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MEET OUR STAFF

Dalia Villa De La Cruz

Program Manager

I serve as a program manager at Self Determined Futures LLC, having graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Political Science and Chicano/a/x Studies. This academic background has provided me with a fresh perspective that enriches our work here.

My journey has been diverse, starting with volunteer work at Mid-City CAN ,a non-profit organization, where I contributed to self-advocacy, and community empowerment initiatives. This experience paved the way for a transition into a full-time role, equipping me with essential skills for my chosen career path.

Driven by a passion for community organizing, aiding those in need, and fostering positive change, I have embarked on various professional endeavors. From roles at Rady Children’s Hospital and a San Diego chain restaurant to my most recent position at a small family business in Poway, each opportunity has been instrumental in shaping my journey.

The culmination of these experiences has led me to my current role at Self Determined Futures LLC. Our mission to offer unparalleled support and address the disparities faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities resonates deeply with me. Working alongside our dedicated staff and empowering those we serve has been immensely fulfilling.

Beyond my professional life, I find joy in exploring local coffee shops and embracing the outdoors through activities like hiking, running, and beach outings.

Dalia Villa De La Cruz

Maritza Rodriguez

Program Manager

Hello, I’m Maritza Rodriguez, and I’m proud to serve as one of the program managers at Self Determined Futures. My journey to this role has been deeply shaped by my innate desire to lead and make a positive impact in the lives of others. From my earliest memories, I've felt a natural inclination towards taking charge and lending a helping hand wherever possible. This calling became clear during my high school years when I became involved in various social justice and community advocacy groups. Through these experiences, I discovered the immense satisfaction that comes from being able to contribute to positive change. But my journey wasn't solely about activism; it was also about understanding the importance of teamwork and empowerment. Being appointed as the team captain for my lacrosse team taught me invaluable lessons about leadership and unity. As I continued to volunteer and work directly with children, including those with developmental disabilities, my passion for making a difference grew stronger. I realized that my true purpose lay in creating opportunities for others and advocating for those who needed support.


Starting out as an executive administrative assistant at Self Determined Futures, I immersed myself in ensuring that our clients received the care and assistance they deserved. Each task I undertook was infused with a sense of responsibility and dedication to our mission. When the opportunity arose to step into the role of program manager, I recognized it as a natural progression, especially considering my dedication to continuous learning, including several Google certifications in project management. Now, I'm grateful for the chance to lead with a steady hand while remaining accessible to provide hands-on support to those who need it most. Every day, I'm motivated by the knowledge that my work is making a difference in the lives of others. It's incredibly fulfilling to know that I'm part of a team that is dedicated to creating positive change in the world. Outside of work, I enjoy exploring a variety of hobbies, from crocheting to gardening, cooking and vintage clothing. Whether I'm spending time at the beach or simply relaxing with a good book, I find joy in embracing life's simple pleasures and diverse experiences.

Maritza Rodriguez

Emma Covarrubias

CFS Case Manager

I am privileged to serve as a Coordinated Family Support Case Manager at Self Determined Futures LLC. I have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Minor in Counseling and Social Change. My journey commenced as an Assistant Manager Medical Assistant within an Internal Medicine practice, where I cultivated invaluable experience in patient care and operational management over a distinguished five-year tenure. Driven by a deep-seated passion for effecting positive change, I transitioned to the behavioral health sector as a Registered Behavior Technician. For over three years, I dedicated myself to providing applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services to individuals and families across various settings, including in-home, clinical, and educational environments.

The educational institutions provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with students and educators from diverse backgrounds and challenges. Once I progressed into a supervisory role, I was responsible for training Early Behavior Interventionists and establishing parent education initiatives, further solidifying my expertise in the field. My personal experiences, particularly my encounters with childhood bullying, have instilled within me an unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of kindness, respect, and inclusivity. This philosophy serves as the cornerstone of my profession, driving my endeavors to serve as an ally and catalyst for social change and justice.

Joining Self Determined Futures as a Case Manager is a tremendous honor, as it aligns seamlessly with my mission to empower individuals in need, and facilitate their journey towards self-expression and fulfillment. I firmly believe in the unique abilities of individuals with different abilities and advocate for a society that embraces diversity and celebrates individual strengths. In essence, my vocation is rooted in the belief that with encouragement and empowerment, we can forge meaningful connections and collectively navigate life's challenges with compassion and understanding.

Emma Covarrubias

Madison Gonzalez

DHOH Outreach Specialist & ASL Interpreter

I'm Madison Gonzalez, the DHOH Outreach Specialist at Self Determined Futures, where I focus on empowering the Deaf+ community in San Diego. My journey began in high school when I enrolled in my first ASL class, sparking a deep connection with Deaf culture and its language. Working closely with Deaf individuals, I've witnessed firsthand the challenges they face due to societal barriers rather than innate differences.

