Sonya M. Thorn, LCSW is a social entrepreneur, community licensed Clinical Social Worker, and nationally recognized trainer and the director of the Family Nurturing Center of Texas. She has previously worked for Texas State University as an Adjunct Professor, Upward Bound program director, and program faculty. In her 12 years with Texas State University, she brought in over two million dollars of external grant funds to the University. She has directed and been responsible for the management of two large projects serving disenfranchised and vulnerable youth and families (Casa Esperanza-University Service Learning lab and Upward Bound).
Ms. Thorn has been a training faculty member for the Renaissance TRiO Project and the training director for Nosotros Education Center. She is the founder and owner of PRAXIS with Integrity Consulting PLLC, where she partners with non-profits, state, and government organizations to assess and evaluate systems of care for young children, youth, and families. She completed a project as an executive coach and program evaluator with Eva Longoria’s nonprofit in San Antonio. She conducts professional development, training, and consulting to professionals in the areas of leadership, clinical and reflective supervision, equity and diversity, infant and early childhood mental health, parent education and family engagement, in-home family services, family and child assessment, early intervention, and many other leadership, family strengthening, and child welfare topics. She is a recognized National Trainer/Consultant for Family Development Resources Inc. where she trains throughout the United States and internationally (Bermuda Department of Child and Family Services, Camp Foster, MCCS Okinawa Japan). She has been involved in several statewide initiatives creating systems of care for multi-system involved families.
Ms. Thorn comes with a wealth of experience working with multiple university departments, school districts, and community partners on behalf of children, youth, families, and frontline staff. She has a long history of training foster parents. She is one of twenty-one Rockefeller Fellows who were asked to work for the Barat Education Foundation, where she participated in national university speaking engagements through a diversity forum with open discussions on critical social divides such as race, class, gender, social inequality, and injustices. She holds a BSW from Southwest Texas State, an MSW from Our Lady of the Lake University and is ABD in her PhD in the School of Business Leadership.
Barbara Buie, LCSW, has been a Nurturing Program trainer in the state of Texas since 2001, preferring to train small groups of 10-12, especially for those desiring to start a Nurturing Program. She has facilitated and coordinated Nurturing Parenting programs since 2001, and as a private practice therapist, she utilizes the Nurturing philosophy in her therapy with children, adolescents, individuals and families.
Barbara has over 40 years of experience working with domestic violence, substance abuse, foster and adoptive families, early childhood intervention, separation and divorce, chronic medical issues, mental health, grief and loss, and child abuse. Barbara received her Bachelors and Masters in Social Work at Texas State University in San Marcos and teaches field classes to social work students there. She is married with five children and seven grandchildren. She is currently in private practice in Bastrop, Texas.
Natalie Beck, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Supervisor. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Southwestern University, Master’s degree in Social Work from The University of Texas, and is currently working on her Doctorate degree in Social Work through The University of Tennessee. Ms. Beck has been facilitating the Nurturing Program with adolescents and their families for more than seven years. She has participated in program and curriculum development with the Nurturing Program and is currently involved in researching its use with the adolescent population.
Lorene Dillard is a busy wife of 17 years and mom of two teenage sons diagnosed at a very early age, one with Asperger’s Syndrome and one with classic Autism. The journey has led her on the path to eagerly help others as she was helped herself. In 2010, Mrs. Dillard also found herself merging worlds of parenting children with disabilities as well as parenting a child with significant health challenges when her elementary age daughter was diagnosed with a brain disorder. “What a blessing,” Mrs. Dillard explains, that she found herself already working with the Nurturing Program for over six years. It allowed her family to be able to follow its methods for supporting the unique needs of two children with Autism for the past six years into the world of also supporting a daughter who would have significant health challenges which would need to be cared for long term.
Mrs. Dillard has worked with two local non-profit organizations in the field of parenting programs. Her first was with Partners Resource Network as their Outreach Coordinator assisting parents and community partners become well connected with resources in their area to best reach their child or young adults individual need. Mrs. Dillard’s most recent position held with was in a senior leadership capacity as Director of Parent Programs overseeing both parenting programs run by Brighton Center. These programs consisted of a child abuse and neglect program funded by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation utilizing the Nurturing Parenting Programs.
With the Nurturing Parenting Program, Mrs. Dillard and her staff facilitators were able to provide support through direct and indirect services to parents as well as working directly with the parents ongoing to ensure improvements on overall parenting scores. Through her leadership, she was able to see consistent retention and increased improvements in all Construct areas of the program. Due to the disability population being such an area of need in advocacy, Brighton also maintained an Advocacy Training Program, training parents, caregivers and community partners in individual rights under IDEA, Section 504 and ADA. Under these two parenting programs, Mrs. Dillard was able to lead a staff of educators to work with approximately 600 families on an annual basis to improve overall knowledge and services for families in the community by empowering families to understand they truly are their child’s very best advocate!
