Staff

Staff

Abby Williams
RFA Social Worker

Abby Williams, MSW, has worked for Family Builders since 2007.  Currently she is a social worker in the RFA program and she assesses Resource Family applicants for San Francisco.  She has worked in all aspects of Child Welfare including Child Protective Services, group homes, and Fost Adopt programs in her 25 year career. She is the parent of one child.

Alfonso "Fonzie" Silva
California Kids Connection Program Coordinator

Alfonso “Fonzie” Silva joined Family Builders in May 2014 as the Family Developer. Fonzie moved to Northern California in 2007 when he started attending U.C. Berkeley. During his time at Cal he worked with families applying for U-Visas at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. After graduating with a B.A. in Social Welfare he started working in retail management throughout the Bay Area. Coming back to social services is something Fonzie had been looking forward to and he’s excited to continue using his organizational and people skills to work with our families. He resides in Oakland and when he’s not at work he enjoys playing tennis, hiking, listening to music, reading and exploring the Bay Area!

Alisa Moore
Program Administrator

Alisa joined Family Builders as our Permanency Program Coordinator, and is now our Program Administrator. Since 1995, Alisa has developed and managed a variety of non-profit and educational programs serving foster, adoptive and homeless families, focusing on parent support, training, and advocacy. Alisa taught parenting classes at the Harvey Milk Center. She has provided training and resources for parents, group home providers and social workers on a wide range of topics, including cultural competency with LGBTQ youth. In 1994, she and her best friend, both pregnant, founded the social/support group, Our Family. The first meeting included five LGBT families and their infants, and soon blossomed into a network of hundreds, later merging with All Our Families to become Our Family Coalition.

In her free time, she enjoys gardening, painting, cooking, dancing in her kitchen, and watching her son grow into a wonderful young adult.

Alyssa Gerber
Homestudy Social Worker

Alyssa is a Homestudy Social Worker with our Fost-Adopt Program. She is a graduate of the Masters of Social Welfare program at UC-Berkeley and holds a Bachelors degree in Writing-Intensive English from Marquette University. Alyssa grew up in the Midwest but has called Northern California home for the last six years. Before coming to Family Builders, Alyssa worked with homeless women and families, as well as with individuals with severe mental illness. When she's not helping to connect foster children to their permanent homes, Alyssa enjoys reading, wine tasting, listening to music, and searching for the best tacos in the Bay Area.

Amber Merziotis
LGBTQ Family Advocate

Amber joyfully joined Family Builders in April 2013 as the LGBTQ Family Advocate for the Youth Acceptance Collaborative. Amber studied Counseling Psychology with a specialization in somatic psychology from John F. Kennedy University. Amber is passionate about using a holistic approach when working with clients. She combined her passion and training by completing her traineeship at the Center for Holistic Counseling, where she chose to specialize in working with members of the LGBTQ community. Through this amazing experience, Amber knew she had found her “life’s work” which is to be a vehicle of support and change for members of the LGBTQ community.

Amber’s other counseling experiences include providing individual and family therapy to youth in both a school-based outpatient and day treatment setting and crisis counseling.

In her spare time you will likely find Amber whipping up some baked goodies for her friends and loved ones or spending time in nature.

Andrea Zoradi
Andrea Zoradi
Home Study Social Worker

Andrea is a home study social worker with Family Builders. She has been serving children and their families for over 10 years. In 2009 she received her Master's degree in Social Work at CSU Los Angeles and began working in child welfare. Andrea is passionate about providing supportive and loving homes to children in the foster care system. Andrea is proud to work at an agency whose mission is to provide permanency to all children.

Andrea is a Bay Area native and first generation American to Colombian and Greek parents. After many years in the Los Angeles area she is happy to call the East Bay home again. She enjoys spending time with her two little boys, her family, three cats, and cooking and eating!

Ankita Mohanty
Ankita Mohanty
Home Study Social Worker

Ankita is a Home Study Social Worker with Family Builders. Ankita received her BA in Psychology & Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan and her MSW in Management & Planning from UC Berkeley. In her other part-time position, Ankita is a psychotherapist at the Women’s Therapy Center in Berkeley. Previous to these roles, Ankita worked as a researcher with WestCoast Children’s Clinic, Race Forward, and the Mack Center at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare, on issues related to commercial child sexual exploitation, immigration law reform for undocumented families, and case planning practices within a local county child welfare system, respectively.

