Compassion. Strength. Hope.

Children are a precious gift, and a wonderful challenge. We want to give each child and every parent the security, empathy, and skills they need to discover the joy of being a family.

Family Strengthening

Healthy, happy kids grow from strong families. We provide training and support for parents/guardians learning to become their best selves, for their sake and for their children.

Hope Center

Harvey E. Najim Hope Center

The Harvey E. Najim Hope Center is our mental health clinic, providing free and low-cost counseling and social work services for children and families. Here, we ask not “what’s wrong with you?” but “what has happened to you?”

Family of Services

The Children’s Shelter Family of Services delivers high quality, compassionate trauma-informed care delivered to children and families impacted by or at-risk of abuse and neglect.

View Family of Services

Restoring Innocence and Strengthening Families

Our People

  • Asia Ciaravino

    President/CEO

    Asia is no stranger to nonprofit management and leadership, having devoted over 20 years to community-driven organizations across the country. Hailing from Michigan, Asia first landed in San Antonio to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre at the University of the Incarnate Word. It was in San Antonio that Asia found her two true loves: her husband Tony and the nonprofit sector, starting with Inner-City Games as Marketing Director.

    Eager to pursue the careers of professional actors, Asia and Tony moved across the country to Minneapolis where she worked at Dollars for Scholars and where both were involved in the city’s thriving professional theatre community. Asia returned to San Antonio to continue pursuing a life of service and community change. Asia found a home at the city’s beloved Magik Children’s Theatre as an actor and the Marketing and Development Director.

    From there, Asia moved to the CE Group where she honed her management and production skills. As the Production Director, Asia produced live TV & award shows. Following her experience at CE, Asia was named the Director of Alumni and Advancement Relations at Our Lady of the Lake University where she managed all alumni programs, events, and donor relations. It was also during this time that Asia and Tony co-founded The Classic Theater of San Antonio out of a passion to expose the city to classic theatre at a professional level. To this day, The Classic remains a successful and pivotal part of San Antonio’s ever-growing theatre scene.

    It wasn’t long before another pillar of the San Antonio theatre community took notice and sought out Asia to take over the reins. Known then as the San Pedro Playhouse, The Playhouse San Antonio would see a successful re-brand, booming growth (over 200%) in education program attendance, an operational budget that doubled, and production quality that blossomed under the leadership of Asia as President & CEO.

    Following her time at The Playhouse, Asia served as the Tricentennial Commission COO. During her time at the Tricentennial, she helped build the 18 million dollar budget, create a master plan for the celebration, and worked with Arts & Culture to provide a robust public art program.

    Asia served as the CEO of SA Youth, a nonprofit organization that strives to break the cycle of poverty through innovative educational programming for 5-to-24-year-olds and is honored to continue serving San Antonio children and their families at The Children’s Shelter.

  • Adrienne Martinez

    Chief Financial Officer

    Adrienne Martinez joins The Children Shelter as our new Chief Financial Officer. She previously served as the CFO for another San Antonio non-profit and has a diverse career serving in various roles in the corporate, public, and private family accounting sectors. She brings 27 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant to The Children’s Shelter.

    Adrienne will celebrate 30 years of marriage this December and has two children, a recent graduate of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a sophomore at Texas A&M-College Station. She loves family time, playing with the dogs and watching movies with her husband, who works for a non-profit school.

    Adrienne is very excited to be a part of The Children’s Shelter and its mission. Her brother and brother-in-law both have multiple adopted children and she has seen firsthand how fostering and adoption can change lives.

    “To be able to see a child, who might not have been given the chance to know a family, thrive and be loved — it’s an emotion that can’t be described.”

    Adrienne is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University-College Station with a BBA in Accounting. She was born in Indiana, but got to Texas as quickly as she could.

  • Christine Ehle

    HR Consultant

    Christine Teague-Ehle was born and raised in the Suburbs of Chicago. At 19 years old, Christine enlisted in the Army as a Mental Health Specialist and served her country honorably for six years in the Illinois Army National Guard. While serving in the Guard, Christine initially worked in the medical field while working on her business degree.

