Meet the McAllen Management Team
Maricela Medrano – Regional Director
Jeff Moen – Clinical Director
I started working with A World for Children in May 2018. Prior to joining the team I had been seeing children and teens for the agency for about five years. It seemed like a natural progression to join the team because I was so familiar with everyone in the McAllen and Brownsville offices.
My journey to this current position has been fun. I grew up in Minnesota and right out of high school joined the Air Force. My goal was to be part of the military but also travel and start college while still in the Air Force. After my training, my first assignment was in the Philippines. I learned quickly that a winter without snow is a good winter. I decided at a young age that I would eventually move to an area where there is not snow. After the Philippines I went to Hill Air Force base in Utah. I had always downhill skied so this was paradise. After about 2 years of Utah I went back to Minnesota and completed my BA in psychology and MS in Counseling. I decided to work for at least a year to get experience and eventually move south to the warmer weather.
My first job was at an adolescent hospital. The hospital took teenagers from throughout the country. The majority of the teens were unsuccessfully discharged from other hospitals. This hospital was unique. There were no locked doors or any barriers to hold the teens on the property. There were very few runaways. This taught me a valuable lesson that I carry to this day. Provide a child or teen the right environment and they will engage in treatment and not try to run.
After too many chilly nights in Minnesota I decided to move to Texas. This was 1989. My first position was at the Rio Grande State Center. I was introduced to working with individual who have a major mental illness. During the majority of time I worked there I worked on a unit that was transitional. This unit did not have locked doors.
In 1994 I started with Tropical MHMR. I remained there for 10 years. During my time with them I worked with children, adolescents and adults. It was a valuable experience that taught me a great deal about working with not only adults but also children and adolescents.
In 2004 I got a call asking if I wanted to go to Iraq. I have always liked to travel and thought this would be an experience of a lifetime. It was suppose to last about 6 months total. After being in Iraq I was offered a position that went beyond the 6 months. The 6 months turned into almost 7 years. During that time I traveled all over the world and lived for about 1 ½ years in Kuwait. I would travel to Iraq and Afghanistan during this time. My interest in working with PTSD started in 2004 but during my time in Kuwait, I was able to talk with soldiers who had been in situations that were traumatic. It led me to reading as much as I could about trauma and PTSD.
In 2010 I decided I wanted to come home. After Iraq and before Kuwait I was home frequently for about two weeks. I got home one time when in Kuwait and wanted to be around more for my daughter. I returned to Texas in August 2010 and decided to work exclusively in private practice. I did up until my hire in May. My first impression, I love it!