Board of Directors

Dr. Rafael Yañez


Dr. Yañez moved to the Back of the Yards more than 15 years ago and became a police officer serving the Englewood community. In 2007, he founded U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center to provide distressed communities the tools necessary for financial, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth. He received a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership and works for the Chicago Police Department’s Special Activities Division as a Crime Prevention Specialist. For the past several years, Dr. Yañez has served as a consultant for the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) where he customized the Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) curriculum to train officers from Central America. Dr. Yañez is a devout Catholic who serves as a member of the Immaculate Conception Parish Council, He is a proud husband and father of two teenagers. 

Ramiro Alvarez    Vice President

Ramiro Alvarez

Vice President

Mr. Alvarez was born in Chicago, raised in Pilsen and graduated from Benito Juarez H.S. He attended Daley College and received his associate's in Criminal Justice. Mr. Alvarez then went on to receive his bachelor’s and is currently working towards a master’s at Calumet College of St. Joseph. Mr. Alvarez has been an active member of U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center since 2009 and also serves as Youth Liaison for the 10th District Chicago Police Department.

Naomi Ezquivel    Secretary

Naomi Ezquivel


Mrs. Ezquivel is a Back of the Yards resident who was first introduced to U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center in 2010. She currently works as a Chicago 911 Dispatcher and believes that U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center's programming plays a vital role in keeping youth on Chicago's Southwest side away from gangs and drugs by offering healthy alternatives to their lifestyle.

Gustavo Arellano    Board Director

Gustavo Arellano

Board Director

Mr. Arellano was raised in Brighton Park and is an experienced Public Benefits professional with over 3 years of Community Outreach, Community Health Care and Community Development. Mr. Arellano works for Jane Addams Resource Corporation as an Income Support Specialist where he screens, counsels and serves individuals and/or families for public benefits including Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Raymond A. Batts    Board Director

Raymond A. Batts

Board Director

Mr. Batts has been a resident of the Back of the Yards community since 1984 and has a background in Microbiology. Mr. Batts is not only associated with other community organizations, but also has his own tax exempt organization by the name of Unified Legacy Inc. Mr. Batts is also a rising entrepreneur and has become partner in American Security Dealer, established the Phoenix Rising Corporation, and helped to establish the Collective Minds Corporation (grant writing corporation).

Jocelyn De La Torre    Board Director

Jocelyn De La Torre

Board Director

Ms. De La Torre was born and raised in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. She is a first generation college student and earned her bachelor's in Business and Economics with a concentration in non-profit management from North Park University. Ms. De La Torre currently works for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) as a Community Outreach Specialist. She joined the Board in 2015 and enjoys trying new foods and restaurants.

Irene López    Board Director

Irene López

Board Director

Ms. López currently works for Cook County Health and Hospital Systems. Growing up in the Back of the Yards, she has dedicated many years of service to the community and continues to volunteer as much as possible. Ms. López enjoys being involved in positive things that benefit the community, especially the youth. Ms. López is proud to be a part of U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center organization which strives to make a positive change in the Back of the Yards community.

Rafael López, Jr.    Board Director

Rafael López, Jr.

Board Director

Mr. López has been involved with U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center since 2011. He has held many volunteer positions within the organization. He began as the Art & Mural Director, continued as a mentor in the Social Justice Leadership Institute mentoring program, and is currently the director of the U.N.I.O.N. Impact S.O.L.D.I.E.R.S. The S.O.L.D.I.E.R.S. are the backbone of the organization during community events. Mr. López also works as a Security Officer with the Chicago Public Schools and also volunteers at his church New Vision Community Church.

Maria Del Rosario Raygoza    Board Director

Maria Del Rosario Raygoza

Board Director

Ms, Raygoza is a self-described "universal individual" who enjoys volunteering in the Back of the Yards, her home for the past 30 years. She helps keep neighborhoods in good standing and assists in whatever she can to bring crime down. Ms. Raygoza also helps individuals get the most they can from life, especially the youth. She works as a bilingual paralegal at Allegretti & Associates in Park Ridge and is the Girl Scout Troop Leader for 20199 at Chavez School. Ms. Raygoza aka "Ms. Universe" is married with three children and is a die hard White Sox fan. 

Michael Rodrigues    Board Director

Michael Rodrigues

Board Director

Mr. Rodrigues attended Pennsylvania State University and has experience in Business, Economic, Community and Civic Development. Mr. Rodrigues has worked and volunteered with several non-profits and is currently a member of the Chicago Area Peace Corps Association. Mr. Rodrigues’ goal with U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center is to help continue the organization's mission and empower the youth to be the best version of themselves.

Manuel Talavera    Board Director

Manuel Talavera

Board Director

Mr. Talavera was born and raised in the West Elsdon community. He is a first generation college student and earned his bachelor's from Roosevelt University and an MPA from the University of Illinois, Springfield. Mr. Talavera joined the board in 2013 and enjoys reading books regarding the politically rich history of Chicago. 

Additional Board Members:

Jeylu B. Gutierrez - Treasurer

Sandra Chavez - Trustee

Veronica López - Trustee