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People of DePaul
People of DePaul

People of DePaul

While we’re all staying safe and practicing social distancing during COVID-19, we wanted to take some time to introduce you to the DePaul team.

Each week, we will feature an amazing team member from across the DePaul footprint. We’ll share a short story and a fun fact to help you get to know the #PeopleofDePaul.


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Gordon Ewald, an honorary lifetime member of our Board of Directors, as well as a member of DePaul’s Heart and Home Society.


In his role at DePaul, Gordon is an advocate for the organization and the people we love and serve. He attends events on behalf of DePaul, invites others to learn more about the organization, and educates the community about the work we do.

Gordon was nominated for People of DePaul because he has been a champion for the organization for many years. Staff members say he contributes so much to DePaul and never asks for recognition. He is always willing to step in and help however he is needed.

“I am A. appreciative and B. humbled,” said Gordon.

Outside of his work at DePaul, Gordon enjoys flying airplanes and restoring old sports cars.

FUN FACT: Gordon has piloted the Fujifilm blimp. Around 2011, he flew the blimp along the Ohio River on the West Virginia state border and captured some great photos.

Thanks for all you do Gordon! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jamie Morgan, a foster care supervisor in our Abingdon office.


In her role at DePaul, Jamie guides her team and works with them to provide support to children in foster care and to foster families.

Jamie was nominated for People of DePaul because of her tireless work to make sure all the needs of foster families and children are met. Coworkers say she is kind, compassionate, patient, and always available.

“I am humbled to have been nominated and feel blessed to be surrounded by the best team of coworkers,” said Jamie. “It is a pleasure to know and work with each one of them.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Jamie loves being a mom to a super busy teenager, doing anything outdoors, spending time with family, taking weekend trips, antiquing, and watching Hallmark Christmas movies.

FUN FACT: Jamie has an eclectic taste in music. She loves live music of any kind and has attended more than 60 concerts.

Thanks for all you do Jamie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Michelle Morris, administrative assistant for the developmental disabilities and adoption programs in the Christiansburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Michelle carries out tasks for the office. She provides support to staff in both the DD and adoption programs and keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes.

Michelle was nominated for People of DePaul because of how helpful and supportive she is. Coworkers say she goes above and beyond to make sure the programs and staff members have everything they need.

“Thank you and I am very honored that my coworkers nominated me,” said Michelle.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Michelle loves being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

FUN FACT: Michelle is from Maine.

Thanks for all you do Michelle! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Cendie Elliott, a foster care specialist/home finder in our Lynchburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Cendie ensures that resource families and children feel safe and supported. She responds to the needs of children, families, local DSS agencies, and birth families. She also assists with recruitment and retention.

Cendie was nominated for People of DePaul because of her hard work to support foster children and resource families. Coworkers say she is committed to detail and excellence.

“I’m honored and surprised and so appreciative,” said Cendie. “I find the role very fulfilling and rewarding, always learning something new.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Cendie loves to spend time with family and friends, laugh a lot, and bargain shop.

FUN FACT: Cendie loves to dance and believes music soothes the soul.

Thanks for all you do Cendie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Rexanna Knighting, the administrative assistant in our Charlottesville office.


In her role at DePaul, Rexanna provides support to her office, handling clerical and organizational tasks. Rexanna works hard to make sure staff have everything they need to do their jobs.

Rexanna was nominated for People of DePaul because of her willingness to help and positive attitude. Coworkers say she has adapted to the job quickly and is an asset to the organization.

“I absolutely love what I do and my joy in life is to serve in any position that I have been given, making jobs easier and more efficient,” said Rexanna. “I am confident that I can call any other employee for assistance any time and they will do everything in their power to help me.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Rexanna enjoys spending time with her family, cleaning, and working outside. She is very passionate about cooking as well and loves trying new recipes.

FUN FACT: Rexanna and her husband love to explore new places in search of crafty primitive stores with unique items.

Thanks for all you do Rexanna! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Tiffany Martin, lead foster care supervisor and site leader of our Christiansburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Tiffany guides her team and works with them to provide support to foster parents and to help children in foster care find safety, stability, and forever families.

Tiffany was nominated for People of DePaul because of her empathy and compassion for the children and families she serves. Coworkers say she is a strong leader and a hard worker.

“It feels affirming that the team would use these words to describe me,” said Tiffany. “I strive to lead by example and ensure that every member of the team feels empowered to do their role to the best of their ability.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Tiffany and her family manage a small farming operation. They have a large garden and raise their own meat and produce eggs from chickens and ducks. When she’s not farming, Tiffany enjoys kayaking, making tie dye, photography, and creative writing.

FUN FACT: For those that know Tiffany well, she is very low maintenance. However, during the pandemic, she started something called “Fun Lipstick Friday” where she wears vibrant colored lipstick to brighten her mood and jumpstart the weekend on a happy note. Pre-pandemic she only had a couple tubes of “natural” shaded lipstick. Now, you might catch her on a Zoom call wearing sapphire blue or emerald green.

Thanks for all you do Tiffany! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Omar Ott, the post-adoption case manager in the Charlottesville region.  


In his role at DePaul, Omar provides support, training, case management, and education to post-adoptive families in his region.

Omar was nominated for People of DePaul because of his impressive work ethic and dedication. Coworkers say he is committed to working across programs to make sure families get the services they need for success.

“It feels good to be recognized, though I am often a little shy with public praise,” said Omar. “Everyone is so supportive, positive, and good to work with.”

Outside of his work at DePaul, Omar likes to garden, listen to music, read, hike, and cook.

FUN FACT: Omar makes his own hot sauce that he says tastes better than anything in the stores.

Thanks for all you do Omar! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Karen Marks, administrative assistant for the Lynchburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Karen carries out clerical and organizational tasks for the office. She provides support to staff from all programs and keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes.

Karen was nominated for People of DePaul because of her willingness to go above and beyond to help all programs run smoothly. Coworkers say she has a consistently helpful attitude and a warm and welcoming presence in the office.

“I’m beyond honored to be nominated,” said Karen. “I have the most amazing coworkers who are always willing to give a helping hand. They should all get this recognition because we are one big team.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Karen loves being with her family and her dog, a Lhasa Apso named Cody. She enjoys playing cornhole and especially loves time with her grandchildren.

FUN FACT: Karen is a big fan of Kenny Chesney and has seen him four times. Also, in 2020, Karen got her first tattoo.

Thanks for all you do Karen! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Tonya Dunlap, the foster care supervisor and site leader for our Harrisonburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Tonya provides guidance to the treatment foster care specialists in the office and ensures that foster parents and foster youth are supported.

Tonya was nominated for People of DePaul because she approaches her work with a positive and thoughtful perspective. Coworkers say she has managed the office through many transitions well and is loved and respected by staff members.

“One of my favorite expressions is ‘It makes my heart smile’ and being nominated makes my heart smile,” said Tonya. “I appreciate my coworkers and staff so much, and I’m thankful for the way I’m supported within my role here at DePaul.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Tonya loves spending time with her dogs doing anything outdoors—hiking, paddle boarding, or kayaking. She also loves to garden.

FUN FACT: Tonya went to college with country singer Kenny Chesney.

Thanks for all you do Tonya! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Pat Harrison, Child and Family Services administrative manager.


