Meet the team who makes it all happen - the heart and soul of the Lapan College & Career Club and Clubhouse.
Lucy transitioned to her second career with the Lapan College & Career Club in 2008 after a 30-year stint with the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), working as the financial manager of all State/Federal and Private funding. She also served as a School Improvement Specialist, training district administrators, principals and school leadership teams in instructional and operational program design, implementation and evaluation to increase student achievement and raise low-performing schools to a performing level. Building on Patricia Lapan’s idea of $50 for every “A” for students in 6th-12th grade, Lucy and her team incorporated their experience and the relationships developed from decades of working in the Wakefield community to address the systemic, socio-economic, academic and cultural challenges that prevent students from taking full advantage of the Lapan Foundation’s unique offer. Her job encompasses everything from strategic planning and program design to teacher, counselor, cheerleader, gardener, dreamer, advocate, coach, surrogate parent and detective. “It’s the personal relationships and being able to stay with the kids from 5th grade through their postsecondary graduate studies that make this job so fulfilling,” she reflects. This Tucson native, raised in the small mining town of Silver Bell, Arizona, majored in Business Administration at Pima Community College and the University of Phoenix and has spent most of her career working in education. She became a successful business owner in her early twenties, a policy wonk with TUSD and finally, a mentor to mentors with the Lapan College & Career Club, and finds her greatest pleasure in helping economically and academically disadvantaged children from the inner city overcome every barrier to realize their God-given potential in a global context.
Director of Media & Special Projects
Alan was born in Princeton, New Jersey but raised in Latin America, graduating from Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. He worked as a Science, Journalism and Video Media Teacher and Title I Family Liaison at Wakefield Middle School for 25 years before joining the Lapan College & Career Club team after volunteering with the Lapan Foundation for seven years. Alan has an Anthropology and Secondary Education degree from Wheaton College in Chicago. He served in the Dominican Republic as a community development volunteer and then in Sonora, Mexico as the Country Director for Food For The Hungry, Inc.'s relief and development operations in Mexico before coming to Tucson in 1990. As the Director of Media & Special Projects with the Lapan College & Career Club, Alan supports the efforts of the team by collaborating with the Executive Director in program design, implementation and evaluation, providing technical expertise, producing publications and didactic materials, and documenting the mentoring program through photography and data collection.
Lapan Center Manager
Dina Mendoza was born and raised in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico. She studied Social Work at the University of Sonora before moving to Tucson, where she married and volunteered at her son's elementary and middle school, Hollinger and Wakefield. Noticing her talents and dedication, the Lapan College & Career Club invited Dina to join the staff. Her knowledge of the community, her commitment to the mission of the LCC and her dedication to students, including her son, a Lapan student at the University of Arizona and Pima College, make her an especially effective resource in working with students and families from the community. Dina helps manage the Lapan programs' activities, prepares and organizes equipment for the soccer league, helps prepare mailings and serves the team in outreach meetings to the community.
Business Data Manager
Denise Valenzuela was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. Valenzuela has dedicated her life to the healthcare field for over 24 years. She is passionate about going above and beyond to help others and providing the resources to do so. In 2023, she transitioned to a new career with the Lapan College and Career Club working as the Business Data Manager." It has been so gratifying to see how the Lapan College and Career Club impacts the community and how grateful they are.
Born and raised in South Tucson, Alejandro (Alex) Romo is a proud Tucsonan and Lapan Scholar. After graduating from Pueblo High School in 2012, Alex continued on to attain his degree from the University of Arizona in International Policy emphasizing in Public Health in 2016. Aiming to broaden his horizons, Alex was accepted for the “Japan Exchange and Teaching” (JET) Program in the summer of 2016. While in Japan, he served as a High School English Teacher and Foreign Language Outreach contact for the local government of Wakayama Prefecture. While working and studying, he also achieved his Japanese Language Proficiency N2 Licensure. Furthermore, Alex was awarded the "Kizunajōu" prize by the Tokyo Metropolitan "Excellence in Leadership" Commission for his dedicated efforts in linking rural Japanese communities in Wakayama and Osaka prefectures to crucial information and resources during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Returning to the United States in the summer of 2021, Alex continued his educational journey by obtaining a Masters of Social Work degree from Arizona State University, further solidifying his commitment to public service in Arizona. In the spring of 2023, Alex graduated with distinction from ASU, marking the completion of his Masters of Social Work Degree. Subsequently, Alex joined Lapan College and Career Club in the summer of the same year as a Program Coordinator and High School Liaison. In this role, he serves Lapan high school students, aiding them in planning and executing their college and career goals.