Like lots of others, MySweetCharity is scurrying to catch up on what has transpired over the past months. In addition to Texas Eating Disorders (formerly known as The Elisa Project) closing its doors, Momentous Institute Executive Director Jessica Trudeau left the Salesmanship Club of Dallas’ organization and joined TexProtects as director of strategic initiatives in November.
But have no fears about the Momentous Institute carrying on. After a national search, Dr. Jessica Gomez has just been promoted from the Institute’s director of clinical innovation to its new executive director.
As Momentous Institute Chair Robert Smith put it, “Dr. Gomez brings deep expertise as a published thought leader and psychologist, as well as an intimate understanding of our mission through her direct mental health work with children and families. She has a stellar track record as an innovative leader, and it was clear through our search process that she is the perfect leader to usher in the next era of Momentous Institute’s work to change the odds for children.”
In addition to having her own private practice since 2014, the bilingual licensed psychologist had worked with the Institute since 2013. While Jessica G.’s credentials include professional and academic achievements as well as serving as a resource for media outlets, she has personally witnessed how interaction can change the odds for youngsters.
According to Jessica G., “I grew up in a Latino family on the South Side of Chicago. Not only was I the first person in my family to get a doctoral degree, but I was also the first to even go to college. When we talk about changing the odds for children at Momentous Institute, I know deeply what it means because I am living proof of what overcoming those odds can do.”
Thanks to the Salesmanship Club’s more than 100 years of “supporting education and therapeutic programs for youth and their families in underserved areas of the community” and the funds raised from the 77-year-old Byron Nelson Golf Tournament (today’s AT&T Byron Nelson), the Institute has come a long way since the Club’s original program of taking orphans to a summer recreational camp in 1921. It wasn’t until 1983 that the Club made “it first venture into education and opened a day treatment school for students and invested in research and education.” Seeing the need for expansion of its services, the Club in 1987 began “offering family therapy services and relocated its offices to Oak Cliff.” Ten years later, “the Club opened a lab school for kids growing up in poverty that prioritized social emotional health.” Over the years other programs and resources were created, and eventually, in 2014, “in an effort to expand the organization’s model of excellence in social emotional health to reach children and families nationwide, the Club renamed the programs Momentous Institute.”
Jessica G. added, “I believe wholeheartedly in Momentous Institute’s mission because I’ve practiced it, and I’ve lived it. And I could not be more excited to lead this incredible organization into the future as we continue to change the odds for children and families.”
* Photo credit: Amber Marie Photography