In her role at DePaul, Pat provides support and guidance to staff and teams throughout DePaul’s footprint. She has provided training for new administrative assistants and manages multiple tasks and projects smoothly.

Pat was nominated for People of DePaul because she has provided 35 years (the longest tenure at DePaul) of constant support and dedication to the organization and our mission. Coworkers say she is helpful, knowledgeable, and inspiring and her upcoming retirement is well-deserved.

“I feel honored and blessed to have worked at DePaul all these years and have wonderful friendly coworkers who have assisted me when needed and a wonderful supervisor, Renee,” said Pat.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Pat loves visiting her son, daughter-in-law, and her twin grandsons in Knoxville. She also enjoys playing golf and walking with coworkers and friends.

FUN FACT: Pat played golf with her husband at Myrtle Beach and got a hole-in-one. She received a trophy that she keeps on her wall at home.


Thanks for all you do Pat! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Bailey O’Brien, a residential coordinator in our Fishersville office.


In her role at DePaul, Bailey supports sponsored residential providers as they compassionately care for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.

Bailey was nominated for People of DePaul because she is a go-getter and has been an amazing asset to the Developmental Disabilities program. Coworkers say she is a breath of fresh air and they are excited to see how she grows in this field.

“I feel incredibly honored and appreciative,” said Bailey. “I can’t say enough good things about my experience with DePaul. I feel very supported by management and have loved working with everybody I’ve come across in the DD program.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Bailey loves spending time with her family. She also enjoys staying active, especially if it includes her black lab Ollie.

FUN FACT: Bailey lived through the 2014 Polar Vortex in Wisconsin. During the vortex, temperatures dropped to -20 degrees and the inside of buildings froze, but her school still had classes. She says that’s part of the reason she moved back to Virginia.

Thanks for all you do Bailey! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jamie Pennington, administrative assistant for our Big Stone Gap office.


In her role at DePaul, Jamie provides support to her office as well as managing information and communication. Jamie handles multiple tasks and works hard to keep everything running smoothly.

Jamie was nominated for People of DePaul because she approaches her work with a positive and helpful attitude. Coworkers say she is always willing to step in when needed and offer thoughtful advice.

“I am very humbled by this description,” said Jamie. “I love all my coworkers and enjoy working with them.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Jamie enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters, and son-in-law. She also loves photography and gardening.

FUN FACT: After working in a local retirement home and seeing things that could not be explained, Jamie has been obsessed with the paranormal. She loves paranormal television shows and scoping out local “haunted” properties.

Thanks for all you do Jamie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Trista Thompson, site leader of DePaul’s Roanoke office.


In her role at DePaul, Trista supervises the treatment foster care program in Roanoke­ from case management to approved licensed foster homes. Trista also oversees the day-to-day functioning of the Roanoke office.

Trista was nominated for People of DePaul because she is a strong leader with clear boundaries and the courage to handle difficult situations. Coworkers say she is committed to understanding the needs of children and families.

“I feel honored to be described this way,” said Trista. “I’ve known since I was a child that my purpose was to understand and to help others.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Trista enjoys gardening, dancing, traveling, doing home improvement projects, and spending time with family.

FUN FACT: Trista is an unofficial handywoman (electrician, painter, tiler).

Thanks for all you do Trista! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Beth Southers, a residential coordinator in our Amelia office. 


In her role at DePaul, Beth works with homes serving individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. She provides services and supports to ensure the success of the individuals and families.

Beth was nominated for People of DePaul because of her willingness to take on challenges, flexibility working remotely, and passion to learn. Coworkers say she hit the ground running when she started at DePaul last year and has done amazing despite the circumstances.

“I feel very appreciative to have been nominated,” said Beth. “Starting a new job during a pandemic definitely presented many challenges but I could not have had a better team or supervisor to support me.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Beth enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves upcycling furniture.

FUN FACT: Beth enjoys making specialty cakes for all occasions and even owned her own business.

Thanks for all you do Beth! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Alison Wickline, lead storyteller and content producer for the organization.  


In her role at DePaul, Alison writes stories and creates multimedia content to help share DePaul’s mission of hope and belonging. She also manages DePaul’s website and social media, as well as hosting the organization’s first podcast.

Alison was nominated for People of DePaul because she graciously listens to program and organization needs, plans and strategizes with a collaborative spirit, and creates content that is compelling and timely.

“I feel very honored and humbled to have been nominated for People of DePaul,” said Alison. “I am always appreciative for this organization, my thoughtful coworkers, and the inspiring people we love and serve every day.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Alison enjoys spending time with her family and friends and her sweet and spoiled yellow lab named Scout. Alison also loves hiking and exploring new places.

FUN FACT: Alison loves writing and reading poetry. Her late grandmother was a writer and Alison feels very connected to her when she writes.

Thanks for all you do Alison! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Ryan Long, the residential manager for our Lynchburg and Fishersville offices.


In her role at DePaul, Ryan supports the individuals with disabilities and families we serve in our sponsored residential program, as well as the staff that work in the program. She provides oversight and guidance to our residential programs in Lynchburg and Fishersville.

Ryan was nominated for People of DePaul because she has taken on a lot of extra responsibility with grace and never asked for recognition. Coworkers say she is a wonderful supervisor who always takes the time to listen, talk, and appreciate what others have to say.

“Honestly, I am very touched by this,” said Ryan. “It’s been a tough time for our regions and this team has really banded together to welcome and support new hires, work together to make sure our families and individuals have what they need, and the support other regions have given us to get through this time has been so appreciated. I am very blessed to work with some amazing people.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Ryan loves spending time with her 7-year-old daughter (and little boss lady). Ryan is enjoying teaching her to play the same sports she grew up playing. She also loves visiting with friends and family.

FUN FACT: Ryan says she has an uncanny ability to kill every houseplant that has ever crossed the threshold of her front door.

Thanks for all you do Ryan! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Doris Preston, the administrative assistant-finance for our organization.


In her role at DePaul, Doris works behind the scenes handling billing and collections. She also assists with other tasks related to finance.

Doris was nominated for People of DePaul because she works so hard to keep everything running smoothly. Coworkers say they are so appreciative of her financial and billing knowledge and guidance.

“It brings joy to my heart and I feel very appreciative to know I am a help for my coworkers and not a burden to them,” said Doris.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Doris enjoys serving in her church and getting together with family and friends.

FUN FACT: Doris loves to laugh, make people laugh, and watch comedy movies and shows, especially the oldies.

Thanks for all you do Doris! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Christy Bonavita, the new manager of training and family support at DePaul.


In her new role at DePaul, Christy will collaborate with talented staff to provide our families with knowledge and support so they can do the hard work involved with helping children heal.

Christy was nominated for People of DePaul because she is an effective, knowledgeable, and dedicated trainer for foster families. Coworkers say they are very excited about her new leadership role and the insights she will bring while helping provide a healing environment to children in need.

“I’m so honored and humbled to be described like this,” said Christy. “I love our staff at DePaul and am so thankful that I get to work with all of them.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Christy likes to read, do puzzles, go for walks, and watch movies with her family. She also loves to fit in a trip to T.J. Maxx as often as she can.

FUN FACT: Christy was born the same year DePaul was established.

Thanks for all you do Christy! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Beth-Anee Fretz, the lead foster care specialist in DePaul’s Lynchburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Beth-Anee advocates for the youth and foster families she serves. Beth-Anee works with DSS, service providers, families, and youth to ensure a foster child’s needs are being met.

