Resources for Independence Central Valley is a private, consumer-driven, nonprofit organization that offers advocacy and services to support individuals with disabilities in the Central Valley. In accordance with federal requirements and to insure consumer control of the organization, a minimum of 51 percent of the Board of Directors must be individuals who identify as having a significant disability. Our board members are volunteers who value the work of the organization and give of their time to support our work in the community. More information about how to be considered for service on the RICV board is provided at the bottom of this page.
Frances Reyes Acosta – President
Frances Reyes Acosta was born and raised in Fresno and has extensive background and experience at different levels of Business and Community Affairs. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara she worked to improve, administer and develop programs for the University of California, San Mateo Unified School District and Wells Fargo Corporate Professional Development. While in Southern California, she owned her own firm representing businesses from California, Europe and South America, providing consultancy services in Marketing, Public Relations and Governmental Affairs.
Frances was also the Public Affairs Director/Executive Producer for KJEO-TV Channel 47 and KFSN-TV Channel 30, here in Fresno. Most recently she has worked as a Senior Marketing Executive for CBS-Radio and Clear Channel Broadcasting. Frances currently works with local companies and organizations to explore and develop the sensitivities and opportunities regarding ABLE PEOPLE with hearing, visual, mobility and cognitive challenges.
Jim Cox – Vice President
Jim acquired his disability in a car accident in 1977 in which he sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury at the 4th & 5th lumbar level, which later necessitated the amputation of his right leg below the knee. He worked as a community educator familiarizing school children with what it is like to live with a disability. After leaving that job, he worked in the public schools in the San Diego area for several years in a special education class as a teacher’s aide. He left there to train as a draftsman, later to include training in auto-cad. In time, he obtained certification as a peer advocate for amputees from the Amputee Coalition of America in 1999.
In 2011, he joined the Fresno Disability Advocacy Team. Accomplishments as a team member include: contributing to the educational videos the DAT team produced, training to run a “Get Out the Vote” campaign, and becoming a facilitator for the DAT. He was also an early Community Leadership Academy graduate. Additionally, Jim has represented RICV and the DAT in radio and television interviews
Paula McElwee – Treasurer
In 1979 Paula McElwee directed Link, Inc., based in Hays, Kansas, one of
the first ten centers funded through the Rehabilitation Act . She worked in
the disability field in Kansas for 25 years, and was appointed by two
governors to serve three terms on the Statewide Independent Living
Council of Kansas.
In 2000 McElwee relocated to Fresno, California, where she serves on the
board of Resources for Independence of the Central Valley, a long-
standing California Center. Since 2006 she has also served as interim
executive director for four centers for independent living in California,
assisting the boards to transition to their next executive director.
Since October, 2012, McElwee has worked with Independent Living
Resource Utilization (ILRU) based in Houston, TX as the Technical
Assistance Coordinator through its IL-NET, CIL-NET and SILC-NET
Allison M. Ryan, Esquire – Secretary
Motschiedler, Michaelides, Wishon, Brewer & Ryan, LLP
Alicia Becton – Member
Assistant Professor, CSUF Rehab Counseling Program
Dr. Alicia Brown Becton is a Professor in the Masters of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Becton has presented on special topics related to counselor implications for co-occurring disorders, student veterans and transition issues, and the effects of disability on the family system. Cultural competency has always been an essential component of her background. Her current research and grant writing ventures focus on multicultural competency, dual diagnosis, family systems, and effective treatment modalities for special populations.
Shail Lopez-Ortiz – Member
Executive Director, CSUF Wayfinders
Russell Ryan – Member
Partner, Motschiedler, Michaelides, Wishon, Brewer & Ryan, LLP
John Sears – Member
If you wish to be considered for service on our board, please review the board responsibilities and fill out the application. Applications are received on an ongoing basis and will be reviewed when the board considers new members.