The mission of TVSA is support, education, and recognition for victim service providers.

Texas Victim Services Association

Winter 2021

TVSA wishes everyone a happy new year!

In This Issue

Message from the Executive Director

President's Column

Membership Matters

Six Agencies to Participate in Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI)

Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance

Professional Development and Training Committee

Board of Directors

Welcome New Members

Supporting TVSA Through Amazon Smile

Board Spotlights

Volunteer Spotlight

Save the Date

Board of Directors

Brooke King, MA

Rose Luna, MSLC

Misty Biddick, MS

Jessica Serrano, MPA

Region A Coordinator

Region B Coordinator
Julie Jesperson, BA

Region C Coordinator
Jennifer Sterling, LCSW

Region D Coordinator
Stacey Manigold, MS
The Woodlands

Region E Coordinator
John Dominguez, BA
El Paso

Region F Coordinator
Angela Luna, BA, NACP
Corpus Christi

At-large Member
Mary Breaux, PhD

At-large Member
Cortney A. Franklin, PhD

At-large Member
Lacy Hensley, LMSW, MA
Fort Worth

At-large Member
Amanda Elkanick Oder, BS

Ex Officio

Executive Director
Natacha Pel
áez-Wagner, M.Ed.

We welcome the following new members who have joined TVSA this quarter:

Maribel Arredondo, Corpus Christi

Janine Keith, Cleburne

Alisa McDonald, Bryan

Jennifer Radcliffe-Jones, Kingsville

Kathleen Ratajczak, Conroe

David Scott, Longview

Patricia Strickland, Pflugerville

New Member of The Parris Foundation Agency Membership:

Daniela Colburn Prado, Houston

New Members of Hand Up Network Agency Membership: 

Mariah Abernathy, Tyler

Itzel Diego, Tyler

Dixie Hester, Tyler

Jennifer Wheeler, Tyler

New Members of Hope Rising Agency Membership:

Lidya Kushner, Brenham

Kathleen McGaugh, Brenham

Shandra Reed, Brenham

Ashley Vargas, Brenham

Supporting TVSA Through AmazonSmile

Now when you shop on Amazon, your purchases will support TVSA! Through AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of every eligible purchase to TVSA. 

How to shop and spread the word:

1. Visit Amazon through TVSA's unique link:

2. Share TVSA's unique link on social media.

Shoppers that use the generic link are asked to select one of over a million organizations to support. Be sure to use and share our unique link, so shoppers can skip the selection process and give to TVSA!

Board Spotlights

John Dominguez, BA, Region E Coordinator

John Dominguez presently serves as the Victims Coordinator in the El Paso County Attorney’s Office Juvenile Unit. John holds an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice. He began his tenure in victim services at the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office, where he worked for over 14 years in the Special Crimes and Family Violence units. He then transitioned to the County Attorney’s Office, where he has worked as Victims Coordinator for the Family Violence Unit, the Criminal Unit, and, presently, the Juvenile Unit.  

“My service with TVSA and the board of directors, means that I have been given the trust, chance, and the responsibility to lead my region. This opportunity allows me to collaborate with other great professionals within the victim service profession. Nevertheless, it takes a group of dedicated advocates to ensure that victims of crime are protected and given the right for fair justice.

Julie Jesperson, BA, Region B Coordinator

Julie Jesperson serves as a Programs Manager for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victim Services Division (TDCJ-VSD). Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with over 20 years of experience working with victims and survivors in the criminal justice system. In her current position, she manages TDCJ-VSD’s Crime Victim Clearinghouse, Texas Victim Assistance Training (TVAT) Academy, and the Victim/Offender Mediation Dialogue programs.

“Thank you for this opportunity! I ran for a position on the board of directors and was elected last year as an at-large member, then there was an opportunity to fill a vacated seat as the Region B Coordinator. I am grateful for this opportunity as I am really enjoying our Region B meetings and I especially love getting to know so many of my fellow TVSA members. Life brings us so many unexpected opportunities and we can never predict how great those unexpected opportunities can turn out. Thanks again!”

 “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it…” – Eckhart Tolle.

