After 3½ years as executive director of TESSA, SherryLynn Boyles is stepping down to head another Colorado Springs-based nonprofit.
Boyles will leave the domestic violence prevention organization and safe house June 30 to spend a year as interim executive director for Joint Initiatives for Youth and Families, which provides administrative support for three state-funded programs — the Alliance for Kids, the Colorado Youth Detention Continuum and the El Paso County Reach Collaborative Management Program.
She previously was on the board of Joint Initiatives for Youth and Families and now will help reorganize it.
“Those initiatives are operating in silos, so the desire is to integrate them so that they have higher impact,” Boyles said.
Since she started at TESSA in December 2015, the staff has grown from 37 to 50; survivors helped annually have increased from 8,000 to 15,000; and the budget has climbed from $1.6 million in 2016 to $3.6 million this year.
“It’s been super rewarding ... I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot together. It’s really been a team effort,” Boyles said.
TESSA board President Anne Markley will serve as interim CEO during the search for a new director.
Boyles “has been instrumental in the growth that we have seen and enjoyed over the past 3½ years,” Markley said. “She has more than doubled our budget, and through that, has been able to bring program on board that we wouldn’t have been able to do prior to that.
“We’re sad to see her go. We understand her desire to try something new and have a new challenge, and I think that she has great skills that are going to be able to grow Joint Initiatives in the way that she was able to grow TESSA.”
Boyles will continue to work with TESSA in an advisory role, Markley said.
TESSA last year acquired the Women’s Resource Agency, combining services to women and their children who are victims of sexual and family violence. As a result, the nonprofit opened new satellite offices at The Citadel mall and in Divide.
Boyles said that during her tenure, TESSA created a legal assistance program for survivors who seek restraining orders or need expertise in family law. The program now has five in-house lawyers and about 15 contract lawyers.
The counseling program expanded, too, and a new housing assistance program has helped house more than 460 people. It helps clients with rent and utilities and provides “wraparound case management,” she said.
“It’s been important to me ... that we start looking at how to stop the high (domestic violence) rates,” Boyles said, crediting her success to “a supportive board and team of very dedicated staff and volunteers.”
“Some people have said TESSA has saved their life. Some have said it’s changed their life. They don’t know what they would do without TESSA.”