About Us


Jose and Julie Moreno

FoundersJose and Julie are the cofounders of Casa De Vida. In March 2005, Jose and his wife Julie founded Casa De Vida to help individuals and their families overcome the problems of chemical dependence.

Jose was a heroin addict for about 35 years. He was introduced to drugs and gangs at age 14 and was incarcerated for the first time at 15, in 1997.  Jose turned his life over to Christ and the transformation has led him to receive a certificate in Addictive Disorders Studies at Oxnard College. Throughout the years, he successfully helped many individuals overcome their struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. Jose passed away in 2018 due to illness.

Julie is a retired elementary school teacher with a master’s degree in Education and taught for 34 years. She is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor and serves as the CEO of Casa De Vida.

Current Board of Directors

George Casarez – Board Chair

Two of George’s biggest blessings are his daughters, Esmi (age 17) and Anavaeh (age 12). George is a single father, doing an excellent job raising his two daughters to be respectable Godly young women.

Besides fulfilling his responsibilities as a single Dad, he is happy to say he serves as a Casa de Vida (CDV) Board Chair. George also graciously serves at Ventura Missionary Church (VMC) where he and his daughters have attended since 2011. He started serving as an usher, and with his passion to minister to youth he became a youth group leader, along with these accomplishments he is also a VMC member and a Deacon at VMC. 

There have been some life-changing moments for him, and he owes it all to God first and foremost, and secondly to CDV. He had made some bad choices during his younger years, which led him on the wrong path in life. After hitting rock bottom, he found CDV and there he found God. His life changed drastically, he surrendered his life to Jesus, and from there on he was a changed man. He was now on the right path in life, walking with God, and he continues to trust, love, and have faith, 11 years later! 

George recently took a leap of faith and decided to go back to school full-time. He is now enrolled at Ventura Community College majoring in Psychology. He hopes to transfer to a university in 2023 to continue his education and receive his BS in Psychology in hopes of using his degree to give back to help those in need. He hopes to gear his work towards those struggling with substance dependency, family issues, and behavior problems.

Michelle Ming – Vice Chair

Michelle Ming’s parents divorced when she was 12 years old. She went to live with her father and was often responsible for the care of her siblings. At 15, she began drinking. Soon she was married to a heroin addict, and it wasn’t long before she tried the drug herself and fell into addiction. What followed was years spent in and out of jail. As a result, she was forced to allow her mom and stepdad to raise her son.

In 2010, Michelle was facing an eight-year prison term, but she was mercifully given the option to enter a program instead. It was then that she ran into Jose Moreno of Casa De Vida Recovery Program. She asked him if he would accept her into this faith-based ministry so that she could avoid prison. Michelle entered Casa De Vida (which means “House of Life”); they brought her to Ventura Missionary Church, and things have never been the same since. Her dad had tried to get her to go to church over the years, and once in a while she would go, but this time Michelle says, “I was ready!”

Today Michelle’s life has come full circle. She lives with her dad, her son, and her 8- and 12-year-old grandkids. She didn’t get to raise her son, but through God’s goodness, she is now helping to raise her grandchildren. She also has a successful business as a “handywoman.” Michelle says, “Before when I would get angry, I would turn to drugs. Now, when I get angry, I talk to God.” When we are ready, God has an amazing way of restoring us. Sometimes He even gives us back some of the things that we lost. Michelle overflows with the love of Jesus because of what He has done for her…and she is eager to share that love. She says, “When I think of how things are now, it takes my breath away!” Michelle now serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Casa De Vida.

Cynthia Stewart – Secretary

Cindy moved to Ventura County in 1990 with the single-minded purpose of overcoming her addiction to alcohol. She has maintained her sobriety since that time and credits the staff of Miracle Recovery Centers for her own recovery. She served as a staff member of MRC in 1991-1992 and joined their Board of Directors in 1993, where she served for 12 years.

