Center for Family Strengthening Staff
Lisa Fraser, Executive Director of the Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) since 2001, distinguishes herself through her vision to create and grow nine major programs, each designed to strengthen families and stop the cycle of child abuse. She also serves as Board President of Alpha Pregnancy and Parenting Support and as a board member of the LINK, which provides services to children, youth and families. Lisa Fraser is a preeminent leader in SLO County’s human service field and was part of establishing Martha’s Place, an assessment center for at-risk children.
While her legacy has had a tremendous impact on our SLO County community, Lisa’s talents and her commitment to families are recognized on a regional and state level. She provided coordination for the Coastal Tri-Counties Child Abuse Prevention Coalition, established the Regional Child Death Review Team for Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties and served on the California State Child Death Review Council. Lisa also participated in developing the California Family Support Standards, part of an ongoing initiative to define and promote quality in the field of family strengthening.
Lisa earned a B.S. Degree and a Single-Subject Teaching Credential at Cal Poly. She has also earned professional certifications including California Standards for Family Strengthening and Support certification, California Mandated Reporter of Suspected Child Abuse certification, non-Profit Development Officer Program certification, and a certificate in Facilitative Leadership-Interaction Institute for Social Change.
Lisa loves the “community spirit” of the Central Coast where she and Larry, her husband of 31 years, have raised two children, Brooke, and Dylan. She is an avid tennis player and active in social organizations and the arts.
Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia is the Program Director for the Center for Family Strengthening. She coordinates the Promotores Collaborative of San Luis Obispo County and Innovative Partnerships, a regional grant funded by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP), in partnership with Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Erica is also a parent educator and mother of three beautiful sons. For twenty-two years she and husband have called the Central Coast home.
For over a decade Erica was a First 5 School Readiness Site Coordinator in Oceano. During this time she worked with families struggling to meet basic needs, obtain health services and navigate the school system. Erica was part of the pilot program for Promotores that started in South County. She has been a fundamental part of the strategic planning, organizing and development of the Promotores educational trainings. Her own personal experience and knowledge of Latino culture helps to bridge gaps, create effective outreach opportunities, and empower the community. Today she works in collaboration with other agencies to ensure children and parents are receiving equal access to healthcare and services/resources needed to live a healthy life.
Erica has a BA and Masters in Spanish, and has taught Spanish classes at Allan Hancock College for more than 13 years. She obtained her Doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from La Verne. Erica’s passion is to make a positive difference in people’s lives and her authentic leadership is exemplified in this John C. Maxwell quote, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
Gwendolyn Garcia joins Center for Family Strengthening as Program Coordinator for CFS’ major programs: Parent Connection, Kidz Tool Box for personal safety, Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition and Postpartum Depression Support Services.
Garcia graduated from California Polytechnic University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology and also holds Associate Degrees in Early Child Development and Behavioral Sciences. Impressively, while completing her studies at Cal Poly, she received training through Active Parenting and Positive Discipline parent education curriculum.
She was a preschool teacher with Early Head Start at Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, where she worked with children ages infants to three years old. Previousvly, Gwen was a co-Teacher working with pre-schoolers at the County Office of Education in Paso Robles and Shandon.
Gwendolyn has lived in San Luis Obispo county for the majority of her life and loves the fact that she and her husband are raising their children here. In her free time she a photographer and uses her creative energy on a variety of artistic projects.
Michele Gordon Johnson is a parent educator and coach with Parent Connection, a web-based resource center that delivers parenting classes, parent coaching, and parenting support services in SLO County.
Parent Connection was established in 2008, with funding from the Mental Health Services Act (Prevention and Early Intervention). Michele provided leadership for the program’s design, development, and community outreach, bringing over thirty years of experience advocating for and working with families to the project. Michele continues to strengthen the delivery of services, through professional trainings for local family advocates, family educators, and family support staff.
Michele has been teaching Early Childhood Studies and Family Studies courses including: Infant & Toddler Development, Child Development, and Parenting for Cuesta College, Allan Hancock College and Cal Poly for more than 20 years. Additionally, Michele is a certified Parent Educator in the following programs: Active Parenting, Positive Discipline, Parent Project and the Nurturing Parenting Program.
Prior to teaching the adult learner, Michele taught preschool for 12 years. Michele is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned her Master’s Degrees in Education—with an emphasis in Early Childhood Studies—at Sonoma State.
Currently, Michele teaches parenting classes for families of young children (specializing in birth to age 5) and provides parent coaching. She lives in San Luis Obispo, where she and her husband, a teacher at San Luis Obispo High School, raised two children.
Lynn is the Fiscal Manager for Center for Family Strengthening. She’s brings 25 years of accounting experience with her, as well as a wealth of nonprofit experience. Lynn’s affinity for accounting began in one of her first jobs as a bank teller, and developed into work as aerospace industry accountant, a controller for Direct Relief International, and later as Finance Manager for Girls Inc. in Santa Barbara, CA.
Lynn graduated cum laude from Missouri Southern State with a B.S.B.A in Accounting. And received a Non-profit Financial Management Certification from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She serves on the Board of Directors for ALPHA Pregnancy & Parenting Support. Her thoughtful, balanced, attention to detail is a valued and much-needed support to all who work with and know Lynn.
Recently she and her husband Richard spent 20 months traveling around Costa Rica and enjoying the beaches, bugs and culture. Now they enjoy the scenery in Buellton where they live with their rescue dog, Delilah.