Our Team

Casey_v5_250x325Casey Gwinn, Esq.
President

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.


John Hamilton
National Director of Camp HOPE America

John Hamilton is the National Director of Camp HOPE America. He collaborates with the Camp HOPE America team, Family Justice Center sites, and partner camps to bring a hope-filled experience to campers around the country. John holds a master’s degree from Western Seminary where he focused on leadership, cultural justice, and hospitality. He specializes in forging unlikely partnerships, developing unified teams, and moving people from theory into practice. He is a growing leader, frequently presenting or teaching at camps, conferences, and retreats. His focus is in the area of communal impact and collaborative leadership.


Michael Burke
Director of Community Engagement

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Michael Burke is the Director of Community Engagement for the Alliance. He works with Family Justice Centers, VOICES Survivors Network, Camp HOPE America and the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention. He supports the Alliance and our allied agencies with training on trauma-informed approaches, branding, fund development, media relations and more.  Michael was previously the founding executive director of a rural Family Justice Center in Shasta County, California.


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Yesenia 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.

 

 



Chelsea Armstrong

 Regional Coordinator 

Chelsea Armstrong is a Regional 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.


Kamiah Thomas
Regional Coordinator

Kamiah Thomas is a Regional Coordinator for Camp HOPE America. She supports the Camp HOPE America team to implement the vision, mission, and strategic goals of the Alliance and Camp HOPE America. Kamiah is a graduate of California State University San Marcos, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and Sociology. Kamiah has an extensive background working with adult and children survivors of domestic violence. Prior to joining the Alliance, she worked for four years in a domestic violence shelter both directly with children in the program, and as a shelter manager supervising the emergency shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline.


 

Cami Morrill
Regional Coordinator

Cami Morrill is a Regional Coordinator 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 adventure and her passion for offering children impacted by trauma healing together at Camp HOPE America.

 


Alexa Peterson
Administrative Assistant 

Alexa Peterson is an Administrative Assistant 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.

 


Ashley Ziegler
Administrative Assistant

Ashley Ziegler is an Administrative Assistant for Camp HOPE America at Alliance for HOPE International. She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University where she studied Sociology with a minor in Psychology. While in college, Ashley interned at the Family Violence Institute in Flagstaff, AZ where she provided administrative support and research assistance in the field of domestic violence related fatalities.

 

 

 


Yoli_v4Yolanda Ruiz
Intern

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 America 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.

 

 

 

 


Jenny Dietzen 
Intern

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