Administration and Program Management

Shirley Caylor, CEO

Shirley Caylor is the co-founder of the Crisis Center, and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Caylor is a graduate of St. Mary of the Lakes College.  She is a member of the Lake Area United Way Agency Execs; the Porter County United Way Agency Executives. She is the chairperson of the Consortium of Residential Providers; a member of the Indiana Youth Services Association; the National Network of Youth Services; The Times Editorial Advisory Board; Former President of Gary Rotary.

Caylor was inducted into the Society of Innovators, and honored at Northwest Indiana Times Women of Merit (2005). 

In 2016, the National Safe Place Network honored Shirley with a 'Lifetime Achievement Award.'

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Barbara Wisdom, CFO

Barbara Wisdom is our Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

She has a post graduate certificate in accounting from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science degree in community psychology from Purdue University Calumet. She started her career at the Crisis Center by working part-time as a college student.

Barbara annually attends the AICPA conference for non-profit organizations' financial executives.

She is a founding member of a national focus group for non-profit finance and management executives, and also belongs to the National Association for Female Executives and the American Association of University Women.

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Gavin Mariano, Program Mgr.

Gavin Mariano is a consultant for our Safe Place / Safely Home and Teen Court programs.  He also serves as our social media and systems administrator.  

Gavin earned a B.A. from Indiana University Bloomington in 2001; and a Master of Social Work degree in 2014. He is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and an internationally-certified, Child and Youth Care Professional (CYC-P).   He serves on the IU Northwest Chancellor's Board of Advisors. Gavin was honored by the NWI Times as one of the "20 under 40" professionals in NWI for 2008, and was recognized as one of the "Who's Who in Indiana" by Building Indiana magazine for 2011.

(219) 938-7070  ex. 2707 (voicemail only).

Sandra Porter-Phillips, Program Manager

Sandra Porter Phillips, began managing our Teen Court program when the program was first started in 1989.

Mrs. Phillips has a Master’s degree in Science Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana State University. Porter-Phillips is the chairperson of the Tobacco Coalition whose goal is to increase community’s awareness and award mini-grants. 

Mrs. Porter-Phillips is a member of COFFY (Community Organization for Families and Youth) a coalition of Gary-based services that meets to respond to the needs of Gary citizens. 

Sandy is also on the board of the National Association of Teen Courts.

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For information or referrals to the Hamond Teen Court, contact Christian Espino at (219) 938-7070 dial 0 (or) E-mail:

Brenda Comer, Director

Brenda Comer is the director for our shelter program, Alternative House. She also manages our clinical services and counseling services.

Ms. Comer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology/psychology Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from University of Illinois at Chicago.  Brenda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW); a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor (LCAC); and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC).

Brenda is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, The Lake County Continuum of Care, SAFE for Lake County-for Life, Alternatives to Detention Work Group, and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. 

Brenda has experience in the health care industry, juvenile justice task force, community mental health.  She is the founder and CEO of her own LLC (Social Werx).  Brenda has served as a field supervisor for graduate level students from IUN, Purdue, Valpo U. UIC, Loyola and Governors State University.

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Sara Spruth - Program Manager

Sara Spruth is the program manager for our Crisis Contact Hotline and Safe Place / Safely Home. Sara is an alumni of Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Social Psychology. 

She is a certified ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) Instructor; AFSP certified Suicide Bereavement Support Group Facilitator; Love & Logic Instructor and LGBTQ Cultural Competency Trainer. Sara provides trainings and presentations to our community members, schools and organizations. 

She is actively involved in several NWI community organizations: Northwest Indiana Suicide Prevention Council; District 1 Disaster Response Mental Health Team; Human Trafficking Task Force; LGBTQ Coalition; Gary Drug-Free Communities Coalition and Domestic Violence Sex Assault Task Force.

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History - Mission - Board of Directors - Careers - Finance

Our Remarkable Story

Volunteers began the Rap  Line (crisis hotline) in 1971 in response to the tragic suicide of teenager Karen Leshk in 1971.   Co-founders the Rev. Dr. Donald G. Capp and Shirley Caylor used thier persistence to obtain initial funding from the city of Gary's revenue sharing funds, and the center has grown to include the Alternative House emergency shelter for children and youth, Safe Place outreach to youth in crisis, Teen Court prevention and early intervention services for youth, and low-cost counseling services for community residents.  Today, Caylor serves as CEO and leads a team of dozens of professionals who work to achieve our mission.


Mission Statement, Photos, Service and Confidentiality

Mission Statement

Strengthening communities and empowering families with emphasis on children in need of shelter, safety and support. 


Click here to view our photo albums on Facebook.

We Help
Any person, of any  age, in personal crisis through  our 24 hour services, range of services, and referrals throughout  Indiana.  We are an equal opportunity provider. Crisis Center, Inc.  does not and shall not discriminate on the basis  of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age,  national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual  orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.  


Read the Crisis Center's confidentiality statement here (PDF).


Board of Directors

Matt Dilts - President
Thomas Stevens - Vice-President
Carla Houch - Vice-President

Gary R. Johnson - Secretary / Treasurer


Robert A. Anderson - Kreig-Devault

Andy Arnold - Precision Control Systems

Gordon Beckley - The Hammond Group

Daniel Blankenburg - Hodges & Davis

Alyce Butler - Ret. NIPSCO

Wendell Carey - QC/Pennzoil

Marc Chase - Northwest Indiana Times

E. Thomas Collins, Jr. - Clark St. Development

Vic DeMeyer - Ret. NIPSCO

Tammy Lynch - Swartz Retson

Aaron McDermott - Latitude Commercial

Tom McDermott, Sr.

Nadine McDowell - Ret. Attorney

Daniel L. Nita - Horseshoe Casino

Thomas O'Donnell - Attorney

Tom Ploski - Ret. Pepsi Cola Bottlers

Dr. Janet Seabrook - Community HealthNet, Inc.

Tom Sourlis - Mortar Net USA, Ltd.

Scott Steinwart - First Merchants Bank

David Van Dyke - Precision Construction

Robert Welsh - Welsh Holdings

Roger Wills - Ret. School Counselor


Career Opportunities

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:  Opportunities are posted as they become available.  Instructions on how to apply are below.  Open positions are announced below (with additional information on the program).   Thank you for considering us.  Best wishes on your career search. 



Please submit your resume in Adobe PDF format via email (type the available position in the subject line). See individual job descriptions for our official E-mail address where we accept resumes below.

Cover letters are optional (unless indicated).  A representative from our agency will contact you if you are selected for an interview.

Part-Time positions available in the following departments:

1. Residential Staff  (Click Here to view listing on the bottom of the program page).

2. Counselor (Click Here to view listing on the bottom of the program page).


Financial Information

Our Funding
U.S. Department of  Health & Human Services,  Runaway & Homeless Youth Act; Indiana Dept. of Child Services;  Indiana Dept. of Education; Indiana Youth Services Association (IYSA); Gary School Corporation (Chapter  I); Lake  Area United Way; Lake County Division of Child Services; Geminus; Anderson Foundation; City of Gary Emergency Solutions grant;  corporations, churches, service clubs, and individuals.

Crisis Center, Inc. is an IRS-recognized, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  

We hold an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau, and our profile may be found on Guidestar.


Questions about the agency financial information should be directed to Barbara Wisdom

Click Here  to email Barbara Wisdom.