Meet the Team
Get to Know Your Center Staff
It’s hard to sum up in a few sentences what it means to run an organization such as this. My journey here at the Center has been filled with more than I could have ever imagined in a job. Having been hired in 1994 as the Hotline Coordinator, I had the blessing of being able to start my career off by working with some of the most dedicated individuals I’ve ever encountered, the agency’s volunteers. Running advocate training, working with our community partners, and helping to build a strong, vibrant program was what I was charged with as a young advocate myself, and I couldn’t have felt more fulfilled. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in every single aspect of this organization over the years and assumed the role of Executive Director in 2015. The sustainability of this organization is a top priority for me and those that I have the pleasure of working with. As the agency’s Executive Director, I have the honor of working with a dedicated staff, an involved Board, and volunteers who possess more courage than I could ever completely explain. But, it’s not just about the internal workings of this organization that make us successful and able to have the ability to be a part of someone’s healing journey. It’s our relationship with our community partners, those that provide funding, and the individual donors who give so freely. I didn’t want this bio to be so much about who I am, but more so, what you mean to us. We thank you and we applaud you for helping us effect change in our community. We still have a lot of work to do and we look forward to walking with you as we do it.
I have been blessed to be with the Center since 1993. While working on my Human Services Degree from Hancock I became aware of the Volunteer program and decided to become involved. Since then, I have never looked back. While I have earned a Master’s degree over the years, the lessons from the volunteers, staff and clients have all exceeded any textbook knowledge. A few years later, in 1996, I was hired to work on a new grant that the Center was part of. Since then, I have held many titles and roles in the Center. People sometimes wonder how I could have stayed so long in such an emotional job. Well, the answer is the people. The people that come and volunteer are wise, talented, and compassionate. My fellow staff members have bonded over the commitment to serve our clients and community. And finally, the clients. They continually demonstrate that abuse and sexual assault can be healed from. There is a never-ending stream of hope and strength and bravery coming from them. Yes, this job can be emotionally draining, but it can be exceedingly fulling at the same time.
I was born and mostly raised in Lompoc, though I moved to Phoenix in my teens and did some traveling in the southwest, living in New Mexico and Colorado for a time. I came home to the Central Coast in the ’80s and then graduated from Allan Hancock College in 2000. In 2004, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I also received a minor in Psychology, with my concentration being Social Service.
I previously worked for the Center from 2003 to 2005 as the Family Violence Prevention Coordinator, and created, directed, hosted, and produced SOS-TV (Stop Our Silence Television) for the local public access channel. I held that position for almost two years; when the grant ended, I had to move on. When my current position opened, I knew I needed to jump on it, and was very excited to be given the opportunity to return. I have had the privilege of holding the Finance/Human Resource Director position with the Center since 2008.
My passion is human services; the reason I am dedicated to the mission of the Center is that I deeply believe that every person has the right to feel safe, to be loved and respected, and to pursue their dreams without recrimination. I work hard to show that with every grant that I write and in every interaction that I have with staff, volunteers, board members and community members. My position at the Center allows me to fight the good fight for equality every day, something for which I am very grateful.
Counseling Services Coordinator
I have been working for 22 years in non-profit organizations throughout the County of Santa Barbara and have developed my professional career by holding various specialized roles. These have included case management, parent education, coordination of educational programs, child development services, supervision of educational programs, coordination of art and cultural events and facilitation of various parental curriculums.
I currently hold the position of Counseling Services Coordinator for the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center. One of my greatest passions is to help bring healing to people who have been through a traumatic/stressful experience. One of the tools I use to help clients in the healing process is art, as I believe that art is a very powerful technique because it forces you to forge a connection with your mind and body. Art-making accesses both the mind and the body to promote healing. With Art, I help clients to explore their emotions to develop self-awareness to cope with anxiety and stress.
My educational background includes an M.A. in Fine Art from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a B.A. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Child Abuse and Advocacy from the University of Technology in Florida, as well as an Associates Credential in Child Development from the State of California, Therapeutic Art Life Coach Certification from Transformation Academy. Carmen has several certifications for parenting education, including AVANCE, FAST, and the Nurturing Parenting curriculum. I am also a Certified State Advocate for the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center.
Human Trafficking/Crisis Counselor
Hello everyone! I am Lorena the Human Trafficking/Crisis Counselor. As a Santa Maria native, born and raised, this community and the people have always meant a great deal to me. Being able to serve and give back to the community that raised me has become one of my great passions. It has been a privilege to work for agencies that give back and assist the youth and individuals in Santa Maria. I am currently working toward obtaining a degree in psychology and social work and hope to further my education to better assist those I serve.
I have worked as a Program Assistant in the Lompoc office for almost 10 years. There are three things I love most about working at the Center. First, it is an awesome pleasure to be able to respond and help people one on one, in a time of crisis/trauma in their lives. Second, staff not only get to react to crisis/trauma when survivors need our help, but the Center plays a big part in helping to stop sexual violence in our community by being proactive in education with our Community Outreach Programs. Lastly, I love working at the Center with our “Amazing Team”. Everyone’s compassion is absolutely the pulse of this operation. I am truly blessed to work with each of these women.
