Our Keynote Speaker, Laura Porter has more than a decade of experience leading successful implementation of ACE Study concepts in Washington State in partnership with over 30 communities and nine Tribes. She was featured in the film RESILIENCE for her work. She and Dr. Robert Anda founded ACE Interface to help leaders to use ACE concepts to build Self-Healing Communities. Laura provides services nationwide, from facilitating community conversations to helping philanthropic leaders and government officials use ACE science in investment and policy decisions. She loves to travel, garden, learn, and play with her children and grandchildren.
Carrie is a Training & Consulting Specialist with Strategies 2.0 at Children’s Bureau, helping organizations and individuals statewide in their work with family strengthening and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Carrie has a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Ashford University. Her background includes 20 years in the Head Start and Migrant Head Start program (including Parent Involvement & Leadership and Staff Career Development & Training), and two years in AmeriCorps providing pesticide safety training to farm workers across Utah. Carrie and her husband share the joy of being parents to four grown children, and grandparents to three grandsons.
Shane serves Strategies 2.0 as a Training and Consulting Specialist at Children’s Bureau, proudly representing the Central Valley region. She received her Masters of Public Administration from California State University, Northridge and B.S. in Liberal Studies from Northern Arizona University. She has spent her career serving school-age children in the nonprofit sector running after school and summer camp programs. She grew up in Bakersfield and has lived in Visalia, Sequoia Lake, the San Fernando Valley, and now Ventura. She has two nieces that she loves to spend time with, and likes hiking, camping, and traveling.
Sandi Walters is a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Beginning Together Project in WestEd's Center for Child and Family Studies. She provides outreach, training, and technical assistance to child care and developmental professionals. Specialties include inclusive practice, inclusion support, and the Teaching Pyramid. Walters participates on child care planning councils in 12 counties and has served as a child care owner, Regional Center manager, R&R subsidized child care coordinator, college instructor, and child development consultant. She received an MA in child, adolescent, and family counseling from Springfield College, and an MS in human development from California State University, Northridge.
Lena Morán is the Director of Programming and Language Justice at Just Communities Central Coast. She is a native of Mexico City, Mexico and was raised in Santa Barbara, California. Lena holds a Master's in Education from Antioch University, and has provided facilitation, training, and consultation services for school districts and other agencies statewide. In 2018 Lena and the Just Communities Language Justice Network received Congressional recognition for providing language access services during the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow. Lena resides in Ventura County, and loves spending time with her son Antonio and partner Eddie.
Maria Munguía Wellman, PhD
A Mexican American from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, Dr. Munguía is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She practiced individual, family and group therapy at University of New Mexico Children’s Psychiatric Center before transitioning to teaching in the Bilingual Bicultural Program at New Mexico Highlands University. Dr. Munguía earned her PhD at the University of New Mexico in the Department of American Studies. She remains committed to the ongoing interdisciplinary study, practice, and teaching of identity, community, and culture. Dr. Munguía recently relocated to Santa Paula, California to be close to her daughter and grandchildren.
Holly Benton is a Deputy Chief with the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, overseeing the department’s Juvenile Division. She has 29 years of experience in community corrections, including extensive involvement in interagency teams leading transitions to new service models. Since 2016, she has represented Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) on the state/county team tasked with administrative implementation of California’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). DCPO Benton holds a Masters of Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino, where she also served as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Criminal Justice from 2016-18.
Karyn Milligan is the Research & Special Projects Manager for the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, where she focuses on performance measurement and program evaluation. Prior to joining the County, she was a Research Associate for Harder+Company, and a Senior Analyst for the County of San Diego. Karyn holds a Masters of Public Administration from San Diego State University. She has developed particular expertise in applied research and implementation of evidence-based practices, and has participated in multiple panels on these and related topics, as well as providing training on them for criminal justice professionals statewide.
Ari Goldstein, PhD
Ari Goldstein is the lead facilitator and researcher for the Kind Mind Program. A former high school special education teacher, he earned his PhD in psychology at UCSB, where he delivered mental health services in schools for students with behavioral and emotional challenges. For his dissertation, he created and ran a school-based mindfulness program. Ari completed his doctoral internship at The Help Group in Los Angeles, and holds a license in school psychology. Ari is originally from the Chicago area, tremendously enjoys the mountains California has to offer, and aspires to never have them stop taking his breath away.
Jody Colt is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) professional practitioner and peer mentor. As a Resource Parent in Santa Barbara County for the last eight years, she and her husband Kris have fostered, adopted and provided kinship care for infants through teens, and seen the positive impact of TBRI on safety, stability, and healing. Jody participates in numerous local collaboratives (including KIDS Network, ACEs Steering Committee, CWS Stakeholders, and Children's System of Care) and has a professional background in community development and a degree in Recreation Administration from Cal Poly SLO. She and her husband and four children live in Solvang and enjoy the outdoors.
Edwin Weaver’s career has been dedicated to helping troubled families find their way. Currently the Executive Director of Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, he has also served as a social worker, school counselor, family pastor, mentor, and youth worker. Edwin is a Trust Based Relationship Intervention practitioner and a senior trainer in the Community Resilience Model. He serves on numerous State and County commissions, boards, and task forces. Edwin has a Masters of Social Welfare from UCLA and a Masters of Theology from Fuller Seminary. He and his family have lived on the Central Coast since 2010.
Lara Kain is the Southern California community facilitator for ACEs Connection. She brings over two decades of experience, including developing programs for integrating trauma-informed practices into community schools in Los Angeles; working for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as the state homeless coordinator; teaching “at risk” youth; and speaking nationwide on implementing trauma-informed practices and building holisitic, trauma-responsive systems. Laura has a Masters of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College, and a deep understanding of the importance of schools as community drivers for change.
