About Us

A Partnership for Change (APFC) is a New Jersey-based non-profit organization dedicated to ending intimate partner violence.

Meet our Staff & Board

Allison Bressler, MA, Co-Founder/Co-Director

Allison holds a Master's degree in Counseling and Human Development, has worked with victims of abuse since 1999, and is qualified as an expert witness in domestic violence cases. Her article on domestic violence in affluent communities was published by Scientific American Mind magazine, and she has been interviewed on ABC's World News Tonight & ABC News Radio as an expert in the field.

Ms. Bressler began her career in the field as the Director of Non-Residential Services for Hope's Door (formerly The Northern Westchester Shelter) where, she expanded the agency's counseling and community education programs and directed Westchester County's premier annual teen dating abuse symposium. She moved to The Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation as the Director of Programs where she played a pivotal role in developing and implementing their strongest initiatives. Later, she was the Director of the Non-Residential Counseling program at the YWCA of Union County where she also supervised the Union County Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRTs).

In 2007, she co-founded A Partnership for Change with Gloria Sgrizzi to fill the gap in the availability of domestic violence education, awareness and prevention programs in New Jersey. Ms. Bressler's passion to empower individuals and her knowledge of domestic violence has made her a sought-after speaker at many venues in New York and New Jersey, and has allowed her to inspire hundreds to play a role in breaking the cycle of violence.

Gloria Sgrizzi, Co-Founder/Co-Director

Gloria has worked in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault since 1993. Ms. Sgrizzi has worked at the Center for Safety & Change (formerly the Rockland Family Shelter) and Hope's Door (formerly The Northern Westchester Shelter) in New York, and also worked at 180 Turning Lives Around in NJ.

Her experience includes serving as a director of development and community relations; providing educational workshops for businesses, police officers, community groups and colleges; volunteering on a rape crisis hotline; grantwriting and coordinating fundraisers; and spearheading public relations campaigns.

At Hope's Door, she designed the shelter's first teen dating abuse education program, which included an award-winning and internationally-recognized peer leader component known as STAR (Students Terminating Abusive Relationships).

Ms. Sgrizzi worked as a freelance grant-writer for non-profits throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania before co-founding APFC in 2007 with Ms. Bressler. Since that time, they've expanded the agency's programs and profile in community to the extent that APFC is now recognized as a leader in the field.

Gloria is committed to supporting local, national and worldwide efforts to eliminate abuse in the lives of women and children.

Laura Varelas Arroyo, PowerBack Program Manager

Laura joined APFC in August 2022 as the PowerBack Program Manager. She has a master’s degree in Global Development from the University of Bridgeport and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Sacred Heart University.

Laura started her career in advocacy working at a domestic violence shelter in Connecticut more than ten years ago and has been working in the field ever since.

Most recently, she served as a coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Team in the New Haven CT Judicial District, which investigates cases of child sexual abuse and physical abuse. Laura is passionate about working to end all forms of violence.

Jesse Kraft, PowerBack Program Coordinator

Jesse joined APFC in December 2020 to provide support across all programs providing outreach, tech support for webinars, and handling data collection.

Since 2022, Jesse has been working solely in the PowerBack program to help us expand outreach efforts to schools and students. He co-facilitates presentations on teen dating abuse to high school students, guides our peer leaders in implmeneting awareness events on campus, develops and designs content for Instagram, and supports with data collection and evaluation.

Trisha Espinoza, MA, EdS, NCC, LPC, Counselor & Program Specialist

Trisha has been with APFC since 2013. She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the state of New Jersey, and a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Trisha facilitates presentations for APFC and provides bilingual counseling services for clients in our DV-SOS program. She also operates a private practice, New Perspective Counseling Services.

Trisha attended Seton Hall University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology as a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Association scholar, her master’s degree in Counseling and her Educational Specialist Degree (EdS) in Professional Counseling. She is also an adjunct professor for Union County College teaching psychology courses for the school of Social Sciences.

Susan J. Gleason, PREP Training Specialist

Susan joined APFC in August 2021. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Scranton and earned her law degree from Widener University, Commonwealth Law School in 1995.

Susan served as an assistant prosecutor in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for more than 25 years. During her tenure, she supervised the Domestic Violence Unit and worked on cases involving intimate partner violence throughout her career. She was passionate about working with victims to assist them through the judicial process, to guide them towards supportive services, and to seek justice for all individuals affected by violence.

Susan brings that passion to educating law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and victims advocates about the impact of domestic violence on victims with the ultimate goal of ending the cycle of abuse.

Joseph Mondi, Videographer/Editor

Joe joined APFC in April 2020 to provide support in PowerBack by helping us enhance our social media presence in order to better reach students.

He created the agency's first YouTube channel for teens and produces content (scripting, filming, editing), develops promotional and educational videos on teen dating abuse.

Joe works with the PowerBack staff to enrich content for teens on Instagram and TikTok, and is helping us to develop our first podcast, A Podcast for Change.

Lisa Palermo, Outreach Manager

Lisa joined APFC in October 2021 working in our DATA, SOS and PREP programs where she increased our reach to social service agencies, school counselors and law enforcement professionals throughout NJ. In 2023, Lisa expanded her role to include overseeing the agency's social media content to enhance our presence on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Across all programs, Lisa seeks out additional opportunities to create new partnerships and to communicate with our audiences via social media, awareness events, online networking, conferences, and a newsletter. She also supports us with improving our marketing fliers, PowerPoints and other outreach materials.

Lisa brings nearly 20 years of marketing and outreach experience in various fields, including non-profits and consumer goods & services. Lisa is passionate about IPV and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology.

Ryan Borchardt, Program Assistant

Ryan joined APFC in January 2023 to enhance outreach to social service agencies, police departments and schools.

He has an MPA from Sacred Heart University where he studied non-profit management. His experience includes working on a myriad of community outreach events to highlight the plight of victims and to foster a culture of respect in our communities. His work at APFC is to help us build a stronger coordinated community response for victims in NJ, to heighten our presence within the law enforcment community, and to support teen victims of dating abuse at awareness events in our PowerBack program.

APFC's Board of Directors

  • Susanne M. Caruso, President
  • Deborah Schaub, CPA, Treasurer
  • Peter Briggs, Jr., Secretary
  • Thomas Buchbinder, Board Member
  • Annie Scully, Board Member