Our Team

Casey Gwinn, Esq.
Casey Gwinn Bio

Casey Gwinn is the President and Co-Founder of the Alliance. He is the visionary behind the Family Justice Center Movement, first proposing the concept of the Family Justice Center model in 1989. Casey founded Camp HOPE America in 2003. He is a national expert on domestic violence dynamics, including investigation and prosecution, the handling of non-fatal strangulation cases, and is one of the leading thinkers in the country on the science of hope. Prior to this position, Casey was the elected San Diego City Attorney.

Gael Strack, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer
Gael Strack Bio

Gael Strack is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Alliance. Gael is a national expert on domestic violence and strangulation. Prior to this position, Gael was the founding director of the San Diego Family Justice Center, former prosecutor with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, defense attorney, and deputy county counsel.



Chan Hellman, PhD
Lead Researcher

Chan M. Hellman is a professor of social work at the University of Oklahoma and Director of The Hope Research Center. He has written more than 150 scientific publications and has presented at numerous national and international conferences worldwide. Chan has also presented his work on hope with TEDx in the Fall of 2020. Chan’s research is focused on hope as a psychological strength helping children and adults overcome trauma and adversity. This research informed the development of the “Hope Centered and Trauma Informed” training program. Chan is the co-author of the award-winning book “Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Life” with his co-author Casey Gwinn published by Morgan James.


Yesenia Aceves
Director of Culture and Creative Services

Yesenia Aceves is the Alliance’s Director of Culture, and is responsible for measurably increasing employee Hope, engagement, and well-being while managing employee development and retention. Also serving as the Alliance’s Director of Creative Services, Yesenia oversees the branding and design for all of the Alliance’s programs. Yesenia is also the Founding Director of the Pathways to HOPE Project, the year-round mentoring component of Camp HOPE America.



Jackie Anderson
Director of Finance

Jackie Anderson is the Director of Finance for the Alliance. She is responsible for all accounting functions, including grant management. Jackie prepares and maintains financial data and reporting for internal analysis and external audits. She also helps out with other day-to-day operational functions of the Alliance.  Jackie is currently pursuing her CPA credentials.



William Ackerman
Multi-Media and Tech Coordinator

William Ackerman is the Multi-Media and Tech Coordinator for the Alliance. He currently assists the Alliance with delivering virtual courses and engagement for the professionals and survivors it serves, helping to launch its new HOPE Hub Online Learning Academy in addition to aiding in the maintenance of its websites. Previously, William worked for two years serving San Diego’s refugee community in East County, where he networked and formed partnerships with donors and community partners on behalf of YALLA San Diego. Before coming to San Diego in 2015, William acquired his master’s degree in International Administration from the University of Denver, and studied International Affairs and Political Science as part of his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Chelsea Armstrong
Regional Manager – Camp HOPE America 

Chelsea Armstrong is a Regional Manager for Camp HOPE America. With Camp HOPE America, Chelsea provides logistical support to help Alliance partners implement Camp HOPE America across the nation. Chelsea worked directly with survivors as an AmeriCorps member with the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault by facilitating empowerment classes to women in the Wyoming Women’s Prison. A native of Denver, Chelsea is an avid camper and is a graduate of the University of Wyoming where she majored in Criminal Justice.


Yvette Beltrán
Regional Manager – Camp HOPE America 

Yvette Beltran is a Regional Manager for Camp HOPE America. She implements the mission and goals of Camp HOPE America by collaborating with Alliance partners throughout the nation. Yvette is passionate about working with diverse communities fostering empowerment and individual growth. Before arriving at the Alliance, she worked with the Institute of the Americas organizing STEM Programs. She has experience running Science and Innovation Summer Camps and Professional Workshops for Latin American students and educators seeking professional development and access to scientific research opportunities in San Diego and internationally. She studied Spanish and Latin American studies at the University of San Diego and is originally from La Quinta, California.


Priya Bhat-Patel
Policy Analyst and Program Manager – California Family Justice Center Network

As a health professional, Priya has worked with leading healthcare agencies, biotech companies, universities, the County of San Diego, the State of California, and the United Nations. Priya has her bachelor’s degree in physiology and neuroscience from University of California, San Diego, her master’s degree in public health from University of Southern California, and her doctoral degree in public health from Loma Linda University. Priya is dedicated to being an advocate for human rights and is glad to be part of a passionate team.


Fernanda España
Program Assistant – Culture and Creative Services

Fernanda provides programatic support for the Alliance’s Culture and Creative Services. Fernanda graduated from Universidad Anáhuac México Norte with a major in Social Responsibility and Sustainability, and a minor in Non-Profit Management. She is also certified in Human Rights and Development from SciencesPo Paris. She has volunteered and worked in the non-profit community in both Mexico and the United States. Fernanda is passionate about social change and has become an invaluable member of the Alliance team by helping create a Hope-Centered workplace.


Alek Gastelum

Alek Gastelum is an Intern for the Alliance and provides administrative and programmatic support to Camp HOPE America and the Pathways to HOPE Project. Alek attended Camp HOPE America as a camper from 2014 to 2016 and has served as a Camp HOPE America Counselor since 2017. This experience makes him a key component on the Pathways to HOPE Project team as he assists with project planning and events. 



Karly Gersberg
Program Manager – Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention

Karly Gersberg is the Program Manager for the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a dual Bachelors’ in Sociology and Legal Studies and went on to get her Masters’ of Public Administration from San Diego State University. She previously worked as an advocate with Human Trafficking survivors and incorporates her experience in direct service work in her position at the Institute.


