Mayan Families is committed to centering the expertise and knowledge of Indigenous staff and local leadership, ensuring that our work meets self-identified community needs and is built on respect for Mayan culture, language, and strength.
Erin was blessed to grow up in the Latino community and around the Farmworker Justice Movement in the Salinas Valley of California, where she learned Spanish and the power of community-driven development work. She attended Humboldt State University, where she studied Native American/Indigenous Studies and International Development Technology/Community Development.
For her Master's thesis, Erin studied the political and agricultural history of Guatemala, a study of the intersection between Mayan land-loss, poverty, and malnutrition in the Guatemalan Highlands. Erin and her husband, Jon, lived on Lake Atitlán with their two daughters in 2006 while they completed culminating thesis projects based on their research, Jon building a gray water treatment system in San Marcos, and Erin an organic teaching garden for Mayan scholarship students in San Pedro, in collaboration with the President of the Agricultural Co-op at the time. Their children attended public school in San Pedro and basked in the love of the Gonzalez Navichoc family, who taught them Spanish and Tz'utujil and generally assumed parenting them.
As the Executive Director of Cultivando (Colorado, US) for the last six years, Erin has worked with a primarily Latina staff to build the leadership and capacity of Latino community to affect positive changes in their own communities. Erin is passionate about working in solidarity with the Latino and Indigenous communities to elevate and center their expertise and self-identified solutions, and has many years of experience working in the issues of equity, food systems, leadership development, training and supporting Promotoras de Salud, preventative healthcare, early childhood education, and systems change.
In her free time, Erin enjoys family adventures, gardening, watching rugby, eating delicious food, reading, and sarcasm. Returning to Guatemala is a dream for Erin, Jon, and their 16-year-old daughter, Torin.