    Upon exiting the military and graduating college, Christine moved into the corporate world. She initially joined a for-profit company that generated $150 million annually with over 400 employees. Christine spent most of her time serving the company in a leadership role as the Chief of Staff and, before leaving, was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer. During her time, she oversaw the administrative departments while leading the company’s cross-country move from Chicago to San Antonio. In addition, she managed special projects for the CEO to promote growth and revenue. Her most significant project was assisting the CEO in securing $6 million of mezzanine funding.

    In 2019, Christine entered the nonprofit sector. She became the Chief Administrative Officer at SA Youth, leading the HR department, facilities, and office staff. Working in the nonprofit HR world is where Christine’s heart truly is. She strives to be responsive and intentional with every staff member. Our organization’s mission and vision fuel her passion for our children and community.

  • Melissa Zarb-Cousin

    Chief of Staff

    Melissa has dedicated her career to serving the youth of San Antonio by providing increased access to education and resources. She has over 10 years of nonprofit management and strategy experience, with expertise spanning administration and change management, achieving optimal results with competent planning, organization, and solutions-oriented approaches while driving organizational growth and strategic alliances.

    After receiving her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the College of Santa Fe, Melissa began her career in nonprofits at The Magik Children’s Theatre. There, she wore many hats, from performer to events manager. She explored development, grants management, and arts administration, all while pursuing her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Our Lady of the Lake University.

    Eager to pursue a career working with children, Melissa worked as a classroom teacher and department head for NEISD, teaching theatre and hosting UIL One-Act Play competitions on the district and bi-district levels.

    After a few fruitful years in the classroom, Melissa decided it was time to broaden her scope of impact by returning to nonprofits and applying her education and experience to the most underserved children in the San Antonio community. At SA Youth, she served as Chief of Staff and Project Director for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant which served over 1200 children daily in two school districts, overseeing a staff of 60+ and utilizing a budget of $1.1 million annually. She also founded and developed The Alliance, a community advisory board composed of young professionals, focused on program support, advocacy, networking, and board training. After three years, transitioned to the Senior Director of Development position. Even during a pandemic, she and her team raised $1 million in 6 months through government and foundation grants, annual events, and individual giving campaigns, generating 27% new donors as compared to the prior year, with a 15% increase in the number of active donors.

    Melissa was afforded the opportunity to explore and garner additional marketing and advertising skills outside of the nonprofit sector in her work with Parallel, A Branding Agency. Serving as Operations and Client Manager, she was able to broaden her network and skillset during this unique opportunity, managing a portfolio of $1 million in revenue and implementing policies, procedures, and new technology to propel the efficacy of the organization.

    A dedicated public servant, Melissa has participated on many boards and nonprofit committees, most recently the Advisory Board for the Emerging Leader’s Program of the United Way of San Antonio, the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Public Theatre, and the Recruitment Committee for the SA2020 2022 Board Game. She also serves on the arts committee and the U40 committee at the San Antonio Rotary Club.

    A lifelong learner, Melissa graduated from the Vistage Emerging Leaders program and most recently, the Alexander Briseño Leadership Development Program. She is a member of Leadership San Antonio’s Class 46 (best class ever!).

  • Crystal Cantu

    Vice President of Programs

    Crystal has dedicated over 19 years to improving the lives of children and families and cannot imagine a better way to live her life. She began her career at Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit childcare organizations, offering evidence-based community services and foster care for children and families in Texas and Florida.

    She has been in a leadership position for seventeen years, leading fourteen programs and ensuring the delivery of high-quality services through program model implementation, policy development, and performance management systems.

    Her experience includes program operations, program design and start-up, transition management, performance management, employee development, risk management, compliance, and strategic planning. Not only is she a leader, but also has direct experience and expertise in programming. She has worked as a counselor, parent educator, family support specialist, and adolescent shelter specialist.

    She believes it is essential for an organization to seek out opportunities and strive for excellence by continuously learning, improving, and growing together.

    Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Mental Health. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Child Care Placing Administrator, Licensed Child Care Administrator, and Certified Praesidium Guardian.

  • Elizabeth Lopez

    Vice President of Foster Care

    Elizabeth “Liz” Lopez has worked in child welfare over 16 years starting her career with the Department of Family and Protective Services where she served eight years in Conservatorship, Kinship, Foster Adopt, and in Supervision. She has worked in the non-profit sector over eight years in advocating for children and families. She has professional experience and a demonstrated history in non-profit and government organizations including social services, leadership and program development, service provision, compliance, and policy. She is a subject matter expert in foster care, adoptions, kinship care, and Adult and Child behavioral health forensic compliance.

    Liz has served in a leadership role for over 12 years, leading eight foster care/adoption programs and one Intermediate Care facility for individuals with an Intellectual Disability. She is highly skilled in analytical and strategic processes, and risk mitigation.

    Liz believes in the commitment to life-long learning, self-awareness, ethics, and integrity. As an effective leader, Liz believes it’s essential to build strong collaborating partnership in the community and within the organization.

    Liz holds a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She holds a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Our Lady of the Lake University, and currently pursuing a PH.D. in Leadership studies from Our Lady of the Lake University. She is a Licensed Child-Placing Agency Administrator and the foster care administrator for The Children’s Shelter.

  • Karen Sanchez

    Director of Human Resources

    Karen Sanchez is a native of San Antonio and received her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource​ Management from UTSA. She joined the Children’s Shelter in March 2013 as the Volunteer Manager. Karen began her career working with volunteers at the Children’s Museum in 1996, where she supervised volunteers, whose job it was to enhance the experience of the guest of the Museum.

    In 2000 Karen moved to the Institute of Texan Cultures, where she established volunteer opportunities for volunteers of all ages from pre-teenager to adults. She received her certification as an Interpretive Trainer and used this skill set to provided training and supervision for all the museum’s interpretive programs.

    Under Karen’s guidance the volunteer program at the Children’s Shelter adheres to guidelines, training and regulations that are required of the employees of The Children’s Shelter. She has vast experience managing and providing insight to volunteers and countless civic and corporate groups that want to dedicate their time and resources to help The Children Shelter.

  • Lupe Ramirez

    Director of Compliance and Contracts

    Lupe serves as the Director of Compliance and Contracts. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology from the University of Texas-San Antonio. Lupe has extensive work history in child welfare that includes years of experience in nonprofit upper-level administration, management, research, training, and leadership.

    Lupe serves on Citizen Review Team and Child Death Review Committee for DFPS. She’s a Certified MANDT Instructor, TBRI Practitioner, certified CPR/First Aid/AED Instructor, Certified Trainer in Chance Program – a curriculum for the treatment of Youth involved in Commercial Sexual Exploitation, PRIDE Facilitator, Certified Trainer from Healthy Teen Network to Facilitate trainings on Evidence Base Interventions for youth “Making A Difference” and “Seventeen Days”.

    She loves working for TCS because of their wrap around services offered such as: therapeutic services offered, prevention services, training for men and woman, and foster care services offered to our community.

  • Rosemary A. Coates, MA, LPC-S

    Senior Clinical Director The Harvey E. Najim Hope Center

    Rosemary Coates holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Master of Arts in Education, specializing in Counseling and Guidance.

    Rosemary provided Occupational Therapy as an Occupational Therapist for over 38 years in the areas of physical rehabilitation and mental health care. She served many of those years as Director of Rehab Services or Director of Therapeutic activities until 2008. She was fortunate to be dual Licensed as an Occupational Therapist and Professional Counselor. She retired her license as an Occupational Therapist (OTR) in 2008. In 1993 she became a Licensed Professional Counselor and in 2018 a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S).

    Rosemary worked in the healthcare system for years and then ventured into non-profit work for Boys Town and The Children’s Shelter. She was invited to take the Clinical Director position towards the completion of new trauma specialized clinic, The Harvey E. Najim Hope Center. The Hope Center provides therapy services for children, teens and adults who have experienced one or more traumatic experiences. Family members are provided education regarding secondary trauma, which may result from these traumatic experiences of their loved ones.

