Amanda Aragon, Executive Director, is our fun and loving Program Coordinator/ Innovative Eden Associate at Vista Hermosa. Ms. Aragon is also well respected by staff and families as the Manager on Call after normal business hours, emergencies and is a champ.
One of Amanda’s favorite quotes by Gandhi is, “Where there is love, there is life.” Amanda firmly believes this quote should be lived but especially in the Alzheimer’s/Dementia world, by all who encounter it. Her Sierra Vista experience has shown her the meaning of a purpose filled life with elders at the center of it all.
Ms. Aragon lives this philosophy not only in her professional life but in her personal life.
Mario Angel, Activities Coordinator, is a caring Activities Coordinator, and his world is those that he works with. Although Mario was born and raised abroad, over the past 25 years he has grown accustomed to the American way of living. He appreciates many things, including family values, culture, and education. Even though Mario has worked in a vast array of fields, he has always known his calling in life is to love and care for others. While searching for a career to fulfill that part of his soul he encountered nursing while working in the medical field as a physical therapy tech at the local hospital in Santa Fe. After 2 years he finished his pre-nursing education at UNMG only to realize that was not his ultimate career choice. Because Mario values culture and his primary language is Spanish he decided it would be important to get a degree that represented his ethnic background. Inspired by the desire feel somehow connected to his roots, in December 2015, Mario received his first associate’s degree in Spanish language from SFCC. In continuing to search for a career where Mario could truly make an impact, he heard of a degree in Human Services. He immediately knew this path would satisfy his heart’s desires. After reviewing his college credits from various schools, he enrolled in a human services program where in May 2016 he graduated with an Associate’s degree in Human Services. As part of the graduation curriculum, Mario was asked to find a human services agency for practical application. He found Little Sisters of the Poor in Gallup, NM. Soon after Mario’s practicum was over, mother superior from Little Sisters of the Poor offered him his first job as Volunteer Coordinator and consequently he became the Activities Coordinator. He then knew he had found his passion! In order to advance in the field and grow as a person he moved to Santa Fe where the opportunities are more vast. In addition to his exciting full time job at Vista Hermosa, for the past year and a half and to this day, Mario has been spending some of his “extra” time volunteering at two of the local homeless shelters: St Elizabeth Homeless Shelter and the Interfaith Community Shelter. In order to give his dream career in the human services a more structured education, Mario decided to further his studies. He is currently a full time student in his junior year. In recognition of outstanding academic performance, in the fall semester 2016, Mario received an honor roll diploma from New Mexico Highlands University, where he is expected to graduate in May 2018.
Mario’s passion and empathy are driven by his desires to empower people of some of the most vulnerable populations. For Mario working with elders is so enlightening, humbling and emotionally rewarding that really brings Mario back to the roots of it all, the love for one another.