About Us

Our Programs

We support youth through a three-pronged approach.

One-to-One Mentoring

Each participating youth will be teamed up with a trained and caring adult. Not only will they focus on building a relationship and having fun together, but they will also work toward the youth's goals and help establish a foundation for a successful future.

Resource Connections

Our Resource Coordinators will connect each youth to resources in our community to ensure their needs are met for housing, education, jobs, and more.

Life Skills & Recreation

Youth will learn hands-on life skills with their mentor and in a small group setting. They'll also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of recreational and social events.

OUR VISION

Our vision is a community where all youth transitioning from foster care to independence in North Texas are:

  • connected to caring adults who support them.
  • living in a safe place.
  • mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy.
  • secure in who they are and where they've been.
  • motivated to achieve their goals.
  • earnestly pursuing an education or training that will set them up for future success.

OUR MISSION

To turn that vision into reality, we will:

  • connect youth ages 14-24 who have experienced foster care with a supportive adult who has been trained as a strengths-based, trauma-informed mentor.
  • meet the physical, educational, and financial needs of the youth by connecting them to resources in the community.
  • introduce youth to new opportunities where they can learn and practice life skills with an emphasis on self-advocacy.

OUR VALUES

Our core values are summarized in the following statements:

  • We demonstrate the love of Christ to youth in all of our actions.
  • We are trustworthy and responsible.
  • We act with compassion and integrity.
  • We promote the welfare and safety of youth.
  • We promote justice for youth.
  • We honor youths' voices in designing and delivering our services.
  • We respect the rights, dignity, and intrinsic worth of youth.
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OUR HISTORY

February 2017: The concept for WAY Alliance began to be developed. Founder Joy Miller spent the next year researching evidence-based program strategies that would best serve youth aging out of foster care in North Texas.

March 2018: WAY Alliance was officially established as a Texas nonprofit organization.

April 2018: The founding Board of Directors held their initial meeting.

May 2018: WAY Alliance received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS.

April 2019: WAY Alliance trained their first cohort of mentors and began matching youth with mentors.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS & STAFF

Irene Accomando

Irene Accomando, MA

Board Chair

Irene is currently serving as the Vice President of Student Learning and Success at Hill College. Before that, she served as Director of Workforce Programs at Tarrant County College Northwest Alliance Campus. With over 20 years in higher education, she has also worked at Texas A&M University-Commerce as a faculty member and Design Incubator in the College of Innovation and Design. and multiple leadership positions at Tarrant County College. Irene has a BA in English from the University of Dallas and an MA in Communications/Public Relations from the University of Houston. In addition to her experience in administration, she has taught speech communication for 15+ years in the community college setting. During that time, she also served as a coach and assistant director of the speech and debate club in addition to serving her department as department chair. Irene is currently working in the dissertation phase to obtain her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of North Texas.

Before Irene ventured into the world of higher education, she spent some time working in communication, development, and fundraising for several nonprofit agencies in the Dallas area.

Irene has two foster-adoptive sons, volunteered as a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate for foster children) in Tarrant County, and served as a volunteer with ACH Children and Family Services. In her spare time (which is mostly spent writing her dissertation), she enjoys binge-watching any streaming service, reading, and running.

irene.accomando@wayalliance.org

Angela Cox

Angela Cox, CPA

Secretary, Board Member

Angela serves as the Board Secretary and also assists with finding resources for our youth. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting from East Texas State University. Angela is a licensed CPA—and believe it or not, she actually likes doing income taxes!

Angela devoted years of her life to raising and homeschooling her daughter who is now an adult. She is very passionate about encouraging youth to make their own path and select the career that's right for them. Education is a big priority to Angela, and she wants to make sure our youth have every opportunity to find their purpose in life. In her free time Angela enjoys reading, genealogy, quilting, and learning new things—and she's currently learning to draw!

angela.cox@wayalliance.org

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James Hentz, LPC

Board Member

James is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in the Intervention Department at Fort Worth Independent School District. James works directly with students that have been identified at being at risk of failure or expulsion due to behaviors in the classroom. James provides individual and group counseling to the students. James works with a collaborative support team to help address these issues so that the student can return to a healthy level of functioning in life and improve performance in the classroom.

