Welcome to our new PCA Iowa staff!
PCA Iowa is thrilled about the addition of three new staff members in 2020. Read below about our new hires and their role at PCA Iowa!
Martha Comfort is the new Connections Matter Program Manager. She is managing the Connections Matter Program by offering technical assistance, training, and growing the program in Iowa and other states. Martha is excited about working for PCA Iowa because “for the past four years, I have been a sexual abuse prevention specialist in eight school districts and several counties in south-central Iowa. I have also presented Connections Matter several times. I have seen how Connections Matter has made a difference in the schools and communities that I served. I enjoy building relationships, and I saw an opportunity to work at the State level of prevention, continue to build relationships, and grow the Connections Matter program. I believe that empowering community members to advocate for child abuse prevention is important and building relationships is part of that effort.”
Martha shares her favorite childhood memory: “I grew up in Western New York. My maternal grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins lived in Western Pennsylvania. Many of my happiest childhood memories center around visiting my grandmother’s home in the mountains of Pennsylvania. She lived in a simple country home that was heated by an old coal stove. When we would visit grandma, we were treated to her simple homestyle foods. I never saw her use a recipe. Grandma never planned time with us. Instead, we would follow her around, and she would include us in her daily activities. She listened to us and loved on us. My sister and I played in the woods and hunted for “tea berries” and “Jack in the Pulpit” flowers. We were warned about bears and poisonous snakes, but we rarely saw any. My sister and I would take crab apples and push them onto the end of a long stick and fling them across the country road that ran in front of grandma’s house. We sat on the porch swing and played games. Grandma did not have a tv, and we never missed it. At the end of the day of running the woods and playing, my sister and I would fall into bed and sink into a feather mattress. We fell asleep listening to the adults talk below as they sat around the coal stove. Going to grandma’s house was a respite from the busyness of life in the city, and for me, it was magical.”
Alysa Mozak is our Director of Program Development. Her role is to develop sustainable business models for program enhancement and expansion, identify funding opportunities for existing and new programs, provide presentations to the public and professionals, provide training delivery support for existing and new programs and to coordinate and plan PCA Iowa’s annual prevention conference. Alysa shares why she is excited about working for PCA Iowa: “I have a passion for prevention, and I was drawn to PCA Iowa’s mission and knew that I could make a difference in a larger scope in the statewide work that we do. I also missed working specifically with children and families, as so much of what we learn and how we navigate our world is impacted by our family environment, and I know that the work we do helps Iowa families strive.”
Alysa shares her favorite childhood memory: “When I was young, my siblings and I used to entertain our parents with interpretative scenes of our family’s favorite artists’ songs (this pre-dates MTV music videos by the way) for fun. I remember doing “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. We set up the scene environment and set, including props and costumes, and had each of us play a character from the song (in this case, a bar tender, and patrons). We proceeded to play the song and had hand gestures, and thematic moves that went with the lyrics and themes of the song. It was so much fun! My parents actually started requesting us to do certain songs and would help us find the needed items for setting the stage. I loved to use my imagination when I was young.”
Jessie Orton has joined as Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager. Her role is to develop improvements to program systems by implementing processes & procedures related to core functions, training & process oversight, and help to manage internal and external database systems. She collaborates with program managers, DHS, and grantees to provide technical assistance and ensure the organization is in compliance with all contractual and oversight requirements, and of course – work to improve processes wherever possible. Jessie is excited to work for PCA Iowa because “I have a deep appreciation for PCA Iowa’s mission and am eager to help drive local communities to build stronger families for Iowa’s future. I feel inspired and motivated to grow the reach of child abuse & pregnancy prevention efforts here in our home state. My passion for equity, advocacy, and education immediately connected me to the work of PCA Iowa. I’m grateful to have stepped into an organization with such a strong & enthusiastic team focused on making positive impact.”
Jessie shares her favorite childhood memory: “My grandmother loved to bake, but more than that – to spend time with her grandkids showing them the ropes of home-made goodness. One afternoon we gathered in the kitchen to make sugar cookies with 5-8 of us ready to be assigned jobs. Well… only one person could sift.. and only one person could mix… but each of us wanted to be able to do it all. So how did granny handle the dilemma? Hours and hundreds of cookies later, we had all had the chance to do each job. Her patience was astounding, and to this day we often reflect on the sweetness of that very special memory.”