Familias Activas is a family program for parents and youth

Throughout the program, participants will learn:

  • Healthy family relationship skills and teamwork.
  • Soccer tactics through exercises and games.
  • Health practices that improve emotional, psychological and social well-being.

What's New

Familias Activas to start its third year of programming in March.

January 31, 2024

As we kick off the third year of Familias Activas, we are filled with pride and excitement. Being part of this program has been excellent. It’s not just about attending…

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Meet the Familias Activas team

April 14, 2022

Our Familias Activas team has a wide range of skills and experience. Led by Dr. Ali Hurtado Choque, a University of Maryland assistant professor in the School of Public Health,…

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Program is running strong at full capacity

April 7, 2022

The Familias Activas program is off and running strong. We have a great response of participation from the community and are now at full capacity for this pilot group, which…

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2 Program Formats


Youth Soccer Program

Familias Activas is a federally funded (Children Youth and Families at Risk, CYFAR-USDA) community-based participatory research project that aims to strengthen youth mental health and lower youth anxiety amongst Latino youth (ages 10-14) by engaging families (especially fathers) in a multi-component program including: 1) Culturally and linguistically appropriate family life education. 2) Positive Youth Development programming (PYD) focusing on mental health, and 3) Youth physical activity sessions (soccer practices). The program is being developed in partnership with Latino community-based family organizations in Maryland and aims to build on the strengths of immigrant Latino families.


Parent Support Group Program

The Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables (Prepared Parents, Healthy Youth) is a federally-funded family skills obesity prevention program for Latino immigrant fathers and their children. The program seeks to address energy balance related behaviors by increasing father's healthy parenting practices regarding healthy eating and physical activity. The program follows a Social Cognitive/Reciprocal determinism theoretical framework.

Meet the Soccer Coaches


Ms. Daisy Bautista is part of the Latino community and was born and raised in PG County. Ms. Bautista, has played soccer since she was 3 years old and withdrew her professional career at Shepherd University (D2). She has been a soccer coach for 9 years. She and she is the COO of Kick Like a Girl Corporation and she aspires to one day work for the FIFA World Cup.


Mr. Jack SaFranko currently lives in Washington DC, originally from Montclair, New Jersey. Mr. SaFranko graduated from George Washington University in 2018. He played soccer his entire life and has approximately 6 years of coaching experience with youth players.


Mr. Ricardo Doig is 35 years old, born and raised in Lima, Peru. He is passionate about sports, he has played soccer since he learned to walk. Also, he is a former amateur fighter from Muaythai. He studied Communications at the Universidad de San Martin de Porres in Lima, Peru, and did a master's degree in Sports Management at Georgetown University. He has 15 years of experience working in the sports industry, and currently works for Headfirst Companies as Associate, Programs-Headfirst Professional Sports Camps. He is also CEO of the non-profit organization Kick Like a Girl Corporation.

The Padres Preparados Experience

Partnering Organizations



Ghaffar Ali Hurtado Choque

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Maryland

Dr. Hurtado Choque is an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health and Extension Specialist at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, focusing on family and community health. Mr. Hurtado focuses his research, scholarship and outreach in the development, implementation and evaluation of health promotion interventions at the family and community levels.

Prior to joining UMD, Ali Hurtado was a research associate at the University of Minnesota Extension and the Medical School Program in Health Disparities Research. He is actively engaged in health disparities research, scholarship and outreach.

Angela Orantes

A first-generation Salvadoran-American Latina raised in Montgomery County, a Public Health science undergraduate student at the University of Maryland-College Park, Angela has always been passionate about working with children, mental health, and helping out her community. She is a research assistant for the UMD-College Park School of Public Health and Director of the Addiction Project for the American Medical Student Association on campus. Angela joined Familias Activas as a part of her job as a research assistant under Dr. Hurtado-Choque. Her goal is to attend medical school and become a physician to work with Latino immigrant families and children to promote and educate physical and mental health in her community. 