    Rosemary is the Senior Clinical Director for the Hope Center, which grew from one clinic in 2015 to two clinics in 2018. Care for families is extremely important and she oversees the therapy services and utilizes Family Support Services provided by Social Workers. The social work staff provide the all-important wrap around approach, which has been highly successful in serving the San Antonio area and surrounding counties. Trauma Informed Care has been a major part of the Children’s Shelter’s function within the community.

  • Roxanne Roman

    Nurse Supervisor for Nurse-Family Partnership

    Roxanne Roman has been one of the Nurse Supervisors with The Children’s Shelter Nurse-Family Partnership since 2021. She began her career with Nurse-Family Partnership as a Nurse Home Visitor in 2014. This is where she deepened her love for helping first-time parents along their journey into parenthood to form healthy attachments to their children, strengthen families, and help parents reach their life goals.

    “Being a part of Nurse-Family Partnership has significantly played a role in the parent I am today. I’m a better mother because of it and continue to work towards my life goals to provide a better future for my three boys and to continue to be a role model for when they become parents.”

    Roxanne was promoted to Nurse-Supervisor in 2020. She graduated from University of Texas Health Science Center- San Antonio with a Baccalaureate in Nursing in 2008. Roxanne enjoys spending time with her three boys, nature walks, and road trips.

  • Sarah Talley

    Nurse Supervisor for Nurse-Family Partnership

    Sarah Talley is a San Antonio native and started her nursing career working in the NICU with premature infants. Her desire to move towards preventative care led her to Community Health Nursing as a Nurse Home Visitor with Nurse-Family Partnership. In this role she provided Trauma-Informed Care and meet new parents where they were at to educate and empower them to be the best parents possible.

    Sarah was promoted to a Nurse Supervisor role in 2019 in which she supports and leads the NFP team at The Children’s Shelter along side Roxanne Roman. Within this role she desires to support nurses who work directly with families by utilizing evidence-based practices, promoting efficiency, and holding strong to trauma-informed care principles. Sarah desires to reach as many moms and families in the community as possible and connect with other organizations to support parents.

    Sarah is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 2013 from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She is currently enrolled at UT Arlington working towards completion of her MSN degree.

    Sarah holds most dear to her the love of her family and children. She is the mother to 3 boys and enjoys her weekends spent outside and enjoying time with family and friends.

  • Patrick Ortiz

    Program Director of Compadre y Compadre/iParent

    Patrick Ortiz has been in Health and human services for more than eight years. His experience includes working with children, foster parents, youth and families. He has been in leadership development for more than 10 years and holds a Masters degree in Community Counseling.

    Patrick assumed the position of Program Director with the Compadre y Compadre Fatherhood services in the Children’s Shelter in 2016 with the challenge of building a program that empowers, educates and inspires men to raise their children the best way they can and is committed to build men up to become better fathers and leaders in their community. In 2020 Patrick assumed the task to lead the iParent parenting which helps families in the Drug court system and families in the DFPS system understand and cultivate parenting skills to excel in their family growth.

    Patrick is married to Veronica and is the proud father of six children, Hannah, Hailey, Holly, Christian, Craig and Judah who mean the world to him.

  • Nahvia Henry

    Project Director The Harvey E. Najim Hope Center

    Nahvia Henry holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She also holds a Master of Arts in Counseling in 2011. In 2014, Nahvia became a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2017 (LPC). Nahvia served in many agencies in the San Antonio community where she worked as a skills trainer for individuals with severe mental health disorders, a substance abuse mentor, case management, investigations and more within the foster care community, DFPS, and mental health organizations.

