Cari has worked directly with Medicaid Waiver services for over 15 years and has been as a Case Manager since 2015. Cari has extensive experience working with residential programs, day programs, and as a supervisor. Cari is a strong advocate and a proactive communicator. Cari enjoys nature and spending time with her friends and family. Cari puts 100% effort into everything that she does.
Marcie Brabender is a case manager and case manager supervisor. She has been a case manager since 2005. Marcie was a QMRP for three years prior to becoming a case manager. She has an Associate Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services. Marcie enjoys using her skills and abilities to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Marcie enjoys spending time with her husband and children. They are often seen at local sporting events. Her husband is a high school coach and the kids are active in various sports as well. She and her family are also very active in their church.
Sean has been a Case Manager since 2009, and has had an additional 2 years of direct care experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities in the Fort Wayne and Bloomington areas. He has chosen to work in this field because he has always been compelled to assist individuals in need and help others to maximize their potential.
Sean has degrees in Psychology and Communication from Indiana University. One of his goals is to assist individuals in successfully living in their communities. Health and fitness are very important to Sean.
For over two decades, Joy Greeney has been serving people with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. Her experiences have ranged from group home direct care, day services, QDDP, and Waiver Case Manager. Joy graduated from Bethel University with degrees in Psychology and Social Science. Helping others is a passion for Joy. She can often be found assisting with her church to build ramps or complete home repairs for people in need or working in the community garden to provide fresh produce for the local food pantry. Joy and her husband enjoy traveling to warm places and relaxing in the sun with several good books.
Michelle has been a Case Manager since 2000 and began her supervisory role in 2015. She has her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Michelle started working in the field more than 25 years ago volunteering in day service programs. She has spent time working in group home settings, residential settings and as a QDDP. Michelle also heads up the Child and Adolescent Committee.
Michelle enjoys watching Cubs games, coaching track, and spending time at her kid's sporting events. Her family's goal is to visit all of the United States National Parks.
Kara has been in case management for over 10 years and been a supervisor for over 1/2 of that time. She has lived in Indiana since graduating from Grace College. She enjoys spending time with her family, crafting, cooking, and traveling.
Kara has worked in the field of Disability Services for over 14 years and has worked in various capacities including direct service. Kara is a CARF surveyor and is excited to learn and share her knowledge and experience with other organizations across the country. Kara serves on our Medically Fragile Committee and the Quality Review Committee.
Jerilyn has worked with individuals with disabilities for over 20 years and has been involved in Case Management for over 9 years. Jerilyn started working as a Direct Support Professional and has been involved in numerous positions throughout the waiver program.
Jerilyn has a strong love for her family and in being involved in the lives of those she assists. Jerilyn spent several years completing the intake process for individuals new to the waiver, mentoring new Case Managers and supervises people in the East District. She co-facilitates the cultural competency committee. Jerilyn has quite a bit of knowledge about the workings of the Waiver world and what she doesn't know, she will find out.
Amy Rectanus has been in case management for over 20 years. Besides her role as Quality/Training Manager, she also carries a caseload. She is from Indiana and attended Indiana University. Amy began her career assisting individuals with disabilities to become employed in the community and then moved to case management. She has worked with veterans and has extensive experience in working with dual diagnoses.
Amy is not only a Case Manager, but she is also the parent of a waiver recipient which provides a unique perspective. Amy has been with Advocacy Links since 2012 and is able to answer any questions you may have regarding Medicaid waiver or Advocacy Links. Amy is the head of the Quality Review Team, the Corporate Compliance Officer, and is responsible for overseeing all training needs for Advocacy Links Staff.
Julie began working in case management in 2008. She graduated from Manchester University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work. Prior to working in case management Julie worked for 8 years for a provider of group home and wavier services, 4 years in a nursing home, and 1 year with a mental health provider. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. Julie is involved with the Older Adult/Dementia Group and the Medically Fragile Group.
Dawn has many years of experience working with individuals who have developmental/ intellectual disabilities. She has worked as a DSP, QDDP, and QDDP Supervisor. Waiver case management has been her career for over ten years in Indiana and a neighboring state. Dawn received her BS in Applied Psychology from Loyola University Chicago and an MPA from Indiana State University. In her free time Dawn enjoys spending time with her husband and children as well as volunteering for a local mother’s organization.
Stacy is a graduate of Indiana University South Bend with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation, she has spent more than 13 years working in social services with elderly, physically disabled and people with intellectual disabilities. With over 11 years working directly with all aspects of the Indiana Medicaid Waiver program, she is able to commit herself to improving the lives of her clients and families.
