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Michelle was one of the first five staff members who helped create the Hope Center in 2010. She received her graduate degree in Clinical Psychology with a subspecialty in neuropsychology from Western Carolina University in 1999. She has worked as a crisis clinician in various inner city and rural emergency departments, has conducted psychological evaluations for prison inmates, functioned as Juvenile Coordinator and then Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Center in Beaufort, South Carolina and was part of the administration team, when she served as the Corporate Compliance Officer at Fairbanks Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Michelle also has a passion for teaching and has taught at Indiana University for nine years in the Department of Psychology, as well as locally at Colorado Mountain College. She is trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), bio-feedback and in the administration of neuropsychological testing and interpretation.
Michelle is currently the executive director at the Hope Center where she and her team dedicate themselves to connecting the community and reducing the stigma of mental illness and suicide. Michelle moved to Aspen with her husband and twin boys in the winter of 2009 and now calls the Roaring Fork Valley her home.
Ola Verploegh joined the Hope Center in September 2019 as CFO and is excited to help bring long-term financial sustainability and planning to the organization. Ola received a Finance and Accounting degree from Western Washington University in 2002 where he helped develop several mental health programs for the Lifestyle Advisor program, including Western Men Against Violence, Men’s Suicide Prevention program, and the Cycle Therapy bike club. After relocating to the Roaring Fork Vally in 2006 Ola spent 15 years as Financial Planning Analyst for the Aspen Skiing Company and is currently enrolled the MBA program at CSU.
“The Roaring Fork Valley is home and I find peace and connection in the mountains and on the rivers. I have seen first hand the need for improved mental health services, education, and support in our valley and it is an honor to have the opportunity to work for an organization that is making a positive difference in our community every day.”
As a Florida native who moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2007, I couldn’t pick a more amazing place to call home. Over the last twelve years, I have held a variety of finance-related positions, during which time, I completed my Bachelor’s degree, with a minor emphasis in Accounting and Statistics. Prior to joining the Hope Center in May of 2019 as their Financial Manager, I worked with several small businesses and non-profit organizations throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. My focus was to assist them in working towards their financial goals, specifically addressing back office procedures, financial analysis, and reporting. Outside of number crunching and analytics, my passion is the outdoors: running half-marathons, skiing, and hiking with my two children.
Patti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has more than 20 years experience in the Mental Health field. She believes that how you think affects the way you feel, which in turn, is why we behave the way we do. She uses a variety of practical strategies and brain research that help her clients gain a better understanding on how to navigate life’s transitions and recover from the disappointments so they can discover personal fulfillment.
In her career as an educator, Patti has vast experience working in various school environments as an administrator, teacher, counselor, and as a national educational consultant. She specializes in helping families in understanding the nature of the divorce process and its consequences.
She also has extensive training in dying, death and grief, as well as trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and traumatic loss. Her expertise in these areas now has offered her opportunities in working with Emergency Response Teams, First Responders and our military members and their families, throughout our country and worldwide.
Mia graduated with her Masters of Education in Clinical Counseling from the University of New Orleans. Her past experience consists of working at a residential substance abuse rehab, in-home family counseling, and locked down psych hospital. This exposed her to working with individuals struggling with issues concerning substance use, trauma, mental illness, and relationships.
Stemming from Mia’s experience at the hospital, she witnessed the cracks in the system for those struggling the most. She is inspired to make a lasting difference for others and proud to be part of the Hope Center.
Karmen moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1988. After working in many non-profits and customer related fields, she moved to Denver to pursue a degree in Social Work. Karmen received her MSW from the University of Denver in 2001.While pursuing her degree and thereafter, Karmen worked in several residential treatment centers as a milieu supervisor and a treatment coordinator for adolescent males and females. She developed treatment plans, coordinated clinical service delivery, provided assessment, facilitation of groups, and direct treatment services to clients.
April Brooks joined the Hope Center in 2016 and has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since 2005. She received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a National Certified Counselor. Her therapeutic approach incorporates Cognitive Behavioral, Solution Focused, Rational Emotive and expressive arts techniques.
April is an artist who works with many mediums, specializing in ceramic and steel sculptures. As a crisis clinician and counselor, she is an asset that is unprecedented to the team. April has gained experience working with all ages in school, clinical and crisis settings. Her area of specialty includes mood disorders, social emotional regulation, suicidality, grief and loss. April is dedicated to connecting the community with resources and reducing the stigma of mental health through an effective therapeutic approach.
