Our Team

Leigh Treviño profile picture

Leigh Treviño

Co-Executive Director (Programs)

As the Co-Executive Director of KidLinks, Leigh strives to bring musical access to children who need it most. She has spent the majority of her career in the arts nonprofit sector, gaining extensive knowledge and experience in program management, communications, fundraising, and community engagement. She's worked with organizations such as the California Institute of the Arts and San Francisco Children's Art Center to strengthen and expand the reach of arts programming to underserved communities. Leigh also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Youth Development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and does freelance graphic design in her spare time.

She holds a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design from Art Institute of California and nonprofit administration coursework from University of San Francisco. Outside of her role at KidLinks, Leigh enjoys spending time with her family, engaging in art and culture activities, hiking, running, and traveling.

Jim Newton profile picture

Jim Newton


Prior to the merger between Hugworks and The KidLinks Foundation, Jim was the President and Founder of Hugworks.

Jim brings to KidLinks a wealth of musical experience and has worked with others to create a new discipline, Therapeutic Music Entertainment, while bringing the transforming and healing power of music into children's hospitals and other special care settings. Jim, along with Paul G. Hill, has been perfecting this craft for over thirty-five years through song writing and recording, direct services, TME training and community outreach.

Jim holds a BA in Philosophy and a Master's in Theology, and has trained and served as a hospital chaplain.

Kimberly Ballard-Madison profile picture

Kimberly Ballard-Madison

Director of Marketing & Partnerships

Kimberly is the former Director of Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations for St. Philip's School and Community Center where she was instrumental in leading the organization's brand development and implementing key communication strategies to increase reach, awareness, and engagement during her 9-year tenure. Kimberly has also worked for 16 years in the advertising agency business with several notable agencies in the DFW area where she started her career. Her expertise includes brand management, traditional and digital account management as well as creative art direction. In addition, Kimberly is currently serving her second term as an Executive Board Member at The Episcopal School of Dallas where she leads as the Chair of the Episcopal Identity Committee.

As an experienced performing artist, Kimberly has passionately studied and shared West African culture through the art of dance since 1998. She has trained in dance with renowned master teachers and Guinea ambassadors. Kimberly is a former performing member, wardrobe designer and stage manager of Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble, founded in 2009.

Kimberly earned her B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Spanish from the renowned University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and is a certified 200 RYT. Kimberly and her husband, Jerome have two middle school children, Marloh and Zoi, and a goldendoodle Cyrus.

Laura Ingrim profile picture

Laura Ingrim

Marketing Communications Specialist

As the Marketing Communications Specialist, Laura is instrumental in growing and maintaining KidLinks’ social media platforms, email campaigns, and overall communications strategy. Laura has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit management at a variety of organizations, where her duties included volunteer management, marketing efforts, design projects, and community engagement. She excels at building partnerships and bringing creativity into her work. Laura is excited to be part of KidLinks’ dynamic team.

Laura is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor’s of Music Education, vocal emphasis, and previously taught music for six years on the elementary level in the Keller Independent School District. Laura and her husband, Joel, stay busy chasing after their toddler son, Alex, and two cats, Benedict Cumbercat and KitKat. In her free time, Laura enjoys attending art shows, traveling, reading, and searching for the perfect cinnamon roll.

Dionne Davis profile picture

Dionne Davis

Programs & Grants Coordinator

Dionne brings over 30 years of experience in management and funds development to KidLinks. She believes children deserve joy and every opportunity to grow-up and aspire to become their best selves.

During her career, Dionne managed program services for residents and newcomers to Dallas-Fort Worth at Catholic Charities of Dallas. She has designed and facilitated professional and academic courses as an adjunct professor at Richland College and Collin College. At Dallas Theater Center, she helped launch equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts by co-authoring its EDI statement and leading crucial conversations across the organization. She assisted the development of the theatre’s racial equity theory of change, anti-racism policy statement, and capstone project after participating in a nine-month Racial Equity NOW cohort with Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation.

Dionne holds an M.A. in Developmental Education and Administration from Texas State University and a B.S. in Management from Davenport University. Currently, she is earning her doctorate in Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University. Her happy place is visiting her son in the Bay Area.

Noel "Paul" Stookey profile picture

Noel "Paul" Stookey

Artistic Advisor Emeritus

Noel is the "Paul" of the legendary Peter, Paul & Mary. He has brought his own considerable talent and 45+ years of experience to the team. Noel helps to ensure that our children's recordings maintain the highest level of artistic integrity.