Stacy is involved with the Cultural Competency Committee. Born and raised in the same small town she currently raises her large family, she is devoted to bettering her community. She is a member of her town park board and a member of her local Tri Kappa group.
Amber graduated from Ball State University and has a Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in Interpersonal Relations. Before becoming a case manager, Amber worked in long term care for 18 years, serving the elderly population as well as the developmentally disabled. Amber enjoys being able to advocate for people with disabilities.
Amber and her husband enjoy spending time with their 3 children and 2 dogs. Together, they enjoy watching movies, bike riding and traveling to various areas in the United States.
Rhonda graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s in Human Service. She has previous experience working with children and older adults with disabilities. Rhonda began her journey in this field as a direct support professional.
Rhonda enjoys being out in the community talking with others and gaining resources to help assist individuals and families. Rhonda is compelled to assist others fulfil their desires. She has a passion for advocating for others. She actively volunteers in the community, recently with habitat for humanity and with the local Girl Scouts. During her free time, she also enjoys crafting, knitting, spending time with family and eating.
Elizabeth started working for Advocacy Links in 2018. Prior to working as a Case Manager, she worked with young children with disabilities and developmental delays as a Service Coordinator with Indiana First Steps for over 10 years. Since graduating from Valparaiso University in 2001 with degrees in Psychology and Sociology, Elizabeth has worked with families and individuals and enjoys working with people from all backgrounds. She is interested in learning about others and likes to hear their stories.
Personal enjoyment centers around her family and close friends. She loves to travel to new places and spends a lot of time supporting her 6 children at their activities. Elizabeth has a great sense of humor and wants to spend time getting to know each person and learning how best to advocate for them.
First and foremost, Kimberly Berkley is a wife and mother. Secondly, she is an artist and educator. Kimberly has a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University with an emphasis in dance and business management. For over 14 years she has worked as a dance instructor and educator. Her purpose has always been to empower children and young adults to be confident and to strive to be the best individual that they can be. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching movies, and camping.
John has been working as a case manager with Advocacy Links since January of 2017. Prior to that he taught 5th grade for Fort Wayne Community Schools for two years. John is still a licensed K-6 teacher with the state of Indiana and holds a bachelor degree in education from Indiana University.
Working with families, and especially children, is a passion of John's and something that he hopes to continue to do into the foreseeable future. John is married and has four children, including a set of twins. He enjoys spending time with his family and traveling with his wife.
Michael's most recent experience working in the field was as Program Manager for 30 individuals at Bethesda Luthern Services and earlier as a Foster Care Case Manager. He also has experience working with children and adolescents through DCS, has been involved in IEP development, has experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism, dual-diagnoses, medically fragile, cerebral palsy, mobility issues, etc.
Michael chose to work in this field because he has a desire to help others that may not have the ability to help themselves. He has a passion for helping others make an impact in their lives and can use his knowledge of resources and services in the surrounding area. Michael frequently networks by attending external events that give him the opportunity to meet with other providers and gather resources.
Rachelle has worked for over five years as a social worker in a variety of community settings. Prior to her time at Advocacy Links, she worked as a service coordinator for babies and toddlers with developmental delays. She has worked hard to build her service coordination, communication, and meeting facilitation skills throughout her career. She has chosen this field of work because she enjoys teaming with families and individuals to encourage overall well-being and access to community supports.
Rachelle enjoys learning about cultures, traditions, and family styles that are different from her own and helping families learn about what beneficial community resources are in their reach. Her upbringing in a small, rural, Anabaptist tradition helped grow her firm belief that individuals can go far when connected to healthy families, services, and groups. She is inspired by her faith and recognizes all individuals and families should have the right to hold tight to their personal values, whatever those values may be.
Barrie is excited to bring his various experiences for the last 13 years to a case management aspect. He has previously worked hands-on as a Direct Support Person to administrative duties as a QIDP and has advocated for individuals by ensuring they are living their best life by promoting independence, enhancing their experiences and enriching their lives with attainable resources.
Valerie has worked in the field of Intellectual and Development Disabilities since 1989 and has been a case manager since 2001. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. She has worked in various positions within the human services field, such as, direct care, group home manager, QIDP, Administration and Case Manager.
Valerie is currently serving on the Older Adult/Dementia Committee. Valerie has supported all ages and a variety of disabilities which has provided a wide range of knowledge.
