Carlos Arredondo – Co-Founder, Board President: Carlos, the father of the late Alex and Brian, came to Boston in 1980 from his native Costa Rica and became a naturalized citizen in 2006. Having lost his older son Alex, a US Marine, in the war in Iraq, Carlos became a passionate peace and community activist, and a volunteer for the American Red Cross, Boston Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, and the St. Francis House. Carlos later lost his younger son Brian to suicide. He has dedicated himself to movements and causes that empower people and give voices to those who cannot speak for themselves. He actively advocates for peace locally and internationally, for suicide prevention, and for support services of veterans and military families. Carlos was a spectator at the Boston Marathon when, after tragedy struck, he ran to help Jeff Bauman with whom he has formed a lasting bond.

Mélida Arredondo – Executive Director & Co-Founder: Mélida is the stepmother to Carlos’ late sons, Alex and Brian. She is a published writer and political activist who previously worked in the field of public health for more than 20 years. She has written poetry and prose on topics including the cost of war, urban and international violence, healthcare, immigration, trauma, grief and loss. Her political activism dates back to childhood. Mélida was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bone Disease) and in 1976, she and other disabled children were invited to Washington DC to lobby for the right to accessibility. Mélida was born in New York City to Costa Rican & Nicaraguan parents and maintains strong connections to the tiny no-army nation of Costa Rica.

Yadires Nova-Salcedo – Professional Advisory Council, Board Member: Yadires is the host and producer of “Centro,” a weekly WBZ-TV news segment that examines issues of the Latino community including education, politics, current events and entertainment. She is also the executive producer and director of “Encuentro Latino,” a weekly, hour-long Spanish language TV show with local, national and international coverage. Nova-Salcedo was born in the Dominican Republic and was raised in the Greater Boston area. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism. She currently lives in Canton with her husband, daughter and son.

Bonnie Gorman – Board Member: Bonnie Gorman RN, MS, is a nurse and social worker with over 50 years of experience in health, mental health and human services. Bonnie was a combat support Navy nurse during the Vietnam War (1965-1970). She worked in the Vietnam Medical Air Evacuation Hospital network caring for thousands of Vietnam veterans. She also founded a Vietnamese medic training program. She is also a Gold Star Sister. Bonnie’s brother Paul Gorman, a U.S. Marine, was killed in action in Khe Sanh, Vietnam in July 1968. As a result, her mother had a massive heart attack and became totally disabled until her death.

Bonnie returned from Vietnam and worked with Vietnam Veterans Against the War; She also has worked to end ongoing wars by joining forces with Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Mass Peace Action, and others over the last 50 years. She has also strongly advocated for drastic improvement in veterans’ health and mental health care, women veterans’ care, improvements to suicide prevention, and increased education about Post Traumatic Stress and Military Sexual Trauma.

Sadly Bonnie’s nephew Mike, a U.S. Marine, died by suicide over the holidays in 2017, as a result of PTSD. He also leaves his wife and four children to cope with his loss.

Austin Scott – Marketing Strategist: Austin Scott has been with the Arredondo Family Foundation since May 2017. A lifelong Boston area native, he graduated from Stetson University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. Austin’s father is a Navy veteran, having served as a rescue diver. Austin feels that his work with Foundation is very important, and that the community he serves is vastly underserved. He is a certified instructor in Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention training, as well as a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor.

Austin has helped provide QPR training to over 1,000 Massachusetts residents since he started with the foundation. Austin struggled with dysgraphia and other learning disabilities as a child and as a result was bullied, causing him to experience depression and other mental health issues. He includes his life story in his suicide prevention training so that others can relate to the stresses that can impact a person’s mental health. He has received many accolades from trainees he has instructed for his strength and speaking abilities.

Yarielis Ortiz – Latinx Outreach Coordinator: Yarielis Ortiz is a 23 year old and is Puerto Rican/Filipina. Her pronouns are She/Her. She is a fluent English and Spanish speaker, and can understand and speak a little Portuguese. She was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 2006. Some of her hobbies consist of painting, swimming, dancing and working with children. From her experience working with a youth program called College Bound that ran out of Boston College she realized that she wanted to pursue a career working with youth. She also loves the work done at the Arredondo Family Foundation. In 2014, she received a scholarship as the daughter of a fallen Army father, when her father passed away due to suicide.

This is Yarielis’ second time working with the Arredondo Family Foundation; her first experience was as a student intern while she was attending UMass Boston, where she hopes to go back to school to finish a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality. She hopes to also pursue a Master’s degree in Special Education at Boston College. She is returning to help the Foundation aid members of military and their families and LatinX individuals. Eventually, Yarielis wants to pursue a career as a therapist or counselor for children who have disabilities; such as deaf or hard of hearing.

Ysabel Garcia – Latinx Outreach Coordinator: Ysabel Garcia immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic at 15 years old. During her time in the U.S., she earned a B.A. in Child Psychology from Bay Path University and is now enrolled at a Public Health Masters Program at the same university. While completing her bachelor’s degree, Garcia worked at Behavioral Health Network (BHN) as a Peer Support Specialist and interned as a Crisis Counselor. After completing these roles, she moved on to a Social Justice Trainer and Dialogue Educator role at BHN as a member of the Social Justice Steering Committee. From 2016 to 2018, she served in several volunteer positions including the Department of Children and Families (DCF) as a Foster Unit Case Reviewer; the Greater Senior Services of Springfield as a Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman; and Baystate Emergency Department as a Patient Advocate.

Garcia was also a member of the Springfield, MA Public Health Council for two years where she was part of historical health decision-making including implementing the first syringe access program in the city. Currently, she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) Alliance for Equity, the Hampden County Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) Network, and is in progress of becoming a Baystate Community Faculty member.

She is a certified Question. Persuade. Refer (QPR) trainer, mediator, and non-violent communicator.

Leandra Jara – Latinx Outreach Coordinator: Leandra is a recent Baruch College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. She was born and spent her childhood in Boston. At the age of 5 her family moved to Valparaiso, Chile. Her family moved back to the states and settled down in a small city in the suburbs of New York City. During her college career she interned at Acorda Therapeutics as a Health Economics Intern and completed two internships at Sony Music Entertainment. At the Arredondo Family Foundation she will be working as the Latinx Program Manager. She will be focusing on public health, suicide prevention and health economics. She is a certified instructor in Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention training, and is working to become a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor. She is also pursuing her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.