Larry Dykstra profile picture

Larry Dykstra


Larry is a Lead Volunteer for our Therapeutic Music Entertainment efforts. He is a special advisor to KidLinks and a valuable contributor to the organization. He has been deeply involved in the development of a formal guide to TME.

In addition, Larry authored the book Music on a Mission, which details the history and work of KidLinks. Music on a Mission inspires as it entertains, showing how KidLinks emerged out of unexpected origins and overcame countless challenges to provide the power of music for children in need. It is a story of how the passionate pursuit of a clearly defined purpose has the power to make a life-changing difference in the lives KidLinks has serve for 40 years and counting. Larry's book, published in 2022, is available to purchase HERE. The majority of the proceeds from sales of "Music on a Mission" will be used to support KidLinks' programs.

Maria Beltran, MT-BC profile picture

Maria Beltran, MT-BC

Therapeutic Music Entertainer

Maria graduated from Texas Women's University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy and just completed the process of becoming a board-certified music therapist. She completed her music therapy internship in Richardson ISD where she worked with students in the special education program. Maria is fluent in both Spanish and English and would like to use her skills to help reach Spanish-speaking communities that are interested in learning more about the positive power of music. When she is not working or studying, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and playing with her dog.

Sara Chigani, MA, MT-BC profile picture

Sara Chigani, MA, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Sara received a Bachelor’s of Music Degree in Music Business/Management from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and a Master’s of Arts Equivalency Degree in Music Therapy from Texas Woman’s University. She is a Board-Certified Music Therapist and a member of The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Sara completed a rigorous Music Therapy internship at Children’s Medical Center – Dallas and has clinical music therapy experience ranging from neonatal to end of life. She collaboratively began the Music Therapy Program at Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas where she worked with both inpatient and outpatient populations. Sara provides music therapy services at the KidLinks clinic and serves as our Music Therapy Content Coordinator – developing new resources for both families and music therapy professionals – available for streaming, 24-7, free of charge on KidLinks.org.

Debbie Dacus, MA, MT-BC profile picture

Debbie Dacus, MA, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Debbie received her B. S. and M. A. degrees in Music Therapy from Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Debbie has served a variety of faculty positions at TWU throughout the years-most recently as Clinical Training Coordinator. She is a Board Certified Music Therapist and a member of The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Since 1987, she has enjoyed a private practice at her home studio, and for 25+ years, Debbie provided contract music therapy services to area school districts. Debbie has facilitated in-services and workshops throughout the U.S. She has continued the tradition of her music therapy predecessors by cultivating new job opportunities for music therapists, establishing new music therapy programs, and expanding established programs in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.

Debbie has authored or co-authored several music therapy resources. She was the recipient of the Harmony Award in the area of Clinical Practice from the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) in 2008, given to recognize excellence in an area of music therapy service.

Gina G. Glidewell, MT-BC profile picture

Gina G. Glidewell, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Gina received a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy from Texas Woman’s University. She is Board-Certified and a member of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Gina also has completed a comprehensive Child Life Internship at Cook Children’s Medical Center as well as an extensive Music Therapy Internship with the Arlington, Texas Independent School District. She has worked for several school districts, including Crowley ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, and Northwest ISD. Gina is currently employed full-time by the Arlington, ISD, and works with KidLinks children two evenings per week. She is a very talented and accomplished performer and has enjoyed a 20 year career playing many venues both solo and with her Trio, FoxWell.

Joshua Ingram profile picture

Joshua Ingram

Therapeutic Music Entertainer

Joshua Ingram is a working singer/songwriter who enjoys the opportunity to bring music to those who might not otherwise get to enjoy it. Having known of and been around Kidlinks for many years Joshua is familiar with the mission and excited to be a part of it. From oncology camps to group sessions in hospitals to individual room visits, Ingram takes care to provide a unique and customized experience for each listener.

Cora Lansdowne, MME, MT-BC profile picture

Cora Lansdowne, MME, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Cora earned her Bachelor of Music in Applied Flute from Baylor University and continued her education at the University of Kansas, earning a Masters of Music Education/Music Therapy Endorsement and completed her Music Therapy Internship at Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital in Gardner, Kansas. Cora is a Board Certified Music Therapist, a long time member of the American Music Therapy Association and has been practicing music therapy for more than 15 years. Cora manages a private music therapy practice in the Ellis County and southern Tarrant County areas and is a Certified Music Together Director and Teacher. She especially enjoys working with young children and their families/caregivers to use music as a means to bond and communicate. In addition to providing clinical music therapy services through KidLinks, Cora trained in the KidLinks TME program and was a volunteer TME performer at Cook Children’s for several years.

