Jorge Bazaldua - Chair
Jorge comes from an immigrant family from Mexico, Son of Jorge and Socorro Bazaldua. His family has been in small business since the 70’s in the Lower Valley. In January 2016, he opened Lower Valley Fitness Club, formerly known as the Valley Racquet Club. Lower Valley Fitness Club has been able to support the community and members in different avenues. Before he began his profession in business, he worked in sanitation since the age 15. Slowly he worked his way into an office position and at the age of 24, he took the opportunity to help his parents run their business. Since then Jorge has opened an online sticker and t-shirt business. He also helped his sister start the first Crossfit Gym in Sunnyside.
“When I am not at work, well it’s hard to leave work to lift weights, but I love to lift weights. I also consider myself somewhat an outdoorsy person. During spring, summer, and fall; I try to find the time to hike with my beautiful wife and dog and go mountain biking. During the winter months I love to snowboard. I also love reading books but primarily listen to podcasts.”
“Life is hard, hard for everyone, there is no getting out of it, but we get to choose our hard.”
Nathan Gill: Co-Chair
Nathan serves as Youth Pastor at Neighborhood Church in Sunnyside, WA. Nathan was born and raised in Sunnyside, where he attended and graduated from Sunnyside Christian High school. Nathan attended Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Bible and Theology, with a Youth Ministry Major. Nathan has served the local church for 16 years in various roles and positions. Nathan has previously worked in the special education department at Granger School District, as well as Service Alternatives in Sunnyside. In his free time, Nathan enjoys coffee, shopping, traveling, boating, camping and fishing.
Norma Jean Rios: Secretary
Norma Jean Rios is smart, strong, confident and independent. She is the mother of 3 beautiful daughters Tina, Amanda & Stacey. Her 4 grand-kids; Nevaeh, TJ, Cati, and baby boy Alaki are her pride and joy.
Norma likes spending time with her family, playing board games & especially Loteria for hours at a time. She fears spiders and snakes!
“I am proud of my Daughters for I have raised them well and they strive every day to make me proud of their accomplishments. I love my new job as a Legal Assistant~Administration for Rickey C. Kimbrough Attorney At Law. I take my job seriously and feel rewarded when I am able to assist families."
Norma Jean has received many recognitions from her community members; Yakima County, Homeless Connect, The Mid Valley Providers Consortium, YVCC, etc. Her volunteer experience includes working with Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Sunnyside School District, and Planned Parenthood as a Promotor De Salud. You bet you will see her at all community events!
Gilbert Alaniz: At-Large Board Member
Gilberto Alaniz was born in Edinburg, Texas. He attended Middle School and High School, in Sunnyside after years of migrating with his family. With higher education as the motivating goal, he earned his Business Administration degree with a minor in Political Science from Heritage University. He also graduated from Washington State Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Program.
Gilbert currently works for Sea Mar at NCEC/KDNA, as the Director serving Yakima Valley County “La Voz del Campesino”. His background and accomplishments are very unique. They include, but are not limited to; going to Okinawa Japan where he studied Martial Arts, being the Recreational Direction at King County Housing in Seattle, being the Director of Operations at Northwest Rural Opportunities, assisting migrant and seasonal farm workers through Washington Human Development and Yakima Valley OIC as the State Program Director, being a police officer in Granger, and being the first elected Hispanic Mayor in Toppenish.
Over the years Gilberto has served on many boards and committees: “Washington Workforce Board”, “National Migrant Health Programs”, EPIC Board of Directors ”,“ Association of Farm Worker Opportunity Programs- (AFOP)” and many others. He currently has his own business “Alaniz Associates”, where he provides training, in various states for various organizations.
Gilberto has dedicated his life to assist and provide services to the needs of the community, especially the population of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and his plan is to continue to as long as the need exists. Gilberto reminds us all that we should never forget where we come from and to set our Goal of Higher Education.
Blanca Hernandez - Administrative Assistant
Blanca has been part of the Coalition since 2016. She loves her job, serving the community, and working with the fun amazing staff. Blanca graduated from Sunnyside High School in 2001 and is currently attending Yakima Valley College in Grandview. She is a parent volunteer at Outlook Elementary and is a volunteer Catechist for St. Joseph Catholic Church. Because of her love and passion for serving her community Blanca is excited to be part of the team. Blanca is married and has four wonderful children. Has a total of eleven siblings. She loves to cook, exercise, and is fond of farm animals.
Brenda Barrios - Community Coalition Program Specialist
Brenda was raised in Sunnyside, graduated from Sunnyside High school, and followed her dreams by attending the University of Washington, Seattle. There she received a B.A. in Sociology, B.A in Comparative History of Ideas, Minor in Human Rights, and a Business Certificate. Her passion is to be involved in an established organization that is able to empower youth to reach their highest potential as individuals and develop a positive self/cultural identity so it is only fitting that she landed at Sunnyside United-Unidos! She currently advises the High School Prevention Club and is extremely proud of all her students who choose to be a positive leader or advocate.
Her experiences include traveling around the state of Washington as a YMCA Summer Camp Youth Counselor, giving a year of service through City Year in Los Angeles, and working with communities around Seattle & South Africa. She loves traveling, the performing arts, reading, hiking, and spending time with family.
Cathy Kelley - Director of School and Community Youth Substance Abuse Prevention programs
Cathy holds a BA in Applied Psychology and is a Chemical Dependency Professional. Cathy began her career in the Substance Abuse Treatment field before moving into substance abuse prevention. Before coming to the Sunnyside School District, she worked at MERIT Resource Services as a Senior Counselor and Prevention/Intervention Specialist, and at ESD 105 in Yakima as the Student Assistance Program Coordinator overseeing prevention/intervention programs is 23 school districts. Cathy oversees the Student Assistance program in the Sunnyside School District and coordinates the community coalition; Sunnyside United-Unidos.
As a lifelong Sunnyside resident, Cathy has a great appreciation for her community and all it offers. She is passionate about seeing that youth and families are healthy, safe and successful.
Cathy is an outdoors person; loving to be in the mountains hiking or mountain climbing. She is an active member of Central Washington Mountain Rescue and Yakima County Search and Rescue. In her free time, you will find her spending time with her 5 grandchildren, in the mountains, traveling or reading. Her favorite times are family camping trips.