Volunteer Spotlight

Sean Ramsey

Sean Ramsey has been volunteering with TVSA for the past three years in various consulting and technical support roles. Initially, he volunteered his services to help us with data analytics, allowing us to drill down into our database and information systems to conduct more in-depth analyses, with an aim of providing us information to better serve our victims services professionals. His time and expertise in this area were invaluable to our board and staff for planning, and in helping to inform aspects of our five-year strategic planning process we were engaged in at that time. He is currently serving on our Ad Hoc IT Work Group and has helped in large part with our internal technology assessment as we plan for increased virtual programs and services both during the pandemic and beyond. We are especially grateful for Sean’s donation of a membership in a nonprofit technology community organization, enabling us to access additional tools to leverage technology to further TVSA’s mission. For this reason, Sean is not only our spotlighted volunteer this issue, but also our Donor of the Quarter!

Sean is an entrepreneur at heart, working for over twenty-five years in the world of Austin software startups. His experience and his passion for mission led him to pivot from the private sector to nonprofit work over seven years ago, with a special interest in helping nonprofits become more data-driven. He served as the Director of Technology at the Livestrong Foundation where he managed a team of technologists and digital marketing specialists during a period of rapid transition. In 2017, he left Livestrong to start Fortafy to help nonprofits maximize the value of Salesforce by providing certified Virtual Salesforce Administrators who take ownership of organizations’ Salesforce database and related technologies. In addition to Fortafy, Sean co-founded Philanthroforce in 2020, with the mission of disrupting the ways in which nonprofits search for, evaluate and hire nonprofit consultants to create a more equitable and inclusive environment. Philanthroforce had its soft launch in October 2020 and is already the largest repository of nonprofit consultants in Texas. Sean can be reached at if you are interested in learning more about his organizations.

Region C Meeting
January 29, 2021, Virtual

Region D Meeting
March 3, 2021, Virtual

Region B Meeting
March 10, 2021, Virtual

Region F Meeting
March 17, 2021, Virtual

Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance
March 24-May 5, 2021, Virtual
*Application closes on January 25, 2021

Annual Membership Meeting
May 6, 2021, Virtual

Biennial Training Conference
Summer 2021, Virtual

Message from the Executive Director


By Natacha Peláez-Wagner, Executive Director, M.Ed.

Happy new year! As we enter into 2021, we do so knowing we will embrace continued challenges, professionally and personally, as we weather the continued pandemic, and what may lie ahead.

In looking back at 2020, I am in awe of how all of you in the victim services community faced your service provision challenges head on and continued to serve those Texans and others in our state who were victimized, and who still needed your support and services regardless of pandemic obstacles and restrictions. Boldness and creativity are paramount in this environment: boldness at making services available at some risk to personal health and safety, and creativity at adapting to new ways of caring for victims through virtual and alternate means. At TVSA, we remain committed to supporting you in your efforts, by continuing to provide you with the support, education, and recognition you need and deserve. Our virtual regional meetings are providing an opportunity for you to share information and referral resources with colleagues in your local areas. Our upcoming fifth annual Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership will occur virtually this year, enabling another class of students in their professional growth and skill development for better service delivery. Our Texas Victim Friendly Initiative pilot project is in its second year, working now with six pilot sites to assist them in becoming more victim-centered and trauma-informed. And I am happy to announce that our conference will indeed take place this year, virtually, but with our full commitment to provide you with the same level of training quality you have come to expect from our past conferences. At all these events we celebrate and recognize you, so often the unsung heroes of the criminal justice system, who make a difference in so many victims’ lives.

Our board and staff continue to work on plans to expand our program and service offerings for our members and colleagues in the state. Watch for emails and future newsletter issues, where we will unveil some new opportunities for further engagement with your professional association!

If you are not yet a member, consider joining TVSA, your professional association. For more information or to join, please go to

We are a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, and appreciate any and all support! To make a donation to TVSA, please go to

Thank you!

President's Column

By Brooke King, M.A.

I hope this newsletter finds you all safe and in good health after the Texas “blizzard” of 2021.

2020 was a challenge at its best and overall overwhelming. It was full of unprecedented events and presented various hardships to our families and communities. We endured isolation, loss, and the challenge of balancing our roles as caregivers, providers, and support systems. As we start a new year, I know that this pandemic is not in our rearview mirror, but I am hopeful. Hopeful for what we will accomplish based on our accomplishments while confronting the pandemic; hopeful that we are heading toward a period where we can safely be together; but overall, I am hopeful for what 2021 will bring.

