Hover your mouse over each team member below to see how every baby is not a "potential person" but rather a person with great potential!
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 Live Action Activism Training Camp, 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 national Board of Directors of The 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, turkeys, 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.
Jeannine Estrada returned to college after being a stay-at-home mom for 24 years. She graduated with a degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography in 2020 and is a licensed and Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. As someone who faced an unexpected pregnancy at a young age, she understands the need for compassionate and loving support. The main reason she chose sonography as a career was to help in the pro-life community.
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, cooking, working on side projects and reading.
Janet is currently a nursing student, who would like to become a neonatal nurse someday. She is the president of the Students for Life in New Mexico State University, and attends St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church. Janet felt called to be part of the coalition team because, she sees how abortion takes not only the lives of the most innocent in society, but it also destroys their mothers. She hates the thought of possibly having classmates and freinds that could be suffering in silence, and do nothing about it. Which is why she decided to join our Her Care Connection intern program.
Some of her hobbies are traveling, outdoor activities (especially fishing), playing guitar, and spending time with her nephews and family.
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.
Mariaelisa graduated high school in 2021 with an associate degree, and she is currently attending her 5th semester of the nursing program at UTEP. She has always enjoyed an active life especially regarding religion. She was blessed to be surrounded by many people who were very active in their church, like her cousin Jessica S. and her daughter Lulu. They not only helped Mariaelisa deepen her faith but they also introduced her to the pro-life movement. She felt called to join our team during 2020 and very quickly grew more and more passionate about protecting life.
She enjoys many things such as learning (especially about medicine), hiking with friends or really anything with friends, ju-jitsu, swimming, reading, baking, and having fun experiences. When deciding where she wanted to work, Mariaelisa quotes, ” I prayed for a team who would not only be amazing people but would help my faith grow, and God sure delivered!”
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.
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.