Mela has been a victim advocate working with and advocating for families in Pinellas County since 2020. Beginning her victim advocacy work at a domestic violence shelter, Mela encountered many families who were involved in the child dependency system due to the domestic violence they witnessed and/or experienced. Currently, as a victim advocate with the Office of the State Attorney, Mela continues to focus on helping families move from “surviving to thriving” through trauma informed practices and connection to community resources. Mela currently holds a B.A. in Psychology and Criminology with some graduate level coursework in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health. She has also conducted research with Dr. Rote in the Parent and Adolescent Relationships (PAR) Lab at USFSP. Additionally, Mela has published research in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. She has an avid interest in working with families, child development, and mental health. Mela has been a Board Member of Family Enrichment Services since September 2022.