Our Team

Casey_v5_250x325Casey Gwinn, Esq.

Casey Gwinn is the President and Co-Founder of Alliance for HOPE International and the Founder of Camp HOPE America and is also the visionary behind the Family Justice Center movement, first proposing the concept of the Family Justice Center model in 1989.

In 2002 he founded the first Camp HOPE in San Diego and it is now moving across the country.

Casey is a national expert on domestic violence, including prosecution, strangulation, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), and best practices. Prior to this position, Casey was the elected San Diego City Attorney.

Gael_v4Gael Strack, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer

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.


Michael Burke
Director of Camp HOPE America

Michael Burke is the Director of Camp HOPE America for the Alliance. He works with Family Justice Centers and other organization to bring Camp HOPE America around the country. He supports these sites with trauma-informed approaches, branding, fund development,

Yesenia002Yesenia Aceves
Director of Pathways to HOPE

Yesenia Aceves is the Director of Pathways to HOPE and is responsible for the development and coordination of this program, which works with Camp HOPE America youth, guardians, and volunteer mentors.  The evidence-based Pathways program aspires to raise hope scores for trauma-exposed youth while exploring STEAM career paths.  She is also a professional artist infusing creativity into all aspects of the Alliance including art projects, branding, and graphics.

and more. Michael was previously the founding executive director of a rural Family Justice Center in Shasta County California.

Karianne Johansen
Program and Training Coordinator 

Karianne Johansen is the Program and Training Coordinator of Camp HOPE America, a program of the Alliance.  She works with Family Justice Centers, Multi-Agency Centers, and community-based agencies across the country to develop and implement the Camp HOPE America program in their own communities for trauma-exposed youth.  Karianne writes evidence-based camp curriculum, develops group mentoring models, trains volunteers in trauma-informed care, and equips leaders to deliver a life-changing week of camp to the youth that they serve.

Maddie_CampHOPE1Maddie Orcutt
Camp HOPE America – California Coordinator

Maddie Orcutt is a graduate of Middlebury College where she organized an online storytelling platform for survivors of relationship violence and sexual abuse. Additionally, she has conducted research around the United Nations Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Maddie was selected as the 2015 Truman Scholar from Wyoming. She now serves as the Camp HOPE America – California Coordinator.


Chelsea Armstrong
Camp HOPE America Project Coordinator 

Chelsea Armstrong is the Project Coordinator 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.

Melissa Aguiar
Program Assistant

Melissa Aguiar is the Program Assistant for the Pathways to HOPE Project, an innovative year-round mentoring program for children exposed to domestic violence and childhood trauma. Melissa helps coordinate monthly activities exposing teenagers to different areas of interest such as Nature, Arts, and STEM to spark career goals and develop pathways to achieve those goals. Melissa is a graduate of California State University, Chico where she earned a B.A. in Sociology and in Spanish. She previously assisted domestic violence survivors while working with a San Diego attorney.

Gemma_CampHOPEGemma Serrano

Gemma Serrano is an Intern for Alliance for HOPE that provides administrative support. Gemma began attending Camp HOPE America – California in 2012 as a camper, but for the last two years has served as a Camp HOPE America Counselor making her a perfect fit to assist in the Pathways to HOPE program. She has participated in the recognized, four-year program Project Lead the Way, giving her the skills necessary to participate in intensive project planning and management, as well as programmatic support.

Jenny Dietzen

Jenny Dietzen is an Intern providing administrative and programmatic support at the Alliance. Jenny has served as a Camp HOPE Counselor since 2012, and her experiences at Camp HOPE California motivated Jenny to work with kids. Jenny is currently a junior at San Diego State University, where she is studying social work.



Yoli_v4Yolanda Ruiz

Yolanda Ruiz is an Intern for the Alliance and provides administrative and programmatic support. For the past two years, Yolanda has served as a Camp HOPE Counselor which makes her the perfect fit to assist the Pathways to HOPE program staff by managing calendars and participating in project planning and events.