Latinos Activate JOCO

Latino’s Activate JoCo, Inc. is an organization of volunteers committed to serving and improving the quality of life for people of Latino descent living in Johnston County. We are dedicated to focusing on advocacy, health, education, and awareness of issues for people of Latino descent. Our purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. By fostering an environment where our stories are heard, our heritage is celebrated, and our potential is limitless. As advocates for positive change and progression, we strive to bring together individuals from all walks of life to champion the causes that matter most to our community. Join us on this journey, where together, unidos, we build a brighter future for everyone in Johnston County. Contact us today to learn how Latinos Activate JOCO can help you.

Sergio Benítez (Founder/President )

Sergio’s passion for entrepreneurship and community engagement traces back to his formative years spent assisting his family in their store. This early immersion equipped him with a nuanced understanding of business dynamics and community needs. While his professional endeavors led him to Shepherd Center Hospital in Atlanta, Sergio’s commitment to the Hispanic community drew him back to entrepreneurial ventures, founding the renowned Sola Creations. Drawing inspiration from his heritage and the colorful festivals of his youth, Sergio identified and addressed the distinctive requirements of the Hispanic community, particularly in ceremonial wear. This dedication to understanding and fulfilling community needs is evident in his latest role as the Founder and President of Latinos Activate JoCo. At Latinos Activate JoCo, Sergio continues his legacy of leadership and advocacy, championing the needs and aspirations of the Latino community. His ethos prioritizes inclusivity, understanding, and empowerment, values he cultivated from his own journey in search of respectful service and representation. As he spearheads this initiative, Sergio’s vision is clear: to amplify the voices of Latinos in JoCo and foster a community that is united, informed, and activated.

VP Pedro J. Mantilla

Pedro J. Mantilla is a licensed immigration attorney in the state of North Carolina. Mr. Mantilla has lived in North Carolina for almost thirty years and has deep roots in the Triangle Area. His parents are from Veracruz, Mexico and have resided in the United States for over forty-five years.

Mr. Mantilla is the lead attorney of Mantilla Immigration Law Office. He is a dedicated attorney that seeks the best outcome for each individual case in his office. Mr. Mantilla practices before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). 

Mr. Mantilla has established a strong connection with Johnston County and looks forward to serving the Latino community within the county and beyond. It is an honor for Mr. Mantilla to serve as an officer of Latinos Active Joco. Should you have any questions for him, please feel free to contact Latinos Active Joco or Mr. Mantilla’s office directly.

Kelly Blanchard  (CO- Founder and Treasurer)

 Kelly Blanchard serves as the Board Treasurer for Latinos Activate JoCo, bringing a wealth of financial acumen and community engagement experience to her role.

Professional Background: Kelly’s professional journey is marked by a strong foundation in financial management and a deep commitment to community betterment.

As Board Treasurer, she is dedicated to ensuring the financial health and transparency of the organization.

Key aspects of her professional background include:

Financial Expertise: Kelly’s experience in overseeing financial operations as the Co-Owner of Genuine Plumbing Company equips her with the skills necessary for prudent financial stewardship.

Resource Allocation: Her history as a Grant Writer and Media Manager reflects her ability to secure funding, manage campaigns, and allocate resources effectively.

Data Management: Proficiency in data management is essential for maintaining accurate board records and minutes, a responsibility she takes seriously.

Educational Background: Kelly is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Integrated Marketing and Communication at UNCW, which further enhances her financial and communication skills. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Practical Politics from Meredith College.

Financial Stewardship: Kelly’s dedication to financial transparency and responsible resource management is central to her role as Board Treasurer. She believes in the power of sound financial practices to support and sustain community initiatives.

Community Impact: Kelly’s journey in event coordination, social work, and community advocacy has enriched her understanding of the multifaceted needs of the community. She is committed to the mission and values of Latinos Activate JoCo and believes in the power of unity, effective communication, and strategic resource allocation to make a positive difference in the lives of those served.

Debbie Herrera (Vice President of Public Relations)

Supporting and being an active member of her community, Debbie Herrera enjoys working towards a goal that will benefit those around her. Moving from Los Angeles, California to Selma, N.C. has allowed her to grow with the community, meet new folks, and build strong connections.
Debbie works as a teacher at Kids R Kids Learning Academy in Clayton and is a freelance photographer.

Educational Background:
Debbie graduated from Barton College in Wilson in 2021 with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication Studies and Photojournalism.

Notable Positions:

She worked with the Johnstonian News for two years and created strong bonds with different members of the communities for Johnston County.
“I enjoy being involved and seeing a group of businesses grow. I want to be a part of this growth in any way I can.”

VP Adele Walker Community Relations

is a local Real Estate agent with Real Broker LLC as well as an owner of a Antique/Thrift Store located at 109 S. Raiford St Selma,NC 27576

She enjoys helping  individuals and families find their perfect home. She loves educating everyone on how they can have home ownership no matter where they come from or what they have done with their finances.She absolutely has a heart for reaching the latin community. As a Puerto Rican born and raised in Brooklyn,NY she was raised in a family who didn’t think home ownership was possible till she was 17 and her parents purchased their first home. 
She has been a part of many organizations to include:
-Cary Leads Group
-Women In Networking
-Capital City Club
-Started my own Business Networking Group in Clayton in 2016-2017
-Board Member Triangle East Chamber
-Ambassador of Triangle East Chamber
-Committee member of Economic Development Triangle East Chamber
-Committee member Legislative Affairs Triangle East Chamber
-Activate Selma 
and Now proud to be a part of Community Engagement for JoCo Latinos. 
Her values are God and family and she hopes to be known for making a difference in someone else’s life.

Veronica Granados Lee (Secretary)

lives in Four Oaks with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She comes from a large family and believes a strong family bond is very important. She enjoys attending an art class led by Judy Siler at the SRAC and has recently joined a Mexican Folklore dance group. She has become well known by the Spanish community through her position at Hewett Law Group in Selma. She has been able to help many clients who had a language barrier over her 16 year career at Hewett Law Group. She is also a Realtor with HTR Southern Properties, The Linsey Dale Team in Selma. She hopes to be able to help many Spanish speakers learn about the home buying process and help them realize that home ownership is an attainable goal. Veronica is excited to have a seat on the Latinos Activate Johnston County board as she knows this is another way she can be a part of providing services and events that will help the Latino Community thrive.


Addressing Latino Educational Hurdles

Latino’s Activate JoCo champions Latino education in Johnston County by offering resources and support. Through proactive initiatives and collaboration, we bridge educational gaps and empower our Latino community for a brighter future.

We know you have a lot of choices when it comes to donating, and we are so grateful that you chose to donate to our cause. …

Sponsors JOCO Latino Festival 2024.