Limitless Horizons Ixil

The Limitless Horizons Ixil team is a dedicated group of individuals with a range of backgrounds and expertise. Our team reflects our organizational values and history of combining local knowledge and international resources with the expertise of individuals from all backgrounds. Local Guatemalan staff manage all programs, with operational support carried out by international staff.

Leadership Team

Katie Morrow

Katie Morrow

Executive Director & Co-Founder

Katie grew up in California and earned her bachelor’s degree in community studies from the University of California Santa Cruz when she was 18. She then worked and traveled across the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Katie went back to school to study social work with a focus on international communities and completed her Master of Social Work from San Jose State. After Katie’s first visit to Chajul in 2003, she was compelled by the beautiful culture and generosity of the people, juxtaposed with the lack of educational opportunities, particularly for girls. She saw within these girls, who were living in intense poverty, the desire and motivation to continue their education. Katie has spent a significant part of each year since then in Guatemala working alongside locals from Chajul to bring new opportunities to the community through education and community development. Katie has also led over 50 service-learning trips across Latin America since 2003, helping youth and adults gain appreciation for new cultures and bringing service projects to communities in need. Katie oversees all areas of Limitless Horizons Ixil’s operations, including planning, partnerships, fundraising and fiscal management, programs, and staff management. 

Fun fact: Katie likes all things salsa—she is an avid dancer and loves her food spicy!

Odilia Cedillo

Odilia Cedillo

Guatemala Co-Director & Director of Colegio Horizontes

Odi grew up in the village of Salquil Grande in Nebaj, in the Ixil region, where she completed elementary and middle school despite her parents not seeing the value in sending a girl to school. In 2009, she was finally able to convince her father to enroll her in high school in Nebaj, a 3-hour bus ride from her hometown. After graduating high school in 2011, Odi was able to go on to study at university against all odds. During her tenure as a university student, she was awarded a medal of academic excellence. In 2019, Odi finished her associate’s degree in Pedagogy with a focus in Environmental Studies with a Middle School Teaching Certificate and she continued on to complete her bachelor’s degree in 2023. From her own experience, Odi is acutely aware that access to quality education is very limited, especially in the Ixil region, but she is also convinced that anyone can defy societal expectations and become a change-maker if they have access to education and pursue their dreams with conviction and purpose.

Fun fact: During her childhood, Odilia was always looking for ways to get her hands on a book; although she didn’t know about literary genres, she always loved reading. One day, she wants to write her own book.

Zuliana Cristabel López Toledo

Zuliana Cristabel López Toledo

Guatemala Co-Director

Zuli was raised in San Miguel Uspantan as one of four siblings. Although her parents never had the opportunity to study, they instilled in each of their children a desire for learning and encouraged them to attend school. From an early age, Zuli was both a great student and athlete. At the age of 15, she was offered a full scholarship to study physical education and play on the handball team at an athletic boarding school. After graduating from high school, she studied sports massage therapy before pursuing a degree in law at the prestigious Universidad Nacional de San Carlos de Guatemala. Zuli is passionate about helping to empower children, women, and families to overcome societal barriers, and has applied her education and abundant energy to that effect. She has worked as a supervisor for a state project that built homes for Guatemalans displaced during the Civil War, as a university administrator, and as a counselor of neglected children. At Limitless Horizons IxilZuli oversees organizational operations and legal needs as well as our Community Library and Emerging Leaders Program.

Fun fact: Zuli runs an extremely popular Zumba studio in Nebaj where she teaches classes three times a week.

Juan Enrique Santiago Brito

Juan Enrique Santiago Brito

Associate School Director and Math Teacher

Enrique is originally from Nebaj and has one sister. His mother is a stay-at-home-mom who never had the opportunity to attend school and his father was only able to study through sixth grade. Despite this, his parents sought resources to support him in his studies, aiming for a better quality of life for their two children. Enrique has spent most of his life studying in Nebaj and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy and Educational Administration with a specialization in Environmental Studies from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala in 2017. While studying, Enrique worked as a waiter, a pharmacy sales person, an education facilitator for Save the Children, and as a high school teacher to pay for his studies. Currently, he is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physics at Rafael Landívar University to provide the best education possible to students at Colegio Horizontes.

