Heather O’Malley is the Chief Executive Officer at SafeSpot. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources from Towson University in Maryland. Heather has more than twenty years experience in nonprofits, most recently as a Director of a local organization supporting women and families experiencing domestic violence and homelessness. Heather leads SafeSpot’s fundraising and communications, and partners closely with Board and Staff to ensure the agency’s strategic growth and mission fulfillment. Heather serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals DC Chapter.
Michele Thames, Executive Director
Michele Thames is the Executive Director of SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center. Michele holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Cambridge College. She was previously the Supervisor of the Forensic Interview Program at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Child Abuse Program in Norfolk, Virginia. Michele is a trained Forensic Interviewer that has conducted over 3,000 forensic interviews in a multidisciplinary team setting for local, state, federal and military agencies. Michele is a board member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Virginia and faculty for ChildFirst Virginia.
Nesi Mahuiztl, Office Assistant
Nesi Mahuiztl, BSW, is the Office Assistant at SafeSpot. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University and hopes to continue her Master’s degree in Social Work in the future. Ms. Nesi has always loved helping her community and previously interned at a Christian Church, Buke United Methodist Church. She landed herself at a Christian church through her faith and her mission to truly understand the power of love through Jesus Christ. At the church, she learned various techniques such as the logistics of the church, coordinating events, teaching children healthy food selections, engaging with families through the food distribution and more. Ms. Nesi aspires to bring her caring energy by helping families feel welcomed, heard, and supported.
– “Love your neighbor as yourself” -Matthew 22:39
Sergio Claudio-Silva, Program Coordinator
Sergio Claudio-Silva is SafeSpot’s bilingual Program Coordinator. Mx. Claudio-Silva studied in the University of North Texas and the University of Puerto Rico, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Education. They have worked in Mentorship and Foster Care programs serving unaccompanied immigrant children and other disadvantaged populations. Working in a myriad of these nonprofit programs has helped Sergio gain the knowledge and tools to aid children in need that come from a multitude of backgrounds. Mx. Claudio-Silva has dedicated themself to help stop injustices targeted towards children, one child at a time.
Angela Haslett, Manager of Forensic Services
Angela Haslett is the Manager of Forensic Services at SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center. Angela holds a Bachelor’s in Social Work degree from Eastern University. She has over 12 years of social work experience helping families and children who have experienced trauma. The majority of Angela’s social work career has been focused in the child welfare field investigating child abuse cases. Prior to Angela’s employment at SafeSpot, she specialized in investigating child sex abuse cases in Fairfax, VA for 5 years. During this time, Angela was a part of the multidisciplinary team and supported the child advocacy center model. Angela has been trained since 2013 in two nationally recognized, evidence-based forensic interviewing protocols. Angela has completed hundreds of forensic interviews and has testified in court on multiple occasions as an expert witness. Angela is dedicated to providing children a safe place and opportunity to tell their experiences so they can start the healing process.
Carla Claudio-Silva, Bilingual Forensic Interviewer
Carla is a Bilingual Child Forensic Interview Specialist. She completed her Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology at the George Washington University and has been trained in two nationally recognized, evidence-based forensic interviewing protocols, ChildFirst and NCAC. She has also received advanced forensic interview training specializing in individuals with disabilities. Carla has been working in multidisciplinary team settings serving local, state, federal, and military agencies since 2018, and has completed hundreds of interviews of children and individuals of varying cultures and abilities. As a native Spanish speaker, Carla is passionate about providing empathetic and culturally competent services to help vulnerable populations talk about their experiences.
Shanice Madera, Bilingual Forensic Interviewer
Shanice is a Bilingual Child Forensic Interview Specialist. She graduated with a Masters in Forensic Psychology from American International College in Massachusetts. She is trained in Child First protocol to ensure an appropriate interview process for children and adults with disabilities. She is new to the Forensic Interview field but brings with her four years of experience working with at risk youth with severe trauma. Shanice worked for a non-profit agency where she began as a Residential Caseworker, became an Outreach and Tracking Caseworker and then an Outreach and Tracking Assistant Program Supervisor. While working for this agency Shanice provided a therapeutic structure and routine, facilitated individual counseling sessions and provided intense community tracking services. Shanice worked closely with the Department of Children and Families, Juvenile Court system and the school system in Massachusetts. She is passionate about serving the youth community who is too often exploited and neglected.