When she’s not therapizing or social working, Ankita loves to relish in eats/walks/sits/adventures with loved ones, wearing purple lipstick and dancing, and practicing mindfulness meditation.

Barbara Brigham
Barbara Brigham
Fost-Adopt Program Manager

Barbara Brigham is the Fost-Adopt Program Manager at Family Builders by Adoption. Barbara earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. She is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). Over the past two decades, Barbara has worked in Foster Care and Adoption, oversaw a Residential Facility for middle school girls and worked with teenage parents and their families. Barbara is a fifth generation Californian. She is married with two sons, a step son and two beautiful grandsons. She enjoys gardening, reading and travelling.

Blanca Almonte
Social Worker

Blanca E. Almonte has worked for Family Builders since 2002. She has a MA from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and her social work experience includes psychiatric social work, family therapy, individual counseling, training and administration. She has taught social work at the BA and Masters Degree levels and multicultural education for bilingual education teachers. A Mexican immigrant, Blanca has been particularly interested in the influence of culture in child rearing and in early childhood education. She has a strong commitment to providing support to parents and their children. Blanca is fully bilingual and is part of the team that provides adoption services in Spanish.

Carmen Smith
Adoption Navigator

Carmen joined Family Builders after working in mental health for the past three years with youth in a residential setting. As a Bay Area native she felt honored to advocate and serve the Bay's most vulnerable children and their families. At Family Builders, she extends her passion to help others and provide a positive voice for foster youth as an Adoption Navigator.

In her free time, Carmen enjoys hiking, cooking, juicing, yoga, spending time with family and watching the Warriors. She also loves to travel, and her favorite place in the world is the beach.

Cassie Bath
Office Manager

Cassie graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a degree in modern Middle Eastern history. She fell in love with Berkeley, and can’t seem to move away. Before joining Family Builders in 2014, she worked as a paralegal at an immigration law firm in San Francisco.
In her free time, Cassie enjoys swing dancing and camping. She loves traveling to see both family and new places. She especially loves the Pacific Northwest, or anywhere with gloomy weather and lots of trees.

Dana Montoro
Adoption Navigator

Dana joined Family Builders after nearly a decade of working with children and their families in various capacities. She loves to build relationships and be of service, and is proud to now be supporting families through their process of adoption.

A Bay Area native, Dana pursued Women's Studies and Cultural Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, and also spent time studying in South Africa. She has lived in the East Bay since 2007, except for the 2.5 years she spent living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she developed a deep love of yerba mate. In her free time, Dana is a dedicated Cuban salsa dancer, and performs frequently in the bay area with her dance group.

Elisha Mitchell
Community Liaison

Elisha joined the Family Builders team in May 2017 as Community Liaison. Two days prior, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with her degree in American Studies and concentration in Family Law and Policy in the US. She is responsible for raising public awareness about the need for families to adopt waiting children in the foster care system, as well as providing administrative support to the Development Director. Being adopted out of the foster care system herself, Elisha has a passion for introducing the adoption process to families who are interested in becoming parents. Elisha takes joy in serving her community with her sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated and gaining new experiences. She also loves Thai food, hikes and laying on the beach.

Elizabeth Cotterell
Development Director

Elizabeth brings a diverse background in nonprofit development and project management, with experience serving multi-cultural populations throughout Hawaii, California, Florida and the Washington DC Metropolitan Areas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology/Psychology, Master’s Degree in Public Health, and Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. Elizabeth is responsible for the oversight of development, community outreach and family recruitment activities.

Gloria Barclay
Senior Fost/Adopt Social Worker

Gloria has been employed at Family Builders since 1985. She started her social work career in Connecticut over forty-fiveyears ago as a foster care, family preservation, and adoptions social worker. After moving to California, she worked for Catholic Social Service in San Francisco initially as an office manager but then as a social worker, doing pregnancy counseling, domestic and intercountry home studies, and post-placement supervision of children. She also designed and implemented that agency’s post-adoption program which involved reunions of adult adopted children with their birth families. Gloria wanted to be a social worker from the time she was a teenager, and has Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Having grown up in a family of ten children, Gloria has always had a particular interest in preserving sibling bonds. She is passionate about the mission of Family Builders and the success the agency has had in providing permanent families for children who might otherwise not have what she considers a right of every child. She herself is a single adoptive mother of a teenage son.

 
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