Our team

  • Jennifer SmithExecutive Director

    Jennifer was born and raised in Odessa, Texas attended Texas Tech University for undergrad and University of Texas Health Science Center for her Master’s of Physical Therapy and has called San Antonio and Boerne home for 19 years. She and her husband have been married for 19 years and have four children, two biological and two adopted from foster care.

    Back in 2005, Jennifer thought she had her life planned. Amazing husband, two beautiful daughters and career as a Physical Therapist. An article in the paper about a young girl whose life was wrecked by abuse and neglect and subsequent moves through multiple homes in foster care lit a fire in her heart to “Do something!” After 2 months of prayer discussion with foster families, she and Kyle accepted the call to serve as foster parents in 2006 for children in crisis right here in their community. The foster parent journey was incredible isolating and overwhelming and subsequently a small group started meeting together to not only support each other but brainstorm how to get the church involved. During the next 8 years, while serving as a foster mom to children in the San Antonio area, Jennifer established and co-lead the Grace Point Foster and Adopt ministry for 5 years. Under her leadership for 5 years, Grace Point families fostered over 75 kids, adopted 27 and raised up 40 new foster families.

    During this time, Jennifer shared the model pioneered at Grace Point with 8 area churches with continued success and opportunity to refine the model. She also helped create and launch a faith based foster agency focused on serving families in the church. Her heart continued to burn to see all churches made aware of the crisis, equipped to start foster/adopt ministries, collaborating with complementary organizations and activating all Christians to do their part. The South Texas Alliance for Orphans grew organically over those years with interest slowly but continually growing. In 2016, God connected Jennifer with First Presbyterian Church leaders, who, seeing the great opportunity to serve children in crisis by activating the church, seeded the Alliance funds to launch as a true functioning nonprofit organization. Since 2016, the growth of the Alliance has exceeded even the most ambitious goals.

    Through the Alliance, the church is now growing in awareness, being enable to activate with a proven ministry model and collaborating to serve along the full continuum of care for children and families.

    The Smith’s also provide ongoing support to a kinship family of a previous foster placement. Her crew loves Mexican food, hill country scenery and spending summer days at the lake swimming, tubing, skiing and relaxing.

  • Teresa McCalebBoard President

    Teresa was born and raised in Houston, Texas and met her future husband, Ben at the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a degree in Architectural Engineering. They have been married for 37 years and have lived in San Antonio where they raised their four children, Jennifer, Chase, Addison and Matt. Her family has expanded with the addition of two precious daughters-in-law, Kara and Anna.

    She is a member of First Presbyterian Church and is currently serving as chairman of the Local Missions Committee, as well as a Deacon. In addition, Teresa has invested much of her time ministering to young adults at First Pres. Outside of the church, the focus of her ministry has been a long term commitment to training and mentoring moms as they strive to faithfully raise their high school children into adulthood.

    Teresa has had a lifelong love for missions and has been blessed to be a member of First Presbyterian mission teams to Kenya, New Jersey, Dominican Republic and Russia and, most recently, helped lead a trip to Malawi. However, while mentoring a foster teenage mom through Young Lives, that heart for global missions turned excitedly local. Teresa realized how blessed she was to have been adopted at a young age into a loving Christian family. Her heart broke for this young mom as Teresa pondered how her own life might have been different if she had not been adopted. She set out to begin a foster/adopt ministry at First Pres and these efforts led her to Jennifer Smith. Teresa and Jennifer quickly realized that The Alliance simply needed another strong church behind it; one with a long history of establishing and growing vital new community ministries. Soon, a beautiful partnership between First Presbyterian Church and this crucial orphan ministry had begun.

  • Melody McCreaBoard Secretary

    Melody McCrea grew up an Army brat and landed in San Antonio, which she proudly calls home. She holds a degree in Education from the University of Texas-Austin, a Master’s in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University.

    Melody spent 8 years in children’s ministry, planning and executing large scale events and programming. God then guided her down a very different path to the corporate world. She spent over 5 years in the federal contracting industry, in roles ranging from project management to operations management. As that season drew to a close, God opened an exciting door leading her back to the nonprofit space. She currently serves as Director of Volunteer Services at Haven for Hope, the largest comprehensive homeless service center in the country.