Together we will face 2021 as a united profession, with our eyes toward the future and a focus on how we can continue to provide unsurpassed supports to the victims we work with. Your role is critical for supporting our community members on their worst days, so I want to start 2021 with a resounding thank you. Thank you for the work you do on behalf of victims and for doing so with compassion. I am glad we are starting this new year together. Stay safe and take care of yourselves and each other.


By Brooke King, M.A.

We hope you have been able to attend a regional meeting, but if you haven’t we encourage you to make time to attend an upcoming one. We are committed to providing you with support and opportunities for staying connected in your regions. As the Membership Chair and Board President, I urge you to contact your Regional Coordinator with any ideas you have for support your, or your agency’s needs; if you have thoughts for a virtual regional training; or want to provide support to a virtual social. We are always looking for opportunities to spread the word about the benefits of joining TVSA and keeping you connected to one another!

News From the Regions:

Region A (Panhandle - Amarillo/Lubbock/Wichita Falls): Coordinator: Vacant. Please contact us if you are interested in serving as Region A Coordinator! 

Region B (Central-Austin/Waco/San Antonio): Coordinator: Julie Jesperson, TDCJ Victim Services Division,; (512)406-5924: I hope this finds you safe and well. I would like to extend a welcome to new and renewing members. 

Region B held its November meeting virtually. Mary McCaffity, Deputy Director, TDCJ Victim Services Division joined us and shared information about changes to Chapter 56 and Chapter 56A in the Code of Criminal Procedure. We also had a group discussion about outreach to counties and potential members in Region B and what current members would like to see from future virtual meetings. 

Our January meeting was a round-table discussion regarding how we can overcome pandemic related obstacles and make our best effort to continue to provide services to victims and survivors. As your Region B Coordinator I led the discussion with Michelle Navarro of the Texas Crime Victims Clearinghouse at the TDCJ Victim Services Division, sharing examples of modifications to how some services are provided within the Texas Crime Victims Clearinghouse and the Victim Offender Mediation Dialogue program in the time of COVID. Then we had a group conversation where we shared some of challenges and some of the successes in providing direct services to victims and survivors during the pandemic. It was a great conversation and it was great seeing everyone at the meeting. I am looking forward to connecting at our next meeting on March 10, 2021.

Region C (Northeast - Dallas/Fort Worth/Tyler): Coordinator: Jennifer Sterling, University of Texas at Arlington Police Department Victim Services,; (817)272-9254: We held a meeting in November, where our guest presenter was Derrelynn Perryman, a TVSA member and past president of the TVSA board of directors. Derrleynn spoke about her present service on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and its relevance to victim services in our state. Our next meeting on January 29th will feature a presentation from Sandy Hennip, Executive Director of UnBound Fort Worth, who will be speaking about UnBound's new drop-in center for youth, The Underground.

Region D (Southeast - Beaumont/Houston/College Station): Coordinator: Stacey Manigold, BCFS Health and Human Services,; 832-948-3841: I had the opportunity recently to hold a regional meeting with a great group of professionals who share the passion, diligence, and hard work to ensure education and safety to people who have been victimized. Several topics were discussed, such as resources for victims of human trafficking. Staying connected during this pandemic is difficult though many advocates have pushed forward and continued networking and working hard for the victims in our region. As we move forward with our regional meetings our goal will remain to uphold our Texas Code of Ethics as victim advocates. Our next region D meeting will be held Wednesday March 3rd from noon -1 P.M.

Region E (West - El Paso/Midland/San Angelo): Coordinator, John Dominguez, John Dominguez, El Paso County Attorney’s Office Victim Services;; (915) 303-6069: The new year has arrived, and as a board member for TVSA and the regional coordinator for region E my goal is for victim coordinators/professionals to be cognizant of the benefits of being part of TVSA/members. TVSA allows members to be involved in the organization, both statewide and at the regional level. Members are given the opportunity to learn and network with others around the state, to share what projects their agencies are working on, to better serve victims of crime. TVSA takes pride in the leadership and the work we do and supports and recognizes us as victim advocates and professionals! Our region is now meeting every other month; our next region E meeting will be held in March.

