Hispanic Latino Commission
For more than 15 years, Celeste has been involved and dedicated within community work prior to her educational interest and degree seeking from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. As an undergrad she participated in teaching English as a second language in her spare time. Found a passion for helping those that found themselves in vulnerable situations. Being able to relate due to her experience as a first generation Dominican-American she began to work diligently in eliminating social and structural social determinants of health. After relocating back to Grand Rapids, she began to focus within underserved communities which led to once again furthering her education and receiving her M.A. from Western Michigan University. Celeste attributes her professional growth to that of her commitment and surrounding herself with organizations and businesses that employee a positive culture and precisely defined goals in the advancement of vulnerable families and communities. As Program Manager of Strong Beginnings-Healthy Start, Celeste supports the elimination of disparities amongst prenatal African American and Latina mothers and their families within Kent County. She specifically focuses on implementing the use of Community Health Workers and the value they add to communities of Color. Her effort is to strengthen and provide strong support surrounding racial equity in breaking systemic infrastructures. Celeste has been identified as a co-author and showcased in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, recognized as an ATHENA Young Professional Finalist, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year Finalist, and various other recognitions for showcasing leadership within individuals of Color. Celeste sits on various boards focused on serving and eliminating racism and disparities amongst the most vulnerable communities along with being a current W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow. She currently serves as a Board Member of Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance, Latina Network of West Michigan, past advisor to National Healthy Start Epic CHW Advisory Group. Celeste lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three daughters.