    Melody is a single mom to her 2 amazing children, Josiah and Aria. Her younger sister was adopted from foster care, and Melody subsequently stepped in to raise her from the age of 7 after the passing of their mother. This early introduction to the world of foster care and adoption spurred a deep passion to engage the church with the heart of the Father. What began as a God-sized dream in the hearts of Jennifer and Melody, has become reality in the Alliance.

  • Mike SharrowBoard Member

    Mike and Jacqui have been married since 2002 and have 2 daughters, Elayna and Sophie.  In 2012 they began their journey of getting involved in foster care in response to hearing testimonies of other families at their church and God convicted them of the irrefutable priority this is for His Church.  In 2013-2015 they were involved in helping champion a new Gospel-centered foster child placement agency launching in San Antonio and in December 2015 they had their first foster placement.  They are passionate about marriage, families, discipleship, and seeing the entire Body of Christ come together on the matters God declares as priorities in His Kingdom.

    Mike is the President & CEO for The C12 Group, a national platform whereby thousands of Christian CEO/Business Owners learn and pursue building “great businesses for a GREATER purpose” together.  He has held numerous leadership roles with previous organizations such as Walgreens, TQ Strategies, Health by Design, Grace Point Church and The C12 Group of Central Texas.  He and Jacqui are active members at Grace Point Church, he serves on the board for Breakthrough Moments, San Antonio Marriage Initiative and is active in a variety of “Kingdom conspiracy” projects around the globe.  Mike joined the Alliance in 2016 out of a passion to see “the Church solve the orphan crisis in this region in the next few years,” and is convinced that not only is this a matter the Church must respond to but that God has called and resourced us to eliminate it together.


  • Fred WallBoard Treasurer

    After graduating from the University of Illinois and receiving his commission through ROTC, Fred entered the US Air Force at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas for pilot training. Twenty-eight years later he retired from the Air Force having served in numerous stateside and overseas locations. Fred then entered the corporate world in the defense industry, serving as a Senior Program Manager for Lockheed Martin and as a Vice President of Business Development for General Dynamics. He holds an MA in Business Management from Webster University and an MS in National Resources Strategies from the National Defense University.

    Following his departure from the corporate world, Fred became an active volunteer with several organizations he was introduced to during his term on the Local Missions Committee at First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio. He serves on the Board of Yucatán Peninsula Mission, is an Ambassador for the Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services and volunteers extensively with Habitat for Humanity. 

    Fred and his wife of 39 years, Deborah, have two grown daughters and two grandsons. Most of their spare time is spent chasing those rascals!

  • Dr. Jeffrey E KantorBoard Member

    After completing his Doctorate in Experimental Psychology at Baylor University, Jeff started a career as a research scientist in a civilian capacity with the US Air Force. Over the next 30 years, Jeff conducted research in areas such as improving the selection of candidates for pilot training, collaborative research programs with NATO, Australia, and Israel and development of aeromedical evacuation equipment. Additionally while with the Air Force, Jeff served in management and leadership positions and as an advisor in psychological operations in the intelligence community. After finishing his 30 year career with the Air Force as Chief Scientist at Brooks Air Force Base, Jeff went on to serve as Associate VP of Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio and VP of Strategy and Research at Our Lady of the Lake University. Since 2015, Jeff has been an Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins University.

    Jeff and his wife Beverly have been married since 1973 and share a love for their own three children and all children as well. He has volunteered in the Texas foster care system through CASA and is committed to helping improve the conditions and care for children across the world.

  • Aaron BanksBoard Member

    Born and raised in North Carolina, Aaron moved out of state to attend the United States Air Force Academy where he earned a degree in Business Management and commission into the Air Force.  In 2002, he married his beautiful wife Erika then began globetrotting to various locations such as Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.  Along the way they raised two boys, Asa and Aiden, who continue to keep them busy.

