Tony’s Place is overseen by a board of directors. The day-to-day responsibilities in the center are managed by staff members and a team of dedicated volunteers.
MaDonna Land – Program Director
MaDonna Land is a resourceful and dedicated Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor-Intern with 10 years of combined experience with Juvenile Probation, Corrections, and Motivational Speaking. MaDonna received a B.S. in Psychology from Sam Houston State University in 2007, a M.A. in Public Administration from Texas Southern University in 2012, and a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University in 2016.
While attending Sam Houston State University, MaDonna began her criminal justice career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a Corrections Officer III. That experience solidified her passion to work with and support individuals involved in the justice system. In June 2007, she secured employment with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department as a Juvenile Probation Officer, where she maintained employment until September 2016.
During her employment with Juvenile Probation, MaDonna also enlisted in the United States Airforce-National Guard where she served for several years. She recognizes her service as a life changing experience that helped develop unique skills related to patience, organization, and efficiency in fast-paced multitasking environments as well as the ability to adapt to changing priorities and maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic.
MaDonna’s theoretical orientation for counseling has a cognitive-behavioral therapy foundation, as she posits that behaviors and beliefs are responsible for the development of presenting problems. While she is familiar with the techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, and reality therapy, she looks forward to strengthening her counseling approach and creating more depth and understanding in regards to LGBTQ+ community through her experience with Tony’s Place. She has a strong desire to assist and support the homeless youth of Houston by providing immediate needs, assessing and making referrals to other organizations in the community, as well as provide a safe place conducive to learning life skills that promote a successful future.
Alyssa Kelly – Program Assistant
Alyssa Kelly graduated from The University of Houston – Clear Lake in 2018 with her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is interested in pursuing her Master’s degree in Psychology and conducting research on sex education and sex related health in Texas.
Alyssa has been working with Tony’s Place since July of 2017. She works directly with the young adults, offering support, assessing their needs, connecting them to case managers, and insuring their access to all resources. She assists in the development of programming within the center as well as the organization of outside fundraising. Working at Tony’s Place has allowed for Alyssa to develop therapeutic skills and gain hands-on experience working with individuals affected by trauma. The diverse population that Tony’s Place serves has offered Alyssa the opportunity to develop skills to meet the special needs of specific populations, specifically the LGBTQ+ community.
Alyssa also currently works for The Salvation Army Young Adult Resource Center (Y.A.R.C.) as an Education Case Manager. She works directly with clients to connect them to formal education such as high school, GED programs, colleges and vocational training. She also develops in-center activities to engage clients and help them process trauma. At Y.A.R.C. Alyssa has developed skills related to trauma informed care, positive youth development, and restorative justice that help her offer the best service and care to her clients.
Alyssa is honored to be working with such a great organizations devoted to helping and caring for young adults experiencing homelessness; she is eager to continue to learn everything she can from the experience and her clients.
James Valincano began his cooperation with Tony’s Place as a volunteer shortly after moving to Houston in the summer of 2017. He chose to become involved with Tony’s Place because of his passion and desire to give back to his community on a personal and meaningful way. Some of James’ life experiences as a young adult provide him with a direct connection to the population in which he serves, and allows him a unique opportunity to understand the needs and the crises that these young adults experience every day on a personal level.
James chose to become even more involved with the program and became a staff member with Tony’s Place in April 2018, and thoroughly enjoys assisting both volunteers and members with guidance, involvement, and effective interaction.
James is originally from Odessa, TX and graduated in December 2018 from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. He and his husband currently live in Katy, TX.
Daquam “Deiko” Taylor – Swing Staff
Deiko is a 28 year old community advocate from North Carolina. Due to his personal experience with homelessness Deiko is very active with preventative services and resources. He is the Outreach Specialist at the Young Adult Resource Center (YARC), he sits on the local CoC Steering Committee, he is a part of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and he mentors several young adults in the community. Deiko quotes “This work is a life passion of mine and I am happy to be a part of the Tony’s Place team”.
Interested in volunteering with us? Get more information here!