Blanca Cervantes is bilingual in Spanish and English. She has lived and worked in a variety of states helping families whose loved ones needed help. She enjoys seeing children thrive and families flourish as a result of having the appropriate tools to improve their situation. In her free time, Blanca enjoys watching movies with her family and being outdoors when the weather is warm.
Erin has been a Case Manager with Advocacy Links for over 5 years. Erin is a graduate of Ball State University. She has worked in the field of Social Services for over 10 years. She enjoys working with families and individuals in order to obtain services that best fit their needs.
When Erin is not working she enjoys reading, camping with her family, and repainting furniture.
Christina Chowrimootoo has a bachelor’s degree in education from the UK. She has eight years teaching experience, specializing in teaching children with special educational needs and music. She is a dedicated and passionate individual who loves working with others, meeting new people and has a love of learning. In her spare time, she directs and sings in a church choir. She is creative in the kitchen and loves to cook vegetarian meals. She enjoys going on adventures with her family.
Katie has been in Case Management since 2016 and has worked in the Medicaid Waiver field since 2009. She has held various positions including direct care and day program management. With Advocacy Links, she is also involved in our Accessibility Committee and the Employee Recognition Program.
Katie has an Indiana University Degree in Education. Katie is a frequent volunteer in her community, Columbia City, where she lives with her husband and 3 children. As a musician, Katie spends her free time as the lead singer/keyboard player in a band; her husband is the drummer.
Shelley has been a Medicaid Waiver Case Manager for over 8 years. Before that she was a case manager in the First Steps program as well as at a community mental health center.
Shelley graduated from Indiana University South Bend. Shelley loves to help others and will answer any questions promptly. Shelley is involved in the Technology committee and the Transition Advisory Council.
Melissa Derflinger has held several different positions working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, including QDDP and Director of Day Services. She began in the field after volunteering as a Special Olympics Basketball Coach. She immediately decided that she wanted to pursue ways that she could assist and advocate for these individuals. Melissa graduated from Indiana University at Kokomo.
Annie Emery graduated from Indiana University and worked as a Kindergarten Assistant for 12 years before starting her career as a Case Manager in June 2018. Annie has lived in South Bend her entire life and is very familiar with the Michiana community. She is active in her community, volunteering at the local homeless shelter, playing handbells in her church, and teaching life skills to elementary-aged girls as part of Girls On The Run.
Diane graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology as well as a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology. She has been working in the field of intellectual/developmental disabilities since 1998. She has held positions such as camp counselor, residential Qualified Developmental Disability Professional, Mental Health Professional and Case Manager. Diane has a special interest in working with people who have mental health and dual diagnosis.
Amy earned a Bachelor's Degree from Indiana University in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She has worked with various populations of Individuals with Mental Illness and Intellectual Developmental Disabilities for over 10 years. Amy started her career working in a large Residential facility in Illinois and then moved to a Site Supervisor position managing multiple 24-hour care homes. Amy has been a Case Manager for the Indiana waiver for about a decade.
Amy enjoys working in the Human Service field because of the potential to improve the lives of others, and the ability to protect the rights of others. Amy is interested in continuing to improve the overall emotional and physical health of individuals through maintaining healthy habits, choices, aspirations and values, and the best possible use of beneficial services. Outside of work, Amy enjoys spending time with family, traveling with friends, and outdoor activities such as sports, walks, hikes, runs and bike rides.
Sherrie has been in case management, supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1990. She is very knowledgeable about the Medicaid waiver and has good working relationships with area providers. She is also a mother of a young adult with intellectual disabilities so she understands how these services work from the perspective of both a parent and a case manager.
Sherrie has a bachelor's degree in Psychology, is a licensed Social Worker, and is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking. Sherrie is an active member of DSANI.
MJ Frey has worked with individuals with disabilities in a group home and residential setting. She has extensive experience in organization management. MJ seeks every opportunity to work with individuals and families to reach their full potential. MJ graduated from Bluffton University in Ohio.
MJ serves on the Accessibility Committee and is a Case Manager Mentor, assisting new case managers with training. MJ enjoys seeing all people succeed. MJ enjoys spending free time with friends and family, traveling as much as life allows and various crafts.
Sara began working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental illness in 2008. She has worked as direct support, intake specialist, behavioral clinician and in residential settings as a QDDP, supervisor, and director. Sara graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and from Ivy Tech with an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services with certificates in mental health. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Sara enjoys helping others and being a part of their progression. Seeing others achieve their goals makes a difference in the lives of everyone that surrounds the individuals she has worked with. Sara and her husband live in the small community of Galveston. They have seven children and two dogs. They enjoy spending time with their children and attending their various activities
A graduate of Grace College, Ericka Fugate has degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Prior to becoming a Case Manager, she worked for First Steps serving children from ages 0-3 with developmental delays ranging from speech delays to cerebral palsy or autism.