    Aaron also holds a master’s degree in information management systems and he’s attained several certifications in Information Technology.  After serving over 20 years in the Air Force leading multiple small and large diverse organizations he retired in San Antonio, TX.  He now serves as a C12 Chair in the Central Texas where he gets to work with local Christian CEOs and Business Owners who seek to integrate faith and business in the marketplace.

    He leverages his passion for service by volunteering as a group leader for Bible Study Fellowship, where he leads groups of men through a yearlong in-depth study of God’s Word.  Aaron also works with several non-profits around San Antonio to support economic and community enhancement.  Having experienced the foster care and adoption system in multiple states, Aaron joined the Alliance in 2021 out of a desire to help others see that “we all” can play a part in responding to the foster care crisis.

  • Mark CarvajalBoard Member

    Mark is a lifelong resident of Texas, being raised in the family business of pharmacy and has entrepreneurship running through his veins. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1998, and then later attended Dallas Theological Seminary to further his faith and walk with Christ.

    He and his wife, Rosanna, married in 2006 and have been blessed with three daughters.

    Mark and his family have owned and operated Carvajal Pharmacy since 1969. Mark is the CEO of Carvajal Pharmacy which has several pharmacy locations including a long-term care pharmacy servicing nursing home patients throughout Texas and six retail locations. Mark is also founder and CEO of Carvajal Technology Group, LLC, which is a technology company that offers fully managed hosted desktops, applications and business consulting throughout the US.


    Mark has held leadership positions in healthcare, software and technology industries for both global 500 and start up organizations, including executive of two technology companies that have been acquired.


    Mark is a slave and ambassador in Christ to make Him known. He also serves on the South Texas committee for Young Life, South Texas Alliance for Orphans and the San Antonio Medical Foundation.

  • Bethann JacksonOperations Coordinator

    Bethann and her husband, Chad, were both raised in Northwest Missouri and lived there until moving to San Antonio in 2012.  Bethann attended Northwest Missouri State University pursing a degree in Special Education.  She served 10 years in the United States Air Force before choosing to stay at home to parent three amazing kids.  In the midst of a busy life, she knew her family was not complete.  God reminded her of the seed He planted while visiting a rundown orphanage on a youth mission trip in 1996.  This was when Bethann first felt God calling her to serve orphans.  After years of praying about where they should adopt God made it clear as they moved to Texas, there was a significant orphan need in their own backyard.

    Bethann connected with the Grace Point Foster and Adopt Ministry shortly after their move to Texas.  Her family became a certified foster home in the spring of 2013. They have since fostered 5 little girls, 3 or them drug exposed infants. In October 2014, one of those little angels became a permanent Jackson!  Bethann has served on the leadership team of the Grace Point Foster and Adopt Ministry since 2014 and volunteers with local organizations equipping foster families.  She works closely with families who have foster babies that have been exposed to drugs and helps foster families build healthy relationships with biological families. Bethann also serves weekly on the Registration Team at Grace Point Church West.

    Bethann is excited to officially re-enter the work force as the Operations Coordinator for the Alliance. She hopes her gifts in organization and support can further the Foster movement in South Texas.

  • Melanie McCrackenDirector of Communications and Training

    Melanie was born and raised in Denton, Texas. She attended Texas Tech University for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.

    Melanie met her husband in college and they have been married since  August of 2005. She and her husband have lived in San Antonio since  2006 and in January of 2011 planted Alamo Ranch Community Church,  where her husband is the lead pastor.

    Melanie and Michael have five children, two biological and three adopted from foster care. Upon moving to San Antonio, Melanie taught for Northside ISD for 7 years before resigning to begin the foster care journey.

    The Lord called the McCracken family to foster/adopt in 2013 after years of infertility, secondary infertility, and a unique experience with one of her students. Through their own foster/adopt journey, they have had the opportunity to encourage others within their church body to answer the call as well. They have been deeply humbled and forever changed. Melanie has a deep passion for the children in foster care in San Antonio and beyond. She began working with the Alliance in the Spring of 2017 and is excited to see all the Lord is going to do in this city until there are more than enough families!