About Us


To assist the most vulnerable individuals that struggle with finding their way.  Our purpose is helping those exposed, break through barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential. We will provide services to assist in building strength and courage while providing guidance and education for them to seek opportunities for success. Our goal is for these individuals to become responsible citizens so they may have a fulfilled and productive life.



Brenda Barela – Executive Director

Brenda has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with the concentration on the public sector. She has years of experience with the development process of various programs, and the compliance segment stemming from an extensive background, from working within the nonprofit sector. Her passion is helping the community. Her belief is that people need people. People coming together can be powerful. She wants to see “Important things happen by growing relationships and collaborating with others to help meet the needs of the community”.


Board of Directors

Dee Burns-Board – Chair

Dee Burns is the Business Owner of A.L.I.V.E. and the Founder of Bridge to Success. She is an exceptional woman, with countless talents. She is a tireless advocate for the clients she cares for. She has an excellent understanding of their challenges and needs. Ms. Burns has worked 30 + years in the mental health field. Her dedication to this field has brought a better place for others to live in, because of her passion she wants to see Bridge grow strong, to better help those of need.


Shannon Maxwell – Vice Chair

Shannon Maxwell grew up in New Mexico and has spent more than 20 years working in New Mexico communities.  She has spent much of her career working in the non-profit sector providing supports, services, resources and training to the neediest communities around the state.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science with an emphasis in Human Services from Eastern New Mexico University and a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix.  Shannon has a great deal of experience, both personally and professionally, working with individuals with disabilities and other special needs.


Miriam Brettner – Secretary

Miriam Brettner retired from HELP-New Mexico in 2016. She was the Agency’s Human Resources Administrator for 13 years.  Ms. Brettner received her bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in Human Resources from UNM’s Anderson School of Business.  She also obtained the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from HRCI and SHRM-CP from the Society of Human Resources Management.  In her capacity as HR Administrator, she provided training to management on HR related issues and current regulations, women returning to the workforce, and newly formed non-profits.  Her skills include mediation, internal inquiries, policies and procedures, interviewing, and state and federal regulations.   In her capacity as HR Administrator, Ms. Brettner oversaw the daily management of HR for approximately 220 employees.


Rachel Walker Al-Yasi – Fundraising Officer

Rachel Walker Al-Yasi is an Attorney at Law, practicing 26 years, criminal defense, family law, and guardianship cases.  Rachel served as a Judge at the Bernalillo county Metropolitan Court from January 2007 – December 2010 (4 years).


Max Padilla – Fundraising Officer