In practicing the belief instilled by her parents of giving back to community, Lupe Avila joined the IFR Board of Directors in 2013. As the sixth of seven children, Lupe grew up in a farm worker family. Her parents never went to school but were the first and foremost teachers in her life. She is strong in the belief that “cultura cura” and that “culture is prevention” to many of the social ills that our community faces. She truly embraces her indigenous roots, traditions, and a ceremonial way of life.
After 30+ years as a professional in the social work field in Santa Clara County, Sonoma County, and in San Francisco, Lupe retired in 2009. Since retirement, she has devoted her passion, skills, experience and time to the Latino and Native American communities in the larger bay area of Northern California. In addition to her service to IFR, she is also the current Vice President of the Board of Directors of Wicahpi Koyaka Tiospaye, a Native nonprofit that “strives to re-establish and foster the understanding of indigenous cultural traditions” with the vision “to provide a spiritual community where Indian people can once again stand proudly on a cultural foundation that unites Native American communities across geographical and generational differences.”
Lupe has been a guest speaker at numerous venues, including BIONEER’S Annual Conference, Oakland Museum of California’s “Community Celebration for Days of the Dead Event”, Indigenous Presence Event co-sponsored by East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, Red Rising Women’s Wellness Conference, and Teen Health Advocacy Coalition of Sonoma County. She is also a traditional dancer with Danza Xitlalli, a grass roots ceremonial Mexica Dance Group established in 1981 to strengthen and educate our community, especially our youth, about the cultural and spiritual values that support positive self-identity, wellness, and health of body, mind and spirit.
Lupe received her Masters of Social Work from Fresno State University in 1975 and her license as a Clinical Social Worker in 1985.