Meet the Staff: Ericka Belmontes
As the need grows here in Bellevue, so does our urgency to respond quickly and efficiently to ensure no child in our community experiences hunger or homelessness. An essential part of our ability to respond to urgent needs is our dedicated Human Services team, who is at the forefront of advocating for Bellevue’s most vulnerable children.
Over the past few months, we have been building our Human Services team so that we can continue to ensure families have the support they need. We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest team member, Ericka Belmontes!
Ericka brings a caring and empathetic nature to our team — a vital trait when working with families in crisis. Born in Guatemala, Ericka immigrated to the United States to study. Ericka shared that she fell in love with the Pacific Northwest while taking the ferry to Whidbey Island (Can you blame her!?).
After working as a House Manager for more than thirteen years and graduating from Northwest University with a Psychology degree, Ericka shared that she’s never felt more prepared for her new role helping Bellevue families. “My experiences have prepared me to be successful in helping others while treating them with compassion and respect. I’m excited and have a strong desire to work with children and their families whose primary language is Spanish,” said Ericka.
When first learning about Bellevue LifeSpring, Ericka found shared meaning in our mission to serve Bellevue children and her own personal mission to help others. “In my new role, my goal is to treat our neighbors in need with compassion, to make them feel valued and appreciated, to listen and encourage them in any way possible, and to make a difference in their lives,” said Ericka. “Community to me means that all residents feel included, welcome, and safe.”
When not working, Ericka loves to travel and explore. “I am thrilled when I visit new places where I can learn about different cultures and see other people live a life that is different from mine. For me, traveling is a school,” shared Ericka. She also enjoys going for hikes and enjoying nature with her golden retriever.
Thank you Ericka! We are thrilled to have you on the team.
Meet the Board: Ricardo Barrera
Another vital part of our ability to provide students and families with the basic needs they need to succeed is our dedicated Board of Directors. Our board is comprised of passionate individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise who play a crucial role in the effectiveness and strength of our programs.
We are thrilled to introduce you to our new Board Member, Ricardo Barrera, Director of Product Management at Expedia Group. Ricardo moved to the Pacific Northwest after graduating from Rice University in 2011 and has been here ever since. Though his career has spanned various industries, Ricardo’s work often focuses on using data and technology to better people’s lives.
“I was motivated to join the Bellevue LifeSpring Board of Directors because Bellevue LifeSpring was described as an organization tackling problems that matter to our society and me personally. I was curious to see how I could help,” Ricardo shared. “I care a lot about equality of opportunity, and providing children with the basics necessary to seize opportunity is essential to moving society forward. Stable housing and nourishing food shouldn’t be a problem we let persist in a society as wealthy as ours.”
During his time on our board, Ricardo shared that his main focus will be making sure the contributions from our generous donors have the biggest impact possible. “I’ll be leaning on my data science, business strategy, and management experience to help out,” said Ricardo.
When asked why he feels it’s important to give back where you live and work, Ricardo shared that he believes it’s a privilege to be able to contribute back to his society. “I want those around me to flourish because I want everyone around me to be their best selves. Life is much better that way. Put simply, I view everyone in the entire world as my community to varying degrees. Just because I haven’t met someone yet, doesn’t mean I can’t find a connection to them, and that connection is the basis of my definition of community.”
Thank you, Ricardo! We are thrilled to have you on board.