Jaz Jackson, Family Advocate
Jaz Jackson, M.S.W. is a Family Advocate at SafeSpot. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology and Diversity Studies from the University of West Florida. Jaz received her Master’s in Social Work from George Mason University. She spent time providing clinical mental health support to “at-risk” youth in Northern Virginia. Jaz has over eight years of experience providing advocacy services to survivors of human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence. Prior to Jaz’s employment at SafeSpot, she worked at Doorways as a mobile advocate providing case management and clinical support to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Jaz is passionate about providing trauma-informed care and ensuring that members from underserved communities are heard.
Mariah Strock, Family Advocate
Mariah Strock, M.S.W. is a Family Advocate at SafeSpot. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Longwood University and a Master of Social Work degree from Salisbury University. Mariah has seven years of experience working with children and families. After serving as a Family Advocacy Intern at SafeSpot in 2019, she knew that family advocacy was her “calling.” Mariah takes a strengths-based perspective and is passionate about working with and supporting diverse clients to address a variety of needs and to support children and families down the path of wellbeing during and after challenging circumstances.
Jharezee Villalba, Bilingual Family Advocate
Jharezee Villalba, MSW, is a Bilingual Family Advocate at Safespot. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology-Counseling and Human Development and a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University, and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Jharezee has 5 plus years’ experience in the CAC world as she previously worked at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo & Starr Counties in Edinburg TX. She has worked as a family advocate and mental health liaison providing advocacy, crisis intervention, mental health screenings, training to staff, and resources to families. She is passionate about providing trauma informed psychoeducation and implementing an empathic approach when working with children and non-offending caregivers. Jharezee hopes to help families find healing and justice while also receiving support and resources from a trauma informed perspective.
Lindsey Kerber, Clinical Director
Lindsey Kerber is an LCSW. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and also holds a Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University. She is trained in TF-CBT and has 4 years of experience conducting acute mental health crisis assessments in the community and hospital setting.
Leannah Farbotko, Therapist
Leannah Farbotko, MSW is a therapist at SafeSpot. She graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and received her Masters of Social Work from George Mason University. Currently, Leannah is working towards her License in Clinical Social Work and registration in play therapy. She will be training to become a TF-CBT provider. Previously, she served as a CAC Family Advocate, Education, and Support Specialist working collaboratively with children and families who experienced domestic and/or sexual violence. At SafeSpot, Leannah strives to provide children with a safe environment to empower them to overcome challenges and discover their inner strength.
Angela Niblett, Therapist
Angela Niblett, MSW is a bilingual therapist at SafeSpot. She graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently working towards her Clinical Social Work license and is training to become a TF-CBT certified provider. Previously, Angela worked with children and families in the school and community settings. At SafeSpot, Angela enjoys working with children and families to support their healing journey.
Emily Perez, Therapist
Emily Perez, MSW, Supervisee in Social Work, is a bilingual therapist at SafeSpot. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Marymount University and her Masters of Social Work from George Mason University. Emily is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is training to become a certified TF-CBT provider. Previously, she interned at the Arlington County Child Advocacy Center where she served as a Therapist and Family Advocate. She has six years of experience working with the Spanish speaking immigrant community in Northern Virginia. Emily is passionate about providing a supportive and compassionate space for children and families to begin the healing process and to find hope for the future.
Virgil, Facility Dog
Virgil joined SafeSpot in November 2020. Virgil is an expertly trained dog who partners with a professional working in a forensic interview, family advocacy session, mental health session or court accompaniment. Virgil was trained for two years by Canine Companions for Independence and is certified through Assistance Dogs, International.
He provides comfort and stress reduction to children, families, staff, and multidisciplinary team members. One of the most valued qualities of Virgil is the unconditional love and attention he gives to the clients with whom he interacts. Virgil was born on April 10, 2018 and loves long walks, cuddling with children and playing with squeaky toys.