About Us


    Victorian High Tea Fundraiser 2016

    ISSF will be holding a Victorian High Tea fundraiser for the Centro de Proteccion de Mujer A Mujer AC, a women’s shelter in Juarez, Mexico. The fundraiser will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 518 N. Alameda in Las Cruces, NM on May 14 at 2pm.

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    Board Member Contact

    To contact a member of the board please call 1-855-704-2545 or email board@ISSF-US.org.



    About ISSF

    ISSF was founded as a tax exempt organization in 2012.   It grew out of a collaboration between the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Service Organization of New Mexico State University and NMSU's Family Violence Project.   After supporting a domestic violence shelter located in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico for many years, a group of dedicated volunteers decided to create a non-profit foundation, in part so that we could raise tax exempt donations for the shelter.   In the process of creating the foundation, we exanded our mission to include charitable organizations overseas that serve abused women and children.   While our current focus is on Latin America, we hope to expand to other regions as our organization grows.

    ISSF has been classified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the IRS and donations are tax deductible in accordance with the law.   ISSF has very low administrative costs.   We do not maintain a physical location nor do we have paid employees.   All work is done by a volunteer board of directors.   Because of this, close to 100% of the money donated goes directly to the organizations that we support.


    To empower shelters in Latin America that serve abused women and children through financial coordination and provision of resources.

    Board Member Recruitment

    We are always looking for board members who are interested in being actively engaged with the board.   While we welcome anyone who is willing to help out, our greatest needs are in the areas of fundraising, event planning, communications (i.e. finding material for the Facebook page, preparing newsletters, translating material into Spanish, or web design), or non-profit management expertise.

    We are also in need of Spanish-speakers who are willing to travel to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico a couple times per year.   We are also looking for someone with experience in conducting grant management and financial reporting workshops who is able to do so in Spanish.

    Because our board members live in various locations, we usually hold meetings over Skype so there are no geographic limitations on board members.   If you are interested becoming a board member, please send an email to board@ISSF-US.org.



    Board Members

    Pat AcostaPat Acosta

    Board Member


    Pat has been the coordinator for La Casa, Inc.'s Batterer Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) since 2011. Pat has a bachelor's degree in social work from New Mexico State University and has been involved in the domestic violence movement since 1984. In 1997 she was the recipient of the Presidential Silver Medal Service Award presented to her by President Bill Clinton (the highest national recognition given to volunteers in the U.S.).


    As a personal survivor of domestic violence, Pat is passionate about the issues surrounding domestic violence in Latino communities. Pat has been approached by many to write her own story as a survivor, which she is seriously considering. She has been appointed to serve on local, state, and national advisory boards, and often invited to speak on critical issues affecting Latino communities.


    Pat has also worked as a Client Service Specialist with the Center against Family Violence in El Paso, Texas on weekends. Pat was previously the Lead Trainer for Encuentro Latino National Institute on Family Violence. Prior to coming to La Casa, Inc., Pat worked with Jewish Family Services in Los Angeles. For 10 years she oversaw their Emergency and Transitional Housing Domestic Violence Programs. She also served as the Bilingual Batterer’s Intervention Instructor for offenders at the Valley Family Center in San Fernando California.


    Pat was born in El Paso, TX, but lived the first 12 years of her life in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. At 12 she moved to El Segundo Barrio in El Paso. She began her community involvement with groups like Clinica La Fe, KC Community Center, Armijo Center, and CAPEA. She was featured in a book titled “Voices from the Heart” where several volunteers across America were highlighted for their community commitment of care. She also appeared in the Oprah Winfrey Show where she was interviewed about her community dance troupe “Las Mariposas.”



    Paty HernandezPatricia Hernandez

    Secretary, Founding Member


    Patricia began working with Madeline and the other board members educating and advocating for women's rights and protection from domestic violence while attending the dual master's program of Public Health and Social Work at New Mexico State University (2013).


    She was also an officer of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Student Organization at the school and assisted in continuing an annual International Dinner and other fundraiser events for our partner shelter across the US border in Juarez, Mexico.


