Meet The Staff

Karla Gunner-Blank,  Executive Director

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Karla and her husband Aaron recently moved to Fresno, California from Denver, Colorado.  With a large moving truck and “Sadie”, our beloved Lab Retriever, we drove through snow to arrive at “no snow Fresno.”  Karla and Aaron’s faith is the foundation in their life and believe that this new journey is in alignment with God’s miraculous plan.

So, what led Karla to work for Right to Life of Central California?  She believes strongly that this opportunity beautifully blends her strong business management skills and energetic public speaking with her heart for “Life”…especially for those who are not able to speak up for themselves.  Karla’s heart for others is deeply rooted from growing up in the ministry.   She grew up in Minnesota where her father was a charismatic pastor who embraced all human beings from all walks of life.  She remembers Sunday afternoons in their home to be filled with anyone who wanted a hot meal, fellowship and friendship. One of her favorite extended family members was a Chippewa Indian named “Yellow Red Feather”.  He told her the best stories!

Karla has developed over the years a strong sense of devotion for the non-profit sector as serving on the board of Colorado Youth Opportunity Foundation, Colorado Youth at Risk, Denver Urban Scholars, Denver Rescue Mission, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Denver Champa House.  She is already implementing new programs and ways to reach the masses with the “Right to Life” message.  With Karla’s strategic business planning, educational and coaching experience and heart for life, she feels that she is right where she needs to be!

Karla and Aaron can be found walking Sadie in the park, seen belly laughing out in public and enjoying getting to know new friends…

 

Juan Carlos Medina, Outreach Coordinator

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Juan Carlos joined Right to Life in 2016.  He has previously been a part of various committees for youth and young adult ministries throughout the valley including at St. Joachim’s (his home parish) and the Diocese of Fresno.

Juan Carlos has been involved with youth ministry in both Spanish and English speaking groups for over 12 years at St. Joachim Catholic Church in Madera.  There he has given countless presentations to teens about their faith, morality and Theology of the Body.  It was through Theology of the Body where he grew a passion to share the pro-life message with those teens and his peers. Currently Juan Carlos is a committee member of the Disciples Ignited Young Adult Group in his home parish and is the music director for Adoremus, a group bringing young adults from around the valley together for worship and adoration in Fresno.

In his spare time Juan Carlos enjoys playing music, interacting and playing sports with other young adults from his church, hiking, and capturing videos with his action camera.

 

Marcos Espinoza, Director of Outreach

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Marcos is first and foremost a husband and father. He has four beautiful children with his wife Belen, their names are:  Elias, Miabella, Kiara and Francisco. Marcos holds a BS degree and a MA degree in Kinesiology from Fresno State University. His respect for life and the human body is expressed by this quote: “I have always been amazed by the human body and its amazing capabilities. Our human bodies were ultimately made to honor God. None of which could be possible without the right to life.”

Marcos has been involved with youth ministry in both Spanish and English speaking groups for over 16 years at  St. Joachim Catholic church in Madera. (his home parish) He has spoken at many youth and adult groups throughout the valley on various aspects of the faith including the pro-life position. For the past eight years, he and his wife Belen have been involved with the Theology of the Body ministry at their parish, where he and his wife educate and encourage our youth to live their sexuality in God’s plan.  Through this ministry he has become more in touch with the pro-life movement. He has gained a great passion for the pro-life cause and hopes to do his best in helping out RLCC in its efforts to defend life.

Marcos enjoys spending time with his family especially playing soccer with son and dancing with his daughters.  He also enjoys playing any sport that can get his heart rate going and playing the guitar.

 

 

Rafael Rodarte, Education and Creative Coordinator

 

Rafael RodarteRafael married his beautiful wife Bernadette in 2011 and together they have two wonderful children, Kiara and Sebastian. Rafael was raised in the church, and he has always understood that life is precious from the moment of conception to natural death.

Rafael is an award winning film maker who brings years of experience in communication and media to his new position at Right to Life of Central California (RLCC). His time at KMPH Fox 26 and KNXT Catholic Television as producer/video editor have truly prepared him for what lies ahead at RLCC. One of his more memorable projects is a short documentary he produced for KNXT. The film followed a group of young adults and Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno to the first annual One Life LA, a pro-life event drawing more than15,000 pro-lifers.

Rafael and Bernadette are active members at St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Madera, Ca. They both have a passion for teaching and serving the youth of their community, devoting several years of their young adult lives to youth groups and the confirmation program at their home parish. Rafael appreciates and understands the importance of ecumenism. He led worship at Fourth Street Church of God’s youth group for two years and has collaborated with several musicians from a variety of churches in his community.

Rafael enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and trying new foods.

 

Elizabeth Goddard, Director of Operations

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Elizabeth began volunteering with Right to Life in 2004. She has served in many areas at RLCC, including as a mentor for the Justice For All program and as a co-host for the Life Repot radio & TV show.

Elizabeth has her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Fresno State University and a Paralegal degree from the College of the Sequoias. Elizabeth was trained in conflict resolution at Fresno Pacific University and worked for the Better Business Bureau as a court mediator. She seeks to use her skills of finding common ground and encouraging productive dialogue to promote equal rights for all humans, both born and unborn. Elizabeth was hired in September 2013, and now works full-time to make sure that the office operations and ministries of RLCC run smoothly and efficiently.

In July 2010, Elizabeth married the love of her life (and fellow pro-life advocate) Kyle Goddard. Elizabeth and Kyle are active members of their church and enjoy visiting family, traveling, and sampling culinary delights!

 

Glenda Friesen, Administrative Assistant/ Bookkeeper

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Glenda joined Right to Life in 2010. She has previously served as Office Manager for Community Bible Church in Fresno for 6 years and most recently as Office Manager for Samaritan Women for 3 years.

Glenda’s strengths include volunteer outreach and management, executive assistance, and office administration.

Glenda and her husband Phil have been married for 37 years. One of Glenda and Phil’s favorite hobbies is visiting wineries in Paso Robles and Sonoma with their two adult daughters and son-in law. They also love to cook and entertain.