We, at Villa Alamar, are incredibly proud of
our team of experienced dedicated caregivers.

Here we honor those who are selected as Caregiver of the Month,
and thank them for all that they do to promote the safety and well-being of our residents.

CAREGIVER of the Month

December 2019

Karina Murillo

Karina’s kind-hearted and gentle demeanor has made her an invaluable member of our caregiving team. Although she has only been working at Villa Alamar for 6 months, she carries with her 7 years of prior caregiving experience. When asked why she enjoys working as a caregiver, Karina responds by saying “interacting with each resident and learning about their life, adventures and prior hobbies is such an honor.”

Working as a caregiver is an intimate position where the upmost respect, grace, and care is needed. Karina understands this and believes that her unwavering patience and compassion allow her to excel at Villa Alamar. Karina enjoys the fun team environment that Villa Alamar exudes and loves learning from the different skill sets each person brings.

Karina was born and raised in Santa Barbara. She grew up with two sisters and a brother whom she is very close with. On her days off, Karina enjoys spending time with family and playing with her two adorable nephews. Some of her other hobbies include singing in her church choir and reading good books.


October 2019

Raquel Carrillo

Raquel is the epitome of a bright and happy soul. No matter the circumstance, you can count on her to have a smile on her face while radiating positivity. She has been working as a caregiver at Villa Alamar for an astonishing 5 years! Raquel Believes being a caregiver is the most selfless act one could make. She believes it takes great compassion and unwavering patience to excel at the job.

When asked what she loves about her job she exclaims, “Everything!” She continues by saying that the opportunity to bring a smile to a resident’s face brings her so much joy and fills her heart with love. Raquel believes the team work at Villa Alamar helps to create a calm and welcoming environment which is important for the residents. In her opinion, Villa Alamar exudes a home-like feeling that allows the residents to feel safe and secure.

Raquel is a mother of two sons aged 25 and 17, and a daughter who is 18. She proclaims that her children are her entire world. Raquel relishes in the opportunity to travel with her husband and children on her days off. She also enjoys going out to eat with her family, especially when it is Italian food!



September 2019

Maria Gonzalez

If you visit Villa Alamar during the daytime, you will readily recognize Maria’s resounding smile. This beloved caregiver has been working at Villa Alamar for 22 incredible years! When asked why she likes this work, she tearfully expresses her love for the residents. Maria explains that there is nothing that compares to the joy of caring for the residents and seeing the happy faces of family members as they realize their loved ones are being thoughtfully cared for.

She believes that her job as a caregiver is a difficult one, but when she feels the gratitude of each family she knows she has found her purpose. Maria strongly believes there is nothing more rewarding than caring for the elderly.

When not at work, Maria loves going on walks and knitting beautiful dresses for her grandchildren. She loves her children and grandchildren most of all! She is the proud mom of 4 children, the most loving grandma to 18 grandchildren, and the most joyous great grandma to 4 little ones. Maria’s big goal for the future is to go back to school to improve and advance her English.



August 2019

Celiflora Pablo

If you visit Villa Alamar mostly during the daytime you may not yet have met our Employee of the Month, who works primarily in the night shift. Celiflora is a caregiver who excels at her job for her patience and dedication to providing the best care for our residents. Celiflora likes working the night shift because it gives her the opportunity to be a team leader. She relishes the opportunity to make her own decisions, knowing that she is entrusted to make the right ones.

Celiflora has been working at Villa Alamar for 4 years now! She attributes her dedication in caregiving to her passion for helping those with dementia. Making sure that residents are safe and comfortable throughout the night brings great warmth to her heart.

Celiflora is a dedicated mother and grandmother of 4 children and 5 grandchildren. She is grateful for her job and the opportunity to provide for her family. During her free time, Celiflora likes to travel by train and explore new places. She also enjoys going out with friends to enjoy a cup of coffee and attending church retreats.



July 2019

Yadira Orduna

Yadira has been a beloved caregiver at Villa Alamar for two and a half years now. Her journey as a caregiver began when she was only 21 years of age! Her patience and dedication in caring for our residents makes her an undeniable asset to our community.

