Mercedes is the co-owner and executive director of Envision Family Services, a community mental health agency dedicated to servicing youth, families, schools and communities. Seeing the need in the community, Mercedes has developed an ongoing passion for advocacy, social justice and equality, and educational reforms with emphasis in mental health and equal opportunities for every single child. Her agency promotes the 3 C’s-that every single child should feel Confident, Connected and Cared for in their school setting in order to increase their chances of academic success. Mercedes believes that the 3 C’s can be accomplished by training, and reinforcing, teachers to be culturally competent; addressing students’ mental health needs; promoting emotional and practical intelligence; and by motivating, assisting and teaching parents to be involved in their children school life.
Originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Mercedes spent half of her childhood in Venezuela. Mercedes, along with her two younger cousins, was raised by her grandmother until the age of almost 15 when she relocated to New York City to live with her mother. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from York College (City University of New York), and her master’s degree from Norfolk State University in community and clinical psychology. She also has completed all the requirements to receive her Ed.S in mental health counseling from Old Dominion University. In addition, Mercedes is a resident in counseling and is in the final stages of becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC). Mercedes currently resides in Chesapeake, VA with her husband and their two daughters.