Ericka likes to be active and helping others. She would rather be doing something instead of sitting at home. She feels that her time can be better spent out in the world building relationships and supporting friends rather than keeping to herself.
Hope Hardt is a graduate of Western Michigan University, where in addition to Social Work, her focus included Anthropology, Psychology, and Women's Studies. Hope has been a case manager since 2018 and came into the position after working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for nearly 2 decades, on both personal and professional levels. These experiences have taught her not only about the fragility but the diligence of the human condition.
Personally, Hope enjoys volunteer work. She is a mentor, mother, tutor, and friend. Hope strives to be a part of the changes in the world that she would like to see for her children and the future. She enjoys physical fitness, gardening, the Arts, hiking, camping, home improvement, and travel.
Daphne's experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities began in 2006. She graduated with a Special Education degree with Autism Endorsement while working special education departments developing programs, curriculum and conducting teacher training. In 2016, she chose to work as a case manager, because case management is the best way to help individuals with supports, services, and advocacy.
Advocating, identifying, developing and coordinating services is something Daphne enjoys assisting consumers with to access their supports and services. Working with families to identify and develop resources and discover independence.
Andrea has a Human Services degree from Indiana Tech. She is fluent in both Spanish and English and has held various positions using her bilingual skills. Andrea has worked with diverse populations to connect people with needed resources.
She wants to work in this field to help others overcome any barriers or obstacles they may have in other to achieve and maintain a normal standard of life as an individual who does not have a disability. She enjoys cooking, dancing, traveling, and attending her child’s sporting events.
Britney Hofman has lived in Fort Wayne her entire life. She is a wife and a mother to four girls. She has a love for anything outdoors and being active. She has a passion for helping others and advocating for a variety of populations.
She graduated in 2010 from Indiana Wesleyan with a bachelor's degree in marketing. After college Britney worked in the mental health field side by side with adults dealing with severe and persistent mental illness--helping them with housing, employment, educational goals and finding a place to belong. After five great years, she transitioned to case management with Advocacy Links in order to serve an even wider group of individuals including those with developmental disabilities.
Lauren Horn has a degree in Psychology from IUSB and a passion for helping others. She has experience working with children as an ABA therapist. She enjoys music, movies, and traveling. She is very family-oriented and loves spending time with her family and dog.
Corey started with Advocacy Links in early 2020. Previously, during his time as a student teacher in college, Corey had the pleasure of working with many different students of diverse backgrounds with varying levels of intellectual or developmental disabilities. He chose to work in this field because he finds it extremely enjoyable and rewarding to work one-on-one with adolescents and families.
Corey’s system for prioritizing tasks is by making sure that all of his documents and information are well organized. He also sets electronic reminders and deadlines with his devices, and prioritizes tasks and assignments based on due dates, urgency, and significance.
In his spare time, Corey enjoys weightlifting. He was also a math education major, which means he has plenty of experience working with different math programs, as well as developing spreadsheets and documents for statistics.
Jessie Hyzy has over 6 years of experience working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a variety of positions including direct care, recreational therapist, and Case Manager. She chose to work in this field because she has always had a passion for helping other people, especially those with disabilities who may not be able to help themselves with things that we would otherwise take for granted. Jessie graduated from Southern Illinois University. She is the proud mother of the most spoiled rescue cat.
Bringing over 24 years of experience in the Department of Children & Family Services, education, group homes, and HIV/AIDS, Kimberly Johnson is eager to be a Case Manager working with people with disabilities. Kimberly describes herself as detailed and organized. She loves to help others.
Carey has been a Case Manager since 2011. She graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. Carey has a passion for working with children and adolescents with special needs. She holds a Specialized Case Manager position working primarily with Children and Adolescents.
Volunteering in a variety of capacities, helping people in need is what drew Shian Klug to consider a career as a Case Manager. She has helped at various Special Olympics events and fundraisers. Shian is very familiar with caring for people as her father was autistic and her stepbrother has an intellectual disability.
Shian earned a degree at Indiana University-Fort Wayne and has a certificate in Lean Black Belt Sigma..
Through her previous work experiences, Kirstyn has had the opportunity to work with children and adults with many special abilities. Her education in Spanish Translation and Secondary Education is beneficial as she serves the Spanish speaking community and bridges the gap to meet the needs of individuals. Translating for the local hospital for the past 20 years has given Kirstyn a great understanding of medical terminology and treatment plans.
