Journey4ward provides free trauma counseling to all victims of crime along with wraparound support services such as crime victim compensation support, help with the judicial process, and peer support. Our youth gun violence prevention programs are led through a powerful session focused on youth gun violence in the community and learning strategies to avoid gun violence, the consequences of gun violence, acceptable methods of handling bullying, and how to take an active role in the prevention of gun violence. It provides character-building activities and peer-guided discussions that reinforce the tragic consequences of gun violence and raises awareness of a participant's ability to actively prevent gun violence.
Journey4ward reaches out to families that have experienced the most unimaginable trauma and unspeakable grief anyone could ever imagine; the death of their child or family member. We want to be supportive of families by walking through the journey with them. Journey4ward will provide assistance with crime victim's compensation as well as support through the court process. By its very nature homicide is an unexpected, devastating, and emotional occurrence. The victim’s family members are not the only ones affected; this also affects extended family, friends, co-workers, and our community. A huge source of coping has been connecting with, learning from, and finding strength in other mothers and families who have suffered a similar loss. The struggles and frustration of navigating thru the criminal justice system are oftentimes overwhelming and stressful to survivors. Our goal is to help each of you make connections and find hope and healing from the experiences of others. We join others from all walks of life assuring them they need not journey alone.
Journey4ward supports and educates our communities on the impact of gun violence. It is imperative that we make changes in our laws that keep our families safe from gun violence. Educating our youth on the real-life consequences and how gun violence affects families and our community. Journey4ward hopes to encourage youth and our communities to make better choices in resolving issues without the use of guns. Our hope is that we can encourage our community to join us in efforts that will encourage and promote change in gun laws and the use of guns in our communities. We encourage you to join us in this movement and contact us and make a lifelong connection with us.
My name is Cathy Taylor; I am a victim of crime due to gun violence. My son Corey Taylor ( 27 yrs old) was shot by a convicted felon, Corey died July 19th, 2013. When I was going through my journey of grief I began to notice how often our children were being lost to gun violence. I was not able to find the resources or help with my grief and the justice system was not easy to navigate/ I wanted to start a foundation where I could be of help to others grieving the loss of their children due to violence so they would not have to shuffle through the process with no assistance like my family had to.
Families deserve more support through the process and Journey4ward can provide that support to them. We can be a source of comfort, resources and support for others whom have lost their children due to violence. Being available to help them in their time of grief and to let them know they are not alone is our priority. If you are reading this and have lost a child, the first thing I want you to know is how truly sorry I am for you. The second thing is you should know you are not alone. I know this because I am living the loss of my son Corey. Corey’s kind loving spirit and compassion for others is what inspires me to reach out to others. Corey will always be the driving force behind what I am doing and he will always be my partner/Co-Creator of this Support/Advocacy group.
Cathy Taylor is the Founder of Journey4ward. She has worked in Executive office roles, including Project Management roles for over 30 years. She is a lifelong resident of the DFW area and mother of 3 as well as Mimi (Grandmother) to 5. After losing her son to gun violence in 2013 she found herself advocating and supporting other families that had lost loved ones to gun violence. She spends many hours speaking, supporting others who have lost loved ones to gun violence and advocating for common sense gun laws. Cathy is a supporter and volunteer with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, Planned Parenthood of North Texas, Moms Demand Action, Life Gift and Bridges to Life.
As a part of her healing process, she has authored and published a book “Real Grief: My Journey of Loss to Healing”.
Charles received his Associates in Applied Science and has served as a paramedic, firefighter and engineer driver with the City of Dallas Fire Department for over 30 years. Charles has a strong background of protecting lives and property through his dedicated service.
Charles has volunteered in numerous youth organization programs coaching football, basketball, track, and baseball. Charles is a lifelong resident of Texas and the father of 3 children and Papaw to 5 grandchildren. Because of the personal loss of his son Corey to gun violence he brings to Journey4ward the understanding and compassion to help others along their journey of grief.
MS, LPC, EMDR Licensed Counselor/Therapist
Sarai earned her Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed counselor in the state of Texas. Sarai has worked with trauma counseling organizations and in the University setting as a professional counselor. She is a specialist in trauma recovery and relational repair therapy and she is fluent in Spanish and English, and is Gottman Level 1 & EMDR trained. Sarai served honorably for 12 years in the United States Army performing crisis intervention and counseling, as well as conducting numerous workshops, and retreats world-wide.
Journey4ward is excited to have Saria counseling and serving our victims.
Dr. Sherri Mata,PsyD
Psychologist, Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Dr. Sherri Mata
Sherri Mata is a full-time faculty member at Tarrant County College and Tarleton State University, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a volunteer Trauma Counselor for Journey4ward. Sherri has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in professional counseling, and is working towards a doctorate in clinical psychology that leads to licensure as a psychologist in the state of Texas.
As a counselor, Sherri has worked with the felony population, victim population, and college student population. Sherri is also a survivor of gun violence and has experienced the loss of a child. Sherri advocates for a community of non-violence working with city officials, local independent school districts, and various coalitions representing the Victim’s Coalition and the Criminal Justice System.
Sherri’s current research includes assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for victims of violent crimes as well as a disorder that is being researched and considered for the next edition of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Desired (Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder).