Beth-Anee was nominated for People of DePaul because she is a hard worker who is always willing to learn and take on challenges. Coworkers say she does a wonderful job of supporting foster families during their journeys.

“I am honored, and I love my coworkers, foster families and kiddos,” said Beth-Anee. “Without the support of my coworkers and the wonderful work of my foster families, I would not be able to do the job I do to serve them.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Beth-Anee enjoys spending time with her family—her husband, three adult sons, and her 7-year-old daughter Taylor. Her daughter Taylor and her very large Golden retriever/Labrador retriever mix Buddie keep Beth-Anee on her toes. Beth-Anee also enjoys traveling, music, movies, and the beach.

FUN FACT: When Beth-Anee was about 10 years old, she lived in St. Augustine, Florida. One day, she was riding her bike and went to sit down on a log near a lake to take a break. As she sat down, she realized the log had eyes and was looking back at her. It was an alligator! Thankfully it wasn’t hungry that day.

Thanks for all you do Beth-Anee! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Ellie Grimm, the new regional resource specialist for our treatment foster care programs in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.


In her new role at DePaul, Ellie helps find safe, loving homes for children in foster care. She responds to the needs of children, families, local DSS agencies, and birth families. In her previous role at DePaul, the homefinder/trainer for our developmental disabilities program in Fishersville, Ellie helped provide training and support to sponsored residential providers moving through the home finding process.

Ellie was nominated for People of DePaul because she has been so welcoming and helpful to new staff members. Coworkers say she is a hard worker and always willing to answer questions and include others.

“I feel very honored and appreciated by my coworkers to be nominated, and I’m grateful that I was able to help my coworkers feel supported even when we are working remotely,” said Ellie.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Ellie loves spending time with her husband Beck and her two pups Max and Winnie. She also enjoys visiting museums, listening to true crime podcasts, and binge-watching Parks and Recreation.

FUN FACT: Ellie and her husband fostered Saint Bernards with a dog rescue when they lived in Colorado. They fostered their dog Winnie with the rescue, fell in love right away, and adopted her.

Thanks for all you do Ellie! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Hope Robinson, the director of foster care and independent living.


In her role at DePaul, Hope ensures a team of staff have the tools and support they need to find stability and permanency for children and youth experiencing foster care. Hope is also focused on the growth and expansion of services that support our foster families, foster youth, and youth in our Independent Living program.

Hope was nominated for People of DePaul because she has jumped right into her new role, knowing the challenges ahead, with an enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring children, teens, and families have the support they need to ensure the best outcomes.

“I’m honored because I feel that I’m doing what I hope others would do when seeing a need and I just want the best outcomes for youth and foster families,” said Hope.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Hope enjoys doing yoga, playing Scrabble, taking daily walks, and spending time with family.

FUN FACT: Hope really thinks she can sing, but her family thinks otherwise.

Thanks for all you do Hope! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jamie Snead, the vice president of marketing and development.


In her role at DePaul, Jamie provides leadership and oversight to a team of seven staff members who plan and execute DePaul’s marketing, recruitment, and development work.

Jamie was nominated for People of DePaul because she is a leader who encourages growth, learning, creativity, and thinking outside the box. Team members say her guidance and leadership have truly made a difference at DePaul.

“DePaul creates an environment where growth, learning, creativity, and outside-of-the-box thinking are encouraged, which has allowed me to thrive as a leader and nurture team members with the same drive and growth mindset,” said Jamie.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Jamie spends time with her husband and three girls, sometimes engrossed in a construction project with her husband, reading, or writing.

FUN FACT: They love books at the Snead household. Their children’s book collection is in the thousands at this point. For Jamie, at any given moment, she has three or four books going: a fiction book (typically women’s fiction or romance) she keeps on her nightstand for evening reading, a nonfiction book she keeps in her car for downtime when she’s in a waiting room or arrives early to an appointment (something social science-related, like Brene Brown, or a memoir), and another nonfiction book (or two) on Audible for the car or gym (usually a lecture series and a book on a topic of interest).

Thanks for all you do Jamie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jennifer Andersen, a regional treatment foster care supervisor for Charlottesville and Lynchburg.


In her role at DePaul, Jennifer provides support and guidance to the treatment foster care specialists in her locations and ensures that all areas of the programs are operating smoothly and efficiently.

Jennifer was nominated for People of DePaul because she is approaching her work thoughtfully and creatively and imagining new ways to serve families and children. Coworkers say she is passionate about the work and always brings new ideas to the table.

“I truly believe every child and youth in foster care deserves to have a safe healing place to call home and parents who love and support them,” said Jennifer. “I am happy to be working with a team of people who share that vision.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Jennifer loves to travel and take family vacations to national parks. She is looking forward to the time when we can all travel safely again.

FUN FACT: Jennifer is the mom of a teenager who is about to learn to drive. She welcomes any advice from parents who have survived this process!

Thanks for all you do Jennifer! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Amy Wolford, the disaster response manager at DePaul.


In her role at DePaul, Amy handles all COVID-19-related topics and issues, such as office precautions, planning, and case tracking.

Amy was nominated for People of DePaul because she transitioned to her new role of disaster response manager seamlessly and has worked tirelessly to help DePaul navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. She has kept DePaul informed and ready for each new phase and challenge during this time.

“I have been given so much support in this role and feel like that has helped me transition smoothly,” said Amy. “I’m also glad it looks smooth on the outside, as it doesn’t always feel smooth on the inside.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Amy is a big football fan; she loves watching the Denver Broncos, the Kansas State Wildcats, and the Virginia Tech Hokies. She loves spending time with her family and enjoys a relaxing nap now and then.

FUN FACT: Amy was born and raised out west and didn’t travel east of Kansas until she was 26 years old.

Thanks for all you do Amy! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring a team at DePaul—the Regional Post-Adoption Consortium Services Team (RPACS).

The team was nominated because over the past 8 months, members have worked tirelessly in harmony to launch grant services in two regions, create complex new service infrastructure, and reach hundreds of adoptive families across the DePaul footprint in meaningful ways. In the face of expansion, continual change, and COVID-19 constraints, RPACS staff members and key staff from other departments have collaborated to maintain focus on what is most vital: support, healing, connection, and a sense of community for all of the adoptive families that we serve. Coworkers say the team has shown incredible teamwork and overcome obstacles to meet families where they are every day. We appreciate you all!

The RPACS Team:

Melissa Blau

Shannon Shepherd

Morgan Nason

Maxine Petty

Omar Ott

Cindy Goldstein

Tonya Riffe

Jennifer Smythers (not pictured)


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jason Poston, director of community-based services.


In his role at DePaul, Jason is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the clinical services within DePaul.

Jason was nominated for People of DePaul because his leadership in the Community-Based Services program has resulted in successful virtual services, new support groups, and expansion to provide substance abuse and crisis services.

“I feel like it’s a nod to the whole CBS program, and acknowledgement for their efforts to transition to virtual service delivery in such a way that there was very little disruption to ongoing services,” said Jason. “It’s also nice to acknowledge the effort that has been done to expand service offerings both internally and externally.”

Outside of his work at DePaul, Jason loves to travel and is looking forward to doing more of that post-COVID.

FUN FACT: Jason has been to the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, CA four times so far, which is something that surprises most people when they find out.