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Paula holds a BS in Psychology and Criminology from Arkansas State University, MS in Counseling Psychology from Southwestern A/G University, with post-graduate studies at Henderson State University. Her professional credentials include: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Arkansas and Colorado, Distance Credentialed Counselor, and Certified Brain Injury Specialist. She is also trained in EMDR, TF-CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution Focused Therapy. Paula has over 15 year’s of experience in a variety of settings: Community Counseling, Hospitals, Residential Treatment Centers, Schools, Military Installations, and other private practice work.
Wendy joined the Hope Center in 2019. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mesa State University in 1988 and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Northern Colorado in 1991. She became Licensed Professional Counselor in 1994 and received an MBA from Colorado State University in 1995.
She has been private practice for 19 years and has been a crisis worker for over 11. She specializes in working with trauma, PTSD, addiction and recovery. Using a variety of approaches including Psychotherapy, EMDR and Process Oriented Psychology she works with clients to co-create well being and lasting change. Wendy also works with the Guerra Fisher Institute to provide caregiver support for individuals who are undergoing ECT treatment. Being a crisis clinician is a favorite and fulfilling aspect of her work. She feels honored to be witness to people during the hardest of times and to get to be of help. Wendy grew up in Glenwood Springs and is happy to be working back in Garfield County.
Jocelyn graduated with her Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Capella University. She received her Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate and Marriage and Family Therapy Candidate license in 2019. She is currently pursuing her PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Meridian University in Petaluma, California.
Jocelyn was born and raised in Texas and is bilingual in Spanish. She has worked in a private practice, adolescent shelter, and as a crisis clinician throughout Colorado. She has experience with substance abuse and trauma.
She is honored to be apart of the Hope Team pursuing her passion for crisis work.
Amanda moved to the valley from her home state of Florida in 2011 and began her involvement with the Hope Center after attending a September Suicide Prevention training in Aspen. Shortly after, she began working full-time for the Aspen Valley Foundation as the Outreach Coordinator until fall of 2013 when she began graduate school.
Amanda graduated from the University of Denver with her Master of Social Work degree. During that time she also worked with RESPONSE as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is dedicated and passionate about social justice and making a difference in her community.
Craig has a passion for helping students improve their mental health so that they can be successful and happy in school and life. He was a Professional School Counselor in high schools and middle schools for ten years in Reno, NV. He also served as the Counseling Department Chair at Damonte Ranch High School for several years. Community involvement is important to Craig and he was a leader is creating the first dual-language school in Reno. He has also been a mentor for the Roaring Fork Pre-Collegiate program in our Valley. Prior to becoming the School Based Clinician at Basalt High School, Craig was a Counselor and Psychology Instructor at Colorado Mountain College. Craig earned his B.A. in Psychology from St. Michael’s College and went on to earn his Masters and PhD in Counseling & Educational Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Jeanette attended the University of Florida initially for her Bachelor’s in psychology while also training with the Alachua County Crisis Center. While attending UF she realized her passion for the visual arts which lead her to pursue a second Bachelors in the Arts and eventually a Masters in Art Therapy at Florida State University. After graduation she spent time applying both art making and therapy in various areas of Florida with youth recovering from addiction, trauma and eating disorders. She then relocated to Colorado and joined the Aspen Hope Center as a School based Clinician with Basalt Middle School where she can continue to use art as a healing tool.
Sarah Glaka was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley and recently moved back after serving as a mental health provider in the United States Navy for eight years. Sarah has worked in a variety of different clinics throughout her time in the military, including outpatient mental health and alcohol treatment programs as well as spending her first two years working as a Social Worker at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Oncology and Hematology department.
Prior to joining the Navy and in between receiving her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University (2006) and working towards her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver (2011), Sarah was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. Sarah spent her time as a volunteer working in schools, and camps helping students to advance their knowledge and skills in the english language. It was during this time Sarah realized her passion was in working with and helping others, especially young adults. Sarah is excited to be able to do this as the new on-site School Based Mental Health Clinician at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.
Andrea earned her PhD from Florida State University and has worked in several inpatient and outpatient locations. Her focus and desire is to work with individuals, couples and families and her clinical background is put into action at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale where she is the on-site School Based Mental Health Clinician.