Meet The Team

Offering services in both Pennsylvania and Georgia, LRJ Foundation’s team of knowledgeable and caring professionals provides licensed outreach to students grades 3-12, teacher in-services, and college classes as well as to other various community groups and businesses.

Board of Directors


Teressa Ruspi Stann

Co/Founder & Executive Director

Co-Founder/Executive Director of the LRJ Foundation, Teressa Ruspi-Stann born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Georgia. Graduate of Marywood University, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelors in Nutrition & Dietetics, current grad student at Mercer University attaining her Masters in Leadership with a focus on nonprofit management , a motivational speaker, a mother of three, and in her spare time its an fitness enthusiast and obstacle course racer.

Teressa’s vision is to share with you what her unstoppable team strives for each day. A team who’s mission is to transform the attitudes, choices, and behaviors of our youth and community though the most important element we were born for, “connection”. Which they call their most powerful tool to the puzzle pieces of, suicide prevention.

Karla Ruspi Farina

Co/Founder & Outreach Support PA Chapter

 

Joseph Peluso

President

DMD

Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Minor in Chemistry (1989)
Columbus State University, Columbus GA

Doctorate in Medical Dentistry (1998)
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta GA

Joe grew up in Columbus, GA as a son of Italian restaurateurs. His grandfather, a decorated and retired Navy corpsman, began in the restaurant business in the mid-1960’s and later his father continued the tradition for 40 years.

A native of Florida, Joe graduated from Columbus College (later Cols State Univ) with a BBA and worked in PC applications development from 1987-1994. He later completed his DMD at the Medical College of Georgia (now Dental College of Georgia) in 1998. Joe has been in practice for 23 years focusing on business development and family cosmetic care.

Joe makes volunteerism and outreach a focal point of his personal and professional work. He has been blessed to support various organizations both locally and internationally. His medical travel to South America is a highlight of his professional journey and now most recently supporting LRJ through various endeavors.

Joe is excited to continue growing organizationally with the LRJ Foundation to further a message of hope to those affected by mental illness and stress. He echos the LRJ Foundation’s outreach to school and professional environments to reduce stigma and increase self-awareness for balance and growth.

Loren D. Caparo

Vice-president

Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Currently working as facility director for WWNorton and Company c/o National book Company.

Serves as technical advisor over accounts such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Walmart.

Active member of St. Eulalias parish in Elmhurst, Pa. Eucharist minister, director of church picnic as well as monthly church breakfast for past 10 years.

Board member of the Elmhurst Township Sewer Authority. Currently hold DEP certification for waste water treatment plant operator. Operate and monitor townships waste water on weekends to ensure environmental protection and healthy waterways in the area.

Active Freemason, Lodge #504. Have presented scholarships for North Pocono high school students at awards banquets. Conducted numerous dinners and outings to raise monies for philanthropy.

Rob Morin

Advisor

Rob Morin is a 12 year resident of GA with roots in NJ, Chicago and CT. Rob recently retired following a near 30 year career within the HCM industry, where he most recently served as an Executive Vice President and Corporate Officer at Paychex. Rob currently serves as the President of Work2Win Capital Group.

Rob lives in Suwanee with his wife, Jennifer, and their Brady Bunch crew of 6, ranging in ages from 25 to 8. When not busy career coaching his three adult sons, or unofficially officiating at his daughter’s lacrosse games, Rob has a passion for community service and lots of energy to share. Rob is honored to have been tapped by Teressa to aid and assist in this crucial crusade to prevent future suicides around the world.

Rob is delighted to serve LRJ’s Board.

Nori Price

Board Member

Nori Price is a resident of Nicholson, Pennsylvania. Nori has been a 14 year employee and consultant of MetLife specializing in the IT Department. She is a mother, wife, and community volunteer. Nori is dedicated to Mental Health & Suicide Prevention education to better her community, law enforcement, and youth school education. Nori is no stranger to Suicide as it has hit her and her family in 2016 when she lost her son, Cody. Nori is proactively working on initative in Northeast, PA and throughout the LRJ Foundation. Nori has chaired and operated the Cody Car Show for the last two years, along with other community acts and has raised near $10,000 for mental health education. Nori enjoys time with her family and dog Cole, running, traveling and hiking in her spare time.

Emily Naylis

Board Advisor

 

Pennsylvania Presenters and Curriculum Specialists


Dana Fortunato

MS, NCC

Education: BA in Elementary Education from Marywood University; MSc in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Scranton

Credentials: National Counselor Certification

Experience & Specializations: Dana previously worked at United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA as a Youth Program Coordinator and as a Mental Health Counselor at Keystone College. She is currently a Mental Health Professional in a local high school, serving through the Community and School Based Behavioral Health program.

Dana has been a presenter with the LRJ Foundation since the Fall of 2016.

