Making Cultural Connections

(Making Connections, Inc.)

Our Board is guided by a culturally diverse; world traveler group of members (educators, cultural presenters, artists, veterans, and community advocates) who believe in the importance of education, family support, and understanding cultural diversity as strengths.

Board Members:

Dulce Isalguez Parker
Founder, Executive Director
Cultural and Diversity Educator
USAF Veteran

30 years Social Worker

Giraud Polite
Dean of Arts & Humanities
Dallas College , Dallas Texas

Compensation Committee

Rosanne Bell
Retired Elementary School Bilingual Educator
Dallas, TX

Compensetion Commitee

Louella Pointer
Retired City of Dallas Housing & Community Services Case Worker,
Dallas, TX

Community Volunteer

Lesley Lanig
Epidemiology Specialist at Tarrant County Public Health,
Ft. Worth, TX


Ashley Burn-Jacobs
Bilingual Teacher
US Army Veteran
Royce City, TX


Maria Elena Gaona
Director - Communications at Catholic Climate Covenant WDC
Washington D.C.

Bilingual Journalist, Writer, News and Public Affairs, Media Relations, Editing, and Public Speaking

Presenter/Community Volunteer

LaVonda Smith-Lessane
US Marine Corps HQ, Section Head, Organizational and Workforce Development

US Air Force Veteran

Presenter/Community Volunteer

Community Advisory Members & Cultural Artist Presenters

Leo Hassan
African Drummer, Artist,
Dallas, TX

Jacco Velarde
Andinas Music Cultural Presenter –
Dallas, TX


Tamara Antonetti
Community Volunteer
Cultural Presenter, Dallas, TX
Dominican Republic

Divina Garcia

Bilingual Teacher Cultural Presenter
Arlington, TX

Dominican Republic

Luis S Rondon

JPMorgan Chase, Asst. VP Business Banking - Relationship Manager
Dallas, Texas

Community Volunteer -
Dominican Republic

Marcia Vanderpool

Retired CPA
Richardson, Texas

Community Volunteer &
Cultural Presenter
Dominican Republic


William D (Bill) Parker
USAF Veteran
Retired Human Resources Dir.

Rest In Peace Our Dear Board Member

Elliott C Smith
( May 20, 1944 - March 19, 2021 )

We greatly miss our long time Board Member and key supporter who passed away in March 2021. He was a US Army Vietnam Veteran and died due to Agent Orange exposure. His hosting of our programs at his High School Spanish classes, photography duties at our community center workshops, and many other acts of guidance and support were outstanding. We are blessed to have had his energy given so freely to our organization in support of our mission.

Mr. Smith (as we called him) loved education and what he could achieve with it. He held multiple Master degrees and certificates. Beginning in 1974 Elliott began what would become a long, distinguished 34-year career with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in San Francisco, CA. Elliott would go on to work in such locations as the Latin American Office, the Sacramento Office, the Far East Office, Washington D.C., the European Office, and finally the Dallas Office. Elliott worked on a multitude of defense, energy and international trade – most notably with work involving the Panama Canal Treaty and construction of the Pan American Highway. Elliott ultimately became the first Regional Director for GAO’s Central Region. Prior to his retirement from the GAO, Elliott established a recruitment program in the Central Region that is still known for hiring top-level professionals. Upon retiring from GAO in 2005, Elliott decided that he wanted to teach so he went back to school and got his teacher’s certificate and taught middle and high school grade Spanish at several schools in Texas. He was very passionate about the Spanish language and went above and beyond to immerse his students into the language and culture. This passion led him to our programs and our multi-year relationship. Thank you Mr. Smith!

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Thank you to Our Board Members for their support and devotion

Alicia Alvarez

Alicia was one of our initial Board Members and key to helping us with fundraising. She moved to the Chicago, IL area but continued for a time to support us 'long distance'. Thank you for your advice and guidance to get us started.


Gilberto Barrera

Mr. Barrera was an Elementary School Principal in the Dallas ISD system. He too helped us get started and provided guidance on programs and parent involvement techniques. He retired and later moved to Ecuador. We owe a lot to his early guidance and energy. Thank You!


Dr. Luisa Rondon

As a pediatrician at Parkland Hospital, Luisa provided us with much support and community insight. She has moved to the Dominican Republic and will be in our thoughts forever. Thank you Luisa!

Board Meeting Photos – (When we were together, in person – those were great days!)

Annual Board Meeting - Dallas, Texas -
­June 9, 2018
Elliott Smith, Bill Parker, Ashley Burn-Jacobs, Louella Pointer, Dr. Luisa Rondon, Dulce Parker, & Rosanne Bell

Thank You” to all our board and community members for their great support

Board Meeting July 2017

Board Members Presenting Cultural Programs in Dallas, TX

Divina Garcia – Caribbean Children's Carnival,
Polk Wisdom Library

Lesley Lanig – Barbados Culture,
Oak Cliff Cultural Center,

Hugo Peart – La Cultura Cura, Youth Leadership. LG Pinkston HS

Ashley Burn-Jacobs – Belezian Culture

Tamara Antonetti -Mask Making,
Latino Cultural Center

Leo Hassan- Afro-Caribbean Drumming,
Portfolio Residence Services

Updated 20Nov2020