Board of Directors
Making our vision a reality
Sharon Herrera - Executive Director and Founder
Sharon Herrera is a Veteran of the United States Air Force, consultant and owner of SHARE Link LLC, Executive Director and Founder of LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. and serves as a leader in the LGBTQ community of Tarrant County. She is a compassionate, sincere and dedicated champion for the betterment of working conditions for all employees and an advocate for a better world, especially for our children. Sharon works closely with many organizations, universities and school districts to help further education on LGBTQ issues. She is one of twelve ‘Mujeres Poderosas’ (Legacy of Strong Latinas in Fort Worth). Sharon lives in Fort Worth with her wife Marcel.
Amanda Sims - Assistant Director
Amanda Sims is a passionate advocate for institutional and interpersonal equity in education. She has worked with students of all ages at both school districts and nonprofits to design sustainable community projects and build capacity for existing programs. She is recognized for empowering individuals and organizations to collaborate with stakeholders and pave their own path to success. When she isn’t working, she is running after her dog and herding cats.
Board of Directors
Barbara Heptig - Board Chair
Barbara is an attorney with over forty years of experience, now semi-retired. She practiced law in numerous areas including real estate, bankruptcy, debtor/creditor relations, employment/labor and landlord/tenant. She practiced with the United States Department of Labor, the United States Courts, Cantey & Hanger, LLP, the City of Arlington, TX and as a sole practitioner. In addition to her law degree, she received her Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School in 2012 and was a Candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is an ordained minister. She completed the Heartpaths Spiritual Direction Program in 2018 and now practices as a Spiritual Director. She has studied the Enneagram for over 15 years and facilitates Enneagram training. Barbara has been a member of First Presbyterian Church Fort Worth since 1997. She has been an ally and passionate about LGBTQ inclusion in all areas of society and the church since she was a student at Brite Divinity School. It was there that she was taught how to responsibly translate, study, read and preach God’s word.
Jason L. Douglas, grew up in St. Louis, MO, the oldest of four children raised by a single mom. Jason has a background in education, Mental Health management and advocacy. Jason has been part of the fight for equality as early as high school where he served as the first openly gay President of Council for Unity. While attending college and working full-time, Jason returned to his alma mater to serve as co-sponsor of BACC, an organization dedicated to encouraging black high school students to explore culture, academic success and self-awareness. As a minority and member of the LGBTQ community, Jason has continued to work tirelessly to fight for equality both locally and nationally through outreach, advocacy, and education. After working in education for more than 16 years, Jason has made it his personal goal to encourage everyone to live their truth!
LaShonda is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who is an ally of the community. She was born and raised in Dallas, TX where she often encouraged friends and associates to be true to themselves and assisted in their coming out process. She has led many teen support groups tailored specifically to the LGBTQ community. She is the owner of Lioness Counseling, which is a private practice located in Fort Worth, TX that has been in operation since 2017. LaShonda lives by the motto of her practice "Be you. Be true" which encourages acceptance, authenticity, and honesty. She currently resides in Fort Worth with her husband Taj.
I became involved with LGBTQ SAVES three years ago through ICFWA. I want to help protect our future in any way and to allow our youth to grow, spread their wings and become the best they can be. They ARE our future, it's our job to support them.
John is a lawyer who works primarily with estate planning and probate matters. He taught law at the University of Houston Law Center and South Texas College of Law. One of his most treasured honors is receiving the “Straight for Equality Award” in 2008 from the Fort Worth PFLAG chapter. John has fought against injustice since his youth. Scooby, his housemate who is a rescued German Shepherd mix, walks John every day, which perhaps benefits John more than it does Scooby.
Growing up as a young woman I knew I was different. There were few if any places for LGBTQ youth to socialize together. I wanted to help provide young people who were LGBTQ with a safe place to go, have fun and feel accepted. Initially I volunteered with a group who helped homeless teens but they were mostly straight. I wanted to help kids like me. A Fort Worth Police officer suggested I get in touch with Sharon Herrera. I called her up and started going to the meetings and helping with teen functions. That was several years ago now. I continue to be very proud to be associated with this great group of people.
Papi was an early group member who has segued easily into his leadership role. He bravely shares his story and helps our youth members find their own voice. Papi has a heart for others and is currently studying to become a Sign Language Interpreter. You will find Papi proudly representing LGBTQ SAVES at many community events.
Shortly after moving to DFW in 1983 with my family, I befriended a young gay man. His friendship and subsequent death from AIDS was the beginning of my journey. I began participating in bicycle rides raising money for AIDS research, I made many friends, and learned about the gay community. I started teaching in FWISD where I stayed for 25 years. Children are my passion. All children, regardless of what labels society puts on them, are vulnerable. But LGBTQ children are particularly open to hurt. I want to show them support, unconditional love, and help provide opportunities for them to gain confidence - so they can dazzle the world with who they are. My friend's death ultimately led me to this wonderful organization. I hope to help LGBTQ SAVES attain their goals of providing housing, community resources, and loving support for all LGBTQ youth.
I serve as an ambassador because I believe the mission of LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. is literally one with life or death consequences. The activities and mentoring available for our youth makes me proud to be associated. My primary contribution to LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. was to connect it with the Lockheed Martin Pride organization. Pride, in turn, has engaged in support of LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., and I believe its members can also help serve as examples of having survived adolescence and having prospered afterward. Going forward I will continue to contribute financially as well as supporting events in whatever roles are needed. I also will continue to speak up about the work of the organization and its mission.
Sara was born and raised in Fort Worth. She holds her BSW from UTA and her M.A. in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding. She has lived in Brattleboro, Vermont, a Buddhist monastery in Myanmar, and most recently Washington D.C. When she same out as pansexual, at the time, she was living away from Fort Worth and truly believed she might never return to her hometown. She believes in the power of LGBTQ SAVES; had she had access to such an organization-- one rooted in dynamic love with a motivated change agent as its founder--when she was in high school, perhaps she would have lived out, rather than having to come out in her early 20's. She hopes to serve as an ambassador to not only support the youth of Fort Worth, but to challenge her hometown to love all those who call this city home. She's here, she's queer and she's not going away.