Contact Us

Contact Us

Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Email us:

General Inquiries:

Compliments and Complaints:


Mailing Address:
Via Hope
4604 South Lamar Blvd., Unit E-102
Austin, Texas 78745

Toll-Free Number: (844) 300-2196

Fax Number: (512) 953-8199

Staff List

Dennis Bach, M.P.A., Via Hope Executive DirectorDennis 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 CoordinatorMaisha Barrett
Training CoordinatorMaisha 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.

Amanda Bowman, LCSW, Recovery Institute ManagerAmanda Bowman
LCSW, Recovery Institute ManagerAmanda is a social worker using her clinical experience and her lived experience with mental health challenges to promote person-centered practices in mental 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.

Betsy Bunt, Person Centered Recovery Planning Program CoordinatorBetsy Bunt
LMSW,  Person Centered Recovery Planning Program CoordinatorBetsy received her MSW from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. Her social work experience prior to Via Hope has included inpatient mental health, hospital social work, community mental health, outpatient counseling, and eating disorder specific therapy. In April of 2014, Betsy moved from Pennsylvania to Austin and has been enjoying the warmer and sunnier weather since then. She joined the Via Hope team in June of 2016. Outside of work, Betsy is also a 200 hour Certified Yoga Instructor and enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with her cat.

Christina Carney, CPS, MA, PIR Voice CoordinatorChristina Carney
CPS, MA, Peer Voice CoordinatorChristina 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 Peer Support Specialist in 2014, working at Austin State Hospital for three years. As a peer support specialist, she brought several art events to the hospital, offering a space for persons served to share their talent, creativity, and voice. Christina’s primary focus is trauma; she began a women’s survivors support group at Austin State Hospital and coordinated activities for Trauma Awareness Month (May). She is also involved in the community as a performance artist, activist, and organizer. Christina is excited to now be the PIR Voice Coordinator at Via Hope, where she supports leadership and creativity for people in recovery.

Liz Castaneda, CPS, LMSW Peer Projects Coordinator
Liz Castaneda
CPS, LMSW Peer Projects CoordinatorLiz’s programmatic work at Via Hope focuses on peer-run behavioral health organizations and leadership development for individuals in recovery from mental health challenges. Prior to her work at Via Hope, Liz was a social worker with Seton Family of Hospitals and worked at The University of Texas at Austin in their human resources and resource development departments. She is a graduate of the Leadership Austin Emerge Program and serves on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Behavioral Health Advisory Committee as an adult consumer representative. Liz is a native of Washington, DC, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She is a proud mama, wife, Longhorn and recovery champion!

Bobbi Duncan-Ishcomer, Workforce Administrative AssistantBobbi Duncan-Ishcomer
Workforce Administrative AssistantBobbi Duncan-Ishcomer is a CPS 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 is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Disability Studies from CUNY, where she is conducting research on Autistic Identity and Visibility.

Candyce Eskew, Administrative AssistantCandyce Eskew
Administrative AssistantCandyce is a native Austinite and received her BBA in Business Management from the University of Texas in 2004. 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 non-profits. Candyce and her husband (also a native Austinite) own a local electrical contracting business and have two young children. She volunteers extensively (some might say excessively) for local Pagan community organizations, and enjoys live music, dancing, karaoke, and games of all kinds.

Christie Gonzales, Business/Finance ManagerChristie Gonzales
Business / Finance ManagerChristie 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.

Nidia Heston
Certified Family Partner CoordinatorNidia Heston is working on a Masters Social Work degree and holds a Family Partner Certification through Via Hope. Professionally, Nidia has worked directly with families for over twenty years navigating systems of early education, mental health, intellectual disability, and medical community. Her passion is helping families understand the impacts of trauma as well as building resiliency resulting in stronger family systems. She also volunteers with several local non-profit agencies that promote family wellness through education, support, and activities. Personally, she and her husband are raising a son who lives with co-occurring developmental and mental health challenges. As a native Austinite, part of her self care is exploring Austin and surrounding areas and enjoys “Tia Time” with her young nieces and nephews.

Peggy Holub, Accounting SpecialistPeggy Holub

Accounting Specialist Peggy brings to Via Hope over 20 years’ experience providing accounting support for organizations serving people living with mental health challenges, aging issues and developmental disabilities. She holds a BBA from the University of Houston. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting family and spending time outdoors.

Kamala Joy, Family and Youth Programs ManagerKamala Joy
Family and Youth Programs ManagerKamala headed a multi-city chapter of a Buddhist youth group from the ages of 17 – 24, where she received and provided peer support individually and in groups.  This early experience informs much of her passion for peer support and her dream of making near-age peer support available in high schools and colleges.  She spent almost seventeen years as the president of a successful consulting firm dedicated to policy, organizational, and procedural change within government agencies around the United States, often coordinating change across multiple agencies and States. Her career started after earning a B.S. in environmental economics, summa cum laude, from the University of California at Berkeley.  She also spent seven years conducting personal growth workshops and trainings and counseling people using a special form of hypnotherapy that combined mindfulness with more traditional hypnotherapy. She has lived experience in mental health recovery, and loves that her work with Via Hope uses her whole self – everything she has ever been involved with personally and professionally. Outside of work, Kamala loves meditation, Chi Gung, Ted Talks, great books, her friends, and to be outside hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, or staring into space.

John King, CPS – Peer Support Integration CoordinatorJohn King
Certified Peer Specialist Trainer.John comes to Via Hope from Beaumont, TX, where he was President of the Board of Directors for a Consumer Operated Service Provider. While in Beaumont, he also instituted a peer support program with the Jefferson County Drug Intervention Court and Probation Office. John’s journey of recovery began in early 2013, and he became a Certified Peer Specialist in January 2014. Finding his niche, John became more and more involved with Via Hope as a workgroup member, contract trainer, and, eventually, Chairman of the Certified Peer Specialist Planning and Advisory Council. John has served on several statewide councils, and is currently a member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) council for Disability Rights Texas. John is also a WRAP facilitator, WHAM facilitator and eCPR trainer. When not advocating for others, John enjoys working on his own self care through reading, cooking and visiting historical sites.

Marybeth McAndrews, Senior Workforce Administrative AssistantMarybeth McAndrews
Senior Workforce Administrative AssistantMarybeth is proud to consider herself an “old timer” at Via Hope, having been with the organization when it was still a program. She has several years of experience in administration and also has a huge personal interest in mental health. When she is not typing away in the Via Hope office, she is either outside with her camera or inside with her cats.

Amy Pierce, CPS-Peer Specialist Integration Field LiaisonAmy Pierce
CPS-Peer Specialist Integration Field LiaisonAmy 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.

Sandra Smith, Ph.D., Peer Support Leadership ManagerSandra D. Smith, Ph.D.
Peer Leadership ManagerDr. 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 certified community health worker/instructor, a licensed chemical dependency counselor intern and a certified peer recovery support specialist. Sandra also holds a master degree 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 and 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.