Kayla Halsey
Program Assistant – Family Justice Center Alliance

Kayla Halsey is a Program Assistant for the Family Justice Center Alliance. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Public Health from the University of Arizona and a Master’s of Science in International Health from the University of Leeds in the U.K. Prior to joining the Alliance, Kayla completed her dissertation research in Jordan where she looked at access to health services for Syrian and Palestine refugees. Kayla’s passion for providing services to trauma survivors stems from her aid work with refugees internationally in emergency settings in Thailand, France, and Greece and domestically with refugee aid NGOs in Arizona and California. She is excited to join the evidence-based intervention and prevention efforts at the Alliance.


John Hamilton
Director of Camp HOPE America

John Hamilton is the Director of Camp HOPE America. He collaborates with the Camp HOPE America team, human services organizations, and camps or conference centers to bring a hope-filled experience to children around the country. John works with experts in several industries, learning from their perspectives, and working to bridge the gap between the camp industry and social work field to incorporate trauma-informed care in the camp setting. John holds a master’s degree from Western Seminary, where he focused on leadership and social justice. He specializes in forging unlikely partnerships, developing unified teams, and moving people from theory into practice.


Jessica Kimsey
Events Coordinator – Alliance for HOPE International

Jessica Kimsey is the Events Coordinator for the Alliance. She is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the Alliance’s  annual conference and provides administrative and organizational support for the Alliance’s training programs, workshops, and events.  Jessica received her Bachelor of Science degree from Champlain College in Hospitality Management and has had extensive experience in all aspects of the hospitality industry.  She is excited to bring her experience and management skills to a non-profit organization.


Emma Mattingly
Program Assistant – Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention

Emma Mattingly is a Program Assistant for the Institute on Strangulation Prevention. She graduated from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio with a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Affairs and a minor in Spanish. During her undergraduate career, Emma worked for the Dayton International Airport and the Downtown Dayton Partnership. Prior to the Alliance, she worked directly with survivors at Alas de Colibrí, an anti-human trafficking agency in Quito, Ecuador. Emma is passionate about the protection of human rights.


Cami Morrill
Regional Manager – Camp HOPE America 

Cami Morrill is a Regional Manager for Camp HOPE America. She supports new and existing Camp HOPE America sites as they implement the vision, mission, and goals of Camp HOPE America. Prior to joining the team at the Alliance, she worked directly with teens in a therapeutic setting with a program in Hawaii that incorporated the outdoors and a holistic approach. Cami is a graduate of San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Three Departments; Psychology, Sociology and Recreation and Tourism Management. Cami is grateful to be able to bring her love for outdoor


Raeanne Passantino
Interim Director of the Family Justice Center Alliance

Raeanne Passantino is the Interim Director of National Family Justice Programs for the Alliance.  She provides support and technical assistance to Family Justice Centers across the country, including those funded by Office of Violence Against Women (OVW).  Raeanne has been in the domestic violence field for over 24 years as a volunteer, counselor, grants manager, domestic violence program coordinator and in program development.  She has extensive experience with Family Justice Centers in the capacity of development and operations.


Alexa Peterson
Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Camp HOPE America

Alexa Peterson is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Camp HOPE America. After graduating from Arizona Christian University she spent a month in Uganda working with children who are orphaned and in need, as well as painting a large mural in a new preschool. She has experience working with nonprofits, homeless outreach programs, and children with disabilities. Alexa is passionate about assisting others on their path of growth and is thrilled to be a part of this team where children are offered hope and healing.


Sarah Pike
Program Manager – Technology Initiative

Sarah Pike is the Program Manager for the OVC Vision 21 Technology Initiative. She is responsible for updating the centralized intake system tool for the Family Justice Center network. Her role requires leading the collaborative efforts to design, implement, adopt, and provide training around the centralized intake tool. She comes to the Alliance with a Bachelor’s of Social Work and Master of Arts Degree in Economic and Social Development. She is honored to join the Alliance team.


Holly Regan
Program Assistant – Family Justice Center Alliance, Polyvictimization Initiative 

Holly Duffy Regan is a Program Assistant for the Family Justice Center with the Polyvictimization Initiative. She provides planning and support services to participating demonstration sites. Holly received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations with an emphasis on Russian & Eurasian Studies from Mount Holyoke College and her master’s in Social Work at Arizona State University. Holly is dedicated to the research and development of hope-centered services for survivors of traumatic experience.


Rylie Shore
Program Assistant – Family Justice Center

Rylie Shore is a Program Assistant for the Family Justice Center. Prior to working at the Alliance, Rylie directed an after-school program in Kansas City, taught conflict resolution in elementary schools, and worked for a nonprofit that does interfaith peacemaking. Rylie is passionate about using writing and storytelling to fight for social change and to further the impact of the Alliance.



Brynne Spain
Team Lead – Family Justice Center and Polyvictimization Initiative

Brynne Spain is the Team Lead for the Family Justice Center and Polyvictimization Initiative. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a minor in Human Rights.  Brynne worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as a crisis counselor and support group co-facilitator at crisis centers in Sacramento and San Francisco.



Amy Stobbe
Finance Assistant

Amy Stobbe is a Finance Assistant at Alliance for HOPE International. In addition to Finance, she enjoys providing office support to all areas of the organization. Amy is honored to be part of the team and continuously grows in her role.