Meet the Team

Grace and Heidi
Grace Carlson, Co-Director

As a Casa de la Solidaridad alumna, and with degrees in Anthropology and Theology from Fordham University in New York, Grace taught for three years at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose, California. She also graduated with her Master of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Education with a focus in Catholic Education at Santa Clara University.  Grace facilitates the praxis experience for students and communities, coordinates courses at the Ateneo, programs events for students and enjoys teaching the Praxis Seminar.  She finds her work accompanying students and communities, as well as being a part of the lively Barangka neighborhood, most engaging. 

Heidi Kallen, Co-Director

Heidi is originally from Southern California.  As an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, she studied for a semester at Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador.  Following graduation, Heidi served for two years in Tacna, Peru with Jesuit Volunteers International.  Heidi received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Religious Studies from SCU and her MA in Pastoral Ministry and MSW from Boston College.  In 2010 Heidi began working with the University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University to develop Casa Bayanihan in the Philippines.  Heidi currently lives and works in Manila as co-director of Casa Bayanihan. 

Mark Ravizza

Mark Ravizza, S.J.
Director of Mission and Ministry

An associate professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University, Mark serves as Director of Mission and Ministry at Casa Bayanihan. He has taught or worked in El Salvador, the Philippines, Mexico, and Canada. He also is the author of several books and is a senior fellow of the Bannan Institute for Jesuit Education and Christian Values at Santa Clara University. Mark has degrees in philosophy and engineering from Stanford and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale.
Conor Smith & Jillian Baker,
 Community Coordinators

As Community Coordinators, Conor and Jillian live with the students and accompany them through their immersion experience. They support the students in community living and spiritual growth and development, which includes planning community activities and outings, facilitating spaces for personal reflection and providing general support for the Casa students as they navigate a new culture and reality.

Conor graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy. Jillian is also a graduate of Boston College from the class of 2013, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Biology.

They both studied at Casa Bayanihan during the Spring of 2012, and they feel privileged and blessed to return to a country that they learned so much from, and hope to continue to grow alongside the students they will be accompanying this year.

Jane Gomez, Edz Lamusao, & Fe Orinoco, Casa Bayanihan Cooking Staff

Jane Gomez is 31 years old and has a beautiful baby girl named Rhian Jhana. She has been working as a cook with Casa Bayanihan since it started. Jane feels that Casa Bayanihan is like a family for her. She especially enjoys her time with the studets, when they greet her with a hug or give her a smile. Jane loves to work with the others members of the Casa Bayanihan staff and appreciates the feeling part of a team that supports and accompanies one another.

Cooking Staff

Edilyn “Edz” Lamusao is from the province of Cagayan in the northern region of the island of Luzon. She is 32 years old and has a baby boy named Derk. She as been a cook for Casa Bayanihan since it started. She is thankful for the many new experiences she has had with Casa Bayanihan. Edz feels like she has been able to explore her talents and be creative in her work. Edz has especially appreciates her friendships with the students and the opportunity to share her culture with them, while at the same time learn from theirs. Edz “loves the Casa!”

Marifi “Fe” Orinoco is 42 years old and comes from the province of Albay in southern region of the island of Luzon, home of the Mayan Volcano. Fe works with Casa Bayanihan both as a cook and a praxis site coordinator. Casa Bayanihan’s team is one of the things that inspires he to work with the Casa. She expresses that being part of the team is like having a family that cares for her all of the time. She gives the best of herself when it comes to cooking, serving the community and welcoming the students and taking care of them. She is “100% dedicated to Casa Bayanihan!”The Kuyas

Edwin Calimag, Maintenance

Edwin Calimag works part time as a member of the maintenance crew of Casa Bayanihan. He also drives when needed and takes care of Casa Bayanihan houses. He enjoys his work because the staff treats him like a family member when they eat together, attend each other's birthdays and go on outings. He finds the team truly caring and is appreciative of the time and effort everyone puts forth for the students' stay in the Philippines.

Arnold Varquez, Driver

Arnold Varquez is a staff member who also drives for Casa Bayanihan. He loves to go fishing with the students in the Calatagan community and loves Casa Bayanihan because the team is very nice!