Dr. Tonya Cunningham
An advocate of higher learning, Tonya holds 5 degrees, including a Doctorate of Religious Philosophy in Pastoral Psychology as well as Certificates of Completion in several specialty areas: Suicide Prevention, Grief, Trauma, & Crisis Counseling, Marriage Therapy, and Chaplaincy. With 30 years of professional experience in the grief and death care industry as a Mortician, Hospice Social Worker, Bereavement Coordinator, & Mortuary College Instructor, Tonya now provides training and personal development services such as counseling, coaching, seminars, & workshops.
Tonya travels extensively speaking in corporate America & faith-based settings concerning grief, loss & life transitions, teaching others to do their grief-work which fosters healing. She is the renowned author of the book, “I Got My Marbles Back”, in which she unapologetically shares her incredible story of surviving domestic violence, death loss, divorce, and depression to promote healing. Because of the powerful impact the book has made on hundreds of people, she is now known as “The Marble Lady and The Grief Doctor”. Tonya is the mother of Chelsea, who is in heaven, adopted son, D’Anthony and the proud Dog Mom of Mister Cunningham, her Westie. Tonya brings a wealth of knowledge in several fields that she can contribute to Journey4wards families. We are pleased that she has extended her services to Journey4ward as a Board Member.
Community Outreach Director
Sed Lacy received his Bachelor of Science in Business Psychology from Texas Wesleyan University. He currently pursues a career in social work and business. Sed’s certifications include Job Coach/Job Skills Trainer, Job Placement Specialist, Support Employment Specialist, and Community Rehabilitation Program Director Certification for the Department of Disability and Addictions Rehabilitation. Sed is a victim of gun violence and has experienced the loss of a child.
Sed is a Leadership Counselor for the City of Fort Worth’s Rising Stars Leadership program and a soft skills instructor/coordinator for the City of Fort Worth’s Adult Education programs. Sed is currently a CRP Director, Nurturing Skills Trainer, and a Job Coach for Creative Achievements Job placements and Support Employment program. These positions allow Sed to work with youth and with individuals with disabilities.
Sed has additional experience including teaching at Tarrant County College, teaching court-ordered parenting classes for Lee’s Counseling Services, and career advising for students at Texas Wesleyan University. Sed has volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club and various community centers in Fort Worth, Texas.
Kimberly Hart, BSN, RN, FCN
Kim Hart is a Registered Nurse in Fort Worth, Texas. She received her Associate in Nursing from TCC and her BSN from UTA. Kim also holds a bachelor’s in business administration and obtained her alternative teaching certificate through TMATE. She has worked for FWISD as a special education teacher and is currently working as a palliative care nurse at Texas Health Resources.
Kim is an active member of Westside Unitarian Universalist church in Fort Worth and currently serves as a Faith Community Nurse for the congregation. She has worked for many years with various groups working to change gun legislation and is active with Compassionate DFW.
Kim is passionate about making the world a more peaceful and compassionate place where violence cannot thrive. She has planned and promoted events to bring awareness to violence prevention and connects members of the community with the community outreach resources of THR.
Pennie Clayton is a graduate from Texas Wesleyan University with a B.S. in Psychology. Pennie Clayton has worked at United Way of Tarrant County with the VITA Program since 2011 and has also worked with Catholic Charities in Tarrant County since 2015. Pennie manages the IRS grant that supports the four VITA partner agencies: Catholic Charities Fort Worth, Foundations Communities Arlington, City of Fort Worth, and City of Arlington that manage VITA site operations for Tarrant County. She is a member of the United Way of Tarrant County Leadership Team, Prosperity Now Volunteer Management Group, Tax Time Financial Capability Working, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau VITA Savings Cohort for working families. She also participated in the 2018 National Prosperity Now Summit Conference held in Washington DC VITACon. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her son, daughter, and four grandchildren. She enjoys playing the piano and cello, watching stupid movies, forensic science and loves history. She would love to meet Mya Angelou, Albert Einstein and would also love to cook with Snoop Dog & Martha. Pennie would also love to have a conversation with former President Barack Obama on African American history.
Stacey Bruner has worked in the criminal justice system for over ten years and has served the community as an accounting manager for over 15 years. Her leadership has led to many strategic initiatives that have had positive impacts on multiple businesses, driving down costs and improving overall performance of various businesses. She is currently employed at a local law firm in Fort Worth where she has integrated both her criminal justice and accounting experiences.
Stacey is an established member of the Dallas – Fort Worth community, where she is raising 2 daughters and a son. She is very active in the community serving as a youth softball coach and serves as a missionary in her local church. Stacey also supports efforts in criminal justice reform, re-entry efforts and victims’ rights, where she shares her voice in hopes to make much needed changes in the criminal justice system.
Journey4ward is pleased to have Stacey as our Treasurer and have her utilizing her experience in the financial/accounting field to serve on Journey4wards board.
Steven Buster works full tine with the Academic Outreach & Student Services team, a division of TCC Connect Campus. He has worked in multiple roles with TCCD for the past 6 years, and, including his 10-year tenure with the Marketing and Public Relations sector with DCCCD, has served over 12 years in higher education.
He is also a two-timed published author of the books entitled, Product of the Storm, and A Pale Face for a Collar: Testimonials of an Office Rat. He is also the author at TheStormyPoet.com, a platform where Steven strives to utilize the power of the language arts to empower the hearts and minds of the community.
In addition, he engages in community initiatives, as an anti-racism strategist, an independent news provider, a pro-literacy advocate, an advocate for non-violence, a relationship strategist, and a lifestyle guidance blogger. Steven is also a victim of gun violence himself.