Esperanza Community Center

About Esperanza


Maricela Torres

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Maricela Torres is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Esperanza. Through advocacy, partnerships, and strategic fundraising, Maricela has successfully implemented community outreach events to foster a community for West Palm Beach migrant families. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Esperanza, nurtures stakeholder relationships, and oversees all operations. 

Maricela has been featured in Latino Rebels, The Sun Sentinel, and The Palm Beach Post. She is a frequent commentator for community and immigration issues for WPTV, WPBF, and WFLX. Maricela sits on The City of West Palm Beach’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, she also serves on the board of Neighborhood Renaissance, a non-profit development corporation dedicated to building and supporting strong economies and diverse communities.

She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Organizational Management and a Master’s of Science in Psychology, both from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Yirna Buitrago

Yirna Buitrago

Office Services Coordinator

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Yirna worked for 15 years training social leaders and coordinating social and community development projects. In addition, Yirna contributed to the development and implementation of public policies for populations with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, LGBTQ populations, projects for children and seniors, and populations displaced by violence, among others. She holds various degrees and certifications in Physiotherapy, Social Management, and Community Based Rehabilitation. Yirna has also completed the course for Community Health Work with the Florida Certification Board (FCB).

In 2019, She started as a volunteer at Esperanza Community Center, quickly moving up to the position of Office Manager, where She has been instrumental in developing and implementing outreach and educational programs to benefit day laborers, as well as holding workshops, classes and community outreach programs. Yirna managed the 2020 census initiative at Esperanza, She has developed a safe and trusting space for mothers and children at the Center via the Baby Diaper program. Yirna conducts workshops on worker’s rights, prevention of wage theft, health and wellness education, provides referrals to local services, and manages ECC partnerships with other local organizations.