Since the inception of the BRC, our board has embodied a myriad of diverse identities. Including current and past board members, they identify as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, genderqueer, straight allies, transgender women, transgender men, nonbinary people, parents of transgender kids, parents of straight kids, Mexican American, Iranian/Mexican American, African American, Caucasian, Latinx, native-born El Pasoan, transplants to El Paso, bilingual, multi-lingual, working-class people, middle-class people, veterans, and members of military families.

Executive Director

Brenda Risch, PhD, LCSW

they/them, she/her - Dr. Risch has over 30 years of experience working on issues of gender and sexuality in academic, community, and clinical settings.

Director of Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso (DRIEP)

Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW

she/her - Ashley Heidebrecht, The Radical Social Worker, has worked in the field of social services for over a decade. She earned her Undergraduate degree in 2008 from Wichita State University.

Volunteer Coordinator/Social Media Manager

Naomi Estrada

she/her - Naomi Ruth Estrada loves volunteer work. She has received a Bachelor of Arts in English from New Mexico State University.

Youth Services and Senior Services Coordinator

Lorena Silva-Edwards

she/her - Lori is a native-born El Pasoan and fellow Mama Bear to two kiddos. She graduated from Purdue Global University with a BS in Nutritional Science. She brings together a background in emergency medicine and education to professionally chauffeur her kids all through the valley she also grew up in. Lori’s passions include: community volunteer work with kids, young adults, seniors and any craft that involves yarn. Like many native El Pasoans, she considers her community a part of her “familia” and makes it her mission to ensure more within the community have access to all our wonderful borderland has to offer.

Masters of Social Work Intern

Monica Crosby

she/her - Hello, my name is Monica Crosby. I am currently an intern with the BRC as a student completing my master’s in social work degree online at Arizona State University. I am excited to join the BRC family and looking forward to serving the community any way possible.

HIV Services Project Coordinator

Vanessa Medrano

she/her - Vanessa Medrano has always referred to El Paso as home, even when she had to leave town for school. She has a BSA in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Psychology from UT Austin. Hook 'em! She has worked with capacity building for another local nonprofit, and loves spending her Saturday mornings at the BRC Pantry with Julie and Chef Luis!

Program Director

Alison Westermann

she/her - Alison is a Progressive Jewish mom, wife, educator, singer, songwriter, knitter, social justice warrior and all-around student of life.

Building and Pantry Director

Julie Lucas

she/her - Julie is a Mama Bear to many kids besides her own. She has a BS in Biology but rarely uses it. She has worked for many many years in food and beverage industries as well as academia. Running the food pantry is the first job she has ever loved.

DRIEP Education and Content Manager

Diana Martinez, MA

she/her – Diana, named for the statue of the huntress in Mexico City on Reforma Street, was born and raised in El Paso, Texas by immigrant parents from Juarez, and a large extended binational family. Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in History and a minor in Secondary Education. Diana then taught in many types of schools, teaching students of all ages and a diverse array of subjects. In 2009, Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Masters in History. Since 2010 Diana has taught at the college level at both El Paso Community College and at the University of Texas at El Paso. Diana grew up with a strong passion for art, history, and literature that goes into her teaching. Diana also works with others to organize community actions to stand up for the rights of immigrants and immigrant children in detention.

Healing Sexual Trauma in the Borderlands Program Director

Alex Ramirez, RN

they/them - Alex Ramirez is a Registered Nurse, receiving their BSN-RN at the University of Texas at El Paso. They served the community by working in critical care for more than three years, and they continue to be passionate about healing wounds from the individual to the community.

Drag Queen Story Hour- El Paso Chapter Coordinator

Dede Camacho

she/her/Queen - Dede Camacho is originally from Chicago, and has multiple talents, including puppeteering, drag, and more! Dede has been in show business for 11 years running. Dede is bilingual (Spanish and English) and is known across the country for her incredible performances and amazing personality!

Masters of Social Work intern

Ana Gonzalez

she/her - Ana is an MSW intern from the Texas State University - Rio Grande Valley



Tess English



Alex Marquez


Membership Director

Amanda Sanchez, PhD



Kyle Erwin, PhD



Elizabeth Bambi Depew, LCSW-S, LAC


Youth Advocate Member

Jesus Ramos

he/him/El - I was born right across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and immigrated as a young child to our amazing Sun City. I am an Alumni of Northwest Early College and I am currently pursuing a BA in Political Science at New Mexico State University. I’ve been advocated for issues that truly impact us as a Frontera City such as Gun Sense, Equity in Public Education, LGBTQ+ Rights, and the fight against systemic racism.

Vice President

Karissa Doster-Hoffman, LCSW, LCDC


Secretary, Youth Advocate

Eman Attar



Andi Tiscareño



Ross Ingram



Alexsandra Annello

she/her - Alexsandra was born and raised in the greater Boston, Massachusetts area to Italian American parents. In June 2017, Alexsandra was elected to the El Paso City Council. This is her full time job and her undivided attention is on the issues that affect the residents of District 2. Alexsandra is active in many roles throughout her community, from mental health to animal welfare. She is the current Vice Chair of Local Progress Texas Organizing Committee, a board member for Emergence Health Network, the Animal Services Committee, the Rio Grande Council of Governments, and the Borderland Rainbow Center.

Join our Board!

Please make sure to include all relevant experience, volunteer and professional.