Community Engagement

Neighbors Link provides community education programs on a wide range of issues related to immigration, including knowing your rights when interacting with immigration or law enforcement, important updates on immigration policy, cultural awareness trainings, legal updates and more. These programs take place at houses of worship, community organizations, schools, healthcare organizations and throughout the community. 

Police and Community

Our communities are safest when all residents feel comfortable interacting with law enforcement. Unfortunately, long standing issues of injustice, trauma and social disparities have eroded  trust between many immigrant residents and local police. For decades, Neighbors Link has worked to build trust and improve communication between local police and the immigrant community. Some of these efforts include:

  • Neighbors Link provides a half day Cultural Awareness training to each new recruit cohort of the Westchester County Police Academy. In this training we discuss diversity in Westchester, explore stereotypes, and act out role plays to experience challenging scenarios first-hand.
  • Police and Family Initiative: this program is run in collaboration with the North American Family Institute and the Westchester County Police Department. This program brings local police officers and immigrant families together and is designed to break down stereotypes to create a new picture of police and community relations, using exercises and activities to open lines of communication. By sharing their preconceived notions and personal stories, participants explored common ground and built mutual respect.
  • Regular trainings throughout Westchester County for employees of the Westchester County Department of Social Services (DSS) and Westchester County Police Department. The goal of these trainings is to build trust and open communication among police officers and DSS workers who often collaborate to respond to calls. We help the participants to gain an understanding of each other’s roles and develop new protocols to work together more effectively.
  • Regular visits from Westchester County police office to our Family Center participants
  • The Police and Community Together (PACT) program, which operates regular meetings and communities discussions to build trust and improve communication between police and the immigrant community in Mount Kisco.

Leadership Council

The Leadership Council is an advisory group of clients who have taken on a leadership role at Neighbors Link. The results have been impressive with new leaders emerging to share their talents by leading workshops for their peers, participating in media interviews on immigration issues, organizing special events, and leading advocacy efforts for policies that impact the immigrant community.


Neighbors Link’s advocacy opportunities allow long-term and newer residents to come together to fight for policies that recognize the dignity and value of each person. For more information, click here.

Office for New Americans Opportunity Center

Neighbors Link first established our partnership with the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) in 2016, when we were awarded the ONA Opportunity Center grant, designating us as a recognized resource among a statewide network of service providers for new Americans. We continue to operate as an ONA Opportunity Center today, providing naturalization and citizenship preparation classes.

In 2017, we extended our partnership with ONA when we were awarded the ONA Immigrant Community Navigator grant, a program that allows us to work as part of a statewide effort to conduct trainings, provide workshops, and facilitate community conversations in the Hudson Valley region that improve healthy integration.

In 2019, Neighbors Link was selected to be part of the Rapid Response Program (as part of the Liberty Defense Project) to provide dedicated attorneys to assist immigrants in urgent, time-sensitive legal jeopardy. Most recently, in 2022, ONA launched a new program called Legal Counsel, which extends the work of the Liberty Defense Project and works to streamline immigration legal services and build a legal network of immigration legal providers across the state. Neighbors Link has been selected as the ONA Legal Counsel for the Eastern Hudson Valley region (Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties).

In 2021, Neighbors Link was awarded the ONA Opportunity Center – ESOL grant, which allows us to provide English for Speakers of Other Languages classes for new Americans.

Community Engagement, Operations and Workforce Development Staff

Luisa Granda-Rodriguez
Director of Operations and Community Engagement

Luisa Granda-Rodriguez is the Director of Operations and Community Engagement at Neighbors Link. Luisa is a first-generation American born of Ecuadorian parents. Luisa was a volunteer at Neighbors Link before joining the staff in 2005 and has held various positions including Program Director. Her positions at Neighbors Link have always involved connecting the community and forging partnerships that build mutual respect and understanding about the realities of immigration.

She grew up in Queens, New York and graduated from Iona College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Political Science. She lives in Pleasantville, New York with her husband and four children.

Kelly Martinez
Program and Advocacy Manager

Kelly Martinez is the Program and Advocacy Manager at Neighbors Link. She joined Neighbors Link in 2018. In her role, she supports Neighbors Link’s expansion and outreach efforts in the Greater Hudson Valley. She is responsible for community outreach and engagement efforts, ensuring that programs and services reach those who need them the most. She also advocates for policies that support immigrants at the local, state and national level. Prior to joining Neighbors Link, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) and her Master’s degree in Public Management from Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA). Kelly worked in Social Work in a non-profit for three years. After receiving her Master’s Degree, she moved to a position in the private sector as a project manager and later a marketing manager. Kelly recently joined the Board of Directors of the Emergency Shelter Partnership, which provides short-term, emergency shelter for those who need shelter during the coldest five months of the winter. She is also part of the 2022-2023 Cohort from the Immigrant Civic Leadership Program. As an immigrant herself, from Venezuela, she understands the importance of the work of different organizations in New York State for the immigrant community and also the importance of advocating for immigrant rights.

Ana Restrepo
Operations Manager

Ana Restrepo is the Operations Manager at Neighbors Link. In her role, she coordinates with the various departments to ensure that the organization runs smoothly. The three core functions are planning, organizing, and strategizing the daily operations and routine. Prior to joining Neighbors Link, Ana studied Business Administration & Marketing at The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) and University ICESI. She gained extensive Business Administration and Sales Operations experience working in Ecuador as an independent seller for a large international paper manufacturer. She also played an essential role in establishing operating procedures at a fast growing start-up exporter. In her free time, Ana loves singing and dancing. She lives in Chappaqua with her teenage son and daughter.

Stephanie Sanchez
Administrative Assistant

Stephanie Sanchez is a Program Coordinator at Neighbors Link. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelors of Arts in Latin American Studies and Languages and Culture from SUNY Purchase College. It is through her time at the organization that Stephanie can support the immigrant community in achieving socioeconomic mobility through education and access. As a first generation Mexican American, her participation in the mission to continuously empower and uplift others is one that she is both passionate and enthusiastic about.

Kenta Togo
Community Outreach Coordinator

Kenta Togo has been the Community Outreach Coordinator at Neighbors Link since September 2023. In this role, he connects with the immigrant community to help bring Neighbors Link’s programs and services to those who can benefit from them. Prior to joining Neighbors Link, he received his Bachelor’s Degree from Middlebury College, having studied Spanish and Mathematics. Additionally, having grown up in Mount Kisco, he volunteered with Neighbors Link for several years before joining as an employee. Thus, he fully understands and is committed to the organization’s mission to support and empower the immigrants in our communities.

Roberto Zumba
Worker Center Coordinator

Roberto Zumba is the Worker Center Coordinator at Neighbors Link. In his role, he works directly with temporary workers, domestic workers, homeowners and local companies. He coordinates the specialized jobs that come through the job bank and provides specialized training for workers. Prior to joining Neighbors Link, he was a Produce Manager for 14 years, executing sales at the corporate level and ensuring customer satisfaction. Working for the Neighbors Link fills him with passion and encourages him to do his job to the best of his ability to best serve the community.