Thanks for all you do Jason! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Melissa Blau, regional coordinator of post-adoption services.


In her role at DePaul, Melissa assists in the development and oversight of post-adoption services, ensuring staff have the tools and resources they need to do the important work of supporting families who have adopted. In her role, Melissa is helping to build more adoption-competent communities who recognize the impact trauma has on the developing brain.

Melissa was nominated for People of DePaul because she has brought a tremendous amount of knowledge and creativity to her role at DePaul. Coworkers say she is a great leader and always has a positive attitude.

“Wow, I’m speechless, for once,” said Melissa. “The creativity really comes from our post-adoption team. They are incredibly passionate and have diverse talents, which has allowed us to create some unique and exciting programs during these crazy times.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Melissa likes to stay active. She serves as board chair of Girls on the Run Roanoke Valley, which is an activity-based positive youth development program. She loves to hike, bike, and these days has been playing a lot of board games with her 6-year-old.

FUN FACT: Shortly before the pandemic hit, Melissa joined the Twin Valleys Roller Derby team and she can’t wait until it’s safe to get back to skating.

Thanks for all you do Melissa! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Whitney Mullins, a foster care specialist in our Big Stone Gap office.


In her role at DePaul, Whitney ensures that resource families and children feel safe and supported. She responds to the needs of children, families, local DSS agencies, and birth families.

Whitney was nominated for People of DePaul because she has such a positive attitude. Coworkers say she is a great team player and always willing to help when needed.

“I am very humbled at how my coworkers have described me,” said Whitney. “I love all of my coworkers and I’m honored to work beside them each day.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Whitney likes to hike, read, and spend time with her family.

FUN FACT: Whitney calls herself a “total history nerd.” She loves visiting historical landmarks and learning about them.

Thanks for all you do Whitney! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Morgian Presley, a part-time intensive care coordination clinician in our Abingdon office.


In her role at DePaul, Morgian provides support to youth and families at risk of out-of-home placement, or youth who are transitioning back into the home environment. Morgian also does intensive in-home work, providing therapeutic intervention services to families in their own home environments.

Morgian was nominated for People of DePaul because she is dedicated to learning, working hard, and helping. Coworkers say she balanced working and school last year effortlessly and the people she serves are lucky to have her.

“It feels really great to be described like that by my coworkers and I am honored to be nominated,” said Morgian. “I am always up for learning new things, and DePaul has the best team to help me do that!”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Morgian loves spending time with family, doing anything outdoors, and is always looking for new hobbies.

FUN FACT: Morgian would much rather stay at home and watch movies with her dog than go out anywhere.

Thanks for all you do Morgian! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Morgan Nason, the EHR specialist for the organization.

In her role at DePaul, Morgan ensures that our records systems are working efficiently and helps when any issues arise.

Morgan was nominated for People of DePaul because of her dedication and hard work behind the scenes. Coworkers say she has been instrumental in making sure our records system meets the needs of our current and new programs.

“I enjoy supporting my coworkers in this way,” said Morgan. “It’s very gratifying knowing that all of the hard work put in is helping my coworkers in the best possible way.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Morgan enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 kids. They love the outdoors and spend a lot of time outside.

FUN FACT: Morgan has lived in Lynchburg for 7 years but is originally from Maine. Her family tries to take a trip up there every summer to visit with friends and family.

Thanks for all you do Morgan! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Gail Asbury, administrative assistant at DePaul’s Cedar Bluff office.


In her role at DePaul, Gail provides support to her office, handling clerical and organizational tasks. Gail works hard to make sure staff have everything they need to do their jobs.

Gail was nominated for People of DePaul because she always strives to be a helper. Coworkers say her attention to detail and work ethic have kept everything running smoothly during this time.

“I feel very humbled and honored to even be nominated by my coworkers, and to be included with all the other “People of DePaul,” said Gail. “It means so very much to me, especially during a time when we are all working remotely.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Gail loves camping with her husband, reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family especially her grandchildren.

FUN FACT: Gail used to sing in a rock band. Also, her husband asked her to marry him after their second date, and they are getting ready to celebrate 40 wonderful years together.

Thanks for all you do Gail! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Katie Jaberg, an adoption specialist in our Lynchburg office.

In her role at DePaul, Katie helps youth in need find a forever family and provides support and services to children, families, and local Departments of Social Services during the adoption process.

Katie was nominated for People of DePaul because she is always willing to learn and go above and beyond to help those who need it. Coworkers say she keeps everyone laughing and is a joy to work with.

“It makes me happy, humbled, and honored to work for and alongside such amazing colleagues who I look up to and admire so much,” said Katie. “I’m blessed and grateful to be here.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Katie bakes, hikes, spends time with her cat Winnie, reads, and loves to try new coffees and teas. Katie is also planning a cross-country road trip that she can’t wait to take once it’s safe.

FUN FACT: Katie is known for buying random abandoned things in the grocery store like the lonely bananas that aren’t part of a bunch, flowers on clearance that are half-dead, etc.

Thanks for all you do Katie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Kathy King, a registered nurse for DePaul serving individuals with developmental disabilities.


In her role at DePaul, Kathy educates our providers and other staff members on issues related to nursing delegation and medical needs. She acts as an advocate, assuring that the individuals we serve are receiving the best care possible.

Kathy was nominated for People of DePaul because she has been instrumental in creating and implementing much-needed online medical trainings. Coworkers say she has adapted to virtual work well and is a great addition to the team.

“I love to teach and educate people,” said Kathy. “I have always said knowledge is power and I love empowering people.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Kathy loves to spend time with her family–her kids, fiancé, dog Max, and cat Marley.

FUN FACT: Kathy is from Mansfield, Ohio where they shot the movie “Shawshank Redemption.” Kathy moved to Virginia because she found love on eHarmony.

Thanks for all you do Kathy! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Amber McClure, administrative assistant for the marketing and development team.


In her role at DePaul, Amber provides support to her team, as well as the board of directors, programs, and the front office. Amber handles multiple tasks and projects and works hard to keep everything running smoothly.

Amber was nominated for People of DePaul because her support is critical to the teams and programs at DePaul. Coworkers say she is always willing to help, take on new tasks, and better understand the work being done at DePaul.

“I actually feel pretty humbled being nominated, and it makes me feel like I’m doing a good job,” said Amber. “I have the best coworkers ever and I love the environment and culture everyone is working to create.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Amber enjoys gardening, camping, and swimming in the summer. This time of year, she enjoys relaxing and sitting by a fire.

FUN FACT: In the summer, when it pours the rain (no lightning), Amber likes to go outside barefoot and splash in the puddles—no umbrella either. She said it’s so refreshing.

Thanks for all you do Amber! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Ben Watkins, a community-based parent coach and intensive in-home clinician in our Abingdon office.


In his role at DePaul, Ben works with children and families as they navigate challenging times and transitions. He works to provide hope and healing to children and families in their times of need.

Ben was nominated for People of DePaul because he is very dedicated to the people he serves and the work he does. Coworkers say he is always positive and willing to be a team player. And he recently graduated with his master’s degree while still accomplishing all of his tasks and fulfilling all of his duties.

“I am honored to be nominated because there are so many exceptional employees at DePaul,” said Ben. “In the community-based services program, we all work together as a family.”

Outside of his work at DePaul, Ben loves to work out at the gym. He is very focused on fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle. He also enjoys spending time with his two dogs, Abbie and Lucy, and his cat, Harvey.