Yadira loves interacting with our residents and listening to their life stories. She believes there is something special in being able to delve into the rich life history of each resident in our community.

Yadira believes in being a team player and enjoys interacting with her co-workers. Her co-workers describe her as being a “joy to be around.” She is friendly, compassionate, and caring and her demeanor transcends in the level of care she provides for our residents. She believes the warm and welcoming environment at Villa Alamar has allowed her to build friendships that she holds dear.

When she is not at work, Yadira enjoys spending time with her husband, Santos. Her favorite pastimes include exploring new coffee shops, trying new coffees, and taking many walks around town (as she drinks coffee 🙂



June 2019

Reyna Ramirez
Medication Technician

Reyna may someone you probably don’t see often because she works primarily on the night shift. She is, however, one of the angels who watches over our residents while they sleep, making sure they receive their proper medication and they are safe and comfortable.

Reyna is passionate about helping those with dementia.  She has been working at Villa Alamar for two years and her favorite part of the job is doing what she can to make our residents feel like they are family. “I like to give love to the residents”, says Reyna, “and make them feel that they are important, that they do matter, and they are loved.”

We appreciate Reyna’s dedication and her willingness to take additional shifts in the spirit of collaboration and teamwork. Reyna’s integrity and commitment do stand out.

Reyna has been married to her husband Juan for 8 years and they have 3 children. The most important thing to Reyna is her family: “My family always comes first. Always.”

When Reyna is not working or with her family she enjoys tennis, which she has played since she was a little kid at a club called Roosevelt Club. She is proud of her competition history, having won many tournaments.



May 2019

Elia Vega,
Medication Technician

Elia has over 14 years of experience working as a caregiver, seven of them at Villa Alamar. She is passionate about her work and has a knack for detail. Her unique talent as a meticulous organizer paired with her compassion for those affected with memory loss make her a strong and reliable Medication Technician.

Elia is always willing to step up to the plate when she is needed. In instances when her colleagues need an extra hand, Elia is quick to assist, always raising the spirit of team work we are so proud to promote.

Her favorite part of the job is simply being with the residents. She loves to listen to their stories and appreciates each one’s rich life stories. She embraces them and strives to provide the quality care she’d want for herself, should she ever be in their position.

Elia has been married for 8 years and is a mother of an adorable cat named Nina. She hopes one day to bring a Labrador into the family. Elia’s hobbies include exercising, organizing, and her favorite: shopping. She also enjoys watching UFC and Nascar with her husband, Michael.




April 2019

Jesus Nicanor,
Prep Cook

Jesus is a talented chef who joined the staff at our sister home, Alexander Gardens in 2018, and this January also joined our team at Villa Alamar.

He has over 20 years of experience as an Italian Chef, working in renowned restaurants, such as Montecito’s ViaVai and Pane E Vino.

Now mostly retired, Jesus continues to do part-time what he loves doing the most: preparing delicious meals for the residents at Villa Alamar, with great pride in presentation, and with a renewed sense of service to our senior community.

The father of 11 kids, (the youngest is now 12 and lives in Mexico) what he likes most about working at Villa Alamar is the sense of teamwork and camaraderie with his fellow co-workers. “Everyone here acts like a team,” says Jesus, ”we are all working together for the best care for the residents.”

Indeed, Jesus has become an invaluable member of our team, always ready to offer a hand whenever he sees an opportunity to be helpful and assist others. We can always count on Jesus not only for his talent as a cook but also for his big, generous heart. It is always nice to know that Jesus is in the house!



March, 2019

Maria Castro,

Maria is affectionately known at Villa Alamar as Marikita, a beloved caregiver who has been with us for 16 years!

Our residents count on her and appreciate her gentle touch and complete attention. Marikita has extensive experience as a caregiver and is genuinely dedicated to our seniors affected with memory loss and other related conditions.

She knows that they need help and are not always able to understand what is happening to them, which makes her all the more willing to provide care with love and compassion.