Ali Guajardo is an Associated Social Worker in the process of becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Clinical Supervisor for Casa Pacifica’s Wraparound Program. Guajardo works directly with diverse youth populations and their families with expertise in working with commercially and sexually exploited children (CSEC) and LGBTQ youth. He is EMDR trained and utilizes eclectic trauma informed interventions in addressing complex traumas. As a former foster youth, Guajardo utilizes both experiential knowledge and feminist theory to incorporate intersectional approaches to mental health into his work.
Isabella Restrepo is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Feminist Studies at UCSB. Her research explores the criminalization of California’s Latina girls in foster care. Restrepo founded the Douglas Latina Student Network, an organization for Latinas who are first-generation college students; and she facilitates retainment events for women of color on the UCSB campus. Restrepo earned her Master's in Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, where she analyzed Chicanx cultural iconography. She recharges by being outside and working with girls on probation or in foster care.
Alana Walczak is the CEO of CALM, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent childhood trauma, heal children and families, and build resilient communities throughout Santa Barbara County. Ms. Walczak has worked in the social sector throughout her 25-year career, including serving as Vice-President for Path Point, and working with the Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Violence Solutions. She holds a Masters in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University, and has served on the Boards of numerous local nonprofits. She is the proud momma of twin 9-year old daughters, Sydney and Alix.
Korey Capozza is a program manager with Cottage Health, and co-chair of the Santa Barbara Pediatric Resiliency Collaborative. She also leads the Behavioral Health Collaborative, an effort to improve access to behavioral health care in Santa Barbara County through a collective impact, cross-stakeholder approach. Her professional background is in community engagement, health policy, and patient-centered research. She holds a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley.
Maria Chesley, PhD
Maria Chesley, PhD is the Executive Director of the Carpinteria Children’s Project, where she pursues collaborative efforts that promote the health and wellbeing of children, families, and communities. She is currently coordinating a pilot project and research study around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) screening and intervention. Maria is a member of the Santa Barbara KIDS Network and the Pediatric Resiliency Collaborative, and co-chairs the local Network of Family Resource Centers. Her PhD from the University of Michigan focused on education policy and administration. She loves walking our beautiful beaches and mountains, and has two teenage sons.
Dr. Andria Barnes Ruth, MD
Andria Ruth graduated from Yale College and Harvard Medical School and completed a pediatric residency and fellowship in Pediatric Advocacy and General Pediatrics. She relocated to Santa Barbara in 2004, and is a pediatrician at the Goleta Neighborhood Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center. She is the medical director for the Santa Barbara Resiliency Project, which focuses on screening and intervention for children exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and the promotion of resilience for these children and their families.
Debbie Reno-Smith, MFT
Debbie Reno-Smith has been working in the field of addiction and mental health for 20 years. She has provided direct services to families, supervised and developed professionals, established programs utilizing evidence-based practices, managed facilities, and instructed courses in the community and higher-education settings. She is trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Self-Compassion. Debbie is licensed in two states and holds national certifications in AOD and Mental Health, and has been endorsed as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist Reflective Practice Facilitator III/Mentor in California.
Terri Allison is an Early Care & Education Consultant, serving agencies including Transition House, the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and Community Action Commission. She co-founded Storyteller Children’s Center, an ECE program for children under five and their families, serving as Executive Director until 2015. She holds a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential; a Post Graduate Certificate in Infant-Parent Mental Health from the University of Massachusetts, Boston; and a Post Graduate Certificate from the Nap Fellowship Program’s Reflective Supervision, Consultation and Facilitation Academy. Terri is the co-author of Moon Mother, Moon Daughter: Myths and Rituals that Celebrate a Girl’s Coming of Age.
Abe Powell is interested in community resilience: what pulls people and communities together in the face of crisis and trauma. Days after the largest natural disaster in local history, Abe and his wife Jessica Powell, PhD, started the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to coordinate a community response; since then, over 3000 volunteers have shown up to help dig their neighbors out and to help the community heal after the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow. Abe grew up in Santa Barbara, graduated from Vassar College in 1993, became a volunteer firefighter, and has headed numerous private and nonprofit organizations.
Lindsey Day became interested in resiliency when she became a Parent Partner in 2017 with Good Samaritan Shelter. In this role, she works individually with clients currently involved with Child Welfare Services by providing education, support and resources to assist families during the reunification process. She recently has become a Strengthening Family Educator though the Child Abuse Prevention Council, and holds Parent Cafes to educate people about the Five Protective Factors. Lindsey understands that all parents have resilience and strengths, and looks forward to helping parents unlock their full potential.
Maribel Landeros is a Bilingual Health Advocate with Health Linkages, and the Lead Promotora for the Mid/North County Network of Promotores. At the Santa Barbara School District and then Centro Infantil, she had the opportunity to teach and work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children and teens, and their parents. She helped develop the Teen Promotores while working for Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and worked as a Case Manager serving homeless families for Transition House. “Through my own life experiences,” Maribel says, “I have come to understand that I am who I serve. In all its pain and glory...resilience.”
Barb Finch first became interested in resilience when she was a Project Specialist for Strategies, providing training around the state on the Five Protective Factors and the Strengthening Families framework. In her current role with the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services, she is responsible for leading the Child Abuse Prevention Council and the KIDS Network. Resilient Santa Barbara County has emerged from the work of those two organizations, through collaborative partnerships with other county departments, community-based organizations, and a variety of interested stakeholders. Barb is a community connector with a passion for possibilities.