Scroll Top
We believe The North End is a vibrant, critical neighborhood that deserves investment and intentionality.
Who We Are

We are a committed group of community minded individuals – volunteers and staff – who are passionate about the North End and the people that call it home. We believe that in order to continue pushing Wichita forward we must invest in our people. Our mission is to empower all residents, with an emphasis on our Hispanic community, by providing programming in education, workforce and small business development so that all individuals can achieve their full potential.

While our organization is new, many have carried the torch before us to make our work possible. We truly believe that if we advocate for resources, programs, and investments in quality of place, the North End will thrive, increasing the quality of life for its residents – our neighbors.

The Core Team

Ariel Rodriguez
Executive Director

Ariel, a Wichita native, joined Empower after spending 11 years working in youth development, most recently as the executive director of Rise Up For Youth. Ariel is committed to helping impact the lives of those in his community, as he believes all should have an equal opportunity to achieve success. Ariel is passionate about creating meaningful relationships with all community members and supporters of Empower in order to create a stronger community. In his spare time, Ariel values time with his family, friends, and his dog while staying busy either cooking or being physically active.


Jose Trejo
Impact Specialist

Jose comes to Empower as a fellow from Lead For Kansas. Jose, a Wichita native, is a first generation college student graduating with his social work degree in May 2022. Jose is committed to creating an inclusive economy that will provide more opportunities for the community. Jose enjoys eating new foods, experiencing new things, and exploring all the beauty of the world.


Idalia Loya
Director of Community Impact

Idalia Loya is passionate about the North End she calls home. Driven by giving back to her community, Ida is committed to enriching the lives of residents through programs and events focused on education, workforce readiness and small business development. Like many residents, Ida is a 1st generation Wichitan with family roots in Chihuahua, Mexico. She believes volunteering is important and gives her time to organizations like the Young Latino Professionals of Wichita, W - A Community of Young Professionals, and the Kansas Hispanic Education & Development Foundation. Alongside her work and volunteering, Ida is the founder of Latina Lider, a network of Latinas supporting each other through sisterhood, empowerment and personal development. In her free time, you can find Ida spending time with her family, traveling, and exploring all that Wichita has to offer.


Carolina Freeman
Director of Small Business programs

Carolina joined Empower after spending the last couple of years developing as an entrepreneur and it was during that path that she found the passion of helping others to reach their highest levels of creativity and turn ideas into action. She believes that entrepreneurship is a way of living, one that takes a lot of courage and teaches you a lot about who you are and who you want to be. Carolina is originally from Argentina and she is in love with the Wichita community. In her free time she enjoys reading, singing, playing instruments, trying new food, and everything that is involved with creating.


Jen Hemphill
Director of Financial Empowerment

Jen comes to Empower with a rich background in financial education and serving the Latino community. She’s devoted to helping Latinos navigate their finances with confidence so they save and invest more.

Jen is originally from Bogotá, Colombia, and has been able to experience what Wichita has to offer now twice thanks to the military life she lives.

Outside of work, she can be found exploring local coffee shops, traveling with her husband and two sons, or bringing out her creativity behind the camera.


Cindy Gonzalez
Projects and Administrative Coordinator

Cindy is a born and raised North End resident. She graduated from Wichita State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Health Management with minors in public health and women’s studies. Cindy is committed to improving the access to resources for the Hispanic/Latino community as she believes everything impacts public health. She comes to Empower with experience in the nonprofit world and is ready to give back to her community. Outside of work, you can find her playing video games, reading, taking a class at the library, and hanging out with loved ones (and her dog whom she loves very much!).

Empower Executive Board

Chris Arellano – Hinkle Law Firm

Cindy Berner, Secretary – Wichita Public Library, Retired

Tom Borrego – Butler Community College

Maria Bustamante – Cargill

Gene Camarena, Chair – La Raza Pizza, Inc.

Yolanda Camarena – Community Volunteer

Cindy Claycomb – Community Volunteer

Carlos Fernandez – Kiko’s

Amy Johnson – Koch Industries

Janet Miller – WASAC

Julian Rios, Treasurer – BKD

Alicia Sanchez – Wichita State University

Cindy Miles – Kansas Nonprofit Chamber 

Cecilia Thibault – Intrust Bank


We can’t do this work alone. We rely on the support of generous, creative and innovative individuals and organizations in our community. If you’re interested in joining our effort, please contact us today!

Community Partners