Kirstyn's skills in networking and relationship building will be an aid in creating supportive teams for helping them to achieve their goals. Her hope is to help consumers build teams that will allow them to always have someone who knows the answer to questions and is just one phone call away. Kirstyn has enjoyed teaching fitness and quilting classes in her community over the last 10 years.
Nancy has been working in the field as a case manager since 2007. She took on the role of Transitional Case Manager in 2014 and enjoys helping people get started with new waiver services. Nancy is dedicated to advocating for clients and their families and is always willing to assist with answering questions regarding Waiver Services in Indiana.
Nancy enjoys representing Advocacy Links at the Down Syndrome Walk and fairs throughout the year. She is involved with the Technology Committee and uses technology to add efficiency and security to the case management process.
Annie graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts and Science, with a concentration in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 2013. She obtained a Child Development Associates through the State of Indiana in 2005 while teaching preschool in an integrated classroom and then worked in the South Bend School System. She has experience as direct care staff and a supported living house manager for adults with disabilities before becoming a Case Manager in 2014. Annie has always enjoyed forming bonds and friendships with people she has worked for and making a positive impact in their lives.
Lori McCoy has spent over 20 years working in the Social Service field and has truly enjoyed working with individuals and families. She has had the privilege of working with every age from birth to 90. Helping others and finding a solution to a problem that an individual has always been a challenge that she enjoys.
Lori is a very active wife and mother of three college-aged children. She enjoys traveling and exploring new places.
Jeanne has held several positions working with people who have developmental disabilities since 2004. Collectively these positions provided a strong background of knowledge to become a case manager. Jeanne enjoys being a case manager, and having the ability to assist consumers and families in the most effective way possible. Jeanne is a strong advocate for those she serves and is passionate to ensure people with disabilities are treated with dignity, respect, and their rights are protected.
Jeanne is a 1st Aid/CPR Instructor and also serves on the Older Adult/Dementia Committee.
Jeanne graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Tri-State University in Business Management.
Erin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Indiana University of South Bend. Erin has an incredible amount of experience in advocating for individuals who seek assistance as well as experience in caring for people who have developmental disabilities. Having been raised in a family with an older brother who was medically fragile with developmental disabilities and in working as direct care staff for years, Erin possesses great compassion for individuals who need assistance and advocacy. Erin has strong communication skills and is a team player. She has served as a Medicaid Waiver Case Manager for years, and takes pride in building strong, lasting relationships with those she serves and those she works alongside to serve the consumer.
Tamantha has been a Case Manager for over five years. Prior to working at Advocacy Links, she worked in a variety of positions within the DD/ID field for the last ten years. Tamantha’s passion is advocating for families and assisting in accessing community and paid supports.
Tamantha graduated with a bachelor’s in criminal justice in 2012. She is currently involved in Child and Adolescent Committee, assisting families and communities to access and understand Medicaid Waiver Services. During her free time, Tamantha can be found spending time with friends and family. She is passionate about supporting her children in all they do and helping them to become productive young adults.
Christy Nine lives in Goshen with her husband and son. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work as well as a nursing license. She has worked with individuals with special needs for the past 20 years. Christy enjoys empowering individuals to live as independently as possible and reach their full potential. Christy loves to spend time with her family and they can often be found camping, riding bikes, hiking, or playing at the park. She also enjoys reading and playing the piano.
Keyanna has over 15 years of experience working with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. She loves working in this field because she has a real passion for the people, who she believes are unfairly judged and scrutinized. Her empathy for the population as a whole has made her “heart so big” for the field. Keyanna joined the Advocacy Links team because she understands how difficult it can be accessing the necessary resources, and loves being able to assist in connecting those in needs with the funding for these services.
Keyanna classifies herself as “49% introvert and 51% extrovert” which she believes has helped her maintain a good balance in life. Even though she says she “can’t sing”, she enjoys singing karaoke in her spare time.
Growing up, Katrina Peaslee had very empathetic parents who were foster parents for many children who had a range of developmental and intellectual disabilities. These experiences helped mold Katrina’s character and interests into helping others as well. While her schooling and background is in graphic design and English literature, Katrina feels like the majority of her previous professional positions have been guiding her toward the field of case management. She has an intense passion for volunteering and helping those in need. On the side, Katrina and her husband run a youth soccer program, does freelance graphic design work, and instructs color/winter guard at a local high school.