    After spending nearly, a decade working in social services, Nahvia joined the trauma specialized clinic at the shelter, The Harvey E. Najim Hope Center, in 2018 as a clinical therapist. Nahvia specializes in younger children ages 2-8 and is a certified Parent Child Interaction Therapist (PCIT). This allows for her to work with children and their parents in developing positive interaction and implementing appropriate disciplines within the home, while teaching parents the appropriate skills. Nahvia has also trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy soon to be certified, Trust Based Relational Intervention, and some Play Therapy techniques. In 2020, Nahvia was promoted to the Assistant Clinical Director and in subsequent year, 2021, Project Director for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) federal grant; Hope, Healing, and Resiliency. This grant covers 5 contiguous counties: Bexar, Atascosa, Medina, Guadalupe, and Comal.

    Nahvia’s daily mantras includes, “It is how well you connect with one’s heart that helps communication and understanding in others”. She enjoys the beach, spending time with her daughter, and valuing the successes she observes within her clients and those she serves!

  • Bashar Ahmed Aldulymi

    Vice President of Development and Government Relations

    As a native of Iraq, Mr. Bashar Ahmed was raised with hardworking ethics, respect, and understanding the true meaning of what it takes to change the world one step at a time. At the age of 24, Mr. Ahmed set his eyes on the United States and started a new life with the continued goal of bringing value and experience to individuals and organizations who needed his guidance and expertise.

    Mr. Ahmed wasted no time in getting involved with making a difference. From holding a State Representative position to working side-by-side with community partners to improve and enrich the lives of those in need, Mr. Ahmed had a clear objective which was to leave organizations and individuals in a much better place from where he initially encountered them. His military background in leadership roles within the government empowered him to design, develop, and implement strategic plans with great outcomes. He has spent most of his career as a public servant

    Mr. Ahmed holds an undergraduate degree (Political Science / Foreign Affairs), two graduate degrees (Business Administration / Finance) and is in the final phase of obtaining his doctoral degree (Organizational Leadership). He is well versed in various theories and practices as well as continuous improvement tools and methodology that support the structure, function, and vision of organizations of any size.

    As the Vice-President of Development and Partnerships with The Children’s Shelter, Mr. Ahmed will empower his team to fulfill the vision and support the mission as they enrich the lives of children within the City of San Antonio and the State of Texas as he incorporates experience gained through his service assisting the Bexar County Child Welfare Board.

  • Rick Gipprich, Jr.

    Director of Communications

    and operationalizing communications best practices that reflect the organization’s mission, core values and trauma informed care principles. Prior to joining the #LambFam at TCS, Rick was the Special Projects Administrator and Campus Sexual Assault Specialist for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), a statewide coalition of survivors, advocates, and rape crisis centers that are committed to fostering a culture that respects the fundamental rights and dignity of all. He also served as Deputy Director of Education & Development and Director of Prevention Education for The Rape Crisis Center in San Antonio.

    Rick started his career in the anti-sexual violence movement 22 years ago as a dedicated hospital advocate and hotline operator. Understanding the need and the importance of education, Rick eventually started working with neighborhoods, other nonprofits, professionals, and schools by engaging them in dialogue surrounding the prevalence of violence and abuse in communities and the ways we can prevent it. In addition to training on issues related to violence and abuse, Rick works daily to ensure that communities across Texas understand the impact of these issues, their effects on community members, and why people should support the agencies dedicated to serving and protecting survivors

Executive Commitee

  • Jessica Gonzalez

    Chair

  • Barry Rupert

    Vice Chair

  • Morriss Hurt

    Chairman of Finance/ Treasurer

  • Matt Proffitt

    Board Governance Chair

  • Sara Brouillard

    Fund Development Co-Chair

  • Jane Fairchild

    TCS Direct Services Committee Chair and Secretary

  • Janie Shannon

    Audit Committee Chair

  • Susan B. Crumrine

    Risk Mitigation Committee Chair

Board Members

  • Kristine Gomez

    Voting Board Trustee Spectrum Reach

  • Cristina Corbo Jennings

    Voting Board Trustee Valero

  • W. Jeffrey Landers

    Voting Board Trustee Encore Bank

  • Robert Weygandt

    Voting Board Trustee Republic National

  • Mark Williams

    Voting Board Trustee