Wendy Cervantes is the Vice President of Immigration and Child Rights Policy for First Focus. In this role she is responsible for leading the organization’s work in cross-cutting policy areas that impact children of immigrants and their families including child welfare, immigration, education, human rights, family economics, and health.
Before joining First Focus, Ms. Cervantes was Director of Programs at La Plaza, a Latino community-based organization in central Indiana. At La Plaza Ms. Cervantes oversaw the development and evaluation of education, health, and social service programs that reached over 7,000 families annually. As a member of the Indiana Commission for Hispanic and Latino Affairs Education Committee, she also advocated on behalf of English Language Learners and other vulnerable Latino students. Prior to La Plaza, Ms. Cervantes worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation where she managed the national immigrant and refugee families portfolio and the District of Columbia portfolio. While at the Foundation, she also oversaw the KIDS COUNT immigrant state policy grants and led the Foundation’s efforts on family literacy and immigrant adolescent development.
Ms. Cervantes also has experience as a transnational community organizer, an adult ESL instructor, and a youth program coordinator. She currently serves on the Associate Board of the Latin American Youth Center, the Advisory Board of the We Belong Together Campaign, and as the Policy Co-chair of the Migration and Child Welfare National Network. In 2011, she was selected as an ALL IN Fellow with the National Hispana Leadership Institute. The proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, she holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies and Political Science from the University of New Mexico and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Southern California.