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Jack Nooren

Board President

Jack migrated to the United States from Holland in 1989 at the age of 19. He built a successful career in real estate and moved from the Midwest to California in 2008.


Jack has always played an active role in numerous nonprofit organizations including: Red Cross, Pathways Behavioral Services (a drug and alcohol treatment center), YWCA, Lions Club, Sports for Exceptional Athletes and numerous other organizations. Three years ago he became involved in Casa de Luz in Tijuana and took a leadership role in helping to raise money in order to make the program more sustainable. Jack started a 501(c)(3) and acquired the current location that Casa de Luz resides in.


His passion to help LBGTQ + refugees shows with his continued active involvement in the program and the leader ship role he has assumed within the organization

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Benny Cartwright


Benny is a lifelong San Diegan who has been actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community since he was a teenager, for over 20 years. He began his activism while a student at San Diego State University, where he got a degree in Communications. He also studied at the University of San Diego and earned a master's degree in Nonprofit Leadership & Management. His career has included a number of diverse positions including serving as the first Executive Director of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, the Director of Community Outreach for the San Diego LGBT Community Center, Senior Staff Reporter for San Diego LGBT News (, and Government Affairs Coordinator for the Associated Students of SDSU.


Benny currently serves as a Community Representative and Communications Coordinator for City of San Diego Councilmember Stephen Whitburn, and can be found on the weekends working his side-job at the door at Rich's San Diego.


Benny will also assume the role of Publisher of San Diego LGBT News later this year. He is looking forward to utilizing his nonprofit leadership and communications/marketing skills to support the important work that Casa de Luz does.

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Board Members 


Tan Carlin


Tan is a local area pharmacist that was himself a refugee that immigrated to the US in 1989. The youngest at the time, his 3 older brothers and mother took the long trek from war torn Vietnam to land in Cleveland OH.


He got his PharmD from the University of Toledo in 2011 and moved out to sunny San Diego in 2016. His previous volunteer work includes leading college students in a monthly service learning experience through Americorps at places such as Ronald McDonald Charities making food for families with kids at the hospital, Josina Lott residential facility for those with disabilities in Toledo, OH and Cherry Street Mission serving the homeless. 


More recently he has dedicated his volunteer hours to student pharmacists and to the free local health events they hold. Tan hopes to be able to give back to the community more so by being involved with Casa de Luz.

Michael Albo

Michael Albo is Vice Chair and Clinical Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of California, San Diego where he has been on faculty since 1996.  He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1983 with a BA in Preprofessional Studies.  He earned his medical degree in 1988 from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, completed a residency in Urology in 1994 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and a fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in 1996 at the University of California. 


After graduating from Notre Dame, Dr. Albo volunteered with the Holy Cross Associates working as a Program Coordinator at the Eden Youth Center, a community-based organization for underserved youth in the East Bay.  The year between his residency and fellowship, he volunteered at a small hospital in the city Solala, Guatemala, to bring urologic care to the surrounding farming villages and then volunteered at the McCormick Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

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Markus Zaugg

After moving to San Diego from Switzerland in 1998, Markus broke into the construction industry and secured his state contractor's license and opened a custom cabinetry shop. Shortly thereafter he introduced a German cabinet line to San Diego and became an exclusive dealership.


Markus has an open minded view and loves people from all over the world with different cultures, backgrounds, religion and sexuality.


The involvement to help other people is his passion and becoming a board member of Casa de Luz was a perfect fit to help LBGTQ people achieve their dreams.

Ed Parsley

Ed is a licensed physician, trained in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine who currently works in the design, conduct and pharmacovigilance of phase 1, 2 and phase 3 clinical studies for the development of new medications.  He currently is working on drug development for the conditions of pulmonary arterial hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, and COVID-19.

Dr. Parsley has over 30 years of experience at the bedside in the care of patients, and spent 20 years teaching at the University of Texas, Houston.  His experience there was as a director of medical ICU and respiratory care services at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. His leadership experience there resulted in award winning patient care and safety advances.

Ed also is the owner and a practitioner at Aesthetica Med Spa and Wellness Clinic of San Diego, a full service medical spa for men and women, including providing services for the gay and trans population in San Diego.

Parsley has served in the past as a board member at Legacy Community Health, a full-service, Federally Qualified Health Center, Legacy identifies unmet needs and gaps in health-related services and develops client-centered programs to address those needs. A United Way-affiliated agency since 1990, we currently provide adult primary care, pediatrics, dental care, vision services, behavioral health services, OB/GYN and maternity, vaccinations and immunizations, health promotion and community outreach, wellness and nutrition, and comprehensive HIV/AIDS care.

Ed has Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery degree from Oklahoma State University, and performed residency and fellowship training at the University of Texas, Houston.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree, and worked as a pharmacist prior to medical school.


Washington Nabong

Washington is a Wealth Management Certified Professional for one of the largest investment banks in the world and has served clients in the Hillcrest and Mission Hills area of San Diego for the last 20 years. At the age of 15, Washington immigrated to Anchorage, Alaska from his native country of the Philippines in pursuit of the American Dream. He found that watching children’s cartoon shows after school and on the weekends made it easier for him to learn the English language. Washington decided to move to San Diego after graduating high school to pursue his finance degree at a local university.


Washington believes financial literacy is an integral component to being successful and financially independent. He enjoys educating youth on the importance of managing their finances, creating a budget, and building and maintaining strong creditworthiness. Washington spends his free time with his husband, Nick and their two Italian Greyhound dogs.


Washington also enjoys volunteering with various non-profits throughout San Diego, including the Hillcrest Business Association.