Rick Mang profile picture

Rick Mang

Therapeutic Music Entertainer

Rick is a retired United Methodist minister with over 30 years’ experience singing for children and senior adults in various locations and venues across north central and west Texas areas. He volunteered with KidLinks as a Therapeutic Music Entertainer up until 2019 and is rejoining the team to provide TME coverage in DFW area hospitals. Rick is excited to once again be able to support the KidLinks mission of linking kids to healing, hope, and happiness through music. In addition to singing and playing guitar, Rick enjoys fishing, volunteering for local projects, and spending quality time with his family, especially his two awesome grandchildren.

Andy Sperandeo profile picture

Andy Sperandeo

Therapeutic Music Entertainer

Andy is an experienced, well-versed musician in jazz, classical, rock, pop, r&b, as well as other styles of music. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and a Masters in Jazz Arranging/Composition from the University of North Texas. He has also been a music educator since 1993 and been performing for over 3 decades. He was a Professor of guitar/voice/bass and Director and Arranger for the SFA State University's contemporary ensembles. He currently is working towards a second Master's at TWU in music therapy.

Review Team profile picture

Review Team


All of the KidLinks music, videos, and animations are vetted by the Volunteer Review Team to ensure they are developmentally appropriate for children. Our amazing Review Team includes:

Melissa Brannon
Supportive and Palliative Care Services
Texas Health, Fort Worth, TX

Chris Brown
Director - Therapeutic Recreation, Child Life & Creative Arts Therapies
NYU Langone Health, New York, NY

Sara Chigani

Gina G. Glidewell
Arlington Independent School District

Shawna M. Grissom
Director of Family Services
Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO

Shannon Kitts
Child Life - Supervisor
Children's Hospital of Colorado

Carol Sue Marshall
BA, MEd, PhD
Professor Emeritus, The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas

Julie A. Pedigo
Manager - Child Life & Family Centered Services
Blank Children’s Hospital, Des Moines, IA

Peyton Pike
School Age & Burn Care Unit
Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, MD

Richard Weir
Director - Child Life & Expressive Therapies and Ronald McDonald House (Retired)
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX

Our Leadership

Adam Hall profile picture

Adam Hall

President & Chair

Adam is currently the President and Chair of the KidLinks Board of Directors. He served as a Director up until 2019 and had previously served on the Hugworks Board of Directors since 2011. Adam has served in both the public and private sector with early career experiences in technical and engineering departments of a major telecommunications company. Adam joined EnRisk as an Energy Risk Specialist in early 2003 focused on sales and servicing of oil & gas operators and non-operators with a primary emphasis on the coordination of insurance and indemnity obligations in the overall risk management process.ᅠEffective January 2008, Adam became a principal and Executive Vice President of EnRisk; in 2013, he sold the company to Alliant Insurance Services. Today, Adam continues to serve his clients, markets and the energy industry as a faithful employee of Alliant. Adam holds a B.S. in Business Administration.

David P. Cagle profile picture

David P. Cagle


Presently serving as Senior Vice President at Liberty Capital Bank, David has over 30 years of prior experience in commercial and corporate banking, including energy banking. Previously, David was head of the North Texas energy finance group at Comerica Bank for five years. Prior to that, David was head of corporate underwriting at Credit Agricole for 14 years, first as a regional head, then as head for North America and Latin America. David started in banking in 1986 at Bank of America (successor to InterFirst Bank), working in restructuring and then in energy finance until his departure for Credit Agricole in 1998. David has experience in credit risk, origination, underwriting and restructuring, across many industries.

David graduated from SMU in 1986 with a BBA in Finance (summa cum laude) and a Minor in Music Performance. He is married to wife Dana for 29 years and has two grown children, Nathan (26) and Sara (24). As the father of a son with intellectual disabilities, David has great passion for programs aimed at the special needs community. David’s other interests include music, golf, food and wine and travel.

Jesse Betts profile picture

Jesse Betts


Jesse Betts is a private equity, mergers, and acquisitions, and capital markets partner in the Dallas office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. He has practiced law for 15 years, starting his career at Thompson & Knight LLP. Mr. Betts grew up in Salina, Kansas, graduated from Kansas State University in December 2000 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in May 2006. In his legal practice, Mr. Betts represents clients in a wide range of corporate and securities matters. He has been an active member of the Dallas Petroleum Club and serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Kansas School of Law and as an ex-officio member of the Board of The Bridge.