Trevor has been a Case Manager with Advocacy Link since 2015. Born and raised around the Kalamazoo, Michigan area, Trevor has spent the majority of his adult life in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received his B.S. in Organizational Leadership from IPFW, where he also played D1 soccer for four years. Previous to moving to Fort Wayne, Trevor’s sister started an AFC (Adult Foster Care) home in Mattawan, Michigan, which housed six gentlemen who live with schizophrenia. While working at this home, he gained valuable career experience, as well as great memories.
After graduating from IPFW, he spent eight years working in the Children and Adolescents Unit at Parkview Behavioral Health, conducting various groups, 1:1’s, and assisting with the betterment of the program’s youths. Outside of Advocacy Links, Trevor continues to work with children by coaching middle and high school soccer programs, and by running a youth soccer program with his wife.
Renee Pennington-Roy began working in the field of Intellectual Developmental Disabilities in 2001. She has a degree in Psychology from Indiana University-Fort Wayne. Renee has worked as a day program director and QIDP for a residential provider. She has been a Medicaid Waiver Case Manager since 2009.
Renee is also a fierce advocate for the homeless and leads an organization called JustUs that collects and delivers items to people without permanent homes. Renee is a huge New Orleans Saints fan and is the luckiest person on Earth to have two little ones call her YaYa (grandmother).
Angela graduated from Purdue University and comes from an educational background, teaching for several years before joining Advocacy Links. She has been in Case Management for more than 6 years and is also involved with the Cultural Competency Committee.
Angela volunteers with the local Cub Scouts organization enjoys running road races and teaching various Zumba classes at the local YMCA.
Shannon Rutkowski has over 20 years of experience working with and assisting individuals with disabilities. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in General Studies with a concentration in Special Education from Indiana University. Shannon has been in the field of Case Management since 2010. She has held various positions throughout her career such as Family Support Worker, Director/Supervisor, Teacher, Special Education Teacher Assistant, and Respite Provider.
Shannon and her family have been involved with multiple disability organizations, and support groups, due to her brother having been diagnosed with Autism at an early age. She has a passion for advocating and supporting families and individuals in the waiver field. She also helps to identify resources, and volunteer in her community. In her free time, Shannon enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and son. She also enjoys shoe shopping, and traveling.
Samantha began working with the ID/DD population when she was 15 as a volunteer leading arts and crafts at a day program, helping with Special Olympics events, and running a water therapy class.
After having her son and moving to Indiana Samantha began working with a residential company. She started out as direct care staff and over the past 12 years has held various positions including; site supervisor, program coordinator and clinical supervisor.
Over the years working in the field she was always drawn to the case management position and decided to return to school to complete her degree. Samantha has a degree in Psychology from Trine University. She has been working as a Case Manager since February 2015.
Anne Santos has owned, bred, ridden and shown many different breeds of horses since she was 10 years old. Her love of horses and work with therapeutic horseback riding stables introduced her to working with individuals who have disabilities. She has a degree from Purdue University.
After working with the Department of Children and Family Services, Anne began her career as a Case Manager in October of 2018.
Skylar’s experience in the field spans numerous years in various positions, including Peer Mentor, Direct Support Professional (DSP), and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist. Each of these positions have taught her a different set of skills to develop her own approach in working with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The individuals who Skylar has encountered on her journey have been the most bright and cheerful people and are a constant reminder that there are good people in this world. Their optimism has kept her passion for the field alive. Skylar was drawn to work with Advocacy Links because of the positive feedback about the company, including how accommodating and friendly their case managers are.
Skylar loves anything that can make her laugh and is a sucker for a good comedy. In her spare time enjoys spending time doing family-fun-activities with her husband and two children, going on walks, shopping with her girlfriends, and watching Netflix in her sweatpants.
Katelyn started working with individuals with disabilities while she was in college by tutoring students who received Special Education. Katelyn graduated Cum Laude from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Health and a minor in speech and hearing processes. Since completing college, she has also worked with a residential provider as a QIDP overseeing the care for several people living in supported living sites and family homes.
Katelyn has been working as a Case Manager since July of 2016. Katelyn is involved in the Employee Recognition Program. Katelyn has always had a passion for helping others and strives to help individuals reach their highest potential of independence. She takes great patience, understanding and care when working with her families and teams to develop a platform for each individual’s vision for their lives.
Kelly Sienicki worked as a Special Educator for 18 years, assisting students with a wide variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. She took pride in getting to know her students on a deeper level-- listening and watching for areas of need or desire. Building a relationship with the student, their guardians, general education teachers, and outside providers has been paramount in helping students obtain growth and work toward meeting their academic, behavioral, or emotional needs.