    Patricia is currently in private practice in holistic healing with health coaching and stress-reduction techniques. She works internationally yet balances her time primarily between the United States and Latin America.


    Her love for Central America stemmed from serving in El Salvador with the Peace Corps (2007-2009). She continues to assist people from Latin America, especially Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua through public health education, teaching, and offering healing techniques.



    Madeline MessickMadeline Messick

    President, Founding Member


    Madeline has been working in the area of domestic violence since 2001, when she began working for La Casa, Inc., a domestic violence services agency in Las Cruces, NM. She first coordinated the children’s program and was later the Assistant Director. In 2006 she became the director of NMSU’s School of Social Work's Family Violence Project. She coordinated a number of federally-funded domestic violence projects, including Encuentro Latino National Institute on Family Violence. Madeline left NMSU in 2013 when she moved to the DC area. She is currently the Board President of ISSF.


    Madeline has given numerous national and international presentations on domestic violence, including "Serving Victims of Domestic Violence from Mexico" at the 2006 annual conference of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and "Overcoming Challenges to Providing Shelter in a Mexican Border City" at the 2007 International Violence, Abuse, and Trauma conference in San Diego, CA. In 2008 she presented "Identificando Areas de Alto Riesgo de Violencia Familiar" (Identifying High Risk Areas for Family Violence) at ESRI's Latin American Users' Conference in Santiago, Chile. Her most recent presentation on domestic violence was “Using Lethal Force: Survivors of Domestic Violence and Gun Ownership” at the 2012 International Studies Association Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.


    Madeline has master's degrees in social work (1997) and economics (2006), both from New Mexico State University. She is currently working on a PhD in International Development through the University of Southern Mississippi and expects to graduate in 2016. Madeline served as a Peace Corps Volunteers in Paraguay and later worked at the Peace Corps’ training center in Paraguay. She is fluent in Spanish and has lived in South America for 3 years.



    Pattie GrossPatricia Murray Gross

    Founding Member


    Patricia has over 8 years of experience in International Public Health and Development. She currently works at World Vision USA as a Design and Development officer in Washington DC. Patricia graduated from New Mexico State University in 2009 with a dual master's degree in Public Health and Social Work. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali (2001-2003) and Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Guyana (2009-2010) where she specialized in Community Health and HIV/AIDS. Some of her professional interests include reproductive health, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, social work, recreation therapy, English as a Second Language, and early childhood development.


    While at New Mexico State University, Pattie organized other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to hold the first International Dinner, an annual event that has been very successful in raising funds to support a domestic violence shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. In 2008 she presented on "Female Circumcision: Implications, Alternative Rites, and Advocating for Change" at the 34th Biennial Congress of the International Association of Schools of Social Work in Durban, South Africa. The information presented was also published in a journal article. She speaks French and Bambara.



    Pat PuckettPatricia Puckett

    Treasurer, Founding Member


    Pat was born to missionary parents working in Ethiopia. She returned to the Unites States in 1945 after she turned thirteen when her parents decided to retire from the mission field. She received a Bachelor of Letters from the University of Oklahoma in 1956, and an MA in 1962.


    In 1986 she returned to the work force, taking a position helping the accountant in the Computing Research Laboratory (CRL) at New Mexico State University. After two years she moved from CRL to the Department of Computer Science, helping keep track of their money, keeping student records, and helping supervise student help. In 1996, she retired in order to pursue other interests as a volunteer.


    While still at the Department of Computer Science, she became Treasurer of her church and began using QuickBooks. She was Treasurer from 1982 until 2011. She is still active in her church and will move into the President’s spot in January 2015.


    From 1996 to the present time she has been head cook on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the El Caldito Soup Kitchen in Las Cruces, NM. She is responsible for choosing dishes to be prepared that day; directing other volunteers so the salad, sandwiches, soup, and other dishes are prepared in a timely manner; using the food the gleaners bring in; and overseeing clean-up.


    She has promoted the Crop Hunger Walk in southern New Mexico since 2010, continuing until the present time.



    Board members bios to come:

    Salvador Adame, Board Member

    Katherine Perez-Lockett, Board Member