J.W. Brown profile picture

J.W. Brown


After witnessing firsthand the power of Hugwork’s music to uplift and inspire, J.W. Brown made personal contributions to this cause for many years. In 2001, he and 4 business colleagues established The KidLinks Foundation with Hugworks as the major beneficiary. He served as Board Chair of the newly formed KidLinks up until 2019.

Mr. Brown has been active since 2005 in the formation and management of energy related partnerships and corporations as Chairman of Par Investments, LLC., and since 1991, he has been the General Partner of Premier Capital, Ltd. Prior to 1991, Mr. Brown participated directly in the oil and gas business as well as a variety of energy investment banking activities, and practiced law from 1973 until 1981. He holds a BA, Juris Doctor and Masters of Law Degree.

Wes Butler profile picture

Wes Butler


Wes Butler grew up in nearby Arlington and Mansfield, Texas. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001 with a degree in Government/Foreign Affairs. He then attended law school at the SMU Dedman School of Law and graduated in 2004. Wes is currently a partner of the international law firm Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton where he focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, employment litigation and counseling, and ERISA and bad faith litigation.

Gordon Law profile picture

Gordon Law


Throughout his career, Gordon has had the opportunity to work with advertising agencies including Moroch, Grey, and Backer & Spielvogel. He has also been in an ownership or senior leadership role at outstanding agencies such as Keller Crescent Company, Hadeler Sullivan & Law, Bozell, Slingshot, and for the past eight years as president and owner of Swimming Duck. He has worked on brands in virtually every industry including automotive, education, financial services, food & beverage, food service, health care, home services, technology, telecom, and travel & tourism.

The best part of Gordon’s career began in 2011 when he joined SMU as an adjunct instructor. After eight years Gordon was elevated to a visiting professor of practice then in 2021, he was asked to serve as interim chair of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, in addition to his teaching responsibilities as an executive in residence. Throughout Gordon’s time at SMU, he has taught strategic brand management and digital media classes and has been honored with the Adjunct Professor Extraordinaire and Inspiring Excellence awards.

Prior to joining the KidLinks’ board, Gordon has been fortunate to serve on several other boards including the Kluber Family Foundation, the Semones Family YMCA, the Dallas Advertising League, the United States Olympic Committee, the Dallas All Sports Association, and the St. Rita School Advisory Council. In most cases, Gordon was able to serve as president during his time on the board.

In his personal life, Gordon works hard at being an average golfer and a great husband and father. To the latter he is married to Lauren Law, an advertising executive, community volunteer and author of several children’s books and stories. They have two great kids, Savannah and Nick, an SMU sophomore.

Chase Sanders profile picture

Chase Sanders


Chase Sanders joined the KidLinks Board of Directors in 2021. He grew up and Dallas and currently has a consulting business providing, Sales, Marketing, and Partnership Development services for companies in the cleantech space. Through his 15 year career, he has focused on working with national commercial customers to provide solutions that reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science and Economics from Vanderbilt University. He enjoys anything he can do outside, especially golf. He and his wife live in Dallas with their son and daughter and all enjoy the KidLinks Spotify Playlist!

Stuart Sides profile picture

Stuart Sides


Stuart Sides is a native of Dallas and a graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Psychology. He currently serves as SVP of Strategic Customers for BGSF Workforce Solutions and has held numerous staffing industry leadership positions over his 20+ year career. Additionally, he served for eleven years on Interstate Batteries’ senior leadership team in various sales and marketing roles. As a musician, he and his wife originally met in aCapella choir in high school, and he’s since developed his passion, skills, and appreciation for music playing guitar and singing in his church’s contemporary worship band and in an 80’s cover band with close friends (who perform regularly today). Stuart resides in Lake Highlands with his wife of over thirty years, Lisa. Their daughters, Whitney and Georgia, are both Texas A&M graduates and live in Dallas and Austin. His biggest passions are family, music, community, travel, servant leadership, and growing people, teams, and business.

Daryl Stafford profile picture

Daryl Stafford


Daryl currently serves as Vice President in the Financial Institutions division at Texas Capital Bank and has over 11 years of corporate banking experience. Prior to joining the Financial Institutions team, Daryl served at Texas Capital Bank and Capital One’s Energy departments with experience in relationship management, origination, underwriting, restructuring, and special assets.

