Message from Director Christa Hanson & Board Chairman Jim Yinger
New & Newsworthy
Temporary Closure of the Learning & Loving Education Center
March For Literacy!
The Learning & Loving Education Center invites you to join us for the 1st Annual Anniversary Pledge Drive! Help us sponsor a student a day in the month of March! Throughout the month, we will be sharing success stories of our students and the impact our program has on their lives.
Annually, It costs $2200 to educate one student and their child. We are asking you to please consider an annual pledge or monthly recurring gift in any amount to help us continue our important work and mission.
Each year, the LLEC provides educational opportunities to over 170 women and their preschool aged children. It is through programs like ours that these women can gain the confidence they need to overcome the many barriers to self-reliance, to increase their educational potential and to improve their lives.
Support and Donate
Your generous donations help us fulfill our mission. Thank you.
Through literacy, technology, and basic skills education, women acquire abilities for further self-development while preschoolers develop kindergarten readiness.
The First Ten Years
The Learning and Loving Education Center was established in 1994 to teach skills, foster hopes, and provide direction to adult immigrant women and their children living in the surrounding low and extremely low-income areas of our local community which are home to a high concentration of isolated, marginalized, illiterate and underserved women and children.
On March 25, 1994 the doors of the Learning and Loving Education Center were opened to students for the very first time. Twenty immigrant women and their children entered what was then the old St. Catherine Parish Hall on Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill. The rest is history.
From Dunne Avenue, to Wright Avenue, to Monterey Road to its current site on Church Street, the Learning and Loving Education Center has strived to fulfill the dream of providing education to marginalized immigrant women and children to improve their lives. Our program as well as our mission began as a focused response to create systemic change in the educational process of immigrant women and children living in rural areas on the fringes of prosperous Silicon Valley in south Santa Clara County.
In our work we are committed to the belief that education is essential in creating systemic change in the educational process for vulnerable populations so that they can overcome the obstacles of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy.
It is through programs like ours that these women can gain the confidence they need to overcome the many barriers to self-reliance, to increase their educational potential and to improve their lives. It is a blessing to journey with our beautiful students who face so many challenges and to empower them to reach out to greater possibilities.
25 years of helping change the lives of immigrant women and their children.
LLEC has increased literacy for over 4,000 women and created economic opportunity.
172 women represented from over 17 countries.
Immigrant children have developed relevant skills to equip them for future academic success.
Services Provided by The Learning and Loving Education Center
The Center offers Adult Education/Literacy, Computer/Job skills training, Educational Workshops and Early Childhood Education to over 300 immigrant women and children per year.
Our program teaches skills, fosters hope and provides direction for underserved, minority women and children. These classes are often the first real opportunity that our clients have to receive educational training in these areas and to access information technologies to improve their lives.
Sponsor a Student
Thank you for your interest in joining our valuable team of volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the form below. Currently looking for English tutors, computer lab assistants, language lab tutors, office support and more.
Board of Trustees
After earning a BA from Santa Clara University, an MA from College of Notre Dame (now Notre de Namur University), and after spending thirty years in the Diocese of San Jose as an elementary school teacher and principal, Christa Hanson was excited to become the Executive Director of the Learning and Loving Education Center in 2012. She continues to have a passion for education and enjoys experiencing the immigrant women studying English and other subjects. Their motivation supplies the energy for her to seek out funding for the programs and to provide the best quality education for their empowerment. Christa even teaches two art classes at the Center. Education is the key to the women’s success, as well as her own.
Jim grew up in Morgan Hill before attending Santa Clara University where he received the inspiration of a Jesuit education and degrees in Special Education and School Administration. He began a forty-year career as a teacher and administrator while raising a family with wife, Joanne. His experiences as an educator provided him first-hand witness the important role mothers play in the education of their children and the success of their families. He considers it a privilege to support the LLEC where moms and their young children enthusiastically learn English together and prepare to be contributing members of society
After graduating from Cal Poly SLO, Vicki settled in Gilroy 38 years ago. She became involved at St. Mary Parish and eventually became the Development Director of St. Mary School, a position, at that time, reserved for high schools and colleges. She retired after serving the school and the Diocese of San Jose in that position for 23 years to enjoy spending time with her grandchildren. Loving life with husband Frank and their blended family of 6 children with 10 grandchildren (and 2 great-granddaughters!), Vicki joined the Board of the Learning and Loving Education Center with a focus on their Development efforts. Currently employed part-time by the Gilroy Foundation, she is also active in the Gilroy Assistance League. “It is in giving that we receive”, so her work with educating women, improving the community and supporting our youth is the primary reason for her active involvement in her community.