FUN FACT: Ben loves listening to techno music.

Thanks for all you do Ben! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Andrea Sabourin, an adoption specialist under the Adoption Through Collaborative Partnerships grant (ATCP).


In her role at DePaul, Andrea supports children and youth, adoptive families, and local departments of social services through the adoption process. She also provides adoption education and understanding of the adoption process to the children and families that she serves.

Andrea was nominated for People of DePaul because she is positive, supportive, and encouraging. Coworkers say she is always willing to help, share her knowledge, and make new staff members feel welcome and comfortable.

“I am so grateful that I work with amazing people who value my contribution to our team, the families and children we work with, and to DePaul as an organization,” said Andrea. “I feel like our team members all share these same qualities, and that every day we work together and support each other.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Andrea enjoys cooking, gardening, playing with her dog, and reading.

FUN FACT: Andrea loves watching murder mysteries, especially Agatha Christie movies, and trying to figure out “whodunit.”

Thanks for all you do Andrea! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jennifer Dickson Lawhorne, the residential coordinator, admissions coordinator, and homefinder-trainer for our Amelia office.


In her role at DePaul, Jennifer works with homes serving individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, matches individuals with safe, caring homes, helps potential sponsored residential providers going through the home study and approval process, and manages virtual trainings and tests.

Jennifer was nominated for People of DePaul because she is amazingly devoted to her work and the people she serves. Coworkers say she was instrumental in switching to remote work and virtual trainings and has continued to meet needs despite this uncertain time.

“I’m very surprised and pleased to be nominated,” said Jennifer. “I could not juggle all my responsibilities without the great support from Marcie, our residential manager, and the supportive staff in Amelia.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Jennifer loves to travel when she has the opportunity, then savor the memories with scrapbooking. She often supports her parents living on their own in Farmville (her dad will be 90 next year!). Her family is also active at Farmville Presbyterian Church.

FUN FACT: When she meets new people, Jennifer likes to say she and her husband live in Phenix, then pause while they display shock assuming Phoenix, Arizona. People are usually surprised to learn there is a “Phenix” in Virginia.

Thanks for all you do Jennifer! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Bonny Dillon, a foster care supervisor in our Abingdon office.


In her role at DePaul, Bonny guides her team and works with them to provide support to foster parents and to help children in foster care find forever families.

Bonny was nominated for People of DePaul because she is supportive, helpful, and thoughtful. Coworkers say she has spent a lot of time behind the scenes making sure remote work goes smoothly for everyone.

“I feel honored to be recognized by my coworkers,” said Bonny. “We have a cohesive team full of people who are always willing to help and support each other as needed.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Bonny enjoys spending time with her family, playing music (she plays piano and clarinet), watching movies, reading, and cross-stitching.

FUN FACT: Bonny is a huge sci-fi and fantasy fanatic. She loves books and movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.

Thanks for all you do Bonny! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Misti Greer, an adoption supervisor under the Adoption Through Collaborative Partnerships grant (ATCP).


In her role at DePaul, Misti works with families and children who are experiencing the adoption process. As supervisor, she also fills a leadership role and helps guide her team.

Misti was nominated for People of DePaul because she leads with kindness and wisdom. Coworkers say she is a fantastic communicator with families and staff, and she has a strong passion for adoption.

“I am very honored to be recognized by my coworkers,” said Misti. “Our team is able to work so well together, and we all rely on one another for support and growth through the highs and lows of our work. I have worked in child welfare for almost 23 years, and adoption has always held the most special place in my heart.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Misti enjoys reading, art, and attending live music events. She loves to spend time with her family and friends. Her daughter is a cheerleader in her junior year at UVA Wise and her son is a senior in high school and plays basketball, so a lot of her time is very happily spent supporting them in their activities.

FUN FACT: Misti lived in Florida for ten years and began her career in child welfare there. She also loves sunflowers and green olives.

Thanks for all you do Misti! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Katie Henry, the staff writer/editor at DePaul.

In her role at DePaul, Katie helps to tell DePaul’s story and the stories of the people we serve through writing and editing grant proposals, newsletters, and other communications.

Katie was nominated for People of DePaul because she adds a tremendous amount of value to the organization through her storytelling and writing. Coworkers say she is hard-working, efficient, dedicated, and her work to help secure grant funding that sustains DePaul is essential.

“I feel honored to be recognized, especially in the company of so many wonderful and deserving coworkers,” said Katie. “I can truly say I love what I do so it hardly feels like working.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Katie likes to spend time with her husband and son, play with her puppy Lucky, read, watch documentaries, try new recipes, and go on hiking adventures with friends.

FUN FACT: Katie enjoys singing, musicals, karaoke, and rapping—especially songs from “Hamilton” and Will Smith tunes circa 1997.

Thanks for all you do Katie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Katrina Zepp, the staff accountant at DePaul.


In her role at DePaul, Katrina is responsible for payroll and accounts payable.

Katrina was nominated for People of DePaul because she goes above and beyond for the employees of DePaul. Coworkers say she is always willing to help at a moment’s notice and she exhibits FIRST in every way.

“I’m humbled,” said Katrina. “What is most important to me is building trust with all staff whether it is keeping all invoices current or processing payroll. Knowing that I can lessen the burden on others in my role brings joy to me.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Katrina enjoys spending time with family, cooking, reading, and exercising. She also loves traveling and has been to Paris three times.

FUN FACT: Katrina was stung by a scorpion while pregnant and went into labor.

Thanks for all you do Katrina! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Tonya Riffe, an adoption specialist in our Cedar Bluff office.  


In her role at DePaul, Tonya helps youth in need find a forever family. She provides support and services to children and families during and after the adoption process.

Tonya was nominated for People of DePaul because of her success in growing post-adoption services in her region as well as her amazing work ethic. Specifically, coworkers said they were impressed that during COVID-19 and as a single mom, she was able to earn her master’s degree in social work.

“All of my coworkers and supervisors acknowledge our accomplishments and have always supported and encouraged me to keep going in my professional development,” said Tonya. “I have an amazing team in the Cedar Bluff office and I’m so thankful to be part of the Adoption team.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Tonya has become a “Motocross Momma,” thanks to her boyfriend teaching her son how to ride dirt bikes. She loves watching her son learn new things. During the summer if she isn’t traveling to a motocross track, she loves to spend the weekends on South Holston Lake with her family.

FUN FACT: Tonya is a huge animal lover. She recently became the “neighborhood cat lady” by feeding all the community cats. She specifically loves black cats. Tonya also has two German Shepherds, Maze and Max, who are the biggest babies ever.

Thanks for all you do Tonya! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Candy Whitt, administrative assistant for the Christiansburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Candy carries out clerical and organizational tasks for the office. She provides support to staff and keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes. She creates reference guides so if someone needs something, she can provide it to them as soon as possible.

Candy was nominated for People of DePaul because of her willingness to step in and help where needed. Coworkers say she is amazing at maintaining and managing the office and exhibits FIRST characteristics every day.

“I feel honored and appreciated by the kind words expressed by my coworkers, especially during this time when we are working remotely,” said Candy.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Candy enjoys gardening, helping her neighbors, canning, watching movies, reading, spending time with her grandson, and taking long drives with her husband and her dog.

