A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rafael de Castro has worked in Business Development and Non-Profit Management for over 31 years. Before joining LaFASA he served as the Executive Director of Youth Oasis, a nonprofit agency that primarily operates a Homeless Shelter for youth ages 10-17 years old. During his time at Youth Oasis, Rafael was responsible for a complete transformation of the agency resulting in a 170% increase in provided bed-nights and the development of the gulf coast region’s first Transitional Living Program for LGBTQ homeless youth ages 16-21. In a previous role as Executive Director of the National Independent Nursery Furniture Association, he worked to ensure safer sleeping environments for infants by serving as a member of the CPSC Infant Bedding Task Force Committee and participating in ASTM subcommittees to establish the ASTM Consumer Safety Specifications for Full-Size Baby Cribs (F1169). Rafael is a Louisiana native and excited to lead the LaFASA team.
Jessie Nieblas received her Master of Public Health from Tulane University in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Science and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Women's Studies. In her 10 years of work on sexual violence prevention and intervention, reproductive health and rights, and health care access, Jessie has designed, implemented, and evaluated programs; conducted outreach and engagement efforts with diverse communities; and raised funds through direct appeals, grants, and events. She has served as co-chair of Take Back the Night at UCSB, volunteered on RAINN's Online Hotline, and co-founded a fund to provide financial assistance to women needing reproductive health care in New Orleans. Jessie is a California native who enjoys travelling and cooking.
Sean graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans (B.A. Political Science, 1996 and J.D., 2000) and was a civil litigator for 15 plus years, mostly focusing on environmental litigation. He was a proud member of litigation teams nominated as finalists in the Public Justice Foundation’s Trial Lawyer of the Year in both 2012 (Mingo County Coal Slurry Litigation) and 2013 (Hairston v. Equitable Production Company). He is honored to zealously advocate for survivors of sexual assault by providing direct legal services to survivors statewide, by providing technical legal assistance to LaFASA’s member sexual assault crisis centers, by providing training, education, and technical assistance to other attorneys and allied professionals with respect to the law and sexual assault, and by providing legislative advocacy to monitor state and federal legislation with the goal of protecting the rights of sexual assault survivors.
LaFASA PREA Liaison
As Outreach Coordinator, Kelli is responsible for managing LaFASA's website, helpline, social media, resource library, and all LaFASA publications and designs. Kelli Knight is a Baton Rouge native and graduated from LSU with a Bachelor of Arts. Her professional background is in graphic design and marketing, with extensive experience in social causes. She's always been passionate about working with non-profits and volunteering. Some of the organizations she's worked extensively with are The American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana, Girl Scouts Louisiana East, Reach Out World Wide, St. Jude the Apostle Church, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her other passions include writing and promoting adoption for homeless pets. She is excited that her 25+ years of advocacy and non-profit marketing and outreach can make a difference in the lives of survivors and promote change to end sexaual assault.
Samantha proudly serves as the Campus Sexual Assault Project Coordinator. Samantha is a first generation Panamanian American originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and was raised between NOLA and Panama City, Panama. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 2019 with a BS in Pre Med Psychology and a Minor in Philosophy. She is currently a Masters of Science in Nonprofit Administration Candidate at LSUS. While working towards her degree at LSU she has done extensive cognitive and behavioral research with her professors along with student advocacy. Samantha found her passion for advocacy and mental health while working as a Behavioral Therapist for Center for Autism and took this further when she took on a full time position as a Bilingual Medical Advocate at STAR. Samantha’s honored to be a part of LaFASA and her experiences, passion, and extensive knowledge is something that she wants to use to serve survivors and to make the community a safe space for everyone. Outside of LaFASA, Samantha is involved in Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s National Speakers Bureau & Young Leaders and continues to provide bilingual medical advocacy for survivors.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) calls for a zero tolerance approach to sexual abuse or harassment for incarcerated individuals. The position of PREA Liaison with LaFASA was created to improve conditions for survivors residing in detention facilities. Our PREA Liaison advocates for the rights of incarcerated survivors. By fostering working relationships with prison administration and offering technical assistance for the successful implementation of PREA standards, the PREA Liaison provides Louisiana facilities with appropriate resources. Ensuring a safe environment for detainees and prisoners will also provide for the safety of prison staff and, upon release, ease the transition of individuals back into the free population.
Courtney has an undergraduate degree in social work from Louisiana College and her MSW from Louisiana College. As an undergraduate student, she volunteered with Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) in Alexandria and was fortunate enough to intern with STAR during her final semester. Courtney picks up the trailblazing pathway established to manage and build the chat and text Helpline. She brings an incredible foundation to continue the prodigious efforts that serve survivors in all 64 parishes.
Jocelyn is from Houma, Louisiana. She has a Bachelor's degree in social work, and over five years in community organizing in digital spaces. Jocelyn will be assiting in supervising support specialists for the chat/text statewide helpline. In her spare time, Jocelyn loves to play with her cat and make ceramics.
Aubri is from Pineville, Louisiana. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Louisiana College with a minor in Communication studies, which is a plus in the role as a Support Specialist Supervisor. Her experience and leasdership assignments with support specialist groups thoroughly qualified her to take on this position. She will soon be pursuing a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. Aubri has a passion for the helping profession and utilizes this position to make a positive impact on people in any way she can.
LAFASA INTERNS & VOLUNTEERS
Jaelyn received her degree in Social Work from Louisiana College. While completing her undergraduate she interned at non-profit organization Volunteers of America (VOA) who are dedicated to helping the homeless of Central Louisiana. Jaelyn is currently working towards a Master's Degree in Social Work with a specialization in Human Behavior at Louisiana College. Jaelyn has also interned at Healing Hands & Hearts, a behavioral health center that offers case managing and counseling services in Alexandria, LA. She is double interning through Title IX at LA College and LAFASA this spring. Jaeylin plans to continue to lead a professional career that inspires and advocates others.
Jaimelle is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science. Afterwards she obtained a Juris Doctor degree from Southern University Law Center. She was granted admission to the practice of law in Louisiana in 2018. She clerked for four years for a judge in Baton Rouge assisting in a variety of areas in civil litigation. Her passion is to help others in whatever capacity is needed and looks forward to assisting in the goal of empowering survivors, engaging advocates, and changing systems and social norms to end sexual violence in Louisiana. Jaimelle is a Baton Rouge native who enjoys mentoring children, giving back to the community, and spending time with family and friends.
Board of Directors
Other Board Members
Joseph (Jody) Plauche'