Friendly Center, Inc. Embarks on a New Era with Dr. Kenia Hernandez Cueto as CEO

Friendly Center, Inc. Embarks on a New Era with Dr. Kenia Hernandez Cueto as CEO

ORANGE, CA, January 2, 2024 – Friendly Center, Inc., a stalwart in Orange County’s non-profit sector, proudly enters its centenary year by welcoming Kenia Hernandez Cueto, Ph.D., as its newly appointed President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Dr. Cueto, renowned for her transformative leadership within the career technical education, K-12, community college, adult education, and workforce development spaces, steps into the role with a compelling vision to elevate Friendly Center’s vision and mission to Provide Stability, Opportunity, and Hope to Children and Families in Poverty and end the cycle of generational poverty in Orange County.

As Friendly Center approaches its 100th anniversary in April 2024, Dr. Cueto’s arrival marks a significant milestone in the organization’s history. Her distinguished track record in driving growth and fostering innovation aligns seamlessly with Friendly Center’s commitment to serving the diverse communities of Orange County. Dr. Cueto’s visionary approach, particularly in developing sustainable partnerships and implementing culturally responsive methods to strengthen the education-to-workforce pipelines in Orange County has proven to be a catalyst for positive change.

In addition to her distinguished professional background, Dr. Kenia Hernandez Cueto brings a wealth of community service and board leadership experience to her new role. Serving as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Vital Link, Dr. Cueto has played a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s mission. Her dedication to education is evident as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at the Orange County Educational Arts Academy, where she actively contributes to enhancing educational opportunities. Further showcasing her commitment to children’s well-being, she serves as an Advisory Board Member at the Boys & Girls Club, Garden Grove, and as a Mentor for The Puente Project at Fullerton College, guiding students on their educational journey. Dr. Cueto’s recent appointment as an Academia Ambassador at the United Nations Association Orange County underscores her dedication to aligning Orange County’s educational institutions with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This multifaceted community engagement solidifies Dr. Cueto’s commitment to making a positive impact on various fronts.

“I am honored to have been selected to lead this wonderful organization and to join the Friendly Center family” expressed Dr. Cueto. “I am excited to serve and contribute to its legacy and welcome in the next 100 years innovation and new avenues of growth that will continue to help break the poverty gap in Orange County.

Dr. Cueto’s expertise in strategic planning, partnership, program development, and securing funding will play a crucial role in guiding Friendly Center through its next chapter. This transition comes at a pivotal moment for the organization, which continues to solidify its position as a comprehensive resource center, exemplified by upcoming plans and events to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

In succeeding Cathy Seelig, who served as CEO for 25 years, Dr. Cueto pays homage to a legacy of growth and community impact. The Friendly Center team expresses sincere gratitude for Ms. Seelig’s contributions and welcomes Dr. Cueto with open arms as she embarks on this exciting journey as the organization’s new CEO.

Friendly Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has been a beacon of support for low-income families and individuals in Orange County through its Community Resource Centers in Buena Park and Orange. Offering a comprehensive array of services in stability and skill-building, Friendly Center aims to nurture self-sufficiency and prevent homelessness. The organization’s impactful work is made possible through the generous support of its community.

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Mariah Martinez
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