Daryl graduated with a BBA in Finance and MBA with honors from Texas Christian University. He married his best friend and fellow Horned Frog, Andrea, in 2016 and resides in Fort Worth. In 2022, Daryl and Andrea welcomed their first child, Grayson, into the world. Daryl enjoys his being involved in his church, watching sports, or playing golf.

Vineeta Vogel profile picture

Vineeta Vogel


Vineeta Vogel joined the KidLinks Board of Directors in 2017 and is a member of the Strategic Sourcing leadership team for Ericsson (North America). A thirteen year veteran of the airline industry she is an experienced leader with a background in sourcing, operations, sales, airline distribution and co-brand loyalty strategy. She is also a certified change management professional and project manager.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics and French from Grove City College, PA and her MBA from Texas Christian University with concentrations in both Supply Chain and Marketing. She and her husband live in Southlake with their two girls and two Spanish Water Dogs.

Melanie Wells profile picture

Melanie Wells


Melanie Wells is an entrepreneur with a vision for a better future. A Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Melanie is the founder and clinical director of Lifeologie Institute, a multi-disciplinary, collaborative mental health and wellness practice which has treated tens of thousands of individuals, couples and families in the DFW area. In 2015, Melanie franchised Lifeologie, which now has multiple locations around the US. She is also the founder and co-owner of The LISPY School for Psychotherapeutic yoga, an educational platform for neuroscience-based yoga teacher training.

An accomplished fiddle player, Melanie graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in English and minor in violin performance. She also holds an MA in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, and an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from Our Lady of the Lake University. She has taught as a member of the adjunct faculty in the graduate programs of both DTS and OLLU. Melanie is also the author of the best-selling Dylan Foster psychological thrillers (Random House).

Melanie and her husband of 15 years, Dennis Ippolito, have fostered over a dozen Dallas shelter dogs and are the proud parents of Gunner, a Yorkshire terrier (17) and George (4), a mutt with a neurotic streak.

Lindsey Wyrick profile picture

Lindsey Wyrick


Lindsey is an attorney at Cobb Martinez Woodward PLLC specializing in professional liability defense. Lindsey grew up in Bedford, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Communications. Lindsey attended SMU Dedman School of Law and graduated in 2009. She focuses her law practice on the representation of lawyers, CPAs, and other professionals in litigation and administrative proceedings. Outside of her law practice, Lindsey enjoys serving on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer for the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. Lindsey lives in East Dallas with her husband and two daughters.

Generic profile picture

Grant Hollingsworth

Advisory Council

Grant worked for Tenneco, a major national gas transporter, before transferring to First City Bank as a Lending Officer, Senior Credit Officer and Chief Executive Officer for over 35 years. He has worked as a consultant in bank lending operations, primarily in South American countries. Grant’s association with KidLinks founder, Jim Newton, began even before the inception of Jim’s work with hospitalized children. Supporting KidLinks for over 30+ years, he was a member of the Hugworks Board of Directors until its merger with KidLinks Foundation. Grant has helped envision, encourage and fund KidLinks work with animation and remains personally involved as a supporter of and advisor for our Hugworks Children’s Network programming. He is a University of Texas graduate with an MBA specializing in Finance and Economics.

Generic profile picture

Baer Ackerman

Advisory Council

Baer Ackerman, MD is an outpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist in Plano, TX. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brown University (Class of 1975) with an AB in Religious Studies and graduated from Baylor College of Medicine (Cum Laude) in 1979. After a Rotating Internship at Baylor Affiliated Hospitals, he completed his Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency and Fellowship at The Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut, during which time he was selected as one of 10 Falk Fellows to interns nationally at the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Ackerman is also a Graduate Adult Analyst from the Dallas Psychoanalytic Institute and is currently pursuing studies in Child Psychoanalysis.

In addition to his outpatient work, Dr. Ackerman is a child psychiatric consultant at LifePath Systems of Collin County, various private schools, Terrell State Hospital, and in the past, for 28 plus years, at both Jewish Family Service of Dallas and the Plano Independent School District. Dr. Ackerman also has taught or helped teach courses regularly in the Dallas Psychoanalytic Center.

Dr. Ackerman was voted Outstanding Teacher of the Year (1996-97) by the Third Year Psychiatry Residents at Southwestern Medical School, he has been listed, since the list was first started, in D-Magazine (1992, 1996, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, & 2021) as one of the Best Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists in Dallas or Collin County. In addition, he was listed as a Super Doctor in Texas Monthly 2016, 2017, & 2018.

PS-- as a bass guitar player, he once got to jam with ZZ Top.