  

Cat Maria

MS, LPC

Education: BFA in Fine Arts, emphasis Sculpture from Marywood University; MS in Community Counseling from University of Scranton.

Credentials: Licensed Professional Counselor; National Counselor Certification.

Experience & Specializations: Cat maintains a private practice in Scranton, PA with multiple special certifications in trauma therapy. Cat supports survivors of trauma and abuse through the therapeutic process of all ages, from children and adolescents to adults.

Cat has been with the LRJ Foundation since 2017.

Maryellen Evers

LCSW, CAADC

Education: BA in Psychology from Montclair State University; MSW in Social Work from Marywood University.

Credentials: Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Masters Forensic Social Worker

Experience & Specializations: Maryellen has been providing mental health treatment and psychotherapy for close to 25 years. She holds certifications in addictions treatment, forensic social work and motivational enhancement and cognitive behavioral therapy.

She previously worked in conjunction with the National Institute Of Drug Addiction in Washington, DC and is the author of the publication “12 Steps On the Rocks With a Twist- A Few Sips of Early Recovery”.

Corrine Wolfe

M.S., HS-BCP, NCC

Education: BS in Counseling and Human Services from University of Scranton; MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Scranton.

Credentials: National Counselor Certification, Human Services Board Certified Practitioner

Experience & Specializations: Corrine is an active outpatient therapist with children and adolescents in a community clinic. She is certified in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) through PCIT International. The majority of her counseling work is with ages two to 7 years old.

Corrine has been a presenter with the LRJ Foundation since fall 2018.

Amy Quinn

LPC

Education: BS in Education from Millersville University; MA in School counseling from Arcadia University

Credentials: Dual certification in Elementary/Early Childhood education, Instruction II Certificate, Licensed Professional Counselor

Experience & Specializations: Amy was an elementary school teacher for 10 years in the Philadelphia Area. After receiving her masters degree and relocating to the NEPA area, she began working as a middle school guidance counselor. She is a mom to 3 children, one of whom has Down syndrome. This gave her reason to learn a great deal about special education and working with children with disabilities. She co-founded Abilities21 which is a support group for families who have children with special needs. Amy worked at the Center for Independent Living with teens and young adults who have disabilities. She was involved in the development and implementation of the Transition program helping these young people gain employment and learn independent living skills. Most recently, she opened her private counseling practice in Daleville PA where she works with adults and teens struggling with many different mental health diagnoses.

She has been presenting with the LRJ foundation since fall of 2018.

Kimberly Portanova-Feibus

MS, LPC, NCC

Education: BA in Psychology from Ohio University; MS in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University.

Experience & Specializations: Trained in EMDR, TF-CBT, certified EAGALA (equine assisted therapy). Recipient of 2012 Walden University Scholars for Social Change award.

Kimberly earned her MS in Mental Health Counseling as an “adult” student, while also juggling the responsibilities of being a mom to 2 children. Earning a BA in Psychology, Kimberly took time to explore the realm of mental health profession that best aligned with her personal and professional aspirations and beliefs. An advanced degree in Mental Health Counseling allowed her to work toward the licensure exam to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Kimberly believes the therapeutic relationship is one of the most crucial elements which facilitates clients’ successes in therapy.

She maintains a private practice in Clarks Summit PA while also working as a therapist at Marley’s Mission, a non-profit organization which provides equine assisted therapy to children who have experienced trauma.

When she is not working, her 2 children are her greatest joy. Her home and life is completed by her 3 dogs and her horses, both at work and personally.

Kimberly joined LRJ in 2018 to further align her passion of removing the stigma of mental illness and creating a greater awareness of mental health.

  

Christine DeSousa

MA, LPC, NCC

Ms. DeSousa attended and graduated from Marywood University in December 2010 with her Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling. She successfully passed the PA State Licensing Board Exam and the National Counselor’s Exam resulting in her National Counselor Certification and Pennsylvania state licensure. She maintains a private practice located in Clarks Summit working with adolescents and adults, and also belongs to Marywood’s faculty teaching graduate level counseling courses and supervising counseling students. Since 2013, she has worked with the LRJ Foundation as a presenter and affiliated therapist. She has experience presenting countless seminars focused on mental health education and suicide awareness and prevention aimed at high school and middle school students and staff, as well as the general community.
  

Vanessa L. White Fernandes

MS, LPC, RTC

Vanessa White Fernandes is a licensed professional counselor with more than thirty years of experience in the field of mental health. She has worked with children with emotional disturbances; children and adolescents in foster care; college students; and families at high risk. Ms. White Fernandes currently works for a managed care organization that serves persons on Medicaid in Pennsylvania, to oversee and fund their mental health and drug and alcohol services. Ms. White Fernandes is also a certified trainer in programs related to assessing and managing suicide risk, and the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons. She has been a lead presenter with the LRJ Foundation since 2013.
  

