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Meet the Team
Co-Director, Casa Bayanihan
Hailing from small cities in New York and Minnesota, Grace Carlson is proud to be a daughter of her two dynamic parents, Andrew and Felipa, as well as a sister to two beautiful women, Elizabeth and Jackie. As a Casa alumna, and with degrees in Anthropology and Theology from Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, Grace went on to teach middle school at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose, Calif., for three years. To continue to share her enthusiasm for learning, she is currently pursuing a master's in interdisciplinary education at Santa Clara University. Besides harboring a deep appreciation for reading, tea, rollerblading, and poetry, Grace loves to explore new places and truly believes in an education that is grounded in reality.
Co-Director, Casa Bayanihan
Heidi grew up in San Juan Capistrano, Southern California with her parents, three sisters, (Michelle, Krista, and Amy), and brother, (Charlie). Heidi loves to travel, write letters, go on long runs with her mom, bake chocolate chip cookies and listen to live music, especially with her siblings. She feels most alive when she is near the ocean and when she has the opportunity to engage in conversations about faith and be present to others.
After graduating from Santa Clara University with degrees in psychology and religious studies, her love for Latin American culture and desire to walk in faith with others led her to Peru, where she served two years with Jesuit Volunteers International. Heidi is currently completing a dual degree in pastoral ministry and social work with a concentration in global practice at Boston College. She is excited to be back in El Salvador (Casa alumna '03) and is looking forward to serving in the Philippines with the Casa.
Mark Ravizza, S.J.
Jesuit in Residence, Casa Bayanihan
An associate professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University, Mark will serve as Jesuit in Residence at Casa Bayanihan. He has taught or worked in El Salvador, the Philippines, Mexico, and Canada. He also is the author of several books and is a senior fellow of the Bannan Institute for Jesuit Education and Christian Values at Santa Clara University. Mark has degrees in philosophy and engineering from Stanford and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale.
Sarah has spent most of her life in the Midwest, growing up with her two loving parents in southern Indiana and later studying at Saint Louis University. She graduated in 2011 with degrees in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. While studying at the Casa de la Solidaridad in 2008, she began to deepen her desires to learn from those who often live in the margins of society. She was blessed to return to El Salvador to work with the Casa as a Community Coordinator for the 2011-2012 academic year and continues to be deeply grateful for the gift of sharing another year with the Casa Educational Network.
Sarah is thankful to work with such an inspiring, engaging team at Casa Bayanihan, to share in life’s joys and challenges with the students, and to meet the Filipino communities with an open heart. She also loves exploring nature, running, creative cooking, and long conversations over coffee and tea. With passions flying in many directions, Sarah is unsure of what the future will bring but trusts in its gradual emergence
Sullivan is a 2011 graduate of Marquette University, where she studied Creative Writing and first learned of her passions for justice, community life and accompanying those who live on the margins. Studying abroad with the Casa de la Solidaridad program in El Salvador in 2009 was one of the greatest blessings of her life, and she was thrilled to return to El Salvador after graduation to work for the Casa as a Community Coordinator for the 2011-2012 academic year.
She is equally grateful to continue her work with the Casa Educational Network for another year as a part of the Casa Bayanihan staff in the Philippines. To live and love in this way and be a part of this model of education has been a journey she never could have imagined.
She loves her work and those with whom she has the privilege of sharing it. She enjoys poetry, coffee, writing, cooking, and has recently taken up boxing. As far as her future goes, your guess is as good as hers. She is grateful to her family, her friends, her Casa classmates, and her co-workers for being constant sources of inspiration, support & love.
Jane, Edz, and Fe
Jane Gomez is 31 years old and has a beautiful baby girl named Rhian Jhana. She has been working as a cook with Casa Bayanihan since it started. Jane feels that Casa Bayanihan is like a family for her. She especially enjoys her time with the studets, when they greet her with a hug or give her a smile. Jane loves to work with the others members of the Casa Bayanihan staff and appreciates the feeling part of a team that supports and accompanies one another.
Edilyn “Edz” Lamusao is from the province of Cagayan in the northern region of the island of Luzon. She is 32 years old and has a baby boy named Derk. She as been a cook for Casa Bayanihan since it started. She is thankful for the many new experiences she has had with Casa Bayanihan. Edz feels like she has been able to explore her talents and be creative in her work. Edz has especially appreciates her friendships with the students and the opportunity to share her culture with them, while at the same time learn from theirs. Edz “loves the Casa!”
Marifi “Fe” Orinoco is 42 years old and comes from the province of Albay in southern region of the island of Luzon, home of the Mayan Volcano. Fe works with Casa Bayanihan both as a cook and a praxis site coordinator. Casa Bayanihan’s team is one of the things that inspires he to work with the Casa. She expresses that being part of the team is like having a family that cares for her all of the time. She gives the best of herself when it comes to cooking, serving the community and welcoming the students and taking care of them. She is “100% dedicated to Casa Bayanihan!”
Edwin Calimag works part time as a member of the maintenance crew of Casa Bayanihan. He also drives when needed and takes care of Casa Bayanihan houses. He enjoys his work because the staff treats him like a family member when they eat together, attend each other's birthdays and go on outings. He finds the team truly caring and is appreciative of the time and effort everyone puts forth for the students' stay in the Philippines.
Arnold Varquez is a staff member who also drives for Casa Bayanihan. He loves to go fishing with the students in the Calatagan community and loves Casa Bayanihan because the team is very nice!