Meet our Staff
CHRISTA WIENS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
As an educator and a mother, Christa Wiens has a heart for young people. She sees prevention as the key and is proud to have been working with Central Valley Justice Coalition for years as Education Coordinator before taking on the senior leadership role. Christa is the author of our Understanding Human Trafficking series of classes and has contributed to multiple publications. In 2022, Christa earned a master’s degree from Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary. As a member of North Fresno Church, she is passionate about spreading awareness to the faith community.
TIFFANY RICHARDS, YOUTH ADVOCATE
Tiffany is a passionate advocate for youth, seeking to empower them to find and use their own voice. Her experience creating teen workshops focusing on injustices in the Bay Area and an after school math program for disadvantaged youth led to an invitation to speak to the California Senate regarding California Youth Authority’s policies toward adolescents. Tiffany has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Anthropology from UC Berkeley and completed her Masters of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at CSU Fresno.
Her other interests include the creative arts; designing clothes, writing stories, dissecting movies, and going to museums and theaters.
LUIS GARIBAY, YOUTH ADVOCATE
As a recent graduate of Fresno State with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Luis is eager to serve the youth of the Fresno communities he has been born and raised in. He has had a wide range of experience working with youth starting at the age of 14 as a Youth Group Leader, to a Peer Mentor and After School Educator in the most recent years. Across these fields, Luis has empowered and supported the youth he has worked with and intends to continue to do so as a Youth Advocate. He plans on pursuing a master’s in counseling to become a School Counselor in the Central Valley.
His interests include music, travel, animals, and fitness. He is also bilingual in Spanish!
KIM CONTRERAS, TRAUMA HEALING SPECIALIST
Kim Contreras responded to the Lord’s invitation to urban Fresno while a student at John Brown University. She joined the World Impact team in 1993 and the Central Valley Justice Coalition Prevention volunteer team in 2017. During her years in Fresno, it has been a deep honor to learn about the city and be changed by that experience through the Lord and her neighbors and friends in the Lowell and Hidalgo community. As Trauma Healing Specialist, Kim focuses on equipping the church and community to understand trauma and experience their own healing journey, along with an invitation to participate in outreach to survivors of human trafficking. Two of the accessible tools she utilizes are the Clear-Thinking Solutions method and Trauma Healing Institute healing groups. She can be found with her husband Manuel and their two children, Ian (18) and Sophia (13) sharing an Anaconda burrito from Yareli’s, enjoying good coffee on the steps with their dog Shadow and playing with their cats, Fuego, Sombra, and Rosa.
CHRISTY SEEBER, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Christy has a background in Education with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Masters of Education degree from Anderson University. Christy taught in North Philadelphia, PA and in New York City. Since leaving the classroom to raise her three young children and looking back on her time as an educator in under-resourced communities, she sees the importance of educating on human trafficking and prevention, so trauma and vulnerabilities are not overlooked.
Christy lives in a beach town in New Jersey and enjoys beach days with her family and friends, reading a good book, and doing arts and crafts with her kiddos.
Meet our Board of Directors
Dr. Rev. Lauran Bethell, President
Global Consultant, International Ministries
Lauran serves as a Global Consultant serving grassroots organizations, encouraging the development of projects and networks which are dealing with the issues of prostitution, trafficking in persons and other forms of abuse and exploitation. Her ministry in the field began in 1987 in Thailand, where she served for 15 years. She has lived in 6 countries, and now continues to consult and network around the world, traveling from her base in Fresno, CA.
Nikki Cook, Treasurer
Former Financial Controller, Quest Relocation Group
Nikki Cook, a Southern California native, recently relocated to the Central Valley. For 24 years, she worked as the Bookkeeper and Financial Controller at a Los Angeles-based professional consulting firm. In her spare time, she volunteers at her children’s school and is active in her church.
Lois Hansen, Secretary
Medical Assitant, Peachwood Medical Group
As a long-time member of Fresno First Baptist Church, Lois has been a supporter of Lauran Bethell since 1985. She has been involved with CVJC since its beginnings, and now in retirement has more time to give. Serving the board is a response to God’s call to be more actively involved.
