About Us
Staff

Elisa Sabatini
President

Elisa became Executive Director of Via International in 1998, when it was still called Los Ninos. In 2005, she oversaw both the formation of Los Ninos de Baja California, an independent Mexican non-profit, and the transition of the U.S. organization to Via International. She continues to serve as President of both entities and is responsible for providing strategic direction, supervising staff, creating new programs, and securing all resources for activities in Mexico, the United States and abroad.


Elisa brings years of experience working throughout Latin America with an expertise in micro-finance and community development. She continues to oversee the expansion of our educational travel component, now partnering with over 60 universities and high schools nationwide, with the end goal of making Via International a self-sustaining community development organization. Most recently, she has worked with staff and community to develop relevant Corporate Social Responsibility and local volunteer programming with the goal of providing relevant volunteer opportunities for local businesses and schools to engage with communities throughout San Diego.



Rigo Reyes
Director of Community Development

As Community Development Director, Rigo Reyes develops and coordinates community engagement and leadership training for residents in marginal areas of San Diego and Tijuana and manages our Border Immersion program for students visiting San Diego. He is a long-time social justice advocate whose work is rooted in early childhood experiences growing up on the U.S.-Mexico border, attending United Farm Workers of America rallies and listening to Cesar Chavez while playing marbles. When he was 12-years-old he rode his bike 17 miles each way from his San Ysidro neighborhood to San Diego’s Logan Heights to witness the land take-over of Chicano Park, and has been a strong community empowerment advocate ever since. Reyes has been a member of the Chicano Park Steering Committee for nearly four decades, has been lowriding since the mid-1970s, and is a founding member of the Amigos Car Club.




Gladys Esponda
Executive Assistant

Gladys serves as the Executive Assistant for Via International’s staff. She is a non-profit advocate, with over 15 years of experience supporting multiple organizations addressing the most pressing issues facing our communities. She has learned that in order to help others and improve their quality of life, we must engage in our community, build strong alliances, and work in collaboration and partnership. Gladys loves dogs, music and tennis.











Gabriel Reed
Director of Education

Gabriel serves as the Director of Education and Voluntourism working to expand Via International’s university partnerships by fostering increased education and community engagement through our Volunteer Travel Programs. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Gabriel’s experience includes working as an international educator with a background in non-profit management, community activism, and a continuing creative practice as a professional artist.









Joanna SalazarHarris
Director of Resource Development 

Joanna joined the Via family in May 2013 as our Resource Development Director. Joanna holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from UCSD and has worked in cross-border collaboration and infrastructure planning for 20 years. Joanna is passionate about empowering individuals to be their own best advocate and believes that civic engagement is key to a thriving community. She is an avid gardener, urban bee-keeper and mom of two young boys. Joanna is the main contact for foundations, corporations and individual donors and leads our Bee-hive Build program in the San Diego area.







 
Aida Amador
Communications Coordinator

Aida is the storyteller at Via International, creating a better understanding of the community impact of Via’s programs through videos, photos, and written compilations. She studied Communication at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and serves as the liaison between Via International and their partner in Tijuana México Los Niños de Baja California A.C. for press and media events. She loves to travel, dance, and is the proud mother of a baby boy.









Jocelyne Olguin
Community Engagement Coordinator

Jocelyne is the Community and Economic Development AmeriCorps VISTA member, in partnership with the Mulvaney Center from the University of San Diego. Her role supports community partnerships in Logan Heights and Tijuana. She considers herself not only bilingual, but also bicultural. She was born in the United States but was raised in Mexico, with a binational upbringing in the borderlands of Sonora and Arizona. She commuted everyday from her hometown in Nogales, Sonora to attend school in Nogales, Arizona. During college, Jocelyne found her passion for social justice and her love for community engagement. In May 2017, she graduated from the University of San Diego with a BA in Business Administration and a Minor in Political Science. Read Jocelyne's Volunteer Highlight!







 
Derick Abrigu
Bi-National Immersion Coordinator

Derick coordinates the cross-border immersion programs run by Via for university students nation-wide. He leads presentations on forced migration, human rights, and border issues and collaborates with community development organizations on both sides of the border, highlighting the cultural, political, and social aspects of our binational community. He is currently completing his Master's thesis in Public Administration and Latin American Studies with a focus on Latin American forced migration issues at San Diego State University.  











 
Keila Del Valle
Regional Director

Keila serves as Via's Regional Director of Volunteer Travel in Central America. Born in Guatemala City, she recently completed her Master’s Degree and has over 8 years of experience in carrying out logistics for all necessary travel services, project implementation, and community building in Tecpan and San Martin, Chimaltenango. Keila is a passionate educator working with indigenous communities and visitors to effectively address the ongoing challenges of extreme poverty.