Story, Vision & Mission

Our Name

The words la amistad are Spanish for “the friendship”. At LaAmistad, friendships between students and staff, volunteers, and fellow students are cultivated every day. Their impact can last a lifetime.

Our Vision

Our vision is that Latino students and families achieve life-long self-sufficiency.

Our Mission

Our mission is to prepare Latino students and families for success through academic and life enrichment programs.

Our History

LaAmistad was established in Atlanta in 2001 by Bill Maness. Serving as the director of the Gym at Peachtree Presbyterian Church at the time, he noticed a need for neighborhood children to have a safe place to improve their academics and develop strong character. In 2006 LaAmistad became a 501(c)(3) non-profit to provide exceptional educational and life-enrichment services to children and their families. Today LaAmistad has grown into a holistic program that includes afterschool tutoring, parent education, English for Successful Living classes, and summer enrichment activities.


At a Glance

Who We Are

LaAmistad is a community-supported non-profit organization working to empower Latino students and families to achieve their dreams. We utilize a holistic programming structure that includes after school tutoring, parent education, English language courses, and educational summer enrichment programs.

What We Do

LaAmistad operates volunteer-led after-school programming throughout metro Atlanta focusing on specialized attention and community mentorship. The goal is to improve academic performance by catering to the individual needs of each student. Academic support is supplemented by summer enrichment programs and opportunities that provide students with career, cultural and life experiences. LaAmistad also offers counseling and family support services to students and families as part of a uniquely holistic approach.

We believe that parent education is as important as student education. Parents must be equally committed to their student’s academic growth and must pledge to ensure that their student graduates from high school. Our ongoing parent workshops provide caregivers with the tools and skills necessary to help their students achieve success both at home and in school. Parents are also invited to participate in civic engagement opportunities, helping to form strong community networks and reliable support systems.

LaAmistad’s 10-week English for Successful Living program provides adult students the opportunity to learn English online and at a variety of convenient locations.

LaAmistad is proud to partner with churches, schools, and businesses to provide environments that foster success. We believe that engaging students, families, and caregivers together as a cohesive unit establishes an environment in which every student has the opportunity to thrive academically, physically, and personally.


Core Values


"Every touch, every time, no exceptions."


“The ability to speak with love, listen with patience and act with compassion."


"You can't fake passion."


“Grit, the raw endurance, hard work & tenacity that keeps you going despite obstacles.”


"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."


Advisory Council

LaAmistad’s Advisory Council is a collection of the organization’s various stakeholders that represents students, volunteers, community partners, and many more. Membership is decided based on dedication and commitment to our mission. 

The goal of the advisory council is to learn about (and from) the experiences of stakeholder groups in an effort to generate new ideas and enhance programming. The advisory council meets twice per fiscal year. 

To learn more about the advisory council or to become involved, please contact us.


Board of Directors

Wilheem Perez

LaAmistad Chair

Nicholas P. Smith

Partner - Dame Law P.C. LaAmistad Vice Chair

Marissel Vazquez

Bank of America
LaAmistad Treasurer

Javier Becerra

Global Payments, Inc.
LaAmistad Secretary

Brendalee Cranman


Ed Easterlin


Ana Galindo


Laura Gibson-Lamothe

Georgia Fintech Academy

Leslie Luck

Jeff Pope

Polly Van Duser

One, Inc.

Eva Zamarripa

Familia Vineyards



Catrina DaCosta McAfee

Executive Director

Nina Reid

Associate Director

Randy Maner

Finance and HR Director