 

My role involves bridging these gaps by facilitating access to crucial services, all while fostering a deep respect for Deaf culture. I am committed to ensuring that Deaf+ and hard of hearing individuals not only have access to services in ASL but the services they need to thrive independently. My dedication stems from a lifelong passion for equality and inclusion, cultivated through personal experiences and engagement within the Deaf community.

 

What fulfills me most is knowing that I am making a tangible difference in the lives of those I serve. By providing access to essential resources and promoting awareness of Deaf culture, I am breaking down barriers and fostering a more inclusive society. Every day, I am inspired by the resilience and strength of the Deaf community, and I am honored to play a role in their journey towards empowerment and self-determination.

 

Beyond my professional endeavors, my heart lies in the realm of literature. I avidly collect captivating editions of the classics, indulging in various genres to explore the depths of storytelling. Fiction pieces, in particular, hold a special place in my heart, whisking me away to imaginative worlds crafted by talented authors. Supporting small bookstores isn't just a pastime; it's a way to foster community and preserve the unique charm of independent bookselling. Through my love for literature, I find both escape and solace, immersing myself in narratives that enrich my life and ignite my imagination.

Madison Gonzalez

Mary Rodriguez

ILS Specialist

Hi my name is Mary Rodriguez and I am part of the Self-Determined Futures Team. Being able to work for Self-Determined Futures gives me the opportunity to help and empower those who need an extra push to get ahead and integrate into the community and find their own paths and feel proud of their lives. It's all about believing in themselves and having the courage to go after what they want. I feel incredibly lucky to be welcomed into the homes of those I support. It's a big honor for me. I'm there to celebrate their successes and support them through tough times. Challenges are just opportunities for us to show how strong and brave we can be.

My approach is all about kindness and understanding. I want to create a safe space where people feel confident to make choices that make them happy. By offering support and encouragement, I hope to help them become more independent and confident in themselves.


I believe everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed, no matter what challenges they face. I'm excited to learn and grow, and to help others do the same. To conclude, I enjoy watching movies, taking walks in parks or at the beach, and playing piano and singing. These hobbies bring me joy and relaxation, and I love exploring new creative avenues through them. I hope to keep growing and excelling at my job.

Mary Rodriguez

Azucena Ceja

ASL ILS Specialist & CFS Case Manager

In 2023 I graduated from the Interpreter Training Program at Palomar college. A fellow classmate invited me to join her at her new job at Self Determined Futures. Now I’m an Independent Living and Coordinated Family Service Specialist with Self Determined Futures.

 

I primarily work with our Deaf+ clients and their families. Through Independent Living Services I help each individual stride towards a self-sufficient way of life. While working with families in Coordinated Family Services, I help alleviate some pressure that comes with taking care of a loved one with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. It has been a pleasure seeing our Deaf+ clients move toward their goals. As well as being the support they and their family need. I always enjoy helping people in any way I can. Receiving sincere gratitude from our clients and their families reinforces my motivation to help them through our services.

Outside of work, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. Right now, we are interested in visiting various businesses located in San Diego County. Our most visited spots have been Balboa Park and Seaport Village. Another recent endeavor of my friend and I has been creating a book club. We have read two books so far, which include “Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover and “The Last Letter” by Rebeccca Yarros. We are currently reading “It Ends with Us” also by Colleen Hoover.

Azucena Ceja

Mariana Vega

CFS Case Manager

My name is Mariana. I am a Coordinated Family Supports case manager. My role focuses on aiding families in accessing essential resources and assistance.

 

Specifically, I assist individuals with disabilities in navigating the maze of available resources, empowering them to maintain their independence. Beyond merely locating resources, I emphasize the importance of pursuing activities

and supports that not only foster physical well-being but also align with personal aspirations and interests. With a background in psychology, I became acutely aware of the systemic barriers faced by individuals with disabilities during my college years.

Witnessing this disparity fueled my commitment to advocacy. My journey began as an ABA technician, where I worked closely with children on the autism spectrum. Through this experience, I facilitated the development of crucial life

skills and emotional regulation, laying the groundwork for their future independence.

 

Ultimately, my overarching goal is to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to achieve fulfillment and success.

