FOCUS Ministries Inc. Staff
Paula Silva is co-founder and president of FOCUS Ministries, Inc. A member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), Paula is also a trainer for Partners in the Journey and Faith Based DV Certificate Training and workshops. She leads a domestic violence support group, offers lay counseling and daily email or phone support to women who need help with relationship issues.
Paula has coauthored the book, Violence Among Us: Ministry to Families in Crisis; the article To Terrorize No More, in the 2009 Fall issue of Just Between Us magazine; and the article, Domestic Violence Among Believers, in the 2005 Vol. 13 No. 3 issue of Christian Counseling Today magazine. She has been a guest on Midday Connection and This is the Day (Moody Broadcasting Network), the Scott Thomas Show (WYLL radio in Chicago), Time for Hope, and the Harvest Show. She has served as host of “Restoring the Hope” conferences for women held in Illinois.
Paula has served on panels at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and has been a panelist at Mayor Daley’s Domestic Violence Seminar as well as a member of the Faith Based Advisory Committee for the Office of Domestic Violence. She has trained pastors, leaders, and churches on the dynamics of domestic violence at Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, and Community Fellowship Church in IL. She has presented Behind Closed Doors, What Color is Your Elephant at seminars and Ten Keys to Counseling Victims of Domestic Violence workshops at the AACC World Conference in 2005.
Having received her BA in Elementary Education from Elmhurst College, Paula was a second-grade teacher for seventeen years. She also received her MA in Guidance and Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University and was Counseling Intake Coordinator for a Christian agency. She has also attended Larry Crabb’s School of Spiritual Direction.
Paula is a single parent of three adult children – John, Amy, and Charity – and a grandmother of six – Melissa, Jacob, Emily, Mirai, Kaden and Keilia – who are the joy of her life. She enjoys reading and music.
“I stand in awe of my Lord that He would use my painful experiences and shattered dreams in life to make a difference in someone else. He has been so faithful to me showering me with His endless love and blessings. What a privilege it is to be in an intimate relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit knowing that a way will be made when there seems to be no way,” she said.
Paula is available to speak at churches, retreats, women’s conferences, schools, and conferences for pastors and counselors with a personal testimony or seminars/workshops on domestic violence. Contact her at 630-617-0088, by email at [email protected], or regular mail at FOCUS Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 2014, Elmhurst, IL 60126.
Karen Ferguson came to know of FOCUS Ministries in 1997. She was the Director of Healing Hearts Ministry, a support group ministry for survivors of sexual abuse/assault at Willow Creek Community Church from 1996 to 2009. Every support group in the 13 years of the ministry’s existence had 1 or 2 women that were either in an abusive relationship or formerly had been in an abusive relationship. She thought it was necessary to be educated on the topic of domestic abuse.
Karen also brings a business background to the ministry having run the day-to-day operations of her family’s small business for 30 years.
Evelyn Colon is a Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional, since 2011 and Abuser Intervention Facilitator since 2012, She has volunteered as a Hot Line Domestic Violence Advocate for a western suburb domestic violence shelter for women in 2009-10. Evelyn joined FOCUS in 2007 as a leader and facilitator for FOCUS Support Group Ministry. Since then, she has founded a Women’s Ministry on Domestic Violence and has been hosting monthly meetings out of her home to keep the victims. She has also created and hosted several successful seminars and conferences where she was presented an Honorary Award in giving back to the community. Evelyn has a heart for hurting women and has ministered to those women in the Christian community that have experienced domestic violence and abuse. She is also a trainer at Partners in the Journey seminar, training for Faith Base Domestic Violence. In 1990, Evelyn was an active volunteer as a Rape Victim Advocate in the medical field.
Melissa has worked with the Deaf and Hard of hearing populations in the Public School system (Pre-K-12) for 35 years. She has helped these families through their own grieving process. She has served on her homeowner’s association, for 12 years, as a board member and has held the position of President and Treasurer.
She has volunteered in the Healing Hearts Ministry, Special Friends Ministry, Divorce Care and in a Special Projects Men’s Group at her church.
Currently, she serves on the FOCUS Board and has facilitated FOCUS support groups. After healing from her own abuse, she feels that she can provide support, validation and resources to women navigating the same path. Her heart is to minister to those who experience abuse.
Lynn Charbonneau – Treasurer
Lynn has been involved in Focus Ministries since 1995 assisting in the ministry in different capacities. She possesses a heart for women who experience abusive relationships and has seen how FOCUS has ministered to hundreds of women over the years.
Over the years she kept her husband’s financial books for his contracting company. She brings a financial perspective to the FOCUS board.
Evelyn Colon is an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional and Abuser Intervention Facilitator. Evelyn joined FOCUS in 2007 as a leader and facilitator for FOCUS Support Group Ministries. Evelyn has a heart for hurting women and has ministered to those women in the Christian community that have experienced domestic violence and abuse. Evelyn also is a trainer at Partners in the Journey seminar for FOCUS Ministries, Inc.
Karen has kept an ongoing relationship with FOCUS and became a Board member in 2010. She has been an occasional contributor to the FOCUS newsletter and has worked on various administrative projects for the ministry.
Karen’s top spiritual gifts are shepherding, administration, wisdom and discernment. Her passion is shepherding hurting women. Throughout the 13 years of directing the ministry at Willow Creek she raised 11 small group leaders and apprentice leaders, over 200 women attended the support groups.
Paula Silva – President/Cofounder
Paula has counseled hundreds of women, family members, and friends caught in the dynamics of abusive situations since 1995. She feels FOCUS Ministries is her calling and purpose from God. Her passion is to walk the faith journey with each individual always pointing them to the healer of their soul, Jesus Christ.