Region F: (South-Corpus Christi/Laredo/McAllen): Coordinator: Angela Luna, Victims' Assistance Coordinator at Nueces County Juvenile Justice;; Direct Line (361)561-6019, Office (361)855-7303: In November we held a meeting where we heard from Special Agent Heath Hardwick, Victim Services Coordinator of the Child Exploitation Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, on combating online harassment and cyber crimes. Our most recent meeting this month hosted a presentation from Ana Sanchez-Brown of The Purple Door, on the services offered in the coastal bend region to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Region F is also currently engaging in a membership recruitment challenge this month, with an incentive prize donated by HEB for the person who brings in the most new members to TVSA! For more information about the membership drive, please contact me, your Region F coordinator at my contact information listed above.

As we reach for resolutions to improve ourselves in 2021, I cannot help but hope for the same within region F. Let us make this the year for increased membership and networking throughout South Texas. Happy New Year!

Six Agencies to Participate in Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI)

By Torie Camp, M.Ed., TVFI Program Specialist

Six agencies, selected from a pool of thirty-one applicants, have been selected to participate in TVSA’s newest project, the Texas Victim Friendly Initiative. These agencies will serve as pilot sites for the 12-month quality improvement program.

“We are honored and enthusiastic at being selected to participate in the Texas Victim Friendly Initiative,” said Chief Ryan Phipps of the Manor Police Department.  “This agency is committed to serving victims of crime to the best of our ability. We’ll be working hard to make sure we will be designated as a ‘Victim Friendly Agency.’

The cornerstone of the TVFI process is an Organizational Self-Assessment. Designed to measure an organization’s environment, policies and practices related to victim care and interactions, the self-assessment reflects best practices of trauma-informed care, Texas Crime Victims’ Rights and Office for Victims of Crime model standards.

Once the Self-Assessment is completed, organizations are supported through a 12-month period of coaching and technical assistance in the areas identified by the organization as highest priority. At the end of the 12 months, organizations are eligible to be designated as a Victim Friendly Agency. 

Funding for the pilot project was received from the Governor’s Public Safety Office. “We are grateful to the Governor’s Office for their confidence in this initiative,” said TVSA Executive Director Natacha Peláez-Wagner. “With their backing we look forward to improving care for victims by supporting and strengthening the strong work of victim service professionals and organizations in Texas.”

Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance

By Rita Flores, BA, TAAVA Planning Committee Chair

Since 2016, the Texas Victim Services Association has trained over 200 victim service professionals through its comprehensive leadership development training program, the Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership (TAAVA). These victim service professionals represent the next generation of leaders committed to supporting victims and creating safer communities.

In its fifth year, TAAVA brings together victim service professionals to develop and enhance their leadership and management skills in a highly engaging learning community. This year, TVSA will release a new curriculum designed specifically for TAAVA and delivered by seasoned leaders in the victim services field. The Academy aims to offer content to strengthen and enhance leadership skills while also create space for victim service professionals to form a lasting professional network.

The next academy will kick off on Wednesday, March 24, and be held in a weekly online series through May 5. The academy is open to current and aspiring program managers/supervisors and recommended for victim service providers from both systems-based and community-based programs. Participants should have at least three years of experience as a victim service provider. This year's class is capped at 60 students. Applications close on January 25th. For additional information or to apply: http:/

Professional Development and Training Committee 

By Amanda Elkanick Oder, BS, Committee Chair

Happy New Year! We are very excited for the opportunities that TVSA will be offering to you this year. Our committee and board have been busy planning our upcoming calendar to ensure that the virtual trainings that we will be offering will also provide the same level of excellence and engagement as our in-person trainings. Although nothing can compare to the networking events in person, we are confident that the expertise comprised within our network will provide a fresh perspective and address the unique barriers that victims are currently facing during this pandemic along with cutting edge ways advocates and professionals across the state have found successful in meeting these needs in innovative ways.

Important dates to Remember:

Wednesdays from March 24- May 5 TAAVA Academy 
Applications close on January 25, 2021.

Biennial Training Conference
Summer 2021, Virtual

Upcoming Regional Meetings
March 2021, Virtual

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