Marikita is a mother of three and a grandmother of three, whom she often babysits in her spare time.

And do not let her small stature fool you: Marikita is a power to contend with!  She plays basketball for fun and exercise–and she rips on the court!



January, 2019

Maricruz Ayala,
Medication Technician

The first time I held the hand of a dementia patient, it was my grandmother’s — and so started my passion for dementia care.

This beloved caregiver has been with Villa Alamar for 18 months, but her gentle touch and thorough attention to the physical and emotional needs of our residents were quickly recognized by her colleagues and supervisors.

Maricruz shows the upmost kindness towards our residents.  She says it is an honor to make a difference in the lives of people when they are the most vulnerable.  She is equally caring in her personal life as she is currently assisting both her parents who have medical needs and helping them raise her two younger brothers.

At Villa Alamar, Maricruz’s extraordinary dedication is much appreciated as she works to keep all residents safe and medically assisted in her role as Medication Technician.



December, 2018

Yesenia Leon,
Medication Technician

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Yesenia started working with seniors at the age of 16, when she took a caregiving position at Friendship Manor in Goleta. That was when her passion for senior care was first sparked, and she proceeded furthering her education by completing her Medical Assistant certification at our own Santa Barbara City College.  She began her adult career working with Visiting Nurses and Hospice Care.

For the past 17 months, we at Villa Alamar have learned to rely on her watchful and caring eyes as she continues serving our community as a Medication Technician. With careful attention to detail and genuine dedication to the health of our residents, Yesenia is trusted by her colleagues and adored by our residents.

“I love when I catch a glimpse of our residents”, says Yesenia, “especially during those special  moments when they realize who they really are and that we are here to care for them. And when they look at you and say Thank you! – you know it is really sincere and it makes my heart melt… they remind me every day of how much I love my job!” The high quality of her work indeed reflects her passion and dedication!

Yesenia and her husband are expecting their third child, who will complete the family since they already have two sons, 8 and 4.   The family enjoys their free time together at local parks, going to as many movies as they can, and having a lot of fun at Golf & Stuff, one of their favorite hangouts!


November, 2018

Yesenia Gonzalez,

Yesenia has been a beloved caregiver at Villa Alamar for over 19 years. Her 5 children practically grew up playing in our courtyard, visiting with our residents, and bringing joy to them. Her son Alex, now 29, assists our community with coordinating all construction and repair crews. Alex has the same sweet, caring way of addressing our residents for which Yesenia is known.

Yesenia is extremely dedicated to the well-being of our residents. She says she holds a special place in her heart for each one of them, and tries her best to fulfill their need for attention, love, and affection. She also says that she can relate to them and hopes that one day, when she is the one who needs care, she will receive the same careful, loving attention that she now dedicates to Villa Alamar residents.

When not at work, Yesenia enjoys spending time with her 6 grandchildren at the beach or at a local park. She also enjoys hiking in our mountain trails, end experiencing the local scenery.

An important member of our community, Yesenia well represents the spirit of caregiving with joy, dedication, and affection. We at Villa Alamar are extremely thankful for her many years of service to our residents.


October, 2018

Blanca Rojas,

Blanca has been an esteemed member of our staff since 2014. Although she perfected her caregiving skills taking courses in Memory Care and in Compassionate Communication at Santa Barbara City College, it is her innate knack for caring that makes her an extraordinary assistant to our residents.

Blanca understands the emotional needs of a person affected with dementia or memory loss and dedicates herself into making sure that our residents feel protected and cared for.

She takes time to learn what makes each one of our residents happy and works hard to make it happen. According to Blanca, “our residents deserve to be treated with the same affection and sensitivity” with which she once cared for her own small children. We couldn’t agree more!

Her 4 children are all grown now and have children of their own, and Blanca still spends her Sundays with them. She also understands the need for self-care, and when not attending to our residents she takes plenty of time to rest and exercise.

We all appreciate Blanca’s commitment to our residents and look forward to many more years of counting on her professionalism and caring heart.