Irma Castro was actively involved in community enrichment, development, education, and mentoring for more than thirty years in San Diego, most notably with the Chicano Federation, Las Niñas de Aztlán, and Casa Familiar. The Barrio Logan native is the mother of two children. Irma earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Masters of Arts in Urban Development, and was a research fellow at MIT in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning before working as an educator, administrator, and activist in San Diego County. She served as a board member of numerous community service organizations, including United Way, Domestic Policy Association, and Colegio de La Terra.
As Executive Director of the Chicano Federation between 1979-1991. Irma challenged the makeup San Diego City Council districts in an effort to gain equity for Latinos. Successful fundraising efforts and the implementation of numerous social programs improved the image of the Federation within San Diego. As the coordinator of New Beginnings, she led a school-based program focused on improving access to medical care, food, and education for low-income families. In 1999, Irma inaugurated Las Niñas de Aztlán, an outtreach and mentorship program focused on pairing nine- to eleven-year-old Latina and Native American girls with successful women mentors who have shared similar life experiences. Irma also worked as programs officer for Casa Familiar, an organization focused on education, advocacy, housing, and community economic development. On June 30, 2017, Irma retired from Casa to follow new adventures in support of the community. Irma's commitment to community advancement earned her place in the San Diego Women's Hall of Fame.