Cindy has been involved with Casa De Vida since its inception, both as a Board Member and donor. She currently serves as Board Secretary. Additionally, Cindy fills the role of administrative assistant at Finding Something More, a non-profit, Christian-based organization for women in Orange County.

Professionally, Cindy’s career has taken her from Wall Street to the legal, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. Retiring from Amgen in 2017, where she worked as Senior Executive Assistant in Translational Sciences, she now pursues her love of travel, gardening, and reading.

She will tell you that her life is blessed, that she was saved by the grace of God and the love of Jesus, and that her faith and sobriety are the basis of everything that is good in her life: a loving, close-knit family with two amazing sons and two beautiful granddaughters, two talented and fun-loving sisters, many wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins, a cherished aunt, as well as treasured friends.

Angela Pelton – Director

Angela was raised in Santa Paula, where she currently resides. She’s a single
mother of 2 adult men and 1 preteen girl. Being a mom is Angela’s greatest
blessing in life. She sacrificed her education to be the best mom she could be
because nobody could be a better mom to her kids than her. She enjoyed every
moment of watching her kids grow, helping in her kids’ classrooms, going on every
field trip, and being a football, baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, band, and Girl
Scout mom. She has served on a couple of boards for Balboa and Buena music
programs because she believed in the power of music education and wanted to
be involved with what her son loved.

She enjoys volunteering her time and helping others in need. Many people have
acknowledged Angela’s efforts to always help and be involved with a smile on
her face but never knew Angela had a price to pay to be able to do what she
loved. At home, she was being physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by
her daughter’s father who is an alcoholic. She kept telling herself that she could
help him while it was only killing her. She depended on him to financially take
care of her and her kids. He had her right where he wanted her to be so he
could have control over Angela’s life. She felt trapped and incapable of not being
able to make her own decisions to live a better life. She lived in fear and
heartache every day for 10+ years. She didn’t realize the trauma it caused her
kids to see her struggles until her sons started becoming men and wanted to help
protect her.

Angela decided to make a change in her life during Covid in 2020. She wanted
her kids to be proud of her for not giving up and continuing her education goals.
She graduated from Ventura College with high honors, one month before her
oldest son’s high school graduation. She prays that her sons have learned who
they don’t want to be as a man and that her daughter learns that not all men are
the same. She reminds her children to always be the best version of themselves
and to never depend on anyone to take care of them because it could leave them
in a bad situation that will be hard to get out of.

Angela works at Ventura College, helping students while she works on her 3rd
degree in Studio Arts. She has also started her own business with her best friend
doing graphic design for Prime9designs.com. While working at Ventura College,
she met George Casarez(Chair) and learned about Casa De Vida. George
inspired her to help make a difference in the program with his heartfelt success
story. Casa De Vida touched her heart when she learned about the many men
and families that the program has helped. Angela can only wish that her father
who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and her daughter’s father had a
place like this to get the help they needed. Some people don’t want to make a
change or don’t have the strength to do it. Casa De Vida gives men the tools to
change their lives and that is beautiful to her. She believes that everyone is
worthy and capable of change and your past doesn’t define you. She has taken
the role of Director to help the public learn more about Casa De Vida and assist
with fundraising to keep this amazing program going.

Kristie King – Director

Kristie grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and is a loyal 49ers fan. Kristie has lived in Ventura for 21 years and has a 16-year son who is a junior at Foothill Technology High. She went back to school in 2011 and got her bachelor’s degree in Human Services: Child and Family Welfare and continued her education by getting her Master’s degree in Social Work from USC in 2016. Since then, Kristie has worked at Project Understanding as a case manager in a permanent supportive housing program,  a Victims Advocate with the DA’s office, and currently is a Social Worker in the Homeless Services Program with the Human Services Agency. Kristie is passionate about assisting others in healing from trauma and taking control of their lives.

Former Board Members

Former Board Director – David Mcgregor
Former Board Director – Darlene Mcgregor