a BS in Engineering from SFSU.