Naya Marie Velazco 


Miss Naya Marie (she/ella) is the epitome of resilience and graciousness, she began working directly with vulnerable communities staring with housing insecure San Diegan’s and Veterans in 2018 ensuring they received wrap around and seamless healthcare, behavioral health services, housing preparation, harm reduction, employment security, and mobility devices. Miss Naya Marie’s passion stems from advocating for the disenfranchised communities who are too often pushed past the margins and overlooked, she known the importance of empowering each person individually and collectively as a group, and the only way you can learn to advance your people, is by listening to their stories. Miss Naya Marie, then began her advocacy for the transgender and nonbinary community in 2019, where she focuses on department coordination and program management, she has since expanded the program by having more than 6k service visits each year, she managed to do this with the help of her extraordinary network of stakeholders, community partners, and of course the Project TRANS Army. Miss Naya Marie’s leadership and pioneer work received recognition in November 2021, my Councilmember Chris Ward (he/him).


After working on various research project in collaboration with UC San Diego her awareness of systemic oppression grew, Miss Naya Marie, was determined to then challenge systems including institutions  which contribute to transphobia; by creating unreasonable obstacles in order to advance and elevate its peers! She would like to advocate and work hands on with the migrant community, learning more about their stories, hardships, but to also have a better understanding of ways in which we can improve our efforts in protecting and advancing such vulnerable peoples. This can only be done by becoming a volunteer and serving front and center with Casa de Luz!


Sabrina Prijatel

Sabrina Prijatel is a certified Physician Assistant who practices locally in Hillcrest, San Diego, CA. She is a Bay Area native and UCSD alumni who recently returned to San Diego. Since completing her medical education, she has been interested in becoming involved with her community and was introduced to Casa De Luz.


She is eager to utilize her care for the LGBTQ+ outside of medicine with her involvement with the organization. She previously volunteered for Bay Area nonprofits such as Sacred Heart, Second Harvest Food Bank and Los Medicos Voladores.  

Enrique Medina


Enrique Medina was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I come from immigrant grandparents that migrated to San Diego from Mexico. One side of the family is from Guanajuato and the other is from Guadalajara, Jalisco both with the same aspirations, to provide a better life for future generations.  He was raised and worked in the hospitality industry and after completing his
education he currently operates the Crest Cafe, a 40-year locally family-owned staple in the Hillcrest community of San Diego. I


He has a passion for putting a smile on people's faces, helping others, and helping his city. He volunteers to participate in community clean-ups, charitable community events and help children come together and play the game of baseball, the game he played for over twenty years of his life. He has a great
knowledge of what it takes to work as a team, and to exceed at a common goal such as what we are doing here at Casa De Luz.


Big Mike Phillips

Big Mike Phillips Bio.


My introduction to the world was January 18, 1957, in Frankfurt, Germany. I was given up for adoption and was incredibly fortunate to be adopted by two loving and compassionate human beings, which I always consider my Mom and Dad. They raised my brother and I to become individuals who grew up to find goodness, kindness, and love for not only ourselves but to our fellow human beings. My Dad who was in the United States Air Force, was station in Paris, France. He was being transfer back to the United States, to retire at Randolph Air Force Base in 1962. We as a family settled in Universal City a suburb of San Antonio, Texas. I grew up and went to school there, came out as a big homo there and had the time of my life coming out as gay in 1975.


Fast forward, I have lived in New York City, Los Angeles, and finally ending up in San Diego to take care of my dying Friend Tino Graziano, who died of AIDS, on November 18,1989. It was losing my best friend at that time in the world that I decided in my life that I would do what I could to help raise funds for the organizations that were there to help Tino die with dignity and love. Being Alive was especially compassion in helping with his needs in those days. 

Christmas morning, December 25, 1989, I started my new job working at the Brass Rail, which open the doors for me as a member of this amazing LGBTQ community. The Brass Rail gave me the resources to learn more about how to raise money for charity. The Imperial Court had fundraisers every week on Wednesdays and Sundays the entire three and a half years I worked there. I was a witnessing everyone’s generosity, including my own.


In 1993 my best friend and fellow bartender Nigel Mayer and I start a nonprofit organization called Ordinary Miracles, bringing together bartenders, waiters, restaurant owners, and finally all types of business together to donate a percentage from their tips and sells to raise money for so many needed organizations. Bringing our entire community together in the effort. With the help of the community, in five years we were able to raise over three hundred thousand dollars, which was a great amount in the 1990’s.


After Nigel bought Flicks Bar in Hillcrest and decided to no longer be involved with Ordinary Miracles because he need to focus on running his business, I decided on moving forward myself as well. It was then I found myself wanting to still be involved with my community and city I lived in. Over the last thirty years, I have proudly served on many boards including the last four San Diego Mayors and co-founded a couple other charity organizations. One being the Rob Benzon Foundation, now called the Rob Benzon/ Dan Ferbal Foundation, and With Nicole Murray Ramirez, re-founded Grocery Hearts a grocery store at Mamas Kitchen, where clients can shop for can goods and fresh food to cook at home themselves.


I have served on several charity organization boards, serving three terms as President of the San Diego Imperial Court just to name one of them. I love being able to give back, meet new people, bring awareness, and be an example of giving, sharing with compassion.

As I get older and retired from the food and beverage industry, I find myself doing a lot more photography, which I have loved doing for the last thirty years. I am so grateful for my life and all it has afforded me. Staying involved, meeting incredible people, both those I work with and those in need of our help. Every day is a good day to be alive and to be able to past goodness forward.

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