Our Board

Ashley Buckner, LMFT, Secretary

Private Practice | Brainspotting therapist & Co-Founder of Mending Matters

Ashley Buckner is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in both California and Utah. She has been serving clients since 2012. Ashley spent the first part of her career as a school-based therapist in San Diego and assisted in co-founding Mending Matters. It was with the Mending Matters clinical team that she developed her skills and passion for serving others. In 2018, she moved to Utah where she spent a year working at a residential facility for adolescent girls. Ashley has clinical experience in various settings. She has worked in outpatient clinics, police diversion programs, school-based therapy services, residential treatment, and also spent time as a clinical supervisor. Ashley is now a certified Brainspotting therapist and currently specializes in working with trauma. She has a private practice in Southern Utah where she continues to work with adolescents, families, and adults and also provides virtual therapy sessions. In her spare time, Ashley teaches at a local yoga studio and values the importance of bringing physical and mental wellness to her community.

Amalia Hernandez

San Diego State, School of Social Work | Title IV-E Project Coordinator

Ms. Hernandez is a Faculty Member in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University and currently serves as the Title IV-E Project Coordinator, a federally funded Child Welfare Stipend Program. Ms. Hernandez served as a School Social Worker and has an extensive background in early education and family support services. Her expertise in systems theory, child welfare, and behavioral interventions in school settings afford her a wide range of knowledge and skills with children, youth, and families. Ms. Hernandez is a Restorative Practices trainer providing consultant services in the areas of school connectedness, and trauma-informed care. Ms. Hernandez has served as a Field Instructor primarily for SDSU and other Schools of Social Work and served as the Pupil Personnel Services Coordinator for the School of Social Work. Ms. Amalia received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from UC San Diego, a Master of Social Work from Boston University, and a School Social Work PPS Credential from San Diego State University.

MariaEsther Izquierdo-Hemmen, MSW, CEO

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Mending Matters

MariaEsther was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in South America where she spent her childhood and adolescence continually readjusting to new environments as she bounced around different homes, schools, and living situations. MariaEsther realized that her individual story empowered her to stand up for herself and take action. She learned how to move forward with courage, in spite of the weight of her past. In 2002, at the age of 20, MariaEsther and her little girl left South America and moved to San Diego, California. MariaEsther earned her bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego, and worked with refugees and asylum seekers at the International Rescue Committee. She founded Mending Matters in 2014 to develop accessible, youth-driven mental health supports after earning her Master’s in Social Work at San Diego State University. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Mending Matters since its initiation, MariaEsther has served in each organizational role (i.e. Mental Health Therapist, Family Resource Coordinator, Program Manager) to remain connected with youth and their needs.

Marla Kingkade, Treasurer

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office | Law Enforcement Liaison

Marla has worked within the law enforcement and mental health communities in San Diego County for over thirty years. Marla has developed programs for law enforcement jurisdictions involving mental health issues, including juvenile diversion programs for the El Cajon Police Department, the La Mesa Police Department and the San Diego Police Department. In addition, Marla implemented the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) for San Diego County law enforcement agencies. Currently, PERT contracts with thirteen law enforcement jurisdictions within San Diego County and assigns clinicians at twenty-three separate law enforcement locations. Marla also coordinates both the development and distribution of training materials for law enforcement personnel and clinicians. Marla currently works at the San Diego County District’s Attorney’s Office supporting Deescalation, Crisis Management and Mental Health Training for San Diego County law enforcement. In addition, she facilitates the Meth Strike Force and the Prescription Drug Abuse Taskforce.

Jay Moser

Retired | Previous: San Diego Police Department (Southeastern Division), Sergeant

Jay is a retired Sergeant with the San Diego Police Department where he was assigned to the Southeastern Division. In his 33 years with the Department, Jay had numerous investigative assignments such as Internal Affairs, Mid City Investigations, Narcotics, and most recently, Juvenile Services, where he supervised the Juvenile Services Team of two detectives and five officers. Jay and his team were responsible for investigations involving minors in the communities of Southeastern San Diego. Jay headed the Collaborative Curfew Sweeps, using a community policing model in which volunteers from the community, faith-based organizations, schools, juvenile probation officers, and police officers proactively bring safety to the community through providing diversion programs and parenting classes as an alternative to the court system. Jay also taught Community Oriented Policing while assigned to the Regional Community Policing Institute for two years. While assigned to the RCPI he taught other Police Departments how to incorporate Community Policing philosophy into their departments. Jay has a baccalaureate degree in public administration and over thirty years of law enforcement experience.

Lucia Washburn

Retired | Previous: Grossmont Unified School District, Director of Student Support Services and Alternative Education

Lucia has worked with the Grossmont Union High School District for 37 years. She was a site assistant principal and principal for 14 years before becoming the Director of Student Support Services and Alternative Education for ten years prior to her retirement. In her position, she facilitated the mental health services for the district which included behavioral interventions, direct services, and grief and drug counseling. In addition, she worked with at-risk students to provide them alternative educational options for completing their diploma. As the Director of Student Support Services and Alternative Education, Lucia also coordinated services with partner law enforcement agencies in providing School Resource Officers for all of the campuses and developing safety plans for the schools. In her retirement, Lucia keeps active serving on the Mending Matters Board, facilitating special education meetings for the District, and conducting Title IX investigations for a local law firm.