Mark Cavaliere is the Executive Director of the Southwest Coalition for Life which he founded in response to an abortion facility opening in Las Cruces, NM, in 2014. The Coalition was established the following year, and in 2016, Mark quit his job to organize full-time outreach until the facility closed permanently in 2017, citing financial problems for suddenly “not getting enough patients.” Since then, Mark has worked tirelessly to unite the pro-life community across the larger region El Paso, Texas & Southern New Mexico, through which God has now closed 3 abortion facilities in just over 3 years. Under his leadership, the Southwest Coalition for Life has been called one of the most high-impact local and regional pro-life organizations in the nation. Starting with 40 Days for Life, Mark has mobilized thousands to action leading 24 vigils across 14 campaigns at 4 locations in 2 states, developed innovative sidewalk outreach programs, launched a Save the Storks medical ultrasound bus, and has helped raise over $3 million across various pro-life organizations in less than 5 years. On behalf of the El Paso community, he was presented with the Pro-Life Hero Award in 2019 and the Protector of Women & Children Award in 2020.
Mark is frequently asked to train pro-life groups across the country on the psychology of persuasion in pro-life work. He also conducts, emcees, and consults webcast and banquet events, and frequently speaks at pro-life galas, conferences, and programs including the Saving Lives on the Sidewalk National Conference, Students for Life Leadership Summits, the 40 Days for Life Leadership Symposium, the Explicitly Pro-Life Podcast with Kristan Hawkins, Jesus 911 Radio with Jesse Romero, the Webcast Success Bootcamp with David Bereit, and more. In addition to various local and regional media, Mark has also been featured by the National Catholic Register and Celebrate Life Magazine. One of his great honors is to sit on the Board of Directors for the national Guiding Star Project, as well as on the Board of his local affiliate Guiding Star El Paso which he helped launch in 2017. In his free time, Mark enjoys tinkering with computer and internet technologies, amatuer web/video/graphic design, reading books with his five children, and watching movies with his beautiful wife Melissa at their home in Chaparral, NM, where they have numerous chickens, ducks, and goats.
Jessica Sifuentes is the Director of Operations for the Southwest Coalition for Life. She’s been married to her high school sweetheart for 32 years, and considers herself very fortunate to have been able to homeschool their 4 beautiful children. Jessica always had a passion for food, which led her to open her own catering business which she successfully operated for 11 years. It was during that time that she felt a call from the Lord which ultimately redirected her efforts. Her newfound passion is to help women discover who they are in Christ so that ultimately, they will choose life not only for their baby but for themselves.
Sarah Contreras first joined the Southwest Coalition for Life as a part-time Sidewalk Intern in the Summer of 2019. As the needs and team began growing, she started assisting with office tasks and now supports the team full-time as the Office Manager. She first became involved in the pro-life ministry while living in San Antonio as a college student, followed by a 5 week sidewalk counseling internship in New York City during her last summer of college. After returning to her home town in El Paso, she volunteered and worked for Guiding Star El Paso where she first connected with the Southwest Coalition for Life.
As a young girl, Sarah was deeply saddened by the ways in which females are often oppressed and concluded as a young adult that the most heinous form of female oppression was the widely-sold idea that becoming a mother — especially when unplanned — was a tragedy that needed to be “erased.” She believes motherhood is naturally written in every women’s feminine identity and now advocates for women’s freedom to live out motherhood without fear or shame. It is because of this conviction that Sarah is passionate about working for this life-affirming organization.
Dr. Gutierrez is a board-certified OBGYN and enjoys serving the El Paso community as an El Paso native. Growing up, her mom volunteered with Project Gabriel to lend support to women in crisis pregnancies. Her parents both cultivated her Catholic faith and the ideals of Social Justice. We strive to offer hope to women and men in their loneliest moment facing an abortion decision. Her two babies and her husband are her biggest blessings!
Now in Las Cruces, Dr. Cuevas is a native El Pasoan and UTEP grad. He is a Board Certified Family Medicine physician, a Devout Catholic husband and father, and an entrepreneur providing consultation services for Type-2 diabetes reversal as well as ongoing medical practice. Dr. Cuevas considers himself humbled to be able to contribute to the Coalition’s mission in any way.
Venita has been a Registered Nurse for 15+ years, primarily working in dialysis and public health specialties and currently serving as an RN case manager with Arch Care Consultants. In July of 2020, Venita felt God leading me to assist in pro-life ministry through the Anglican’s for Life Chapter at her church and discovered the Coalition’s need for a Nurse Manager as part of our Mobile Medical Unit, for which Venita is currently training to provide ultrasounds. Since then, she says, “I have been blessed to work with such a Godly group of people at the Coalition.” Venita has a passion for missions and fulfilled her dream of completing her DTS with Youth with a Mission in 2013. In her free time, she loves to read and participates in two reading groups, and also enjoys traveling to US National Parks to experience God’s beauty and majesty.
Ana is the Graphic Designer and an outreach intern for the Southwest Coalition for Life. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in printmaking. Ana has been pro-life since she knew what the word abortion meant, but she never thought she would be involved in pro-life ministry. After a few months of struggling to find a job where she could not only use her design skills but also see the value of her work, she felt disheartened that maybe the career path she chose was not something God called her to do. After praying and speaking to God, she then understood that God closed a few doors because He needed her somewhere else. Ana has been working for the Coalition team since February of 2020 where she can now see the value of her work by using her artistic skills but also at the same time empower women to choose life. She believes God blessed her by combining both of her passions into one. Ana plans to keep growing with the Coalition, and is very excited for the plans God has for this organization. When Ana is not in the office designing or out doing outreach she loves sharing about what Christ has done in her life with others. She also enjoys watching “The Chosen” series, hanging out with her dogs, working on side projects and reading.