Cecile Mantecón is Vice Principal at St. Mary School in Los Gatos and began her service to the Center’s Board of Trustees in August of 2016. She emigrated from the Philippines as a teen and has always been interested in the plight of immigrant families. She believes firmly that education is the key to empowering immigrant women to become positive contributors to society. She is excited and energized by the mission of the Center and believes in the great impact it has on the families it serves. Cecile has a degree in Business Administration and Economics from Notre Dame de Namur University, and a Masters in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University. She and her husband are proud parents to two young adults
Amy has lived in Gilroy for 20 years with her husband and 2 children. She loves casual gatherings with family and friends, as cooking, eating and drinking wine are favorite pastimes. Amy has been a long time financial supporter to various local charities. Being a board member with the LLEC has provided the direct involvement that Amy was looking for. Now that she and her husband are empty nesters, she wanted a more hands on approach to charitable giving. Amy believes that everyone in a community benefits when we act as stewards of those less fortunate than us and is now putting that long held philosophy to work.
Mario Banuelos retired from the City of San Jose where he worked with geographic information systems. He has lived in the south bay for over forty years attending schools locally and earning a BA in Mathematics from San Jose State University. Over the years, he has been active in various community organizations and is currently a Rotarian and serves on the board of directors for the Morgan Hill Community Foundation. Mario and his wife, Fawn Myers have lived in Morgan Hill since 1988. They have four adult children Francisco, Tirza, Valarie and Maxim.
An educator for forty-one years, Dan and wife, Mary Ann, have lived in Morgan Hill for thirty-two years. Dan and Mary Ann have six adult children whose careers center on serving others. His career spans university/college, adult pre-college, high school, and elementary school. Dan served as academic advisor and post-secondary education administrator and has presented in forums for underachieving youth and college success. He currently teaches/works with county jail and social services clients. His personal interest in providing opportunities led to writing/securing grant funds, serving on non-profit foster youth and county behavioral health boards, and his current Learning and Loving Education Center position.
Eula works for FIRST 5 Santa Clara County as the Assistant Director of Communications. She is excited to contribute to the great work being done at the Learning and Loving Education Center and looks forward to using her skills in early childhood education to further the mission of the center. She is also a volunteer at the International Rescue Committee, Sunday Friends, Family Supportive Housing, Family Giving Tree, and SIREN. As a naturalized citizen and daughter of immigrants, she believes very much in empowering the immigrant and migrant community and helping them achieve happiness and security for their families. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing ice hockey, reading books, knitting, and baking.
Martha is a Bay Area native and has lived in Morgan Hill since 2008. She is thrilled to be back on the Board of Trustee after having served between 2011-2015. The Center's mission of empowering women, especially women that represent communities that are largely under-represented in the mainstream, is one that resonates with her directly as the child of very proud immigrant parents from Mexico. As an alumnus of Presentation High School and Santa Clara University, the values of community, respect and giving back are values that continue to guide her life and career. She will leverage her over 35 year Corporate Executive experience in Diversity and Inclusion to connect and engage with Corporations to create mutually beneficial relationships.
Kathy Martarano has lived in Morgan Hill for the last ten years with her husband, Roger. She has two grown children and two young grandsons. Kathy retired in 2016 after a 43-year service in education. She began her career as an elementary school teacher at St. John Vianney School. She accomplished 36 years in the Santa Clara Unified School District working as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and retiring as Director of SCUSD’s Educational Options. Under her umbrella Kathy had opportunity to support the most marginal within the community, including at-risk teenagers, adults seeking a high school diploma or GED, immigrants and refugees learning English, adults with disabilities, and community members seeking vocational skills. She also supervised the extended day and preschool programs throughout the district.
Kathy is eager to support the Morgan Hill community with her continued devotion to education. Her interest in joining the Board of Trustees for the Learning and Loving Center comes from her passion for working with immigrant women and her knowledge that providing an education for mothers plays a significant role on the academic and social outcomes of their children
David grew up in the Boston area and moved to Gilroy just over 20 years ago. He has his bachelor’s degree in Financial Management and spent almost 25 years working in various roles in the financial services industry and is currently the owner of Trevis Berry Transportation in Gilroy. David has held many volunteer roles in the community, most recently for the Gilroy Garlic Festival, St. Mary School Advisory Council, and Inspire Arts & Music in Boston. He and his wife Paula live in Gilroy and have three daughters in high school and college. David will utilize his experience in finance and management to help advance the Center’s mission and sustainability.
Learning & Loving Education Center Video
Learn the story of one of the many lives that have been enriched at the Center.