Mariana Vega

Jorge Martinez

ILS Specialist & CFS Case Manager

I am Jorge Martinez, I’m privileged Self Determined Futures an
organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to lead self-directed and fulfilling living is Coordinated Family Support Case Manager and an Independent Living Specialist. The journey into this field began with a deeply rooted desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

 

Inspired by personal experiences and encounters with individuals facing unique challenges, I embarked on path of education and advocacy to support and uplift marginalized communities. My first hand experience in community outreach was when I attended San Diego Mesa College and had the opportunity to work in the Outreach department. My hands-on experience in community outreach programs and support services solidified my commitment to this noble cause and fueled my determination to create a more inclusive society. Whether it’s witnessing a breakthrough moment of self discovery in a client or celebrating small victories along the journey towards independence, every interaction reinforces my belief in the transformative power of compassion and empowerment.

 

In my role at Self Determined Futures, I find immense fulfillment in fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where individuals with intellectual disabilities are valued, respected, and empowered to define their own futures. From facilitating skill-building workshops to providing personalized
guidance and support, I am continually inspired by the resilience, courage and determination of the individuals I have the privilege to serve. My Journey into this field has been guided by a steadfast commitment to advocating for social justice, equity, and inclusion. Through my work at Self Determined Futures, I am dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become independent, discovering their strengths, pursue their passions.

Jorge Martinez

Stephanie Muñoz

ILS Specialist & CFS Case Manager

My name is Stephanie Muñoz, I am a Coordinated Family Support Case Manager and an Independent Living Specialist. My passion to empower and advocate for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities

started in High school. I volunteered to help individuals with special needs and developmental disabilities so that I had a better understanding of the constant challenges faced. I found that working with this population has allowed me to learn valuable lessons about patience, empathy, and understanding.

 

I believe that we can create a more inclusive and equitable society where all individuals are valued and respected by providing support, encouragement, and advocacy for these individuals. Embracing and celebrating the unique abilities and talents of individuals with disabilities can create a more inclusive and equitable community.

 

Another passion of mine has always been the Cosmetology world and I decided to pursue this career after high school. I enrolled at The Paul Mitchell School in Downtown San Diego and immediately fell in love with the hands-on training and creative freedom the field offered. As a cosmetologist, I have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients and help them achieve their desired look. What I love most is the ability to not only make someone look beautiful on the outside, but also feel confident and amazing on the inside. The power of a makeover or a a simple touch-up can truly be transformative.

Overall, it has been a rewarding experience and I am grateful every day that I have found careers that allow me to

express my creativity and make a positive impact on others. I look forward to continuing to grow and evolve in these fields, and I am excited to see where this journey will take me in the future.

Stephanie Muñoz

Virginia Hooper

ILS Specialist & CFS Case Manager

My name is Virginia Hopper but I also go by Ginny. I am a Coordinated Family Service Case Manager and Independent Living Service Specialist at Self-Determined Futures LLC. My journey into this field was unexpected but makes sense considering the previous career path and the pure joy I feel when witnessing the growth and confidence in others as they thrive.

 

Prior to working with Self-Determined Futures, I was a Behavioral and Rehabilitation Specialist for the youth around San Diego. Since my time with them typically ended once they graduated high school or turned 18, witnessing their growth was lost, leaving me to wonder what would happen to them. My belief is that we are life-long learners, so the space to grow and learn is continuous as long as we are alive, capable, and willing to. 

The mission of Self-Determined Futures is to empower intellectually disabled adults and their families through consistent education, collaboration, and practices with the goal of the participants to achieve independence. I am fortunate to be a part of a passionate team of people who resonate and contribute to the growth of adults with intellectual disabilities. Something that brings me a sense of fulfillment since being in this position is witnessing the progress of the participants and the confidence they gain with each accomplishment.

When I’m not working in the field, in my free time I am dedicated to learning more about myself and the world around me through experiences and applying my background knowledge in Psychology.

Virginia Hooper

Susana Martinez

ILS Specialist

My journey into the field of supporting adults with intellectual disabilities at Self Determined Futures has been marked by a profound commitment to helping others. With a background in the medical field and a current pursuit of nursing education, I have a genuine passion for making a positive impact on the lives of those I serve.

My transition into this field was sparked by innate desire to help people, coupled with my experiences in healthcare settings, where I witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.

 

An interesting tidbit about me is my unwavering dedication to continuous learning and personal growth. I have a busy schedule as a nursing student, but I actively seek out opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills, ensuring that I can provide the highest quality care and support to those in need.

 

What I find most fulfilling about this position at Self Determined Futures is the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities. Whether it's assisting them in daily tasks, advocating for their rights, or simply offering a listening ear, I take immense pride in being able to empower individuals to lead fulfilling and independent lives. I hope I can combine my love for nursing and the love I now have for supporting adults in this field and make something bigger and better in the near future. For me, the joy of knowing that I am positively impacting the lives of others is the greatest reward of all.

Susana Martinez
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