Christina has been involved in the Pro-life movement ever since she can remember and has prayed with 40 days for Life since middle school, and has been a volunteer for the Binational Pro-Family Pro-Life League since 2015. She is currently studying Creative Writing at UTEP and is the Secretary for Students for Life at UTEP, the pro-life group on campus.
Valentina was homeschooled from 1st grade through high school, and graduated in the Fall of 2020. She is now studying at DACC and hopes to transfer to NMSU to become a nurse or a medical assistant. Valentina grew up in the pro-life movement when at the age of 11 years old, the abortion facility in Las Cruces opened, and from that point she watched the growth of the Southwest Coalition for Life. When she heard about our sidewalk internship, she instantly knew she wanted to join. Around the same time she was inspired by one of Stephanie Gray’s talks who said, “If abortion workers can work full-time for abortion, can’t we do the same to stop abortion when we know it’s wrong?” That stuck home with Valentina, and settled her choice of career. Her greatest wish is to become a Saint in heaven, and she attends the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown El Paso where she feels privileged to sing in the choir. In her free time, Valentine enjoys being with her friends and family, sketching, reading, photography, bike riding, traveling, and art journal.
Andrea recently graduated from UTEP with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences and loves the biology of the human body, especially the brain! She also enjoys learning French, running, and trying new food. Andrea’s goal is to earn a PhD in neuroscience to become a researcher and use science to clearly reveal the truths about abortion, which neglects the dignity of human life and hurts women physically, emotionally, and spiritually every day. She is honored to be part of the Coalition over the Summer, using Christian values to directly empower women to walk away from this reality.
Joel says that he has always wished to participate in the pro-life movement and bring transformative change to our country for both the preborn stripped from their mother’s arms and mothers who find themselves in these difficult situations. “Since abortion is, of course, the preeminent issue of our time,” Joel explains, “I chose to work for the Southwest Coalition for Life because, indeed, it would be foolish to recognize that abortion directly takes the life of an innocent person and yet willfully choose to do nothing about it.” In his spare time, Joel enjoys reading, working out, listening to music, and deepening his understanding of his Catholic faith. Because of his interest in metaphysics, Joel plans to earn a doctorate in philosophy and then raise a large Catholic family. “I want to help end the horror that is the laceration of our children, and also maybe learn how to swim,” Joel adds.
Paola Rocha is an outreach intern for Southwest Coalition for Life. She and her brother Joel, promptly joined the Coalition after moving to El Paso from Southern California. They had been involved in pro-life work in their home state in the past, so they felt called to continue. When asked why she got into pro-life work Paola frequently replies, “I felt a strong conviction to do something. It’s not enough to say you’re pro-life and not do anything about it. The abortion debate is unique in the sense that it ends an unborn human life and then leaves the mother embittered or in shambles psychologically speaking. Both deserve better.”
Paola is a psychology major and French minor at the University of California Los Angeles. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, Tridentine mass, boba, reading, Mexican food, crêpes, and watching Star Wars. She is honored to be working with the Coalition and thanks God for such an amazing team.
“God has blessed me with many gifts throughout my life,” Kylee says. “He knows where I am meant to be even if I cannot see the work he is doing myself, which is how it feels sometimes when we are on the sidewalk. Even when we may not get to talk to someone, as long as we can get them a brochure God can have something beautiful planned for that person.” In her free time, Kylee enjoys painting, spending time with my family and helping others. Because of her time with the Coalition, Kylee is excited to pursue sonography. She explains, “The Coalition made me want to do this so I can help empower moms to choose life for their baby and help them know that YOU CAN DO IT!!!”
After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion, Laurin strives to help expand education about abortion and the various factors that contribute to the culture we live in today while promoting a culture of life and truth. “God has led me to where I am now, and while it can be challenging, I find peace and comfort knowing that I can be a vessel for the His work,” Laurin says. “I reflect on the ways that God has worked in my life and how they all led up to where I am now and the work that I do, and each time I am left in awe by His greatness. While I may have lost friends and hindered relationships with family throughout this journey, I have gained a community of individuals who are filled with love for Christ and obedience to His will.” In her spare time, Laurin enjoys watching movies, attending Adoration, puzzles, painting, baking, working out, hiking, and trying new foods.
Hannah Fleenor is an Outreach Intern at the Southwest Coalition for Life. She became a part of the Coalition in the Spring of 2020 after her family joined our local 40 Days For Life prayer vigil. She loves serving the men and women she meets on the sidewalk, as well as her family, music, and the gift of life!
Matthew has been married to his wife, Lydia, since 1995, and they have 5 children.
Matthew is currently an Assistant General Agent with Knights of Columbus Insurance, serving Southwest New Mexico and the Diocese of El Paso. Before his appointment with K of C, he was a band director for 17 years in Deming, Lordsburg, and Clovis, NM. Matthew enjoys music ministry with his family. Matthew has been involved with the mission of the Southwest Coalition for Life since our earliest days.
Lynne Avitia retired from Dona Ana Community College in January of 2020 after teaching for 29 years. She also worked for 12 years as a youth/confirmation leader for two parishes in the Diocese of Las Cruces and volunteered for 7 years as the RCIA director for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She still volunteers there as needed for various projects. Lynne’s parents were pro-life pioneers in this area and opened the first pregnancy help center to exist in Las Cruces, NM. She continues the tradition of supporting the pro-life cause.