FUN FACT: Candy would rather shop for kitchen gadgets than clothes or shoes any day.

Thanks for all you do Candy! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Niki Rose, trainer/homefinder and admission coordinator for the sponsored residential program in our Lynchburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Niki helps people through the process of getting licensed so they can open their home to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also facilitates trainings throughout the year and handles the admissions process for individual referrals.

Niki was nominated for People of DePaul because of her devotion to the work she does. Coworkers say she has been willing to take on additional tasks during this transitional time and continues to give DePaul her best no matter what.

“It always feels good to know that your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed,” said Niki. “2020 has been such a trying year, but it’s a good feeling to work with people who encourage you, build you up, acknowledge your work and give grace on days you fall short.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Niki loves spending time with her two sons and her husband making memories.

FUN FACT: If Niki ever won the lottery, she would like to open a food truck.

Thanks for all you do Niki! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Kate Means, the director of foster care and independent living.


In her role at DePaul, Kate works with a team of incredible staff dedicated to finding stability and permanency for children and youth experiencing foster care.

Kate was nominated for People of DePaul because of her strong leadership and guidance. Coworkers say Kate was instrumental in making sure the transition to remote work was possible for the whole organization.

“I am honored by this nomination and the comments of my coworkers,” said Kate. “I always try to ensure that my work is useful to my staff from the frontline workers to my fellow directors, and I’m grateful that I was able to help ease some part of the transition to remote work.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Kate loves creating music with her toddler and enjoying the outdoors with her husband, tending to her flock of chickens, pampering her two sweet pups and recently adopted kittens, and working on various home projects.

FUN FACT: Kate likes to call herself a Jack-of-All-Hobbies, Master of None because she tends to invest in a variety of activities. In the past few years, she has enjoyed mountain biking, practicing calligraphy, assembling Lego kits, completing puzzles, repurposing and rejuvenating old furniture, building a photography portfolio, collecting antique cameras, and practicing her cello and fiddle.

Thanks for all you do Kate! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Marcie Mann, the residential manager in our Amelia office. 


In her role at DePaul, Marcie is leading a team of workers to provide care, compassion, and oversite to individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities and sponsored residential provider homes.

Marcie was nominated for People of DePaul because of her outstanding leadership and her ability to approach situations through a practical and logical lens. With Marcie’s guidance, the Amelia office was able to transition to remote work quickly and successfully.

“I feel appreciative that my coworkers see this in me,” said Marcie. “I have a wonderful team in Amelia, and a wonderful team of Residential Managers/Director, that all play vital roles in my abilities.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Marcie likes reading and playing games (Mario, Candy Crush, or Candy Land) to relax and unwind. She also enjoys going to amusement parks with her husband and daughter and says they are counting down the days until they can safely return to Kings Dominion.

FUN FACT: Marcie lives on a farm, surrounded by all her family minus one sibling, one cousin, and two aunts. She says her heart is on the farm.

Thanks for all you do Marcie! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Emily Moore, regional recruiter in the Lynchburg/Roanoke area.


In her role at DePaul, Emily works to build community relationships and partnerships to support the children and individuals with disabilities that DePaul serves. She recruits foster parents and sponsored residential care providers in the Lynchburg and Roanoke regions, and she is DePaul’s legislative chair and leads advocacy efforts in child welfare, behavioral health, and disability services.

Emily was nominated for People of DePaul because of how passionate she is about her work. She routinely steps up to take on new challenges and coworkers say her attention to the unique legislative environment is essential to DePaul.

“I am so grateful for the people I work with at DePaul,” said Emily. “We are all in this for the same purpose—hope and belonging—and that is so evident in the creative and collaborative work that DePaul gives us the space and support to accomplish.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Emily loves being in nature, especially now that COVID-19 has changed the world. She likes to hike beautiful mountains and spend time on the river with her boyfriend Trey and their friends.

FUN FACT: Emily is a self-proclaimed crazy plant lady. Over the last year, but primarily during quarantine, she has brought more than 30 houseplants into her 500-square-foot loft and turned it into a bit of an urban jungle.

Thanks for all you do Emily! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Robin McKee, the administrative assistant for our Roanoke office.

In her role at DePaul, Robin carries out clerical and organizational tasks for the office. She provides support to staff and keeps everything running smoothly. Robin has been with DePaul for 15 years.

Robin was nominated for People of DePaul because she is dependable and always willing to help. Coworkers say they count on her presence in the office, especially during the uncertain times caused by COVID-19.

“I love working at DePaul because of what it stands for,” said Robin.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Robin enjoys spending time with her grandkids and playing with her rescue dog Hook.

FUN FACT: Robin likes to gamble.

Thanks for all you do Robin! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Rhonda Pryor, the group home manager for Harvard Home. 

In her role at DePaul, Rhonda is responsible for the care, supervision, activities, and day-to-day living of 5 individuals. Her goal is to provide those individuals with experiences that create the best possible life for them.

Rhonda was nominated for People of DePaul because of the commitment she makes to the individuals she serves. During this time of uncertainty, Rhonda has helped the individuals in Harvard Home feel safe and cared for and has creatively transitioned the home to a new normal.

“It feels great to be recognized but I could not do what I do without my team at Harvard Home,” said Rhonda. “I have great staff that help support my vision.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Rhonda loves to travel and see new things. Her travel has been on hold recently because of COVID, but she is hoping to be able to visit St. Maarten before the end of this year.

FUN FACT: Rhonda is obsessed with clothes and shoes. She has more than 100 pairs of shoes.

Thanks for all you do Rhonda! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Amy Burns, the regional manager of community-based services, the site leader in our Abingdon office, and a therapist for DePaul. Amy is also the author of DePaul’s first self-published book: “A Goat’s Tale.”

In her role at DePaul, Amy supervises the clinical services offered in the Southwest region, such as outpatient counseling, intensive in-home services, and intensive care coordination.

Amy was nominated for People of DePaul because she has gone above and beyond for the people she serves. She is described as an excellent communicator and leader, full of gratitude and empathy.

“Hope is tucked into everything I do,” said Amy. “We nurture that hope like a flame in the night, and when you get to see growth and change in people, it is powerful.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Amy loves to write and is currently working on art for a new children’s book. She is also trying her hand at gardening for the first time—putting in a container garden and growing cucumbers.

FUN FACT: Amy likes to sing to her dogs…she said they do not enjoy it.

Thanks for all you do Amy! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Katie Ramey, a foster care specialist and office trainer in our Cedar Bluff office.


In her role at DePaul, Katie ensures that resource families and children feel safe and supported. She responds to the needs of children, families, local DSS agencies, and birth families. In her newest role, she teaches in-service and pre-service training as well as provides families with virtual options for training.

Katie was nominated for People of DePaul because of the amazing support she provides to the families and children she serves. Katie recently took on an additional role at DePaul and her coworkers say she has handled the transition gracefully. They say she is always willing to step up and help wherever it is needed.

“It feels really great and reassuring that others see me in this way,” said Katie. “My favorite part of my job is being able to see the healing, happiness, and overall improvements that the children we serve make.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Katie enjoys reading, playing video games, listening to music and podcasts, and riding her bicycle around her neighborhood.

FUN FACT: Katie likes to learn about true crime and conspiracy theories.

Thanks for all you do Katie! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Shana Phillips, the administrative assistant in our Abingdon office.


