Maricela Garcia, Gads Hill Center

Today we speak with Maricela Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of Gads Hill Center - an organization that since 1898, has created opportunities for children and their families to build a better life through education, access to resources and community engagement.

Mariciela came to the United States in the early 1980s as a result of the war in Guatemala. After her arrival she founded Casa Guatemala to assist newly arriving refugees and later co-founded Women for Guatemala, which we speak about during the interview.

She also served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, was the founding Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum. Prior to Gads Hill Center, she was the Director of Capacity Building and Juvenile Justice Policy at the National Council of La Raza.

We Learn About:

  • Gads Hill’s legacy of services to every immigrant group that has come to Chicago, including their current work in early childhood education and youth development
  • Maricela reflects on her career in human rights advocacy and policy, along with her transition to direct services, and
  • How income inequality impacts the educational and social-emotional goals of Latino families across the city

Notable Resources:

Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America

To learn more about Gads Hill Center, visit:

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