C.O.P.E. Board of Directors



Cathy has worked in non-profit and county agencies for the past 20 years. With a degree a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting, she started her career in the corporate world working in IT and Commercial Escrow. After a move from Texas to California, Cathy adopted a baby in 2004, a life changing decision that brought her to the non-profit world where she took a parenting class. This path lead to the idea of creating an environment where parents of all backgrounds would have access to a quality parenting education in a supportive and safe learning environment – Counseling Options and Parent Education, Inc. (C.O.P.E.)
Cathy’s professional and personal experience enabled her to open Counseling Options and Parent Education, Inc. (C.O.P.E.) a non-profit with a mission to prevent child abuse by educating parents. Cathy will celebrate her 8th year anniversary of C.O.P.E.s opening in September 2019. Today her agency serves over 1200 families providing parent support and ancillary services that create a safe nurturing environment. Funded through County, State, local agencies and community donations, C.O.P.E. is a leader in providing evidence-based parent programming. Our end goal is to ensure that all families to receive emotional and social support and have an opportunity to develop skills that empower parents by strengthening knowledge and confidence in parenting practices.


Janet Smith is an implementation consultant for the Wells Fargo company. Janet connected with C.O.P.E. while leading Wells Fargo’s annual September Month of Caring volunteer event in 2015. After volunteering, Janet wanted to continue supporting C.O.P.E. in strengthening families and providing them with the tools and resources necessary to improve their lives. Janet believes families are the backbone of our society and that strong families lead to strong communities. Janet has been a board member for C.O.P.E. since 2016.


Todd Ihle is an accountant for the Chevron Corporation. Todd has been a member of the board of directors for C.O.P.E. Family Support Center since 2012 in the position of Treasurer.

Natasha Paddock | BOARD SECRETARY

Natasha Paddock holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from University of the Pacific and a Master’s degree in Social Work from California State University, East Bay. She currently works as a Division Manager for the Employment and Human Services Department of Contra Costa County with responsibility for overseeing CalWORKs Field in the Workforce Services Bureau.
Natasha has over 10 years of social service experience and previously served on the board of directors for the National Association of Social Workers. In 2012, Natasha began working for C.O.P.E. as a facilitator of level 4 Triple P parenting classes supporting parents as they sought self-actualization and an opportunity to become improved individuals for their children. This experience gave her the opportunity to reconnect with families through a direct service approach. Natasha’s desire to give back to C.O.P.E. and to the families in the community drove her to become a member of the Board of Directors in 2016.


Crystal Freedman | BOARD MEMBER

Annie Barrett-Widemann | BOARD MEMBER


Jeanne Falla supports C.O.P.E. in various roles as a grant writer, fundraiser and outreach promoter for its Supporting Father Involvement program. She holds a B.A. in Administration & Legal Processes from Mills College. Jeanne worked for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service as a food program specialist. She believes children do best when both parents are positively engaged in their upbringing. Jeanne has been with C.O.P.E. since 2016.


Joan Carolan is a long-time community advocate and educator for comprehensive family support services that cultivate nurturing families and ensure the safety and well-being of children. Prior to joining COPE’s Board of Directors in 2012, she was a parent education facilitator and board member of the Family Stress Center.