Board of Directors: Officers
Jess Montes, President
Rafael Ramirez, Vice President/President Elect
Martha Carreon, Secretary
Professor Rio Hondo College
Irene Muro, Treasurer
First Day Executive Director
Alex Eliseo Tenorio, President Emeritus
Human management retired
Board of Directors: Members
Graciela De l Torre-Ferrada
League of Women’s Voters
Whittier City Council
Mary Ann Pacheco
RHC Board of Trustee
Whittier Union High School District
Outreach Whittier First Day
Associate Professor; Brandman University
School Board Member
Jess Montes: President
Jess Montes was born in East Los Angeles and graduated from Garfield High School in L.A. and attended Trade Tech, where he excelled in varsity tennis. His career included working as a printer for 15 years, a salesman in the food industry for 10 years, and a salesman in the toy industry until retirement. Throughout this time, he was a Board Member of the Montebello Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club and the owner of “The Pantera Rosa”, a nightclub in Montebello.
Currently, Jess serves as President of HOT, was Vice President and treasurer for HOT.
Jess also volunteers at several other non-profit organizations which include “Los Jovenes,” “Friends of Pio Pico,” and “Build The Dreams.” Los Jovenes is an organization that supports homeless young men that may also be involved in drugs, alcohol or both. Our goal is to provide shelter, structure, and rehabilitation. Friends of Pio Pico is a support group for the historical park that raises funds to maintain the facility. Build The Dreams raises money for scholarships for deserving students from low-income families and a variety of locations including San Gabriel, Los Angeles, Whittier and East Los Angeles.
Jess works tirelessly at getting grants, donations, entertainment for all the non-profit events he belongs to. Jess brings organizational and teaching skills on non-profit task from his business and volunteering experiences to our HOT organization. Jess is married and enjoys family life and playing tennis at the Friendly Hills Country Club. His personal interests center around family, church, tennis, golf, and volunteering for civic service.
Rafael Ramirez: Vice President
Rafael Ramirez was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and was raised in Mexico City until the age of ten when parents decided to immigrate to the USA and came to Los Angeles in October 31, 1962.
Rafael received a scholarship while attending Verbrum Dei High School and attended Cal State University Fullerton. While attending college, Rafael was selected two years in a row as an All American and was part of the only team that made it to NCAA soccer finals at CSUF.
Rafael earned a Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from Cal State University Fullerton. Immediately after that he was hired and began working at Garfield Community Adult School and Garfield High School. At Garfield High school, Rafael taught Spanish and was an ESL teacher. He was promoted to Dean of Students where he had the privilege of working with Jaime Escalante, the legendary Calculus teacher. He worked for 16 yrs. at various Adult Schools (Garfield CAS, Bell CAS, Huntington Park CAS and Gage CAS).
Rafael worked as a teacher at Roosevelt High school and was promoted to Dean of Students. Rafael continued his studies at night and received a Master of Science degree in Education and an Administrative Credential from Mount St. Mary's College. Rafael then worked as an Assistant Principal at Virgil Middle School, Berendo Middle School, Irving Middle School, King Middle School and a principal of Newmark High School Continuation, where he spent the best 3 yrs. of his educational career.
Rafael knows how important a good education has been to him and now wants to give back, volunteering and being involved in charity projects. He now volunteers and assists in fundraising to provide college scholarships to High School seniors and home-less youth and belongs to the following organizations: Executive Board Member of Jovenes Inc., Vice President of HOT, Build the Dreams and Pio Pico State Historic Park.
Rafael retired from the Los Angeles Unified school District in 2013 after 36 yrs. of service and is now enjoying spending time and doing more things with his wife and family and loved ones. One thing he enjoys is working on his yard, singing Karaoke at the "Sunset Room" and volunteering.
Martha Carreon: Recording Secretary
Martha was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, comes from a family of 10, is married, and has two grown children, a son and a daughter.
Martha earned her Master’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations at CSULA. at Rio Hondo.
Martha has served in the capacity of Chairperson for the Humanities Department, Director of Transitional Services, Interim Director of the Multicultural Institute, Study Abroad Program Lead Professor in Guadalajara, Mexico, as well as being active in numerous advisory boards.
Martha worked 5 years as Title V and RHALEC Coordinator, working with the communities of Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera and El Monte. She has also coordinated several Open House activities, staff retreats, and at least ten Women’s History Month Conferences at Rio Hondo College with the Office of Senator Escutia and other organizations. She has also planned and coordinated at least 12 Student Leadership Conferences at Rio Hondo.
Throughout the community, Martha has been active as a consultant on minority and diversity issues. She has served as consultant to the Los Angeles Children’s Museum, the Los Angeles County Multicultural Task Force, and the CSULB Teacher Education Program. As a member of the Latina Leadership Network of the California Community Colleges, she has served on the Executive Board as Regional Representative, Vice President, President, Past President, Recording Secretary, Conference Co-Chair for 1999 and received the prestigious Madrina Award for her commitment to the advancement of Latinas.
Martha loves to travel and take people with her. She has led over 57 travel tours to Mexico, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Egypt, China, Thailand, Greece, Cuba etc. As a hobby she has participated in at least 10 Whittier Village Festival performances with the Sultan’s Delites, a Middle Eastern dance troupe. Currently she is the Recording Secretary for HOT.
Irene Muro: Treasure
In October 2015, Irene Muro was appointed as Executive Director for the Whittier Area First Day Coalition (Whittier First Day) located in the city of Whittier, California. Whittier First Day is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk individuals and families transition toward self-sufficiency.
Driven by a life-long passion to empower, to create sustainability and to effect systems change in low-income communities, Ms. Muro has built a professional career working with agencies that are committed to improving the quality of life in the communities she is fortunate to serve. As Executive Director of Whittier First Day, Ms. Muro is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organizations’ work, providing guidance and leadership to a team of 14 members in policy implementation, program management and financial oversight.
Prior to joining Whittier First Day, Ms. Muro served as Community Benefit Manager for Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park where she helped managed the Community Benefit portfolio for the hospital. This work was preceded by almost nine years of employment at the Oldtimers Housing Development Corporation and its sister agency the Steelworkers Oldtimers Foundation in Southeast Los Angeles.
In 2010, Ms. Muro was appointed Interim Executive Director and later Chief Executive Officer in 2012. Ms. Muro was instrumental in growing the organizations’ programs, services and its housing portfolio, strengthening systems operations and upholding the mission of the organization to provide safe and affordable housing, healthy nutrition options and access to reliable transportation services for low-income seniors and working families.
A child of immigrant parents, Ms. Muro was taught early on that education was fundamental to personal and professional success. This value drove her to pursue an undergraduate education in Political Science and History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Most recently, Ms. Muro received a Master in Public Administration degree with a Certificate in Non-Profit Management with honors from California State University, Northridge.
Ms. Muro brings with her extensive legislative, management and community relations experience gained from her prior positions as Press Secretary/District Representative for State Senator Martha Escutia (ret.) and Field Representative for Assembly Member Marco Antonio Firebaugh, serving as the main liaison to both Members on the issues of housing, labor and business, public utilities, courts, health and children’s rights. Throughout her professional and educational career, Ms. Muro has dedicated herself to community empowerment and education. She has served as an Outreach Coordinator for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles where she coordinated workshops on fair housing, health and social services, workers’ rights and immigration.
Ms. Muro currently resides in Whittier and is the proud mother of three boys, Arturo, Damián and Juan Carlos. She is a member of the UCLA Alumni Association, Cal State Northridge Alumni Association and the American Society for Public Administration. She is proud to serve HOT in her capacity as Board Treasurer.