Franco Cabrera

A first-generation Costa Rican-American raised in Prince Georges County, Education Program Specialist Franco has always been passionate about social justice and helping out his community. He was the founder of the Latino Student Union at the UMBC-Shady Grove campus and was president of the Latino Student Union at Montgomery College-Takoma Park campus. Franco joined CASA as a member of its communications team, where they rallied people to protests fighting injustice for local and national issues. He now works to uplift immigrant families through education and mental health teachings to help current and future generations succeed. He holds a degree in Political Science with a minor in History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Trent Leon Lierman

Maryland Lead Regional Organizer Trent Leon Lierman is a trailblazing community organizer in Maryland. He has been an organizer since 2007. Trent has worked with a plethera of unions to aid in forming unions in workplaces. At CASA, he has lead many fights for civil and immigrant rights. Trent has been a part of the adovocacy work that lead to winning the Maryland Dream Act, licenses for undocumented immigrants in Maryland, Sanctuary jurisdictions around the state, as well as housing, economic and police reforms. He has worked for the immigrants rights movement since 2004, beginning his work with No More Deaths in Arizona in 2005. He lives with my life partner, our two kids, and their two cats in Greenbelt, MD.

Jorge Benitez Perez

Maryland Community Organizer Jorge Benitez-Perez started as a volunteer and advocate with CASA in 2018. He has grown into a badass community organizer from Prince George’s County. He was part of the team who spearheaded the fight for Prince George’s County to become a sanctuary county, a resounding victory with an unanimous council vote of 11-0. As a DACA recipient himself, he was a part of the fight to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Jorge also helped turned the city of Riverdale, Maryland, into a sanctuary city. He is fighting for immigrant liberation and believes we have nothing to lose but our chains.

Lidia Rivas

Maryland Community Organizer Lidia Rivas has dedicated her life to helping her community. Lidia first joined CASA as a volunteer and began working on a community outreach program, she later became a community organizer for the Langley Park and Mt. Rainer areas. In her youth in El Salvador, Lidia would sell food and baked goods to be able to afford supplies for people who were incarcerated. She would spend every Saturday visiting the prison with her church youth group. When she migrated to the United States, she began teaching indigenous children who spoke Mam. Since her tenure, Lidia has served her community in any way she can. Whether it is helping organize, mobilize or educate, Lidia is dedicated to bettering the lives of those around her. Lidia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education, specializing in Social Science.

Lenora Blakely

Lenora is a junior at the University of Maryland's Public Health Science program and is from Silver Spring, Maryland. After completion of her undergraduate degree, her goal is to earn a masters in public health in a Global Public Health program. Her professional interest lies in conducting field research in child and maternal health in Latino populations, particularly in Central and South America.

Kerri Ashurst

Dr. Kerri Ashurst is a Senior Extension Specialist for Family and Consumer Sciences Extension. Kerri's primary areas of interest include families who are coping with major crises such as illness or death of a family member; positive youth and young adult development; couple communication and relationship building; and stress management. She has had a lifetime of exposure to select portions of Extension programming as her father served as a 4-H Youth Development Specialist at UK for over 30 years and Kerri herself participated in 4-H as a youth.

Alex Chan

Dr. Alex Chan is the mental and behavioral health specialist for University of Maryland Extension Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Program. He brings practical knowledge and experience in stress management, family relations, and adolescent development. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University. Alex is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Jamie Kenton

Jamie Kenton is an Extension Specialist for 4-H Youth Development in Volunteer Systems based at the Maryland 4-H Center. Jamie joined UME in 2012 and is a member of the State Development of the 4-H Practitioner Focus Committee, 4-H State Camp Action Team, and State Council Advisor. Jamie works with field faculty to help strengthen the 4-H volunteer system into a high quality cohesive and consistent program for the over 4,000 volunteers in Maryland.

Mireia Gonzales-Ysern

Mireia is a Latina graduate from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. As a kinesiology student on the pre-health track, Mireia gained much knowledge by studying the diverse sports, physical, and mental health worlds. From her years of experience working in various health and mental health settings, as well as as a Youth Soccer Assistant Coach, she has developed a strong interest in Sports Psychology. Mireia is currently tying together her passions for Soccer, Mental Health, and the Latino Community as a Bilingual Research Assistant for Familias Activas as she prepares to further her studies in graduate school.

Matthew Rodriguez

Matthew is a Family Science doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health. Matt researches ethnic minority men and their families and has taught FMSC170 "Modern Families," which is an introductory family science course at the University of Maryland. He was recently elected as the National Council on Family Relations' Co-Chair of the Men in Families focus group. Contact Matt @MattR_Rodriguez.

Adib Hurtado

Adib is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland in the Engineering School. Adib has experience with community-based programs and is supporting the design and development of the Familias Activas mobile health app, which will be released in January, 2022.

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