949-939-8932 marci@emmysplace.org

About Emmy’s Place

Emmy’s Place

Our Mission…to create systemic change for the most vulnerable by increasing awareness, being a collective voice and providing supportive services.  

We seek…to enable all to be heard when basic rights are at stake and to decrease the number of homeless women and children who lack services.

Our desireto break the cycle of hopelessness by promoting access to justice within a healing community and through a voice of compassion.

How Do We Improve Access to Justice?

Emmy’s Place addresses the issues of the most vulnerable in our communities, often women and children, by increasing community awareness of the obstacles they face. We advocate for change through practical and spiritually oriented steps, while working with other community organizations. Our long term goal is to create a full-service, faith-based justice center to provide emotional support and advocacy.

Meet Our Team

Marci Patera

Marci Patera



Marci earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on finance and legal studies from U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Life experiences led her to focus on holistic healing for those impacted by domestic abuse, and its disabling effects, with an emphasis on the spiritual.  She advocates to improve protections for those who are most vulnerable and to raise awareness and recognition of the impact emotional and financial abuse have on many women and their children.   Marci has also advocated for stronger legislation against payday lending practices that disproportionately impact minorities and single mothers and the strengthening of legislation to protect those experiencing financial and emotional abuse. 

Justice & Advocacy Work

Marci volunteered with Administer Justice and served as volunteer Director of Advocacy for Gospel Justice Initiative. She collaborated with The Center For Responsible Lending’s Faith Based Division in their work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on payday lending legislation and through that advocacy was invited to meet with President Obama’s executive staff. 

Marci advocates for the use of electronic recording in all California civil and family law hearings, free access to transcripts for all indigent litigants, and is petitioning to close a loophole in the California Family Code that allows judicial discretion on removing Social Security disability benefits used for the support of minor children from the disabled parent.

Marci is a member of the Global Network of Evangelists (a Luis Palau Association), was the Justice Convener for The Table Coalition’s Love 2020 Justice Affinity Group, and is a member of Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).  Emmy’s Place partners with Christian Legal Aid.  Marci completed mandated training as a domestic violence counselor and specific training in Trauma Informed Care. She is trained as a Safe Family, a Children’s Grief Support Lead and as a Stephens Minister.

Family & Inspiration

Marci has three children who have been the inspiration for Emmy’s Place. Marci’s youngest son designed the logo. 


Michelle Woodyard

Michelle Woodyard


Michelle is honored to be a part of this important organization.  She helped a close friend escape an abusive relationship several years ago and that experience helped her realize abuse can happen to anybody.  Additionally, she has had her own experiences with emotional abuse and has a strong heart for those suffering the effects and wounds abuse causes.

Michelle has her MBA from University of Redlands and has an  extensive background in administration, marketing and web design.  She is currently a Marketing Specialist in the Automotive Industry.  Michelle resides in Seymour, Tennessee with her fur-babies, Nella and Howie.


Brad Ross

Brad Ross


Brad’s passion for social justice issues grew during his eight years with Justice Services where he oversaw the juvenile parole and probation electronic monitoring program for Los Angeles County along with a number of other juvenile and adult programs across the western United States. He studied communications at Cal State Fullerton and worked in the printing and publishing industry for over 25 years before working for G4S.

Brad started attending Mariners Church in Irvine, CA in November of 2019. He became a Christian in January of 2020. Since joining Mariners Brad has been active in service, co-facilitating a rooted group, leading a men’s life group and serving in the food pantry four days a week for much of 2020. He currently serves on the singles ministry leadership team at Mariners.

Brad is from Glendale, CA and currently lives in Aliso Viejo and has two children. He is committed to his faith, serving the Lord and serving others.


Jarvis Ward - Pastor / Chief Executive Officer PEARSON Foundation, Inc.

Jarvis Ward - Pastor / Chief Executive Officer PEARSON Foundation, Inc.


Jarvis Ward has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the PEARSON Foundation, Inc., based in Pearl, Mississippi since April of 2014. He served nearly 17 years as the National Facilitator of City & Community Ministries with the Mission America Coalition/United States Lausanne Committee and continues to cultivate strategic partnerships locally and nationally.

Jarvis served nearly 15 years as the National Prayer-Care-Share Trainer/Instructor for the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA denomination headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. He is an associate pastor at Sweet Rest Church in Pearl, Mississippi and former pastor of Second Temple Church in Jackson, Mississippi. He is founder of Christ for the Cities and Co-founder of the National City Impact Roundtable (NCIR).

Jarvis served as the first Executive Director of Mission Mississippi, a nationally recognized Christian racial reconciliation organization. He served many years as a Volunteer Chaplain for the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Jarvis also served two terms as a Member, Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is a member of America’s National Prayer Committee and serves as a National Conference and Seminar Speaker and Consultant and Coach for Christian leaders in the USA and globally. He is a graduate of the Evangelical Institute of Greenville, S.C.; the University of Memphis.

Jarvis and his wife (of 34 years), Brendalyn, reside in Pearl, Mississippi; they have five children. He has made a life commitment to labor and sacrifice to see young and old come to know, love, worship and serve Jesus Christ.

Daniel Serna

Daniel Serna


Daniel has had the opportunity to serve the City of Santa Ana as a Police Officer since 2008. His passion for helping others began in high school where he found mentors who gave of their time and helped mold him into the person he is today.

As a Police Officer, Daniel had the opportunity to work alongside a domestic violence advocate, responding to domestic violence calls and providing information and services involving domestic violence issues to the community.

Daniel started attending Mariners Church in Irvine, CA in January 2020 and began walking with God in January 2021. He currently serves with Mariners Church as a safety volunteer. Daniel lives in Santa Ana with his three children.

Partners & Affiliations

working together to create access to justice

The following organizations support our work or are professional affiliations:

Mariners Church Logo
Safe Families for Children