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

  • LaRhesa Moon

    Interim CEO

    LaRhesa Moon founded Articulate Strategic Communication (ASC) in 2009. ASC is a consulting firm specializing in devising solutions that enable significant revenue growth and solve strategic issues impeding corporate progress. Her expertise includes executive management and leadership, crisis and critical communications, brand management, board facilitation, stakeholder mediation, and strategic planning.

    LaRhesa works with CEOs and management teams across diverse industries advising on growth initiatives and implementing communication strategies. She has extensive experience in developing annual and quarterly reporting for public and private companies, has led teams in significant acquisitions and IPO initiatives, and has served in interim executive positions. Among many highlights of her consulting engagements, LaRhesa worked extensively with a $1.2 Billion organization from 2009 through early 2018 supporting many major communication and acquisition initiatives, led a skunk works product development initiative in the emerging social media space, and served as the Advisory Board facilitator for a significant media company. Additionally, she has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than a decade developing and implementing communication strategies for community relations and mediation, branding initiatives, quarterly reporting for a public company, ESG reporting, and the successful launch of an IPO.

    Prior to founding ASC, LaRhesa was a senior executive of Harland Clarke Holdings (now Vericast), reporting directly to the CEO, responsible for internal and external communications, investor relations, learning and development, and marketing functions. She also oversaw multiple product line introductions and led several award winning cross-functional teams during her tenure with the predecessor company Clarke American.

    Committed to giving back to the community, LaRhesa has held several philanthropic leadership positions. She has been involved with the San Antonio Children’s Shelter in various roles since 2005, including three years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and currently serving as Chairman of The Children’s Shelter Foundation Board. She was the United Way Campaign Chairman for Harland Clarke multiple times and a three-year board member of Any Baby Can. She is currently a member of the Texas A&M Aggie Women Network, and served on the Board, including a term as President in 2013. LaRhesa joined the Texas Business Hall of Fame as a Director in December 2019 and joined the TBHOF Executive Committee in 2022.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chelsea Steele

    Vice President of Development

    Chelsea Steele is the newest member to join The Children’s Shelter as the Vice President of Development. With a diverse background and unwavering dedication, Chelsea brings a wealth of experience to her work, making her the perfect fit for this position. Born in San Antonio, TX, but raised throughout the U.S.A., Chelsea developed a strong work ethic and a remarkable passion for making a difference in her community from a young age. Her tenacious spirit combined with her insatiable thirst for knowledge propelled her to excel academically; ultimately leading her to pursue her M.B.A.

    After graduation, Chelsea eagerly dove into the business world taking on various roles such as Travel and Expense Leader, Director of Financial Operations, and Area Vice President. She quickly established herself as an invaluable asset wherever she went. Her genuine empathy and innate understanding of the needs of others allowed her to connect deeply with both clients and the customers in all capacities. Her ability to create innovative strategies and build long-lasting relationships has earned her a stellar reputation among colleagues and industry professionals alike.

    Chelsea’s dedication to making a difference extends beyond her professional life. Inspired by her experiences, she has actively volunteered in various capacities, giving her a holistic perspective on the challenges faced by organizations, and empowering her to develop innovative solutions. Her philanthropic endeavors have not only shaped her leadership style but have also enhanced her ability to connect with stakeholders on a personal level.

    Besides her humanitarian efforts, Chelsea cherishes her role as a wife and mother above all. Chelsea and her husband, Robert, have created a nurturing haven for their three beautiful daughters (and soon to be to be son). Their household resonates with laughter, love, and the spirit of adventure that comes with raising a young family. She is most proud of her family, stating they have been her “greatest masterpiece.”

    As the newly appointed Vice President of Development, Chelsea is determined to revolutionize the world of fundraising and donor engagement. Armed with a forward-thinking mindset, she plans to implement comprehensive strategies that will effectively generate resources for the organization, fostering sustainable growth and widespread impact. Chelsea’s vision is to create a culture of philanthropy that inspires and empowers donors to become long-term advocates for the organization’s mission.

    Chelsea Steele, with her unwavering determination, compassionate heart, and visionary leadership, is poised to be an invaluable asset in her new role as Vice President of Development. Her commitment to making a positive impact, coupled with her extensive experience and innovative approach, ensures that the organization will thrive under her guidance. The future is undoubtedly brighter with Chelsea at the helm, and the possibilities for growth and success are boundless.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Nazak Dadashazar, Ph.D., MBA, LPC-S, NCC

    Senior Director of Clinical Administration The Harvey E. Najim Hope Center

    Nazak is a United States Army veteran, who served overseas in the Netherlands and was honorably discharged from Ft. Hood in Killeen, TX in 1993. Her professional tenure began as Workforce Development Specialist at the Central Texas Workforce Development Board in 1999, where she served to assist families with young children, who were receiving TANF to obtain gainful employment. She then became the first Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator for the Housing Division in Belton, TX. While at the Housing Division, Nazak assisted many Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (HUD Voucher) eligible families to seek and gain educational, vocational and degreed work experience, which helped eventually lead them into self-sufficiency and homeownership, helping break the cycle of dependence. 

