¡Cafecito y Recursos! Webinar

Reaching for Equity: Demystifying Social Services for the LGBTQ+ Community
Wednesday, October 15th at 1:00PM MDT / 3:00PM EST

On October 15, 2020, the Borderland Rainbow Center will host a community cafecito (coffee chat) on Reaching for Equity: Demystifying Social Services for the LGBTQ+ Community. This digital convening will host benefits experts to share information on the protections for LGBTQ+ seniors close to retirement, demystify social services available for the El Paso community and financial benefits of marriage or legally sanctioned unions.


This partnership coalesced by NCOA and Latinos for a Secure Retirement to bring resources to help families apply for money-saving benefits through the NCOA BenefitsCheckupTool© to live with dignity, purpose and security.


This effort was supported in part by grant 90MINC0001-01-00 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services. Points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official ACL policy.


1:00 PM Welcome Remarks | Borderland Rainbow Center 
1:05 PM Benefits Experts Panel
1:25 PM Benefits Check-Up Tool Training & Q&A
1:45 PM County-wide Resources/Borderland Rainbow Resources
1:55 PM NCOA Closing Remarks

For any questions please email Monica at

#LSRCafecito        #LatinosRetire

Meet The Speakers

Yvette Lugo, Director, Rio Grande Area Agency on Aging

Ms. Yvette Lugo is currently serving as the Director for the Rio Grande Area Agency on Aging (AAA), a division of the Rio Grande Council of Governments. She has been an employee of the Council of Governments since March 2002. Yvette was originally hired with the AAA as the Caregiver Support Program Coordinator, was promoted to Programs Manager, and then was promoted to serve in her current position as Director. Yvette is a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and the University of Texas at Arlington with a Master of Science degree in Social Work.

Yvette is also a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of Texas.

Brenda Risch, PhD, LMSW

Over 30 years of experience working on issues of gender and sexuality in academic, community, and clinical settings. Have trained hundreds of providers on LGBTQ+ Cultural Competency and Sensitivity, as well as advanced techniques for working with LGBTQ+ clients. Founder and Executive Director of the Borderland Rainbow Center and the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso. Clinical experience focused on LGBTQ Affirming Therapy, especially in terms of sexual and other traumas. EMDR trained provider, also proficient in trauma informed counseling modalities such as TF-CBT.

Vivian Nava Schellinger, Director, Strategic Partnerships & External Affairs, National Council on Aging

Vivian leads the National Council on Aging’s ecosystem of national and community partnerships, external engagement of NCOA’s policy priorities, and programs focused on vulnerable populations of older adults. For over a decade, Nava-Schellinger has used equity as a baseline principle of her work - whether working on large scale reimbursement programs in the private sector, securing funding for health literacy programs and driving Affordable Care Act (ACA) outreach in vulnerable communities, or advocating for greater health and economic security across the lifespan for underrepresented populations.

Vivian resides in Washington, DC, with her husband Jake, and their two rescue dogs (Fernando and Phil-Chepito).

Grace Ortiz

Grace Ortiz, Faith Based Community Engagement Specialist, Adult Protective Services

Grace Ortiz is currently assigned as the Faith Based Community Engagement Specialist for Adult Protective Services of the Department of Family and Protective Services in El Paso. She has been with Adult Protective Services for 16 years and started out by working as an investigator for the Agency. She actively educates our community on how to protect the Elderly and Persons with disabilities on abuse, neglect and exploitation for the Austin- El Paso District. She was recognized as Investigator of the year in 2009. She has been employed with the State of Texas for 27 years and started working under Health and Human Services SNAP and TANF eligibility centers when she transferred to Department of Family and Protective Services.

2019.11_Laura Ponce_square - Laura Ponce

Laura Ponce, Executive Director, Project BRAVO

Laura Ponce is currently the Executive Director for Project BRAVO, a Community Action Agency serving the County of El Paso, Texas. Project BRAVO assists more than 20,000 low-income and vulnerable El Pasoans on an annual basis. Laura strives to collaborate with poor, vulnerable, and underserved families to create healthy and empowered communities through her professional and volunteer endeavors. Laura graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and earned a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Partner Organizations

Questions, Comments or Concerns?
Please Email Monica at