In her role at DePaul, Shana carries out clerical and organizational tasks for the office. She provides support to staff and keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes.

Shana was nominated for People of DePaul because of her positive attitude and her unwavering willingness to help. Coworkers say she has navigated remote work well during the pandemic and they would not know what to do without her.

“I am completely humbled and honored that my teammates have nominated me,” said Shana. “I show up each day because of the work we do and the people that surround me during this work.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Shana enjoys reading and studying her bible, spending time outdoors with her husband and children, and attending church.

FUN FACT: Shana is the Adult Sunday School teacher at her church.

Thanks for all you do Shana! We appreciate you!


In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Laura Israel, an adoption specialist in our Roanoke office.

In her role at DePaul, Laura provides support and services to children, families, and local Departments of Social Services during the adoption process. Specifically, she works closely with children and families to prepare them for adoption with Lifebook work and education about how adoption will affect their futures. Lifebooks help children connect their past with their present and better understand their lives and histories. They can also help children understand their roles in their adoptive families.

Laura was nominated for People of DePaul because she has gone above and beyond for her families during this time of transition and adaptation. Laura’s coworkers say she handles her caseloads with grace and excellence and does an amazing job engaging kids and teens in Lifebook work.

“Being adopted myself, adoption is a part of me,” said Laura. “I love that DePaul values the adoption process and the need for the work that we do.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Laura loves to garden, cook, spend time with family, play with her kittens, and have nightly Scrabble games with her husband.

FUN FACT: Laura has always loved cash registers. Her husband bought her one for Christmas this year and she loves putting money in it to save.

Thanks for all you do Laura! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Daria VanRavestein, the development specialist at DePaul.


In her role at DePaul, Daria works to raise money and awareness for our programs and services for children, families, and individuals with disabilities.

Daria was nominated for People of DePaul because of how hard she works to find donations and grant funding that support DePaul’s programs and services. She is friendly and welcoming to everyone she meets, and her personality helps her make strong connections with generous donors in the community.

“Working to help children, families, and individuals with disabilities means so much to me,” said Daria. “I am lucky to get to help such exceptional people.”

Daria said her faith also plays an important role in the way she works, mentioning her favorite verses Ephesians 4:32 and Matthew 5:16.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Daria enjoys spending time with her family and her dogs, traveling, coaching her girls, and running.

FUN FACT: From age 13 to 16, Daria lived in Hanau, Germany.

Thanks for all you do Daria! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Nathacha Liriano, the residential manager for our Christiansburg and Roanoke offices.


In her role at DePaul, Nathacha supports the individuals with disabilities and families we serve in our sponsored residential program, as well as the staff that work in the program. She also offers trainings, completes home studies, and meets referrals on a regular basis.

Nathacha was nominated for People of DePaul because of how hardworking and helpful she is. Staff members say Nathacha carries a lot of responsibilities gracefully and always has a positive attitude. She is willing to rise to challenges and was integral in the way her program adapted and transitioned during COVID-19.

“I think these characteristics will always be present and visible when your job is your passion and certainly that’s my case,” said Nathacha.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Nathacha enjoys boxing, walking her dog, reading books in Spanish, going to rock concerts, and spending time with her family.

FUN FACT: Nathacha likes to ride motorcycles. She is also learning how to perform magic while incorporating some comedy.

Thanks for all you do Nathacha! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Lisa Black, the human resources specialist for the organization.


In her role at DePaul, Lisa works with employees, supervisors, directors, and outside contacts to make sure their jobs, and the organization, run smoothly. Her work ranges from employment and recruiting to training and benefits and compensation.

Lisa was nominated for People of DePaul because of how well she performs her job duties and how much she cares about each person at DePaul. Many times, Lisa is the first impression of DePaul, and staff say she is the perfect first impression: kindhearted, helpful, honest, and sincere.

“I want all employees from day one and throughout their employment to feel a sense of belonging, hope, and support,” said Lisa. “I was raised to treat others as you want to be treated and I live by that rule.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Lisa likes to spend as much time as possible with her granddaughters. She said they are such a blessing and being with them and the rest of her family is her favorite pastime.

FUN FACT: Lisa loves animals and lives on her family’s farm. She currently has dogs, donkeys, a potbellied pig, and her newest addition is a one-eared rabbit named Narwhal.

Thanks for all you do Lisa! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Eyvette Evans, the director of support services in our Roanoke office. 

In her role at DePaul, Eyvette oversees IT, facilities, and fleet for the organization. She supports staff with their technology needs and ensures facilities are operational and vehicles are safe and clean.

Eyvette was nominated for People of DePaul because of her hard work to make sure everything at DePaul runs smoothly and all staff members have what they need to do their job. Staff say her service has been essential, and she manages everything with grace.

“I have a passion in my heart for the work that we do,” said Eyvette. “While I am not on the frontline, doing what I can behind the scenes to make staff members’ jobs easier, smoother, and more efficient is my way of contributing to our community.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Eyvette loves to spend time with her family, feed people (because she loves to cook), and work with her flower garden.

FUN FACT: Eyvette absolutely loves Christmas—the meaning of the season, the decorations, the cooking, etc. She said she would start decorating in September if she could.

Thanks for all you do Eyvette! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Becky Bonds, an independent living specialist in our Charlottesville office.

In her role at DePaul, Becky helps young people ages 18-21 develop life skills, meet goals, and make well-informed choices for their future. She and the rest of the IL team provide guidance, compassion, and direction in navigating the difficult journey from adolescence to adulthood.

Becky was nominated for People of DePaul because of the way her heart guides her work with IL youth. Becky goes above and beyond to make sure the youth feel safe and supported. As COVID-19 forced everyone to adapt to a new normal, Becky made sure she kept in constant contact with each of her youth. Recently, a youth she serves was struggling and Becky dropped everything to be there for them.

“I am their advocate, support system, and “mama bear,” said Becky. “I want these youth to not only succeed in life, but to know that someone truly cares for them.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Becky loves to read, play board games and cards, and listen to podcasts.

FUN FACT: Becky is a huge Disney fan. She’s been to Disney World and Disneyland many, many times. She has a collection of Disney globes, a Disney playlist on her phone, and loves Disney trivia.

Thanks for all you do Becky! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Bobbie Aldridge, the service authorization administrator in our Roanoke office.


In her role at DePaul, Bobbie works mostly with our developmental disabilities program in submitting and tracking service authorization requests. This is essential because it allows our organization to get paid for the services we provide. She also frequently assists the finance department with questions and processes related to insurance payments.

Bobbie was nominated for People of DePaul because of her commitment to the work she does and her “fierce dedication” to both her family and DePaul. During DePaul’s transition to remote work, Bobbie worked hard to adapt to a new system of doing her job, making sure she didn’t miss one single deadline.

“Over the years I have had great mentors that have taught me so much,” said Bobbie. “I feel that it’s hard to accomplish things alone, but if you work together as a team you can do anything.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Bobbie loves visiting yard sales and flea markets.

FUN FACT: Bobbie has 12 grandchildren and recently, her first great-grandchild was born. She can’t wait to meet him!

Thanks for all you do Bobbie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Lise Martin, the regional foster care trainer for our Roanoke and Christiansburg offices.


In her role at DePaul, Lise provides necessary, relevant, and accessible education to others, helping ensure safety, permanency, and well-being to everyone DePaul serves.

