MEET THE TEAM
JOHN AND MARITZA HERNANDEZ—FOUNDERS
John and Maritza Hernandez are the Founders and Directors of Children’s Impact Network. They have dedicated their lives to rescue abandoned, abused, and neglected children. They founded Metro Ministries in 1990. After working in the inner cities of Philadelphia and Miami for many years, their hearts were moved in 1999 to start Children’s Impact Network. While in Bolivia, after traveling there to train missionaries, pastors, and leaders, they witnessed for the first time children living in the streets whom absolutely no one cared for. This experience stirred them to rescue children first in Bolivia and now in Honduras. The children lovingly call them Mama Maritza and Papa John.
They also founded Safehouses in Colombia for the windows and children of Martyred Pastors; providing a safe refuge and healing for their lives. Their work has also expanded to Cuba and Chile as well.
John and Maritza have three biological children: John, Natalie, and Nicole. Raising their children and serving alongside them in the ministry has been a great joy for them.
Both John and Maritza are ministers. They frequently speak at conferences, universities, churches, businesses, and other organizations.
GERSON AND ALLIE GABRIEL—BOLIVIA FIELD DIRECTORS
Allie Gabriel was first introduced to CIN on a short-term mission trip to Bolivia with her youth group in 2004. Upon graduating college, she started full-time as CIN’s Missions and Communications Coordinator. Gerson and Allie met in Bolivia, and married in 2012. They have been living at the BLC orphanage since 2013. Today, Gerson and Allie direct all CIN ministries in Bolivia as the Bolivia Field Directors(which includes village evangelism, the Bolivia Life Center, the LIFEhouse and other projects). Gerson and Allie love connecting churches and individuals from the states with CIN’s life centers. They also love joining the teams in their mission as they serve and make an impact. Gerson is also serving as the BLC’s pastor and overseeing the spiritual area of the boys lives. He also oversees the Sidewalk Sunday School program when the US mission teams are visiting.
MELVIN AND MARY FLORES— HONDURAS FIELD DIRECTORS
Mary and Melvin Flores were first introduced to CIN through the acquaintance of John and Maritza Hernandez back in 2007 when they came to Honduras to explore potential partnerships with other organizations and ministries. After helping them to organize with some particular projects and activities in Honduras, we learned about the great potential and the commitment to establish a solid and permanent program in Honduras, particularly for orphans. So it was in September of 2011 that Mary and Melvin became the Field Coordinators for the Honduras Life Center. Both of them were born in Christian homes and since childhood have marked their lives for a life of service and ministry work.
Prior to joining CIN, Melvin was involved with other international ministries and organizations such as Habitat For Humanity as the director, founder and director of Salt and Light Ministry in Honduras and co-founder in Honduras of Friends of Barnabas Foundation. Their passion to lead people to Christ and to lead people to enjoy a better quality of life today while longing for eternity has been in their hearts making a difference in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ in tangible ways and from a holistic approach. Holding an undergraduate degree in International development and a master degree in Business Administration and lately with Seminary Theological studies have been the perfect formula to combine it with our faith and commitment to Christ and to people to make a difference in this lost word.
MAURICIO AND LAURA BUNCH- DIRECTORS OF MISSIONS DEVELOPMENT
Mauricio and Laura joined the CIN team in 2010. They both grew up as pastors and leaders in the local church and ministry. Always with a strong call from God in their lives, at a very young age, they both have been involved in the ministry. As a pastoral family, they have had a long relationship over the years with the Hernandez family, creating bonds that identify with the vision and mission that God has given CIN.
As a result of the need in Colombia for the armed conflict and violence, God placed a burden on the pastoral families who have been victims of this conflict. This same cargo has been in the heart of CIN and the Hernandez family for many years. That is how the safe house program began. There they have managed to minister to families that have come from all the places of Colombia, and through this ministry, they have been able to bless many.
Currently, Mauricio & Laura are executing the tasks of Directors Development Directors, developing different projects with children from different centers of life, as well as strengthening the needs of the staff that works in each of the locations where the CIN is present. Likewise, Mauricio & Laura have had the privilege of developing and nurturing the internal health and spiritual walk for the children and young people who are graduating the Children Homes.
Mauricio has a bachelor degree in Theology and Christian Counseling, and Laura has a Law degree, and Christian Counseling.They have two precious little daughters.