Community Outreach Presenter-Lompoc
Hello everyone, my name is Edith Damacio and I’m proudly the Community Outreach Presenter for North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center for the Lompoc Office. I have the pleasure to educate adults, teens, and children on different topics like sexual abuse, human trafficking, healthy relationships, good touch bad touch, among others. In my eyes, education is the key to prevention. Without education, it’s like being in this world without safety tools. Working at the Center is important to me because I know how it feels to be in crisis and I will not just sit down and be healed. I want to spread education and self-love because together we are a stronger community. #NCRCCPCSTRONG
Hotline Services Coordinator
I am the new to the position of Hotline Services Coordinator, and am just getting my feet wet in my new role. My goal is to get more volunteers involved with our organization and making sure we are available to those in need of guidance. I am excited to be a part of such an amazing team and hope to make a difference. Outside of work, I enjoy planting, taking long walks with my dog and visiting my family.
School Program Coordinator
Hi, my name is Margaret Fuentez-Smith. My position at NCRCCPC is the School Program Coordinator, a job I love. How many people can say that about their job? Ok, most of our staff, if not all. My family and I moved to Lompoc in 1990. I have worked for a few other nonprofits, always gaining great knowledge from each place.
August of 2003 I was blessed to start working for NCRCCPC as a ChildSAFE presenter. I had my dream job. Working with children in our ChildSAFE program. Over the years I have witnessed great strength and vulnerability with our youth, the courage they have. I am honored to work for our Center to help the children, the families that need us.
Over the years my path has crossed many. Everyone leaves something. I know our work makes a difference. We make a difference for the betterment of our children, our survivor’s and our community that we serve. I thank you for taking the time to read this. I wish you and yours a beautiful day.
Hello! My name is Sue Gardiner. I am the Lompoc Education Presenter. I have been with the center for 15 years off and on. I am one of two “ChildSAFE Ladies” in the Lompoc office. My educational background is in human services and early childhood education, so working here has always been a great fit for me. And since I am a big kid at heart, this position never gets old.
Working at the center is important to me because it allows me the opportunity to make good on the saying “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I am a firm believer that through education, and positive interactions with children, we can help them become who they are meant to be. I am so fortunate, through my role at the center, to be able to play even a small role in that process.
Client Victim Advocate / Lompoc Police Department
My name is Sabrina Ross, I am currently staffed as a full-time client advocate at the Lompoc Police Department and have been in this position with the Center for 8 years. My role consists of crisis counseling, case management, and advocacy, providing direct support services for victims of violent crime in the city of Lompoc. I have lived and worked in Lompoc for over 30 years and have a deep appreciation and love for our city. Working at the Center is important to me because I believe in our mission. Sexual and domestic violence is inevitable but the Center has developed programs and has a dedicated caring staff who provide trauma-informed community education, prevention, counseling, and advocacy throughout northern Santa Barbara County. These programs and our staff offer support and a safe place for those in need and help reduce interpersonal violence in our communities.
Community Outreach Presenter-Santa Maria
Hello, my name is Valentino Lopez. I was born and raised here in Santa Maria for much of my life. I attended Santa Maria High School and after graduating, I attended the University of California, Santa Cruz to further my education. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and returned to Santa Maria. I decided to volunteer at the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center because I wanted to be able to help prevent rape and to help support survivors. I wanted to gain a better understanding of trauma, emotions, and ways to help people who have gone through abuse. Also, another reason was that there have been instances throughout my life where I have wanted to help someone going through some strong emotions, but I just found myself unable to come up with any real way of helping them. Usually, these moments involved the person feeling scared, anxious, or depressed. I decided I needed to know more about these topics so next time I would be better able to help. Through the training at the NCRCCPC I was able to get a better understanding of what people can be going through and more importantly how to help them overcome their struggles. At present I am the NCRCCPC Community Outreach Presenter, and my goal is to help educate the community about healthy relationships and other forms of abuse. I believe that through education and prevention we can stop the cycle of abuse.
Bilingual Outreach Presenter
I am the Bilingual Outreach Presenter for the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center. I am a trilingual presenter and advocate, speaking Mixteco as well as Spanish. This valuable ability helps the Center meet the needs of different populations in breaking down communication barriers that exist in our North County communities. I gained valuable experience during my time serving in the Navy and as a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor. I feel that I bring unique talents to the team and am passionate to contribute to the mission of the Center. I have been with the Center for over two years and have been awarded as the Center’s “Out of the Box Thinker” by Executive Director Ann McCarty.
North County Rape Crisis & Child Protection Center
511 E Ocean Ave, Lompoc, CA 93436
Santa Maria Office
301 Miller St # 103, Santa Maria, CA 93454