“Being part of a strong team of individuals who bring a variety of life experience has been a vital part of being able to do this work,” said Lise.

Lise was nominated for People of DePaul because of her hard work to develop virtual trainings where staff and families could still engage from a safe distance. Lise quickly adapted her way of presenting information to people to follow state and local guidelines. Her flexibility and willingness to learn, along with support from leadership and her team, have allowed DePaul to continue connecting and sharing important information with families.

“The most exciting thing about this for me has been the ability to reach more people in a way I had never considered,” said Lise. “People from all over our service area have been able to easily access some great training from the comfort of their homes.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Lise loves to spend time with her husband, two busy and beautiful daughters, and friends. Her family loves going to music festivals, camping, and having people over at their home (she really misses that right now). She also tries to spend as much time outside as she can.

FUN FACT: Before going back to school to become a social worker, Lise worked as a professional birth doula, assisting families through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.

Thanks for all you do Lise! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Meredith Breeden, an independent living specialist in our Charlottesville office. 


In her role at DePaul, Meredith helps young people ages 18-21 develop life skills, meet goals, and make well-informed choices for their future. She and the rest of the IL team provide guidance, compassion, and direction in navigating the difficult journey from adolescence to adulthood.

Meredith was nominated for People of DePaul because of how reassuring, helpful, and attentive she is to the IL youth she serves. During this stressful time, Meredith has made it her mission to not only meet their needs, but to make them feel safer and more supported.

“I truly believe that continuing to show up for them proves that there are people in the world who endlessly care about them and will do anything in their power to support them in their journey,” said Meredith.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Meredith loves to travel, try new foods, and spend time with her partner, friends, and family. Most evenings, you can find her taking long walks to enjoy nature.

FUN FACT: Meredith plays the cello and was in a symphony orchestra after high school. She says she’ll never be Yo-Yo-Ma, but she can still dream.

Thanks for all you do Meredith! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Shavonne Hardy-Hogan, a residential coordinator in our Amelia office.


 In her role at DePaul, Shavonne supports sponsored residential providers as they compassionately care for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.

“I love helping a family fight to get something they deserve,” said Shavonne. “I love helping an individual who underestimated their own abilities achieve something and develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments.”

Shavonne was nominated for People of DePaul because of her ability to be there for her providers and families no matter what’s happening. She is described as an incredible residential coordinator—reassuring, helpful, always responsive to providers’ needs.

“Our providers are doing difficult work that calls for them to give of themselves in a large way. When the going gets tough, they can feel like they’re failing and that no one else knows what they’re going through,” said Shavonne. “It’s my goal to reassure them that they can do this, the tough times won’t last forever and most importantly, that they are not alone,” said Shavonne.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Shavonne loves to travel. She also enjoys doing puzzles, and recently has considered playing the clarinet again. She loves spending time with family—relaxing, cooking and eating, and playing games.

FUN FACT: Shavonne loves Willie Nelson! She’s starting to lose count, but she’s seen him in concert either 11 or 12 times. Members of his band even recognize her, so she likes to think she’s part of the Willie Nelson family.

Thanks for all you do Shavonne! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Sadie Steele, an adoption specialist in our Christiansburg office. 


In her role at DePaul, Sadie helps youth in need find a forever family and provides support and services to children, families, and local Departments of Social Services during the adoption process.

Sadie was nominated for People of DePaul because of her positive attitude and her willingness to help her coworkers adapt during this time. Her team has had to get creative with how they communicate and visit, and Sadie has been an integral part of that transition.

“I work on a team that is strongly united with the same mission and goal in mind, so it’s easy to step up and offer whatever is needed because I know that together we are stronger,” said Sadie.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Sadie enjoys playing with her dog Aria, reading, hammocking, fishing, being outdoors, and traveling to see family and friends.

FUN FACT: Sadie loves to collect old/antique fishing lures, rods, and reels. She has more than 30 rod and reel combinations and many lures and reels. She shares her passion for fishing with many of her family and friends which makes the collecting even more special.

Thanks for all you do Sadie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Beverly Edmonds, the revenue cycle manager who works in our Roanoke office. 

In her role at DePaul, Beverly ensures that the organization and our DePaul families and providers get paid in a timely manner for all services. She also does her best to streamline processes to help DePaul have long-term success.

Beverly was nominated for People of DePaul because of her teamwork, ambition, and her attention to detail. Coworkers also say her willingness to ask questions and learn has led to improvements in the finance department.

“I am always looking to grow and move to the next level which also requires knowing how all the puzzles fit together,” said Beverly. “Once I find out how each role impacts the other, I love to share the information I have with coworkers so it can help them too.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Beverly likes to shop and spend time with her family.

FUN FACT: Beverly enjoys traveling new places with her husband. They have been to Paris, Cancun, and Vegas, just to name a few. They plan to continue traveling once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Thanks for all you do Beverly! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Sabaraina Ball, a residential coordinator in our Cedar Bluff office.

In her role at DePaul, Sabaraina supports sponsored residential providers as they compassionately care for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.

Sabaraina was nominated for People of DePaul because of how well she serves individuals with disabilities in her area. Coworkers also say she is always willing to help them out when they need it, and never asks for recognition.

“Others have shared their knowledge with me, and I am who I am because of that,” said Sabaraina. “I enjoy being part of a team that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of others in our community.”

Outside of her work at DePaul, Sabaraina likes to relax and watch a good movie or TV show.

FUN FACT: Sabaraina has a fascination for items of the past—houses, furniture, clothing. She appreciates the craftsmanship and quality and connecting with days gone by. Her and her husband raised their children in the Ball family homestead, and they did their best to preserve its history.

Thanks for all you do Sabaraina! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Jamie Gagnon, a residential coordinator in our Lynchburg office.


In her role at DePaul, Jamie supports sponsored residential providers as they compassionately care for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.

Jamie was nominated for People of DePaul because of her willingness to be a team player and step up when needed. Recently, Jamie volunteered to help write extra reports and take extra on-call rotations while a few of her coworkers were out of the office. Jamie said it was an easy decision to step up because she knows her coworkers would do the same for her.

 “We have a common goal – to provide the best possible service to the individuals and families we serve,” said Jamie.

Outside of her work at DePaul, Jamie enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, and binging a Netflix show.

FUN FACT: Jamie and her husband will celebrate 20 years of marriage in August. They met on the Internet in 1997 before it was considered “mainstream.” Her husband proposed a year and a half later while they were in Vegas and Jamie called her parents from a payphone to tell them the news.

Thanks for all you do Jamie! We appreciate you!


♥ In this week’s #PeopleofDePaul, we’re featuring Kim Gregory, the outpatient therapist for the Roanoke and Christiansburg offices.


In her role at DePaul, Kim sees children, adults, and families for individual or family therapy. While she is still fulfilling that role, she is also finding ways to give back during this time.

After seeing a need for masks in her community, she felt called to help and started sewing masks. So far, she has given dozens out to family, friends, coworkers, and even employees at the local Veteran Affairs Medical Center.

“It feels like I am actually making a difference. I can take care of and show my value for others by meeting their needs,” said Kim.

Outside of her work at DePaul and mask-making, Kim loves spending time with her family, kids, husband, and pets. She likes to read, craft, and play the cello.

FUN FACT: Kim lived on a remote island in Alaska for 7 years before moving to Virginia.

Thanks for all you do Kim! We appreciate you!