James previously worked for Child Protective Services for more than 12 years. While there, he managed their Family Group Decision Making Program. James oversaw a team of Facilitators who worked with youth that would be aging out of foster care by providing a strategic plan of successful transition into adulthood. In addition, James oversaw Facilitators who mediated the potential removal of a child from their home by providing a platform for Families and Investigators to develop a Safety Plan to keep the child safe.

James has a passion for service and enjoys donating his time helping to empower others. During his leisure time, James enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. They have a thirst for travel, whether by car or plane, and often seek destinations that have some of the world's most beautiful beaches.

james.hentz@wayalliance.org

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Izell Bennett

Treasurer, Board Member

Izell has over 17 years of experience in social services, working with diverse populations including the homeless, foster care, juvenile corrections, education, and community sectors. He and his family relocated to North Texas in 2011 after managing Harper House, a transitional living program for Juvenile Offenders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Izell worked at Journey to Dream, a local non-profit, servicing homeless youth through their transitional programs and school groups. Then in 2017, he led the establishment of Kyle’s Place, Journey to Dream’s transitional housing for homeless teenagers. In 2020, Izell helped Ranch Hand Rescue, a local non-profit that is an animal sanctuary and counseling center, to establish Bob’s House of Hope, the first safe house for male sex trafficking victims in North Texas.

Izell has also served on multiple committees and task forces that address social issues, such as C7 Human Trafficking Coalition, Denton Homeless Coalition, and Denton’s Food Insecurity Committee. He currently serves on the Executive Board for Friends of Shiloh Gardens, which is a 14.5 acres community garden in Denton, TX that grows produce for local food pantries and charities. Izell is an ordained minister of the Gospel and currently works as the Vice President of Community Relations and Impact at First Refuge Ministries in Denton.

In his free time, Izell enjoys photography, music, and making up songs with his 13-year-old daughter. He also owns over 100 pairs of shoes.

izell.bennett@wayalliance.org

Jose Galindo

José Galindo, MSW

Board Member

José has worked in various roles in the non-profit sector for several years. His focus has been children and families. He enjoys working with both to ensure the best possible outcome for the youth.

He currently provides Crisis Case Management to unaccompanied minors with the International Rescue Committee and, in a recent role, has overseen the Home Study and Post Release Program at Mosaic Family Services. José also served in the US Army as a combat medic, providing life-saving care to paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division. He is a passionate advocate for minority communities and believes every youth has a voice waiting to be heard.

In his free time, he can be found reading a mystery novel, spending time outside, or spending time with his family.

jose.galindo@wayalliance.org

Amy Watson

Amy Watson, LPC

Clinical Director, Board Member

Amy is a licensed professional counselor and has worked with children, adults, and families for 20 years with a focus on those in the foster care system. She has counseled survivors of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and has extensive experience working with children that have behavioral and emotional issues. Amy provides trauma-informed services for children and families with a collaborative, strengths-focused approach.

Amy has two sons, and she enjoys spending time with her family and working out. She is passionate about helping youth from foster care achieve their best future.

amy.watson@wayalliance.org

Joy Miller

Joy Miller

Founder

In early 2017, Joy began researching the challenges that youth face when they age out of foster care. Determined to find a way to meet the needs of these under-served youth, she began volunteering as a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate for foster children) and started to develop the vision for WAY Alliance. Joy officially founded WAY Alliance in March 2018 with the support of founding board members Jo Warren, Angela Cox, and DeeAnn Farmer.

Joy is a mother to six, and homeschooled for 17 years. In December 2018, she and her husband adopted their son Logen who had just aged out of foster care. Then in October 2019, they adopted their daughter Jaeyla who was a WAY Alliance mentee. At the same time, they also welcomed into their family Jaeyla's biological sister, Kirstie, along with Kirstie's young daughter, Eleanor.

Joy has a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a concentration in Human Services and has completed a certificate program in nonprofit management through Collin College. She is in the process of completing a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.