Our Team

about-us-agnesAgnès Barrelet
Executive Director

Agnes grew up in the south of France and began her love for animals at a very young age. By the age of 6 she would spend her summers on a farm in the mountains of France, tending to cows, sheep and goats. It was here that farm life and taking care of creatures large and small, settled in her heart.

After moving to the United States to complete her degree, Agnes relocated to Southern California in 1995.  Very driven, she became an executive for a start-up software translation company and eventually co-founder/ VP of Sales for an internet analytics company in San Diego, CA.  While achieving much success in the corporate world, Agnes decided to make a dramatic change in the years to follow. In 2011, she was offered the opportunity to take over the non-profit organization, Hands United for Children, which was founded in 2006. It’s mission: to support children in distressed situations through education, shelter, health and individual welfare. With a philanthropic spirit and a results oriented focus, Agnes accepted and became the non-profit’s Executive Director.

By 2015, with 3 diverse projects, the non-profit grew tremendously and is now serving children from West Africa to California. The most recent passion-project, with Agnes at the helm, is the Children’s Nature Retreat – located in Alpine, CA and set to open in early 2016.  The retreat, a safe haven to domestic, livestock & equine animals of all sorts, will be specifically designed to help children develop a sense of wonder for nature and it’s inhabitants through unstructured exploration and learning.

“Improving a child’s life through education and emotional well-being is very important to me. These are the components that the Children’s Nature Retreat is based on. I wanted to create a serene place where children could have fun and learn about the symbiotic connection between man, nature & animals. The retreat welcomes all ages and is a wonderful place to spend the day!”

Currently, Ms. Barrelet serves on the board of the O’Farrell Charter School in Southeast San Diego. She is also serving on the Planning & Development Council for Stevens Cancer Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital.

IMG_3093-e1467927693287Matilde Montoya
Programs Coordinator

Matilde was 16 years old when she started her first job as a receptionist at Bay Club Carmel Valley in 2005. At the age of 18 she was promoted as the front desk Director. “I felt very excited and honor to have huge responsibilities at such a young age”. After 3 years Matilde was offered a sales position at Bay Club Carmel Valley. Shortly, she was the team leader of the sales department. “Every month we will get recognized if we met our monthly goals. I have always work very hard to learn as much as possible and not really expect anything in return but for my work to be valued”. Matilde received 14 awards for the number one sales during 2008-2012. She then graduated from San Diego State University with studies in Marketing in 2013.

When Matilde met Agnes and learned about Hands United for Children she saw an opportunity to have a dream come true. “I was beyond happy and excited to be a part of this journey that is doing beautiful things for Children. I want children to know that they do not stand alone that we are here to care, help, and teach them. With hard work and a great heart all dreams can come true and I feel that with Hands United for Children we will make all dreams come true”.

Tim Fitzgerald
Grounds Manager


about-us-vanessaVanessa Barrelet
Muse and Junior Volunteer Coordinator