Fun fact: In his free time, Enrique loves to cook, make wooden furniture, and help with cleaning.

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María Elena Gómez Cobo

María Elena Gómez Cobo

Mentorship Coordinator

María Elena was born in the municipality of Santa María Nebaj, and is the third of five siblings. Since the age of 19, she ventured into the workforce to support herself, where she discovered her passion for working with the most vulnerable populations of Nebaj, Chajul, and Cotzal. María Elena graduated as a Teacher of Intercultural Bilingual Pre-Primary Education and is currently studying a degree in Clinical Psychology at the Mariano Gálvez University of Guatemala. From her early career as an education facilitator to her current position as mentorship coordinator with Limitless Horizons Ixil, María Elena is grateful that her work has allowed her to be part of a bigger dream: empowering young people to bring about profound change in Chajul. 

Fun fact: Maria Elena’s personal motto is “Enjoy your successes as much as your plans; when you dream, dream big because dreams do come true.”

Eymi Canay

Eymi Canay

Operations & Community Outreach Manager

Eymi was one of the first girls supported by Limitless Horizons Ixil. She was at the top of her class throughout her schooling and received her bilingual (Spanish-English) secretary high school degree from Colegio Utatlán in Santa Cruz de Quiché in 2012. Eymi joined the staff of Limitless Horizons Ixil in 2013 as a Program Associate. Eymi continues to study on the weekends, pursuing a joint B.A. and master’s degree in business administration at Mariano Gálvez University in Quiché and Quetzaltenango. In Eymi’s current role as Operations & Community Outreach Manager, she attends to youth and mothers, and manages accounting and operations. 

Fun fact: Eymi possesses many extraordinary skills, but few know of her uncanny ability to imitate distinctive voices!

David Imul

David Imul

Community Library Director

David grew up in Chajul as one of eight siblings. His parents could not afford to send him to middle school, but he was able to continue his studies when he joined our Youth Development Program in 2008. Thanks to his hard work and resourcefulness, David graduated from high school with a degree in primary education from the Escuela Normal Regional de Occidente in Sololá. As a student, David frequently completed his work-study and service hours in our library. David joined the staff in 2013, and his warm, engaging demeanor makes him a fantastic librarian. He manages the library’s daily operations, leads story hour and reading club, supervises interns and volunteering youth, manages inventory, and helps library members with their assignments. David is also studying agricultural engineering at La Universidad Rural de Guatemala in Nebaj, as his future plans include tackling issues in Chajul related to health, malnutrition, and food access.

Fun fact: David loves languages, already speaking three fluently (Spanish, Ixil, and Quiché), and is eager to practice his growing English vocabulary with visitors.

Erin Treinen

Erin Treinen

Director of Development & Communications

Originally from Minnesota, Erin came to Guatemala in 2006 with the Peace Corps. During that time, she fell in love with Guatemala, its people, food, landscapes, and rich culture, and has lived here ever since. Over the past 18 years, Erin has worked for nonprofits and development projects, leading medical teams and facilitating capacity-building for midwives with Helps International, fundraising and hosting 900 annual visitors at Common Hope, and writing detailed reports and success stories for the USAID-funded Peacebuilding Project. She was drawn to Limitless Horizons Ixil because of her firm belief that education is the key to individual empowerment. Erin is motivated by human connection with staff and program participants, as well as storytelling that educates and inspires donors. She lives near Antigua and enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

Fun fact: Erin loves to spend time in nature, observing birds, insects, butterflies, and almost nothing brings her more joy than watching a changing sunset.

Administrative Team

Ixmucané Itzep Yat

Ixmucané Itzep Yat

Accountant

Ixmucané was born in Chajul and started her studies at the age of five. Before finishing primary school, she found out about Horizontes and applied for the scholarship, winning it. Having the support of Horizontes with the trainings and workshops was invaluable to her. She discovered that in order to get ahead, she needed to continue studying. She was surrounded by people who had studied but it wasn’t easy for them, which helped motivate her: Her parents were able to finish a degree with scholarships from other institutions. When the time came to choose a technical degree, the choice was simple: Since she was a child she had liked accounting. She was able to graduate in 2022 and her first job was in a restaurant as a cashier. But in February 2023 she found out Horizontes needed an accountant and she joined the team! By 2024 she plans to resume her studies with the career of Public Accounting and Auditing.

