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About us

EPPP Mission Statement

Our mission is to enhance each participant's ability to work competently and effectively with culturally and linguistically diverse children, youth, and families in multicultural settings.


The need for psychologists, educators, and mental health professionals who are knowledgeable of Spanish and Latinx cultures are large and are not being met with existing personnel within our school or mental health systems.


Thus, EPPP offers participants an opportunity to:

  • Broaden their view of the world,

  • Increase their ability to communicate with linguistically and culturally diverse populations, 

  • Develop and enhance their openness to new ideas,

  • Strengthen their dedication to lifelong learning,

  • Bolster their ability to adapt to different cultures in an effective and competent manner,

  • Lead to further personal growth,

  • Expand their professional skill set, 

  • Raise their appreciation of cultural differences,

  • Foster their ability to self-reflect, and

  • Improve their ability to handle unforeseeable situations with a greater level of maturity and independence. 

The skills, attitude, knowledge, and strategies gained from the EPPP will not only assist participants during the international experience, but also assist the diverse students, families and communities that they will serve upon their return home.

Meet The Program directors
Dr. Anton Robert Berzins

Anton Robert Berzins, Psy.D., N.C.S.P., Co-Founder and Director for EcuadorPPP, obtained his psychology and history (double major) undergraduate degree from Loyola College in Maryland, masters degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and doctoral degree (bilingual track) from St. John's University.

He is a full time, tenured school psychologist within the Great Neck Public School system in Great Neck, New York. In this role, he serves as the Case Manager to the Academic Career Exploration (A.C.E.) and Transition programs which are comprised of students with significant physical, and developmental disabilities. Additionally, he serves as the Case Manager to the English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) program, which is comprised of students from the Middle East, South America, Central America, Europe, and Asia.

For over the past decade, Dr. Berzins has spent his summer's working with a variety of schools, hospitals, clinics, community outreach centers, and orphanages in both Costa Rica and Ecuador. Furthermore, he has presented at district-level and national conferences. He has had articles, book reviews, and book chapters published in national psychology journals. His research interests include: school-sports psychology; resiliency; affect (positive and negative); exposure to violence (physical, verbal, sexual); post traumatic stress disorder; gratitude; positive psychology; and multicultural issues in psychology.

Dr. Tara C. Raines

Tara Raines, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Program Coordinator, is Deputy Director of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance and a Visiting Professor in the Clinical Psychology program at UNLV. She is a former Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Training for the Child, Family, and School Psychology program at University of Denver. Dr. Raines received an undergraduate and M.A. degree in Special Education from Florida State University, a subsequent M.A. and specialist degree in School Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, and she ultimately obtained her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Georgia State University. As a researcher Dr. Raines worked for 6 years on an Institute of Education Sciences grant focusing on establishing the validity and utility of universal screening for behavioral and emotional risk within the Los Angeles Unified School District and multiple school districts in Georgia. She investigates early identification of behavioral and emotional disorders, subsequent interventions and outcomes across different groups. Specifically, as early identification of risk relates to the carcel continuum or school-based pathways to incarceration. Dr. Raines has partnered with the City of Las Vegas on their implementation of My Brother’s Keeper and ReInvent Schools. She is leading the program evaluation and providing technical assistance for participating schools.

In addition to her passion for research, Dr. Raines is also dedicated to the improvement of cultural humility and increase of bilingual practitioners in the fields of mental health and education. In 2008, she developed a Spanish language immersion program specifically for mental health and education professionals, which she hosts annually in Quito, Ecuador. This program offers the opportunity for participants to expand their knowledge of Latin American culture and systems while increasing language proficiency. 

Dr. Raines has received a presidential award from the National Association of School Psychologists for leading a task force to better understand the role and impact of police in schools. She was awarded a presidential citation from Division 16 of the American Psychological Association for her work in promoting anti-racist practices in the field of school psychology. In 2023, Dr. Raines co-authored an article entitled “Integrating Intersectionality, Social Determinants of Health, and Healing: A New Training Framework for School-Based Mental Health” that was given honorable mention for article of the year by School Psychology Review, the flagship publication for the field of school psychology. 

Dr. Raines presents nationally on the fundamentals of cultural humility, promoting healing-centered approaches to school safety, and supporting school partnerships with law enforcement agencies.  

Join us

If you, a colleague, or a graduate student in the fields of education or psychology would like to acquire or reacquire knowledge of or fluency in the Spanish language, become confident in using Spanish professionally, acquire knowledge of a Latinx culture, and work in either a clinical facility or educational setting, then we believe that our summer cultural immersion programs may be of interest to you.

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