Personal enjoyment centers around Kelly’s faith, family, friends, and the ability to keep learning. Kelly is an avid football fan and she enjoys other outdoor sports as well.
Brittany Simcox has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Valparaiso University. She has worked with both children and adults with developmental disabilities for over 7 years. During this time, she has held a variety of positions from field staff to Branch Director. Brittany has been a Case Manager since June 2015.
Brittany enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 young children. As a family, they enjoy fishing, watching sports and being outdoors.
Julia has more than five years of experience as a Case Manager. In addition, she has over 20 years in the field of human services serving those who have disabilities and seven years with the elderly in long term care. Julia has worked in a variety of positions involving day services, employment assistance, supported living and quality measures.
With a Bachelors of Social Work from Ball State University and as a Licensed Social Worker, Julia has a strong desire to assist others and enjoys helping others in accessing community resources or providing a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Julia is a native of Indiana and is family-oriented. Julia is involved with the Safety Committee and Older Adult/Dementia Committee.
Kelly Straub has worked with people who have intellectual/developmental disabilities for over 5 years in a variety of positions including caregiver and family consultant. She has been a Case Manager since November 2018. Kelly has a degree in psychology from Indiana University-South Bend. Kelly has chosen to be in this field to be a voice for those that need it and to advocate for them. She loves helping others and has made a career out of it.
Kelly likes to travel, hike, read, and paint. She has traveled to all 48 contiguous states in the country as well as Canada and the Dominican Republic.
Selena has worked with individuals with intellectual disabilities for over 15 years. She graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Social Work. Prior to becoming a case manager, Selena worked 6 years directly with individuals with intellectual disabilities. She has also worked for 5 years as a Social Service Consultant and QMRP in Long Term care facilities throughout the Midwest. This gave her invaluable experience as she is more knowledgeable about the many medical needs of others.
Selena has been a case manager since 2011. She enjoys being a case manager, as she likes linking individuals with the services and resources they need, advocating for their needs and assisting individuals and their families navigate the waiver system. Selena enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 daughters. They enjoy traveling together, watching football, riding bicycles, attending local festivals and sporting events. In the summer, they enjoy any event that will allow them to ride in their Jeep Wrangler. Selena enjoys snow skiing and sewing in her spare time.
Susan Styers has worked in the case management field since 2013. Prior to that, she worked for over 8 years with individuals with developmental disabilities in the public school sector. She worked on building a relationship(s) with the student, their guardians, general education teachers and direct focus for students to obtain growth and work toward meeting their academic, behavioral, or emotional needs. Susan has a degree in Management from Purdue University at West Lafayette. She enjoys using her skills and abilities to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Susan has helped assist with intakes for waiver services for over four years and is able to facilitate questions regarding the complexities of waiver services in Indiana. Susan is involved in the Safety Committee, Accessibilities Committee as well as overseeing the Child and Adolescent Committee. Susan is also a member of the Transition Advisory Council (liaison between services and schools) of Marshall Co. Susan enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. Her passions are dancing, advocate for student athletes (Plymouth Athletic Board Member); active cross fitness person, as well as triathlon athlete.
Julie Sweetser graduated from the University of Indianapolis and has over 15 years of experience working with people who have disabilities. She has been a Case Manager since 2004.
Julie enjoys working with individuals and their families to help navigate what can be a confusing world of services. She really enjoys connecting people with services that are going to make their lives easier, better and perhaps more enjoyable. Julie enjoys spending time with her family and pets. She volunteers with her children’s school and activities.
Caitlin has worked with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities for the last 3 years, as a waiver provider. Prior to that, she worked in case management for 2 years and would sometimes work with individuals who have mental health disabilities, and sometimes who had a dual diagnosis of developmental or intellectual disabilities in addition to their mental health diagnosis.
Caitlin attended and graduated from the University of Indianapolis. She also volunteered with individuals on the Autism Spectrum throughout college. The volunteering throughout college is when she fell in love with working with individuals with disabilities and knew she wanted to work in this field.
Caitlin can also speak Spanish fluently and thoroughly enjoys reading and writing. She is also obsessed with coffee, and her dogs are furry children.
Chris Tennant has been working in this field for over 4 years in a variety of roles including day program staff and group home staff. Chris has a degree from Indiana University – Fort Wayne. He has been a Case Manager since February 2019. He loves building connections with people and helping them grow and thrive. When the weather is nice, Chris likes to play disc golf.