Fun fact: In her free time, Ixmucané loves to read.

Elisa Melchora Mendoza Pacheco

Elisa Melchora Mendoza Pacheco

Administrative & Accounting Assistant

Elisa was born in Chajul, the oldest of eleven siblings. Her parents were not able to attend school due to Guatemala’s civil war, and she is the first in her family to pursue an education. Elisa earned a Youth Development Program scholarship 2008, and with the continued support through high school, she graduated in 2014, earning her degree in Intercultural Bilingual Education at the Western Regional Normal School in the department of Sololá. After graduating she looked for job opportunities that would allow her to continue her university studies. In 2015 Elisa worked as a facilitator teaching adult literacy at Comite Nacional de Alfabetización (CONALFA), and in 2016 she began a fellowship in Limitless Horizons Ixil’s library. In 2017 she received a scholarship from Fundación para Estudios y Profesionalización Maya (FEPMaya), which allowed her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting (Public Administration and Auditing) at Mariano Gálvez University. Elisa is currently studying English as well and in 2022 she joined the Limitless Horizons Ixil staff as the Administrative and Accounting Assistant. Her desk is in our front office – and Elisa is the first welcoming face people see when they visit Limitless Horizons Ixil.

Fun fact: Elisa’s loves making necklaces, earrings, rings, and beaded bracelets.

Hina Yennifer Canay De La Cruz

Hina Yennifer Canay De La Cruz

Receptionist

Hina was born in San Juan Cotzal and later moved to Chajul, where she joined the Limitless Horizons Ixil youth development program at the beginning of high school. As the oldest of two brothers and one sister, Hina has had the responsibility of caring for her siblings in addition to focusing on her studies. After graduating high school, Hina completed an administrative internship and became a full-time employee in 2024. With the support of Limitless Horizons Ixil, she is currently pursuing her associate’s degree in Criminology at the Da Vinci University in Santa Cruz de Quiché with the hopes of specializing in criminal law in the future.

Fun fact: Hina loves swimming, especially during the summer in San Juan Cotzal.

Colegio Horizontes Teachers

Cecilia Xinic

Cecilia Xinic

Technology Teacher & Coordinator

Cecilia completed high school in Chajul with the support of her grandfather, and not willing to stop pursuing her professional goals, left Chajul to study high school in Uspantán. In 2011, she graduated as a computer expert and returned to Chajul to work at Limitless Horizons Ixil. She also took a vocational class through the computer repair program at INTECAP Sololá with the support of Limitless Horizons Ixil. In 2016, her interest in professional improvement led her to begin to attend the School of Systems Engineering at Universidad Mariano Gálvez de Guatemala. She is currently our technology and art teacher and equips students with the computer skills they will need to face a world increasingly reliant on technology. She also provides tech support to our computers and other equipment at Limitless Horizons Ixil.

Fun fact: Cecilia is a trendsetter. She is the first person from Chajul to design a huipil (a traditional, hand-woven blouse) in a lighter and softer style. This style is now popular among women all over town!

Antonio Laynez Batz

Antonio Laynez Batz

English and Social Studies Teacher

Antonio has spent his whole life in Chajul. At 24 years of age, thanks to his parents’ efforts and the support of various organizations such as Limitless Horizons Ixil, Filantropis ONG, Fundación Ixil, UVG-Altiplano, Access MicroScholarship Program, and Centro Estudiantil Amanecer, he graduated with a degree in touristic business administration. Antonio is the first of five children, and his parents are illiterate since they did not have access to education due to Guatemala’s civil war. In 2009, he joined Limitless Horizons Ixil’s Youth Development Program and began middle school in Chajul. In 2012, he had the opportunity to enroll at the Technical Institute at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala – Campus Altiplano to pursue a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree with a scholarship from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala to learn English. Antonio has worked as a tour guide and knows and has traveled to various parts of the country. He has also taught English in several private schools in Chajul and has experience in using the English language. In 2019, he graduated from college, presenting his thesis on Mayan clothing in Chajul.

