Contact Us

Contact Us

Hours:
Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Email us:   General Inquiries: info@viahope.org

Mailing Address:
Via Hope

4477 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste 580, #200

Austin, TX  78745

Phone: 512-953-8160

Staff List

Dennis Bach
M.P.A., Via Hope Executive Director

Dennis has four decades of health and human services management experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He has worked in areas ranging from child nutrition to the elderly to behavioral health. He holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from Drake University. Dennis started with Via Hope in March 2009 as the program’s first director. He is the father of four grown sons and has six grandchildren. He has earned his gray hair!


Maisha Barrett
Training Coordinator

Maisha Barrett spent most of her life in the New Orleans area. She began her college degree at Loyola New Orleans and finished at St. Edward’s University in Austin. She has spent ten years in the nonprofit sector in fields that address trauma. These include mental health, domestic violence, and sexual violence. She is passionate about education and considers herself a lifelong learner. Her educational background includes music therapy, psychology, women’s studies, and art. She is passionate about social justice, healing, and making the world a better place through all forms of art and expression. She enjoys a good story, keeping her hands busy with art, and long conversations on her porch. She is currently the Training Coordinator at Via Hope.


Christina Carney
MHPS, MA, Peer Voice Coordinator

Christina Carney is a creative warrior with a passion for social justice and healing. She spent several years working in Syracuse, NY as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence before moving to Austin, TX in 2012. Christina became a Mental Health Peer Specialist in 2014, working at Austin State Hospital for three years. As a peer support specialist, she brought several art and healing events to the hospital, offering a space for persons served to share their talent, creativity, and voice.  She is also involved in the community as a performance artist, activist, and organizer. Christina now coordinates the Peer Voice Project for Via Hope, along with hosting Community Connections, a monthly webinar for Peers. She’s also been able to explore a new passion at Via Hope: Curriculum writing. Christina has created and co-created several trainings, including: Group Facilitation, Healing-Centered Peer Support, Telling Our Stories, and Diversity & Inclusion.


Amanda Bowman
LCSW, PSS, Recovery Institute Manager

Amanda is a social worker using her clinical field experience and her lived experience with mental health challenges to promote person-centered practices in behavioral health care. Coming from direct social work practice and administrative leadership within the public MH system, she joined Via Hope in 2014, where she now serves as Recovery Institute Manager. In this role, she oversees the development and delivery of organizational change programs, which include statewide initiatives to support the implementation of person-centered planning, peer support services, and trauma-responsive work environments. With a passion for participatory learning methods, Amanda routinely facilitates collaborative learning events both within and outside of Via Hope programs. She has called Austin home since 2000 when she moved from Louisiana to obtain a Master’s degree at UT. Outside of work, you may find Amanda with her family hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt or enjoying live music.

Sandra D. Smith, Ph.D.

Peer Programs Manager

Dr. Smith comes to Via Hope from a Recovery Community Center in Dallas Texas where she served as the Associate Director. She has vast experience in higher education administration and secondary education with an unwavering commitment to the highest educational standards in order to support and encourage today’s youth and adults. She is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern, a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, and most recently became a SAMHSA GAINS Center trainer for “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves the Criminal Justice System Responses.” She holds a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University. She is a published author of a book on her true life story titled “Choices.”  Her dissertation on support services was chosen for republication by Scholars Press (international dissertation clearing house), in 2014, due to its relevance in societal need for support services. She is a Reentry Advocate based on her own lived experience.


 

Bobbi Duncan-Ishcomer
MHPS, Program Specialist 

Bobbi Duncan-Ishcomer is a queer, two-spirit, Autistic MHPS and has been with Via Hope since 2016. Prior to her time at Via Hope, she served as the Vice President of OCD Texas and still enjoys occasionally facilitating Austin’s local OCD support group. Bobbi has a degree in Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin and did her thesis work on Language and Identity in Disability and LGBTQ communities. When not working, Bobbi loves hammock camping with her wife and dogs, turning lumber into furniture, and playing a half-elf druid in Dungeons & Dragons.


Candyce Eskew
MS, Communications and Development Assistant 

Candyce is a native Austinite with a BBA in Business Management from the University of Texas and an MS in Nonprofit Management from Our Lady of the Lake University. Her adventures in the mental health field began as an admin at the Austin State Hospital, and she has extensive experience with small businesses and nonprofits. Candyce and her husband (also a native Austinite) have two young daughters as well as an adopted adult daughter. She volunteers extensively (some might say excessively) for local Pagan community organizations, and enjoys live music, dancing, karaoke, crafts, the outdoors, and games of all kinds.


Christie Gonzales
Business / Finance Manager

Christie has more than 25 years of experience working in the non-profit sector and in the accounting field. After her hard work and dedication, she earned her Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) from the University of Phoenix. She became a part of Via Hope in June of 2015. She is the proud mother of a son and daughter, stepmother to two fabulous boys and a wife. Loves to be outdoors, enjoys working out, and loves to cook.


Amy Pierce
MHPS, PSS, ALF – Peer Services Implementation Field Liaison

Amy has been working in the Peer Movement in the State of Texas for almost two decades. She most recently was the C.E.O of Resiliency Unleashed an international training and consulting company focusing on the development and implementation of peer services. She has extensive experience in the peer support sector. She previously started the first peer support program in the state hospitals in Texas, was a peer support worker in a community mental health agency and was also the Program Coordinator for a transitional peer residential housing project funded through the 1115 waiver program. Amy is a peer, and family member, with both mental health and addictions experience. She is a certified peer specialist facilitator, Advanced Level Wrap facilitator, ASIST trainer, WHAM facilitator. Amy was previously Chair of the PAIMI Council in Texas and on the US National Disability Rights Board. Amy is a lover of life and all that is possible for human beings.