Co-Chief Program Officer, Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention Services

Melinda has been a part of SAFE for more than 30 years, in both direct service and leadership positions. Beginning as a volunteer at the Austin Rape Crisis Center and an intern at the Center for Battered Women, she has since implemented many new programs for youth and adults at SAFE. She is considered an expert in operating barrier free shelters and services, and has presented both nationally and internationally on this topic. Statewide, Melinda has been active with the Texas Council on Family Violence, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services and The Texas Network for Youth Services and locally as part of the Ending Community Homelessness Organization (ECHO) and other community groups focused on children, youth and families. She has a Bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.

Melinda believes in the inherent capacity people have to change their lives – especially living safer lives. She and her staff work with survivors to ensure that any violence or abuse they might have experienced does not ultimately define who they are, but makes them stronger. A great day for Melinda is when she witnesses the SAFE service model, coupled with the ‘amazing staff’ she works with, enabling a survivor to find their strength and start their journey to healing.