James Bergen, M.Div., CPXP – Board Member
Healthcare Administrator, Valley Children’s Healthcare
James Bergen, former pastor and community development leader, has served and invested in the communities of Fresno and the Central Valley since moving to Fresno in 2006. Currently, he serves as Manager Patient Experience at Valley Children’s Healthcare helping the 1.3 million children of the Central Valley and their families access quality, safe, timely, and equitable healthcare.
Brenda Erese, RN – Board Member
Nursing Professional Development Practitioner, Saint Agnes Medical Center
Brenda Erese, an Emergency Department RN, has facilitated and presented education for many years. She currently serves as an educator for SAMC ED, facilitating the onboarding process for Nurses and Ancillary team members. Previously, Brenda worked at CRMC as Nurse Educator, developing educational programs to support novice and experienced Emergency nurses. Additionally, Brenda serves in short-term missions in Mexico in collaboration with Edify Love and local churches, ministering to women and children. She has coordinated Hispanic women’s retreats and workshops for over 13 years.
Ivy Huff, LMFT – Board Member
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Expressions Counseling Center
Ivy Huff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of Refine Counseling & Consulting, Inc. Her practice provides counseling services to individuals, couples, and mental wellness services and products to businesses and organizations.
Avery Culbertson, PhD – Board Member
Assistant Professor, Agricultural Leadership, CSU Fresno
Stephanie Avila, Board Member
Meet our Advisory Council
Melissa Gomez, PACT Project Coordinator, Child and Family Policy Institute of California
Melissa Gomez, previous Co-Director at CVJC, directed the Central Valley Against Human Trafficking program for three years in Fresno. Melissa has extensive experience in Women’s Advocacy and mission work. She served on staff in YWAM San Francisco and Amsterdam, and in Modesto, CA as an Advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Melissa brings fifteen years of work within the human trafficking field locally and abroad. She now directs the Preventing and Addressing Child Trafficking Project, working with ten counties across the state of California.
David Plassman, Social Work Supervisor, Child Welfare (Retired)
David Plassman, a former Social Work Supervisor, has worked for Fresno County Department of Social Services for 29 years. During the last 10 years, he has been working on Outcome Evaluation and System Improvement and California Partners for Permanency.
Sarah Johnston, Project Coordinator, Central Valley Against Human Trafficking
Sarah is a victim advocate and community leader. In her current role as the Program Manager for Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission’s Central Valley Against Human Trafficking project. and Chair of the Central Valley Freedom Coalition, she leads the Anti-Trafficking movement in the Central Valley of California. During her 3 years with the project she has served as both the Outreach Coordinator and Case Manager providing comprehensive trauma-informed client services, advocacy, outreach, training, public awareness to a six-county region including: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties. Sarah was instrumental in facilitating and launching the 2019 Fresno City Mayor’s Initiative to Combat Human Trafficking to address trafficking through a collective impact project and serve as the backbone agency facilitator. Sarah has experience in providing comprehensive services to victims of trafficking and has facilitated training and education on human trafficking related issues. Prior to joining Fresno EOC, Sarah worked with the HOPE Anti-Human Trafficking Program at the International Rescue Committee in Sacramento. She has a passion for eradicating human trafficking and developing a community wide trauma-informed response to address the injustices in her community, especially those suffered by women and girls. Sarah was named Fresno EOC Community Action All Star 2018 and is a Rise Up Gender Equity Initiative Fellow. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Relations and a Minor in Human Rights from the University of California, Davis. Sarah is passionate about creating local and regional partnerships and firmly believes it is only through collaboration that we can end trafficking.
Detective Belinda Anaya, Fresno Police Vice Unit – Not Pictured
Detective Belinda Anaya began her career with the City of Fresno, Police Department in 2002. She worked patrol assignments in the Central and Southeast Policing District. Her assignments after Patrol included the Northeast Policing District’s Crime Suppression Team, the Bulldog Tactical Team, and the Violent Crime Impact Team. Her assignments allowed her to develop her investigative, interview, and informant development skills. She is currently assigned to the Vice Unit focusing on human trafficking, prostitution activity, and massage parlor compliance. She has used her skills and hard work to gain the trust of victims in her human trafficking investigations.