Fun fact: His interest in English dates back to when he was a child. His father used to take him to the Chajul market every Thursday to buy used American clothes, and he was always curious to know what the shirts had written on them.

David Raymundo Ceto

David Raymundo Ceto

Natural Sciences and Physical Education Teacher

David grew up in Nebaj, a municipality in the Ixil area near Chajul, as the sixth of eight siblings. His parents did not have the opportunity to attend school. However, his mother and two older siblings fought for him to graduate high school as a Bilingual Primary Education Teacher from the Instituto Mixto Diversificado Ixil in Nebaj. He is currently studying Agronomic Engineering in Agricultural Production Systems at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. David believes that at Limitless Horizons Ixil, he has a unique opportunity to combine teaching with agricultural sciences to be an educator of both the Natural Sciences and the Physical Education courses at Colegio Horizontes

Fun fact: He loves to be capturing images with his camera!

Susana Cedillo

Susana Cedillo

Science and Language Arts Teacher

Susana (Susi) lived the first years of her life in Guatemala City. When she was five years old, she moved with her parents to Nebaj, where she went to school. In high school, she studied “Science and Letters with a focus in Education.” She then went on to be recognized as a distinguished student at the University of San Carlos de Guatemala, where she studied Secondary Education and Educational Administration with a specialty in Environmental Studies. Since 2016, she has received additional training in other subject areas, including gender equity and equality, sexuality, social and community violence, and community leadership. She also participated in the creation of a book about life in the municipality of Nebaj.

Fun fact: Susi loves psychology, graphic design, and dancing!

Juan Tum Herrera

Juan Tum Herrera

Entrepreneurship and Art Teacher

Juan Herrera is the second of seven siblings and was born and raised in the village of Xolcuay, outside of Chajul. Since his parents never had the opportunity to go to school, they went to great lengths to ensure he and his siblings got an education. As a result, he went to his local community elementary school and was able to attend middle school at a local boarding school. He studied secondary education at the Panamerican University and is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy, which is why he is so excited to be part of the team of educators at Limitless Horizons Ixil.

Fun fact: Juan likes to dance and is a vocalist in a band at his church. He has even recorded an album!

Colegio Horizontes Mentors

Marina Caba Xinic

Marina Caba Xinic

Mentor

Marina is from Chajul and comes from a family of eight with limited economic resources. Her parents told her she would not be able to continue studying because they could not afford to send both of their daughters to school. However, she earned a scholarship from Limitless Horizons Ixil and was able to continue studying with her older sister. She attended Instituto Normal Mixto Juan de León and completed her degree in urban primary education. She was one of the first to graduate from the Youth Development Program and went on to work for several years as a librarian in the Saber Sin Límites Community Library. Before becoming part of our school mentorship team, Marina was the Youth Development Program Coordinator. Now her role is to support and empower students to overcome adversities that occur in their daily lives. She also facilitates workshops for parents about how to support their children in reaching academic success. 

Fun fact: Marina was a part of her high school’s soccer team. They would compete against other schools and always won their games!

Olga Manuela Caba Laynez

Olga Manuela Caba Laynez

Mentor

Olga was born in Chajul and comes from a family that was deeply affected by Guatemala’s civil war. Although her parents never had the opportunity to study, they encouraged Olga and her siblings to. Olga attended elementary school in Chajul before joining Limitless Horizons Ixil’s Youth Development Program, enabling her to continue to middle and high school. During her time in the program, she completed her community service hours at the Saber Sin Limites (Limitless Knowledge) Community Library, where she discovered her passion for art and working with children. While attending high school at the Escuela Normal Bilingue Intercultural in Nebaj, she worked for an educational program that supported youth ages 15+ in math and statistics and held internships that allowed her to combine her interests in art and education. Following her graduation in 2017, Olga volunteered for three months with Save the Children on a variety of youth projects. When she learned about an opening at the Community Library, she knew the position was for her! As a librarian, Olga supported various activities for two years. Now she is a part of the mentorship team at Limitless Horizons Ixil, supporting and empowering students to overcome adversities that occur in their daily lives. She also facilitates workshops for parents about how to support their children’s academic success. She facilitates discussions on topics including sexual education, empowered voice, gender equality, and effective communication between students. On the weekends she is working towards her university degree. 