Jessica Presswood, Esq. resides in Round Rock, Texas with her Husband (Jeff), their three children (Ava, Tavan, and Maggie) and their two dogs (Titan and Ace). As the founder and owner of Presswood Resolutions, PLLC she has the privilege to work with high-conflict parents in an effort to reduce tension between the parents and provide them with techniques to build an emotionally safe and physically comforting environment for their children.
As a lawyer,Ms. Presswood has watched the effects of litigation ruin relationships and drain bank accounts. It frustrated her, as a lawyer, when she was unable to provide her clients with the skills they needed to empower themselves. As a mother, and a divorced parent, she has personal experience co-parenting in a high-conflict dynamic. She knows how exhausting it can be, but she also knows how beneficial a parent coordinator or parent facilitator can be in diffusing high levels of tension. Her personal experience has inspired her to leave the corporate practice of law and combine her communications and legal backgrounds with her passion for helping others. She recently joined McGirr Law, P.C. as an associate attorney and practices family law and civil litigation.
Ms. Presswood received her Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law in 2006. She has been a member of the State Bar of Arizona since January, 2007 and admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona since 2011. She has been admitted to practice law in Texas since January, 2015. She graduated with her Bachelorette in Science, Cum Laude, from Northern Arizona University in 2006. Ms. Presswood is certified through the Mediators of Texas in Advanced Mediation in Family Law and Basic Mediation. She is certified as a Parent Coordinator and Parent Facilitator through the Family Nurturing Center of Texas. Ms. Presswood is a member of the Texas Association of Mediators, Austin Association of Mediators and the Williamson County Bar Association.
I just wanted to say that your training was “Awesome.” I was totally moved by your presentation and I definitely held my tears “back” in many instances throughout those (3) days. Keep up the Great work!!! You are truly making a difference in the lives of many, many, people…
I have realized that it was for the sake of (my children) and for many other families that I come across on a daily basis… I have learned that, we need to really “feel” what our children are going through and allow them to express themselves, instead of “shutting them down” so fast & hurting them… By no means you put a (guilt trip) on anyone during the conference, but I can definitely see where I can change a whole lot, for the sake of my children, from this point forward…I appreciate you, your time and your hard work.Ebony Shelton, M.S.W.
Sonya is one dynamic trainer who provides you with all the skills, tools, and confidence to present best practices to your audience, whether it is professionals or families. Attending Nurturing Parenting Training to become a facilitator or a trainer of trainers is the best experience I have received as an individual and a professional. The knowledge gained is instantly promotes health and wellness. It was just awesome and a very enjoyable learning experience.LaSandra Jones
Sonya is an excellent presenter, experienced and delivered a wealth of knowledge. She is truly a poster child for the Nurturing Program; I appreciated her flexibility, recommendations, and helpful nature. Most impactful to me is that Sonya is absolutely passionate for her work which is evident in her training courses.Tina Torres, MS, MFCT
I counsel and work with women who have problems with substance abuse or substance dependency at Aliviane Tigua Women’s and Children Recovery Center. I learned and enjoyed the training Sonya provided. There were many scenarios in our class that in reality are useful in our facility, which is especially important, in addition to education on the addiction itself. The nurturing program is going to not only teach our ladies to nurture their children but to nurture themselves. This training to me personally was food for the soul. Thank you, Sonya.Laura Faudea, LDDC
I recently began my career in the substance abuse and mental health field. Our target population are mothers from the ages of seventeen years and older. We are a residential facility that has the luxury to see those mothers interact their their children on a daily basis. The training from Sonya was very educational, motivating, and inspiring. Our training class interacted very well with one another and I can honestly say that many of us took more than one thing from the training. I look forward to implementing the new strategies that we were taught in Sonya’s class in our facility; I know we are going to see some amazing results with the mother-child interaction.Cynthia Gomez
Sonya is an extraordinary presenter who helps you make the connection between the nurturing program and our life experiences in a simple natural way.Lissett Galdean, Early Intervention Specialist
I am a clinical director with 12 years of experience with outpatient clinics; Sonya’s passion for the Nurturing Parenting Program is infectious. I enjoyed her style of disseminating information; it makes you both comfortable and hungry to learn more. Kudos to Sonya!Richard Overton, BSW, LLDC
I have worked in the field with children and families for 17 years and have always looked for the best way to help families connect, love and grow. This training with Sonya Thorne on the Nurturing Parenting program has been not only refreshing but rejuvenated the passion inside of me about why I work in the field I work in. She allowed for us to transform as professionals through Nurturing Parenting who we are and providing us with new thoughts, ideas and skills to continue helping families grow with the NP program. Thank you Sonya, for continuing to inspire, motivate and provide best practices to the professionals in the field.Cheyenne Massey, AAA PsyD