Good Samaritan Community Services

The Good Sam Team


Amanda James

Senior Director of Youth and Teens Services

Amanda James is our Senior Director of Youth and Teens Services. Although she was born in Irving, TX she has spent her entire life as a San Antonio native. Texas State University is where she sharpened her skills, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work, marking her as a first-gen graduate.

Amanda has centered her career on positively influencing the lives of youth and teens through impactful initiatives in various non-profit organizations. In her last role as Senior Director of Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio, she devised a reading program specifically designed to help 1st-3rd graders overcome learning setbacks post-COVID. This initiative enabled over 300 youth to read at or above their grade level in its first year. Recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the program received a prestigious national award for its outstanding community partnerships. Now, after a rewarding stint as a stay-at-home mom, she’s bursting with enthusiasm to dive back into her passion at Good Sam, continuing to uplift the lives and communities we serve.

Amanda is all about family time and embracing the joyous chaos of her spirited two-year-old. When the opportunity arises, she and her husband also like to get out of the house, try new restaurants, and travel to new places.

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Cynthia Cardenas​

Senior Director of Family Services​

Cynthia C. Cardenas successfully manages and leads the Department of Family Services. She supervised the Senior Center Accreditation efforts, receiving official recognition from the National Institute of Senior Centers as the only accredited Senior Center in Texas. Mrs. Cardenas also guided her team to receive the Early Childhood Program’s Texas Rising Star 4-Star certification, receiving official recognition from Workforce Solutions Alamo as a high-quality early childhood program.

Not only does she manage department budgets, monitor program performance, professional development, grant writing projects and program deliverables, she also leads the Trauma Informed Care Committee working towards a Trauma Informed Certification for the agency.

Mrs. Cardenas participates in various community collaborations and committees which include Ready Children Impact Council, ReadyKidSA, Safety Net Impact Council (Food Insecurity), South Texas Trauma Informed Care Consortium, Bexar County Domestic Violence Task Force, and Parents as Teachers Advisory Committee. Her passions are to continue learning through education and professional development. She is an active advocate for the prevention and awareness of child abuse and neglect. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, yoga, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends.

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Elva Castañeda

Senior Director of Human Resources

Elva Castañeda first joined Good Samaritan Community Services in 2019 and now serves as the Senior Director of Human Resources. Mrs. Castañeda holds a BBA in Human Resource Management from Texas A&M University—San Antonio. She also earned and maintains her HR professional certification from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Mrs. Castañeda has ample professional experience in various roles but especially in the human resources field and the non-profit sector. She is responsible for managing the HR department. Her passions are helping others and family. She has been married for over 26 years and is a proud mom and grandmother. In her free time, Mrs. Castañeda loves to travel, go to the movies, attend social events, and relax by the beach.

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Steve Veling

Chief Financial Officer

Steve Veling joined the Air Force after graduating from the University of Greenbay with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Steve served for 7 ½ years as a Captain in the Air Force while earning a master’s degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas. Steve brings with him 30+ years of experience in Finance working for several housing authorities.

Steve has significantly improved the financial condition of the organizations he has worked for by regularly communicating and cooperating with staff throughout the agencies. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, reading, exercising and working in his family's yard.

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Simon Salas

Chief Executive Officer

Simon Salas joined Good Sam in 2017 after serving as a chief executive for more than 30 years in the education, government, nonprofit and business sectors. His passion is the education of youth, sparked by the journey that he began many years ago upon his graduation from John F. Kennedy High School in San Antonio, which then led him to New York City to attend college.

From his first job with the New York City Board of Education to successive jobs as a corporate lawyer with elite law firms, Simon developed strong relationships with outstanding public servants who became lifelong mentors and friends. His New York adventure culminated with a stint as a Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel for the Department of Finance. In this position he oversaw a number of high profile matters that helped the City avert financial distress. After five years serving under two different Mayoral administrations, Simon worked as staff to the New York City Council and began teaching as Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Simon, his wife and two children returned home in the early 2000’s. He started a law practice and later co-founded a charter school network with the goal of increasing access to high quality programs for children and youth. That network grew to five schools and Simon left to pursue other opportunities, one being his current role at Good Sam.

We often say at Good Samaritan that relationships are the work. Whether it's in working with each other, those that we serve or our partners in the community, the intentionality of our actions gives voice to the needs, dreams and desires aspired to by the members of our community.

Simon received his BA from Columbia College, his JD from Columbia Law School, and an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

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Aldo Garcia
Data Entry Specialist

Anahi Veloz
PT Data Entry Specialist

Diane Compean
Administrative Operations Manager

Erica Rocha
Data Manager

Gabriel Fernandez
Data Entry Specialist

Gilbert Ojeda
Buildings & Grounds

Julie Gonzales
Manager of Special Events and Campaigns

Nancy Herrera
Buildings & Grounds

Nicole Emmanuel
Human Resources Specialist

Rebecca Garcia
Director of Finance

Family Services

Bertha Ibarra Diaz

Brigette Mitchell
Preschool Teacher

Carol Cortes
PAT Program Manager

Diana Morales
EHS Teacher

Elena Gonzalez
Parent Educator

Eugenia Jacobo
Immediate Assistance Specialist

Gloria Guerra
EHS Teacher

Janie Godina
EHS Teacher

Lucy Yazz
Parent Educator

Michelle Carranza
CDS Data Entry Specialist

Odalys Lopez
Preschool Teacher

Raquel Oviedo
Early Head Start Specialist

Rebekah Cavazos
Parent Educator

Rosalinda Rodriguez
EHS Teacher

Rose Sanchez
Senior Center Activities Coordinator

Rosita Landin
Preschool Teacher

Santa Reyes
Early Childhood Program Manager

Youth & Teen Services - San Antonio

Anay Aparacio
Lead Classroom Instructor (Lead Asset Builder) 

Andrea Gomez
College and Career Advisor

Aulton Davis
YAC Coordinator/ Community Engagement

Finn Nelson
Lead Classroom Instructor (Lead Asset Builder) 

Idali Villalobos
Classroom Instructor (Asset Builder)

Israel Mendoza
Classroom Instructor (Asset Builder)

Marissa Solis
Lead Classroom Instructor (Lead Asset Builder) 

Miranda Saucedo
Classroom Instructor (Asset Builder)

Nancy Henderson
Reading Specialist

Patrice Owens
College & Career Coordinator

Samantha Trevino
Program Coordinator – Youth Case Management

Victoria Morales
YTS Program Manager – San Antonio

Yolanda Vazquez
Youth Case Manage




Youth & Teen Services - Brownsville

Ramiro Guevara
Lead Classroom Instructor (Lead Asset Builder) 

Abril Huerta 
Lead Classroom Instructor (Lead Asset Builder) 

Lynda Jaramillo
Lead Classroom Instructor (Lead Asset Builder) 

Marisela Almeida
Family Engagement Specialist 

Thessla Luna
YTS Program Manager – Brownsville

 Audrey Villareal
YAC Coordinator