Fun fact: Olga loves to explore, connect with nature, and travel to different places to learn about other cultures and how people live.

Regina Puente Laynez

Regina Puente Laynez

Mentor

Originally from the Chajul, Regina graduated as a teacher of Bilingual Intercultural Primary Education in Sololá and went on to become a Philanthropiece scholar. Since then, she has completed a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the Mariano Gálvez University. During her time at Philanthropiece, she participated in the creation of the social enterprise AKUALUMI. In 2016 she was elected as “Me’al Tenam” (daughter of the town) of Chajul, a local contest among school-aged girls. Since elementary school and high school, she has participated in the indoor soccer championships at the departmental (state) level, as a goalkeeper on a winning team.

Fun fact: Regina loves to write poems, dance, organize cultural activities, and plan events.

Saber Sin Límites Community Library

Rosa Regina Rivera Caba

Rosa Regina Rivera Caba

Librarian

Regina joined Limitless Horizons Ixil when she enrolled in the intensive Spanish program in 2010. In 2014, she completed her high school degree at the Community Institute for Women in Quetzaltenango, where her studies focused on education. Afterwards, she enrolled at San Carlos University, studying primary education. Regina is thrilled to be working at the library. She is always happy to see children come in with smiles on their faces and finds accomplishment in helping to facilitate their learning and growth.

Fun fact: In her free time, Regina loves to create her own huipils and spend time with her daughter and family. 

International Team and Consultants

Michelle Paterick

Michelle Paterick

International Operations & School Coordinator

Michelle is committed to community development and has over a decade of experience in the education sector. After studying Psychology and Spanish at the University of Georgia, she co-founded Real LEDGE Honduras, a nonprofit organization based in Tegucigalpa that aims to develop communities through entrepreneurship. She served as the Executive Director for three years, and she has experience leading trainings with teachers, professors, deported migrants, indigenous women, middle school through university aged students, and community leaders. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship through the U.S. State Department to pursue her master’s degree in Education in Finland where she studied for two years. Upon her return to her home state of Georgia, she served as a high school marketing and entrepreneurship teacher for two years and then worked as a 4-H Youth Development Agent at the University of Georgia. She is thrilled to be part of the Limitless Horizons Ixil team and absolutely loves working in Chajul.

Fun fact: Michelle is borderline obsessed with audiobooks, and she’s a rock climbing and contemporary art fanatic.

Jason James

Jason James

Impact & Evaluation Manager + School Construction Field Manager

Jason split his childhood between the subways and skyscrapers of New York City and the rice paddies and coconut trees of Kerala, India. At the age of 12 in Bangalore, India, he witnessed the stark contrast between the modern headquarters of multinational corporations and the makeshift shelters of the surrounding slums. Ever since, Jason has been driven to understand and overcome poverty and inequality. That drive has led him along various career paths including working as a public auditor, facilitating youth groups in Los Angeles and Bolivia, and helping to expand participatory budgeting processes in New York. Jason finally embraced the field of international development and earned his master’s degree from George Washington University in 2014 with a primary interest in Latin American community-based development. He has been with Limitless Horizons Ixil since 2015 and is currently responsible for impact evaluation, organizational capacity building, and team professional development.

Fun fact: Jason is convinced that coconut oil, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and green tea are enough for practically all one’s shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and other household needs… plus they’re all edible!