JOHN PAUL AND ELIZEBETH HERNANDEZ—OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATOR AND FULLFILLMENT COORDINATOR
Growing up in the ministry, both John Paul and Elizabeth have been blessed to experience God’s love on the mission field. After years of John Paul spending his summers in Bolivia and Honduras, he had the amazing opportunity to join CIN’s staff. Elizabeth and John married in October 2017, and she joined the CIN team. John and Elizabeth enjoy serving with CIN as the Operations Administrator and Fulfillment Coordinator, and serving on the mission fields in the summers.
As the Operations Administrator, John leads projects, develops programs and processes, coordinates budgets, and serves at the CIN South Florida office. As the Fulfillment Coordinator, Elizabeth fulfills gifts, donations and special projects by nurturing relationships with partners and friends of the ministry, providing updates, news and appreciation. She also serves in the CIN South Florida office working in administration.
John Paul earned his bachelor’s from Florida Atlantic University and his MBA at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Spring 2016. Elizabeth is studying teaching at Miami-Dade College.
John and Elizabeth have enjoyed serving alongside their team members in fulfilling the mission God has for CIN, and the children and lives impacted by what God has done.
ASHLEN POLONIA—GIFT MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR
Ashlen Lyerla joined the CIN team in 2015. Before serving with CIN, she hosted mission trips to the Dominican Republic on a regular basis. She is fluent in Spanish and enjoys serving as a translator while on the mission field. Ashlen has been raised in a family of ministry. Her parents are church planters and current pastors in South Florida. She has been on many missions trips with her local church. Ashlen has a big heart for missions and outreaches, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Her heart is working with children; and she traveled to the Honduras Life Center in July, 2015 to meet the wonderful children and staff there. She also has a passion to connect English-only and Spanish-only speaking team members through translation, helping them serve together in unity. Ashlen is serving as the Gift Management Coordinator, where she develops relationships with donors and friends of the ministry.
NATALIE HERNANDEZ—MISSION TEAM COORDINATOR
Natalie Hernandez joined the CIN staff in 2015, though has felt like she has been on staff her whole life! She has had the privilege of traveling with her family doing mission work since she was born. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Elementary Education, Fall 2016. She has a passion for the Lord, people, missions, and the church. She loves interacting and leading mission teams.
Natalie is passionate about leading young adults to fully experience all that God has for them during Summer Missionary Internships. She looks after any events or projects that require the needs of local volunteers. Natalie is excited and looking forward to all that God is going to continue to do through Children’s Impact Network, and is so honored to have a front row seat!
DANY ALVERANGA—MULTIMEDIA COORDINATOR
With Pastors as parents, Dany grew up serving in his church in Honduras. His first found passion in the Mission Field was as a musician and worship leader. He spent four years serving with missionary teams and organization in Honduras.
Dany started with Children’s Impact Network in May, 2015. That same summer Dany joined the Missionary Team where he served as a language Interpreter. He enjoyed his experience because of his endearing love for children and his immense desire to serve those in need. Dany is currently majoring in Graphic Design and attends college on the weekends whereas he anticipates a 2019 graduation.
Dany serves as the Multimedia Coordinator. He works as a photographer, graphic designer, and designs video projects. He continues to serve alongside missionary teams in Honduras through CIN.
IKE GORDON—MARKETING COORDINATOR & MULTIMEDIA
Ike was first introduced to CIN on a trip to Honduras in 2012. After graduating from Covenant College with a Sports Administration and Marketing degree in 2018, he participated in the CIN Summer Missionary Internship program as a multimedia intern at the Bolivian Life Center.
Ike joined CIN staff at the beginning of 2019. He serves as the Marketing coordinator taking care of day-to-day marketing tasks as well as looking towards the future. In addition, he works as a videographer and photographer for CIN in both Bolivia and Honduras. He travels around between each country to help lead mission teams as they serve at the CIN Life Centers.
Ike enjoys spending time with people on the mission field, getting to know them as they serve the Lord. He also loves to create and tell stories through videos and photos. When he is not serving along side teams on the mission field, he resides in Charlotte, NC.
NICOLE HERNANDEZ— SPONSORSHIP COORDINATOR
Nicole has had the privilege of traveling alongside her family since a very young age and seeing God’s hand on the mission field time and time again. She serves as the Sponsorship Coordinator, working with letters to and from sponsors, along with projects with the kids and their sponsors. She also leads missions teams throughout the year and works out of the USA Office.
Growing up on the mission field, Nicole developed a strong passion for people. She loves children as well as connecting and building relationships with the mission teams that come to serve and love on the kids.
Over the years she has had the opportunity to watch many of the children grow up alongside her. She has used her relational skills and the strong relationships she has formed with the children and staff to act as a bridge between a language or social barrier. One of Nicole’s greatest joys are, “to connect loving families to [her] brothers and sisters”