El Centro de Libertad

Recovery with Dignity.

About Us

El Centro de Libertad was founded in 1994 by Mr. George Borg in response to the growing need for culturally competent drug and alcohol services for adults in urban centers; however, the gap between need and available services in San Mateo County has resulted in El Centro expanding to serving both adults and youth in both urban and rural Coastside communities, and to offer Specialized Services to other underserved adult populations such as those in custody, those who have co-occurring disorders, those needing Parenting, Domestic Violence or Anger Management counseling.

El Centro made all the difference when I was in a very dark place in my life. I found the strength to move past my addiction and re-train for a new career. My family and I cannot thank El Centro enough for helping me turn my life around.

Adult Intervention Participant, 2018

Our Board of Directors


Paul Mangan, President
Ralph Garcia, Vice President
Carl Segelke, Treasurer
Patrice JE Osborne, Secretary


Hugo Avila
Daniel Oliveira
Wendy Marzetta

Our Staff

Jeff Essex, Executive Director

Jeff came to El Centro De Libertad in 2020, with over 15 years of experience, 10 of which in upper level collaboration management, serving the recovery and reentry populations.  With a personal passion for the recovery community, Jeff is committed to continuing and growing the high level of quality service El Centro De Libertad brings to San Mateo County. "It's personal for me. Breaking the destructive cycle of addiction is a daunting task that requires a community of support for those with the courage to dream"

Colin Laver, Director of Finance and Human Resources

Colin supports the executive team by managing the full accounting cycle and Human Resources.  Additionally, He works closely with our Executive Director and Director of Programs with Fund Raising and Grant Reporting. Colin graduated from San Jose State with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. "Thankful for being a part of the Behavioral Health and Recovery Community in San Mateo County."

Lynn Sanchez, Director of Administration

Lynn has been an instrumental part of El Centro's team since 2017.  She oversees every aspect of the facility operations, building management, and supervision of the Administrative Team. Her dedication is most evident in her compassionate care she ensures each client receives when they come through our doors.  "My goal is to continue to help and serve our community, and strengthen El Centro's Executive Management Team."

Luis Valdivias, Director of Programs

Luis has been with El Centro since 2010. He oversees all programs that El Centro offers and supports the Treatment Team in effectively serving clients, growing professionally, and empowering all staff members to reach their full potential. "I am committed to the mission of helping to serve Individuals in our diverse community, to strengthen opportunities for everyone and break the cycles of abuse and addiction. "

Chevelle Bourdon, Clinical Director

Chevelle joined El Centro in May of 2021. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Chevelle brings over a decade of experience to the table in the fields of substance use disorder treatment, and the treatment of co-occurring disorders. In her words, she does this job "For the outcome, not the income".  Chevelle's life experience brings a needed perspective, understanding, and compassion to the care we provide our clients.


Do you want to make a difference in the lives of people in your community? Join El Centro de Libertad/The Freedom Center and you can make a difference every day. View our careers page to see current openings.

Read About Careers

Your Support Helps

Make a gift to support the agency or one of our programs! El Centro de Libertad/The Freedom Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency and all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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