Claudia has been a case manager since 2002. She is a graduate of the Indiana Institute of Technology. Although she was born in Illinois, she has resided in Indiana for over 50 years. Claudia has had the privilege of serving our population of all ages and challenges, pre-school through the elderly. Claudia strives to assist families and waiver participants to obtain the best quality of life possible.
Claudia is involved in the Child/Adolescent Committee and the Older Adult/Dementia Committee.
Kayla has worked with individuals with disabilities since 2009 and graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She began her journey in this field by providing direct care services for four years and her passion only grew from there. Kayla then became a Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional for over a year before becoming a Case Manager at the beginning of 2017.
Kayla teaches CPR for Advocacy Links and is also actively involved in the Older Adult/Dementia Committee. She exhibits a passion for helping, supporting and advocating for others that enables her to build strong relationships with her consumers, families and teams. Kayla strives to surround everyone with guidance, comfortability, respect, love and care to assist in building a foundation for their wants, needs and desires in life. She is very family-oriented and loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and family. Kayla enjoys music, the outdoors, coffee, and shopping.
Melaine Turner has over a decade of experience as a Case Manager, with over half of that in a supervisory role, serving people with ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and those who also have a dual diagnosis for mental health. She has chosen to work in this field because she has a passion and a calling for helping people.
Melaine obtained her degree from Harrison College. She has personal experience with individuals who live with Downs Syndrome and Autism. Melaine enjoys spending time with her children and grandchild as well as making crafts and antiquing.
Karen has been working with people with developmental disabilities since 2009. She has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN. She has held the role of Direct Support Staff, Direct Support Manager, Program Coordinator, Service Coordinator and has been a Case Manager with Advocacy Links since 2016. Karen serves clients of all ages throughout St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties. She enjoys advocating for all people and helping them reach their goals and their highest potential.
Amanda has been in Case Management since 2007, and is a graduate of Indiana University. Born and raised in Indiana, only her love of family, animals, and nature, eclipse her love for helping others.
In addition to case management, Amanda has an extensive background working with forensic psychiatry, as well as day programs. She has been working exclusively with Intakes for Waiver Services for more than 10 years, and is able to assist with any questions you may have.
Kristy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Purdue University Fort Wayne. She has worked in the field of intellectual developmental disabilities since 1991. She has held positions such as direct care, Qualified Developmental Disability Professional, Community Support Staff, and Case Manager. She enjoys advocating for others and helping people obtain the lives they want to live.
During her leisure time, Kristy enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. Kristy loves to travel, hike, garden, and spend time with family.
Marcia has over 6 years of experience serving individuals with developmental disabilities. As a case manager, she wants to support individuals and families with services and resources to help them achieve their goals and enhance their quality of life. She also serves on an Advocacy Links committee for the needs of the Medically Fragile.
Marcia holds a degree in psychology and has a special interest in helping individuals on the autism spectrum. Previously, she taught many years in an integrated Montessori classroom and also worked with children with special needs in the public school system. In her free time, Marcia enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking with her family, and participating in her church activities.
Crystal Wenzler has more than 15 years of experience working in the field of Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities in a variety of positions including direct care, QIDP, and Case Manager. She enjoys helping others, problem-solving, and ongoing interactions with individuals of various backgrounds. She has found that the population we serve tends to be more open, understanding, and compassionate than that of the general public.
Crystal has degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Indiana University-Kokomo. Crystal enjoys face painting and has won several face/body art competitions.
For more than 6 years, Sierra Wible has been working with individuals with disabilities. From daily living activities, assisting them in becoming independent as much as possible to their ability to monitoring their safety and teaching them basic everyday skills. Sierra loves working in this field and finds this field very rewarding as well as advocating for individuals who can’t speak for themselves.
Sierra enjoys playing softball with friends and family, camping, bike riding, anything outdoors. She enjoys watching her daughter play softball, as well as attending her dance competition shows.
Casarah Wolfe graduated from Indiana University South Bend. She has worked with children and others with intellectual/developmental disabilities for 2 years. Having a family member who has a debilitating condition has provided Casarah with a personal perspective of those struggles to get the help and support they need to live life daily.
Casarah enjoys making people smile. She enjoys mystery stories and crime movies.
Advocating for people with disabilities has been a large part of Calise Zollinger’s character for her entire life. She volunteered with people who have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in middle school and high school. In college, Calise was a paid caregiver and most recently she provided care for children with disabilities at the YMCA.
Calise has chosen to work in this field because she feels there is a need for more than just parents to be advocates for their own children. She wants to make sure people who are looking for services can receive the help they need. Calise has six children and maintains a busy family life.