Elena Laswick

Elena Laswick

Development & Communications Specialist

Elena was born and raised on the U.S./Mexico border in Tucson, Arizona, and bridging cultures through storytelling and travel has been a theme in her life and work ever since. She has lived in Nebaj for seven years, and joined the Limitless Horizons Ixil team in 2023. Since graduating from William & Mary in 2014, she has been drawn to marketing and communications positions specifically around education, textiles, indigenous rights, and cultural preservation. After working for several NGOs and social businesses, she was inspired to create two social businesses of her own: Ixil Collective and Amano Marketplace, which created go-to-market strategies for 1,000+ Guatemalan and Peruvian artisans during COVID, and gave her extensive experience in marketing and project management. She also currently serves on the board of Weave a Real Peace, where she led a rebranding initiative and is the Marketing Chair.

Fun fact: Elena makes and sells natural yogurt and peanut butter in Nebaj!

Joanna Drew

Joanna Drew

Grants Manager

After graduating from college, Joanna ventured off to remote parts of the world to discover new cultures, languages, and ways of life. What she realized through her travels was that the majority of the world’s population lacks access to basic social services and quality education. This realization moved her to pursue a career working towards securing equal opportunities for overlooked and vulnerable communities throughout the world. Her career spans three continents, in which she’s worked to increase the fundraising capacity of community-led projects and NGOs. She holds a BSc in Business Administration from Boston University and a MA in International Development from the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies. Joanna is the grants manager and master storyteller for Limitless Horizons Ixil.

Fun fact: Joanna is a life-long student and is always open to learning new things. She believes that every living being has wisdom to share—even the birds and the trees!

Heather White

Heather White

Development & Communications Consultant

Heather grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, and is now based in Portland, Maine. She earned her BA in Sociology and Spanish from Clark University and her MPA from Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. In 2014 Heather moved to Guatemala to work with a nonprofit in Antigua and since then has continued her career in communications and development roles. Heather was the Director of Development & Communications from 2022–2024 and continues to support the organization’s ongoing communications and development needs.

Fun fact: Heather loves to run and bike and is often found exploring Maine’s coastline and trails with her puppy, Luna.

Filipa Lopes

Filipa Lopes

Capacity-Building & Program Specialist

Filipa grew up on the coast of Portugal and is now based in Madrid, Spain. She holds a law degree from Nova University in Lisbon, Portugal, and a master’s degree in international law with a specialization in human rights from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Filipa started her career at the United Nations Population Fund, the NGO Defence for Children International, and the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao and served as the operations and project development coordinator and specialist at Limitless Horizons Ixil for more than three years. She currently coordinates a coalition related to the protection of the environment, climate, and human rights and supports the Limitless Horizons Ixil team with program management, capacity-building, monitoring and evaluation, and partnerships as the Capacity-Building & Program Specialist.

 

Fun fact: Filipa loves being close to nature and dreams about hiking more volcanoes and mountains when she’s back in beautiful Guate!
Gary Bloom

Gary Bloom

Senior Education Consultant

Gary grew up in Los Angeles, California with his immigrant family, engaging with political and social justice issues at an early age. His professional career has centered in Central California, where he has served as a bilingual teacher, school principal, school superintendent, and at the university level. Gary has written many professional articles and several books, and is an active consultant and trainer in the United States and beyond.

Fun fact: Gary loves the study of paleontology, and has worked with professional paleontologists searching for fossils in California, Florida, South Dakota, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina.

Pedro Caba Asicona

Pedro Caba Asicona

Co-Founder & Advisory Director

Pedro grew up in Chajul during and immediately after the civil war when the community had very few educational opportunities. He was raised working in the fields, carrying firewood, and shining shoes to make a little money. Through sacrifice, luck, and very hard work Pedro became the first person from Chajul to attend university and obtain a bachelor’s degree. He completed a certificate in Maya world studies and his degree in civil engineering at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. He has earned his Master of Engineering degree and now works to improve water infrastructure in San Marcos, Guatemala. Since co-founding Limitless Horizons Ixil in 2004 with a more hands-on role in its first few years, Pedro’s role is now advisory and he supports Limitless Horizons Ixil with guidance on government relations, legal compliance, and financial security in Guatemala and has served as a guide for visiting groups.

 

Fun fact: Pedro’s favorite time to visit Chajul is during feria, the annual town fair.