Our Team

Meet Our Amazing Team

Three organizations came together in 2019 to help fill the void of housing for women survivors of sex trafficking. Connections 2 Hope, along with Awakenings House and Grace Ministry of Helping Hands, formed The Villages of Hope and the dream began to become a reality. Awakenings House has a focus on helping women overcome addiction with housing through sober living while Grace Ministries is often the first contact a woman from the street has with our organization. Grace Ministries reaches out directly to women incarcerated or living on the street.

In 2019, we ran a pilot program with a partnership with Thistle Farms from Nashville TN, which offers a sisterhood program to organizations with a common mission and vision. Through this partnership, we were able to overcome hurdles like operations manuals, handbooks, and program guidelines, as well as training for our staff and an ongoing support team. During our pilot, we formed additional partnerships with other organizations for counseling and therapy.

​In May of 2021, we purchased a small piece of land where we are building tiny homes for The Villages of Hope. Our development will have 14 two bedroom tiny homes that will be dedicated for women who are seeking a new life. We have been renovating the home on the property to be used as a community center, where we will hold morning devotions, group therapy, AA meetings, and serve meals. As we prepare to reopen after our Covid shutdown, we are once again reaching out to partners to provide the best and most comprehensive care to women who are seeking a new life and a safe place to lay their heads. Our vision is to provide a tiny home community, where a woman will be surrounded by a community of care and loved unconditionally while they embark on their courageous journey of healing.

Sponsoring Organizations

Meet Our Team

Donna Fenchel

Co-Founder & Director of Strategy & Housing Development

Donna Fenchel has lived in the Jax area since 1984. She is married with 3 grown children and 3 step children and 3 grandchildren. 3 seems to be a good number for her. For fun, she likes to go to the beach and also hike in the mountains, she once hiked The Enchantments trail in the Cascades, 22 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation. She is one of the founders of the VOH. Her heart breaks for women who are in the cycle of addiction, sexual exploitation and trafficking. She wants to be the hand of Jesus reaching through the waves to lift them up from the dark waters that are threatening to drown them. It all starts with a safe place to lay their head. That is why Villages of Hope.

Carla Sweeney

Co-Founder & Director of Operations & Staff

Carla Sweeney has lived in Jacksonville, Fl. for most of her life. Since 2016 she has been a director of a women’s sober living house and during this time she’s met survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation during their stay with us. This has blossomed her awareness and has opened her heart to further help women who are in need of a safe refuge and unconditional love. In her spare time she loves to read, paint and spend time with her grandchildren.

Carole Gardner

Board Chair

debbie holmes villages of hope board member

Deborah "Debbie" Holmes

Board Secretary

Debbie is currently serving as our Board Secretary. Outside of Villages of Hope, she has worked at CSX Transportation Information Technology as a Project Manager for 23 years and Contract IT PM positions for Crowley Maritime and Florida Blue for 5 years. Debbie moved to Jacksonville in 1983 and studied Information Technology. She worked for the City of Jacksonville for several years assisting the Fire & Rescue Department with installation of the first PC networks. She later moved to CSX Transportation where she has worked on many different technology projects over her long career there. In 2017, there was an opportunity to take a buy out at CSX so Debbie took a leap of faith and left the organization that she loved. This opened the doors for additional project opportunities within Crowley Maritime (a large government contract) and Florida Blue (replacing their HR system). Debbie learned about Villages of Hope through Donna Fenchel when she began attending Orangetheory. Debbie now looks forward to “doing God’s work” by helping women at VOH. She has been married to Derek for 27 years and they have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

Anne Morris

Board Member

Anne Morris has over 30 years professional experience in corporate philanthropy, social responsibility, grant making, financial, human resource, technology, and nonprofit management. Morris led the LEGO Group’s social responsibility work in the Americas impacting over 100K children annually through grants, community and employee engagement and learning through play experiences. Prior to that, she was the CEO of Susan G. Komen Connecticut & Massachusetts where she doubled revenue, focused resources to maximize community impact, leveraged technology, streamlined grant-making and facilitated collaborative relationships to enhance efficiencies and increase mission investment. Ms. Morris was the COO of the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits for over 15 years with responsibility for public relations, grant making, and digital transformation.  Anne lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida with her family.

Doug Clifton

Board Member

Doug Clifton is a medical malpractice and personal injury attorney with Edwards & Ragatz, P.A., in Jacksonville, FL. He also represents trafficking and sexual assault survivors and is a member of the Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Coalition. He is honored to be a part of Villages of Hope. Doug enjoys spending time with his wife, Emily, and their two sons. They spend their weekends exploring the Jacksonville waterways and trying to squeeze in a little fishing and skateboarding between youth football games.

Julie Keiling

Board Member

Leslie Baccash

Board Member

Leslie Baccash moved to Jacksonville in 1976 with her family. She holds a degree from FSU and a second degree from UNF.

After extensive travel with her husband and 2 sons, she moved back to Jacksoville in 2015 for the opportunity to be partner with Orangetheory Fitness. She is an avid tennis and PIckleball player.

Lynn Layton

Board Member

After 14 years leading the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Lynn retired from her job however her passion for protecting women and children from abuse and human trafficking did not end. Understanding that prior to a woman entering the world of human sex trafficking, many times she is sexually abused as a child, therefore The Villages of Hope provided an opportunity for her to continue her impact to help bring this issue to light and to support those who can take that step towards hope for a different life. Lynn has lived in Ponte Vedra for 38 years with her husband, Glenn. She has two grown children, Clark Fouraker (Lillian Fouraker) and Mallory Layton. She also has one grandson, Layton Fouraker.

andrea mcchugh villages of hope hope outreach coordinator

Andrea McHugh

Hope Outreach Coordinator

Andrea McHugh stepped out of the darkness, and into the light a few years ago. Through love, hope, and healing she now lives a redeemed life. It is her passion to serve God, and the women in our community. Through Villages of Hope, she is able to do that with great love and support. She knows in her heart she was lead to the Villages of Hope to serve women. She considers it an honor and privilege to work in the capacity of Hope Outreach Coordinator.