    Her federal tenure continued in 2003 as she joined the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Program at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Audie L Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, later becoming the Director in 2005. Seeking further leadership responsibilities, the Workforce Investment Act provided Nazak with the opportunity to become a Workforce Analyst for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration in Washington, DC. While there, she was directly responsible for working on the National Veterans Workforce Protocol. During the same time, in 2008 Nazak began her tenure as a Military & Family Life Consultant (MFLC), specializing in counseling the Families and Youth, who were affiliated with the U.S. Armed Forces via the Office of the Secretary of Defense and affected by long-term separation issues due to their deployments overseas.     

    Upon returning to Texas, Nazak joined the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2010 as a Correctional Treatment and Forensic Specialist. In 2017, she retired as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, and became Clinical Manager for the Behavioral Health Service Coordination team at Superior HealthPlan of Texas, Centene Corporation.  

    Nazak’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Sociology (1998), a Master of Arts in Counseling (2002) and School Psychology (2003), a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision (2017) and a Master’s in Business Administration (2023). Nazak has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 2003 and has been a Board-certified Supervisor, LPC-S since 2015. Additionally, she teaches Psychology courses as an Adjunct Faculty with Purdue University Global.  

    Nazak strives to deliver unwavering support through program initiatives developed to provide adults, children and families with the necessary resources available to help them become self-sufficient and maintain their overall physical and mental health wellness. She believes that by working collaboratively in an organized system developed with evidence-based practices, setting individualized goals and continuously building trust and rapport allows for the most successful outcomes.  

  • Norma L. Gonzales

    Nurse Supervisor Nurse-Family Partnership

    Norma is a native Texan who graduated from Incarnate Word College where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and has made nursing her career over the past 43 years. She began her career caring for babies and moms in a hospital setting and received specialized training which prepared her to serve premature infants in NICU and their families undergoing stressful times.

    She accepted the opportunity to work in an acute Pediatrics setting, which later led her to work with families and children in long-term hospital Pediatric Rehabilitation. She was introduced to her love of working in a team setting with families and other professionals sharing knowledge and knowledge perspectives to develop individualized goals. She was enlightened to the importance and crucial value of home, community, and resources that promote and support wellness.

    She worked in an ECI program in San Antonio for seven years, providing support and education to families and infants from birth to 3 years of age with developmental delays. She worked for 7 years with Optum Nurseline United Healthcare in a nationwide telephonic triage service and specialty programs Maternity Management program addressing high-risk pregnant women, Be in Charge Program supporting treatment compliance and identifying/reporting adverse events.

    She was drawn to a unique opportunity working with Methodist Healthcare Ministries as  Wesley Nurse for the under-served communities in San Antonio and Team Leader for the San Antonio West Team and was awarded the Wesley Nurse of the Year for South Texas for effectively collaborating with the health committee, pastors, volunteers, and community in developing and implementing a variety of programs and services that addressed the needs of churches and communities as a Field Coordinator/Manager for several years.

    She has been currently working with the Children’s Shelter for the past 10 years as a Nurse Home Visitor serving new moms and babies in the community.

  • 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

    Assistant Clinical 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!

Executive Commitee

  • Jessica Gonzalez

    Chair, EY

  • Matt Proffitt

    Board Governance Chair, Security Service Title Company

  • Morriss Hurt

    Treasurer and Finance Chair, EnCap Flatrock Midstream

  • Jane Fairchild

    Secretary and TCS Direct Services Committee Chair

  • Kristine Gomez

    Fund Development Chair, Spectrum Reach

  • Cristina Corbo Jennings

    Risk Mitigation Committee Chair Valero

Board Members

  • Kelli Cubeta

    Voting Board Trustee, Cubeta Law Group

  • Jeffrey Landers

    Voting Board Trustee, Encore Bank

  • Susan Nufer

    Voting Board Trustee, HOLT CAT

  • Maggie Ortiz

    Voting Board Trustee, The Bank of San Antonio

  • Ana Soileau

    Voting Board Trustee, Law Office of Ana Soileau

  • Larry Mendez

    Voting Board Trustee, CBRE

  • Tony Trevino

    Voting Board Trustee, Retired Lewis Oil