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Who We Are

Our Agency

We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization located in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley. We work with local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies to provide rescue, relocation, restorative, and residential services to victims of human trafficking.

The BTC campus is a remarkable example of our community’s dedication to help juvenile and adult victims of human trafficking. BTC is equipped with a beautiful safe house that provides long term shelter to 6 survivors. In addition, we also have our newly opened trauma treatment center that is equipped with an executive office, reception area, counseling offices, a large class room/recreation area, childcare center, and a gym. This in combination with a stellar trauma informed curriculum and an army of volunteers, has allowed us to also offer trauma informed services on a daily basis to more than 42 survivors through our Non-Residential service program. In all we provide direct trauma informed services to 63 survivors and their family’s everyday. It has been amazing to see the vision that was launched just three years prior come to life in such a short period of time. Please know that community support has been, and continues to be essential to all that we do, and we believe that together we can break the chains of human trafficking in lives of these precious survivors forever.

Our Founders
Debra Rush
Debra Rush
Founder / Chief Executive Officer

Debra Rush is the Founder and CEO of Breaking the Chains. Her insight and experience into this daunting industry is the driving force behind Breaking the Chains’ founding. Debra, too, is a survivor of human trafficking. In 1999, she was rescued and taken to a confidential location, which isolated her from the region where she had been held captive. Unfortunately, at that time, no avenues, or efforts were in place to expose human trafficking, and there were limited resources available to help her cope with the specific trauma she had endured. In 2008, after years of guilt and shame, she found the courage and strength to begin her healing journey. This spurred her quest to rescue individuals trapped in human trafficking and who may believe there is no way out. Debra, who has a degree in Human Services, works closely with the Fresno Police Department’s Trafficking Task Force. She is an alcohol and drug counselor and a national trauma expert. A proud alumnus of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Fresno Class XXXIII (33), Debra has gained notoriety as a passionate community leader. She humbly holds the title 2018 California State Woman of the Year and has just become a published author. Although she has accomplished much since her transformation, Debra’s most cherished achievement is being the proud wife of Mark Rush and the doting mother of seven beautiful children.

Tiffany Apodaca
Tiffany Apodaca
Co–Founder / Chief Operational Officer

Tiffany Apodaca is the Co-Founder and Chief Operational Officer for Breaking the Chains. Her passion stems from the subjection to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that she experienced as a child – abuse that started at the young age of four and continued into her late teens. As a result of these assaults on her mind, soul, spirit, and innocence, Tiffany became drug dependent, homeless, and a flawed decision maker which led to her entering into one unhealthy relationship after another. Through divine providence, Tiffany received wise counsel, and now, speaks publicly about her journey, bringing hope and healing to women who, too, have been subjected to sexual abuse. Tiffany has a certificate through Courage World Wide International for CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children), which complements her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership through Grand Canyon University. Tiffany Apodaca is the adoring wife of Tony Apodaca, and dedicated mom of five daughters and soon to be six grandchildren.

Our Team
Kiauna Conger
Kiauna Conger
Executive Administrative Assistant

Would you like to know more about BTC, are you interested in volunteering/internship opportunities, generously supporting BTC,  or getting in contact with Debra Rush? If you said yes to any of these questions, Kiauna is your contact. Her passion for our mission, our clients, and our team is second to none. Kiauna brings structure, love, and incredible organizational skills to our table.

Carol Bertuccelli
Carol Bertuccelli
On Campus Crisis Counselor

This amazing human being came to BTC with more than 30 years of trauma counseling experience . She has been a mentor and a guide to some of Fresno’s finest leaders, and now she has taken her spot as jewel in the crown here at BTC.

Shelley Betts
Shelley Betts
Juvenile Justice Program Manager

Coming along side our survivor community is no easy task, and this team member knows this all too well. Shelley has extensive experience working with underserved populations and trauma based solutions, she pulls from this place to provide comprehensive care and guidance to all of her cherished BTC clients.

Maria Vargas-Padilla
Maria Vargas-Padilla
Non-Residential Case Manager

Maria, better known as, “Mali” is always ready willing and able to come along side of our clients to provide exceptional advocacy and case management services. Being the rope that clients can hold onto in the moments of greatest need is no easy task, we are very grateful for her heart to serve and her ability to impact lives.

Lori Gonzales
Lori Gonzales
Residential Case Manager/Victim Advocate

Lori is always available and ready to help her clients climb over extraordinary obstacles and begin to soaring to new heights. Her experience and gentle disposition is the perfect fit for most comprehensive clients. The BTC team would not be complete without her.

Bernadette Aganza
Bernadette Aganza
House Manager

How awesome is it to get to do life with our incredible survivors!  Bernadette is attentive, caring, and always willing to be a shoulder to those who need her the most. We love our Mama B!

Stefanie Rocha
Stefanie Rocha
House Manager

Sometimes you just need someone you can relate to… Stefanie’s experience in programming care and easygoing persona have made her a gem to us here at BTC. By the way, did we mention that her gentle smile will hug you before her arms do.

Marissa Speelmon
Marissa Speelmon
Development Director

The face of hospitality and outreach has arrived at BTC. We are humbled and honored to have Marissa on our team. Her heart for our community and the mission of breaking the chains makes her the perfect fit for community outreach, fund development, and donor relations. She is truly a gem in the crown of BTC.

Yolanda KIng
Yolanda KIng
BTC's Parlier Campus - Program Manager

Yolanda (Yoli) King’s passion to combat human trafficking and walk beside those affected is evident in everything she does. Her extensive knowledge and experience in this field has been the perfect touch for our newly opened Parlier campus.

BTC Board of Directors

Don Eskes - Board President
Curtis Chastain - Vice President
Richard Herrinton - Board Treasurer
Sandra Carnahan - Board Secretary
Jerry Dyer - Retired Fresno Chief of Police
Soyla Griffin - CEO, Valley Health Team
Pablo Dávalos - AOD Specialist & Counselor
Miiko Anderson - Fresno County Assistant District Attorney
Darius Assemi - Granville Homes President
Debbie Doerksen - Founder / California Information Management
Mark Salazar - Deputy Chief of Police Fresno CA

Our Partners