Contact Us

Contact Us

Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


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!

Amanda Bowman, LCSW, Recovery Institute ManagerAmanda Bowman
LCSW, Recovery Institute Manager

Amanda 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 Coordinator

Betsy 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 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 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 Coordinator

Liz’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 Assistant

Bobbi 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 Assistant

Candyce 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 GonzalesBusiness / 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.

Christianna Hale, Certified Family Partner CoordinatorChristianna Hale
Certified Family Partner Coordinator

Christianna Hale is a Certified Family Partner (CFP) and Social Worker with 10 years of service as a Family Partner and over 16 years’ experience as a Social Worker, both in direct service and non-clinical work. Christianna joined Via Hope in October, 2017 after working as the CFP Subject Matter Expert at HHSC. Christianna is parent of two sons, one with co-occurring developmental and mental health disorders. Her desire to work as a family partner became apparent after being introduced to the profession through her own family partner, when her son was 4 years old. Christianna’s interests and key initiatives are mental health advocacy, system related trauma, transition age youth, self-care/wellness, inclusion of family voice and training and workforce development of CFPs across the state. Christianna is known for her compassion and authenticity in working with others and joins her lived mental health experience with her background in Social Work in hopes that all children and families in Texas have the resilience they need to achieve mental wellness. In her free time, Christianna enjoys lap swimming, water aerobics, surrounding herself by nature, attending craft fairs and working on a multitude of craft and sewing projects. Her future life dream includes living a simpler, greener life by downsizing and “going tiny”.

Jessie Hodet, Certified Peer Specialist TrainerJessie Hodet
Certified Peer Specialist Trainer

Jessie Hodet received her B.A. in 2013 in Cross-cultural Psychology from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. and is a Certified Peer Specialist and Certified Family Partner. Jessie is also a bilingual WRAP facilitator with 18 years of training experience. Jessie had been the first CPS hired in the agencies where she worked prior to Via Hope and considers herself a trailblazer. Her heart is all about sharing her knowledge and experience with Recovery in empowering ways that are relatable and give others Hope. Aside from her work, Jessie enjoys riding her motorcycle, photography, and spending time with her family and fur babies.

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 Manager

A significant part of Via Hope’s mission is to amplify the voice of families and youth in the Texas mental health system. To further this goal, we have recently created the Family and Youth Leadership unit. In addition to family and youth voice activities, this unit will be responsible for the continued development of the Certified Family Partner training and certification program.

Kamala has 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. She also spent seven of those 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 is on fire to work with Via Hope in a capacity that utilizes 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
CPS – Peer Support Integration Coordinator

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.

Darcy Kues, J.D., Peer and Family Training Coordinator

Darcy Kues
J.D., Peer and Family Training Coordinator

Darcy received her J.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle; during law school, she focused on various social justice issues, including LGBTQ youth, poverty, and criminalization. But her Texas roots called her home and she has been happy to be back in the warm rays of Texas, where she has worked in areas including civil rights, domestic violence services, and mental health advocacy. Darcy was excited to join the team at Via Hope in April 2016. Outside of work, Darcy loves aerial arts, hanging out at the beach, and going on long walks with her dog.

Marybeth McAndrews, Senior Workforce Administrative AssistantMarybeth McAndrews
Senior Workforce Administrative Assistant

Marybeth 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 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.

Sandra Smith, Ph.D., Peer Support Leadership ManagerSandra Smith, Ph.D.
Peer Support Leadership Manager

Sandra 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.