Molly Gilbride

Intern

Molly attends Purdue University and is majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communication with a focus in advertising and minoring in Spanish and Psychology. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri and loves crafting, crocheting, reading, and exercising. Molly has been with the LRJ Foundation since Summer 2020 as an intern.
 

Georgia Presenters and Curriculum Specialists


Sanona Williams

MS, LPC

Education: BA in English Literature from University of Cincinnati; MSc in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University.

Credentials: Licensed Professional Counselor

Experience & Specializations: Sanona was previously employed with the Department of Family & Children’s Services and is now a full-time professional counselor.

Sanona had been a presenter with the LRJ Foundation since Fall 2016.

Sylvain Panu

MS,LPC

Education: MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Richmont Graduate University

Credentials: Licensed Professional Counselor

Experience & Specializations: Sylvain’s previous experience in the mental health field includes serving in both church counseling and residential treatment. Additionally, he has spent several years leading small groups for and mentoring adolescents and college students.

Sylvain has been a presenter with LRJ since Fall 2018.

Amanda Peterson Johnson

MS,LAMFT

Education: BS in Family & Child Sciences and Psychology from Florida State University and MS in Marriage & Family Therapy from Auburn University

Credentials: Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Experience & Specializations: Amanda is currently working in private practice in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. She primarily works with adolescents/families and couples to foster healthy relationships and improve coping with anxiety, depression, life transitions, and grief.

Amanda has been with LRJ since November 2017 as a lead presenter and curriculum specialist.

Meredith Oess

Outreach Coordinator

Meredith Oess is the outreach coordinator for LRJ Foundation for the North Georgia territory. She grew up in Cumming, Georgia and now lives in Gainesville, Georgia. Meredith graduated from The University of Georgia in May 2019 with a major in human development and family sciences. She is currently in grad school at the University of North GA, pursuing her Masters of Science in clinical mental health counseling.

Meredith is interested in working with children and adolescents in the future. Apart from pursuing her professional counseling degree and working at LRJ, she enjoys bring active outdoors, working out, and being on the lake with family and friends. Meredith has been working with LRJ Foundation since January 2019.

Martina Watson

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Martina Watson, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Richmont Graduate University. She has worked with families for 11 years, been a speaker at various events, and has her own private practice in Gwinnett.  

Martina is excited about not only delivering wonderfully, engaging presentations, but also further developing the Parent University at LRJ to help parents build better connections with their children at every developmental age and stage. With that being said, Martina has her own family and has been married for 14 years. She has four amazing children. She believes that a family is only as strong as the community that helps support them. She has a wealth of information. She looks forward to sharing with others and learning along side them! Martina has been with the LRJ Foundation since June 2020.

Laura Ware

MA, LPC, NCC

Education: BA in Psychology from Georgia State University, Magna Cum Laude
MA in Professional Counseling from Richmont Graduate University, Concentration in Christian Sex Therapy

Credentials: Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Intensively Trained Dialectical Behavior Therapist from Behavioral Tech, LLC.

Experience & Specializations: Laura is currently in private practice in Duluth, GA, serving individuals, couples and families who wish to navigate the interruptions in life, leading to a life or surviving and moving toward a life that is thriving. Before going into private practice, Laura worked with established DBT Programs around the Atlanta area, helping them grow to become more protocol adherent and effective, as well as to launch DBT programs for centers that wished to offer those services. DBT has been her foundation and passion, and she wishes to use her experience to meet those who do not need full protocol but who have experienced the pain of relational trauma and a life of chaos and pain. She is passionate about helping others create a life worth living, and to thrive in the life they desire.

As a new presenter with LRJ, September 2020, Laura is excited about taking her experience working with schools, first responders, and churches to teach about mental health outside of the typical counseling setting.

Paige Santmyer

MA NCC APC

Paige has worked at Restoration Counseling of Atlanta for two years now as an associate professional counselor serving the Roswell area and surrounding community. She works with individual adults and teens around issues of depression, anxiety, mood disorders, relationship issues, trauma, and life transitions.

Paige completed her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, earning her BA in Psychology. Prior to attending graduate school, Paige enjoyed working in various industries in management roles and developed a passion for helping people grow and develop. Once she became a parent, Paige focused on raising her children and began volunteering with youth and women’s ministries at her home church. This developed into a passion for helping others navigate life’s difficulties. It was during this journey that Paige was called to Richmont Graduate University, where she earned her degree as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor with a certificate in Trauma Counseling. She obtained valuable experience working at Richmont’s Hope Counseling Center, providing counseling to individuals of all ages experiencing depression, anxiety, mood disorders, relationship issues, trauma, and life transitions. In addition, she gained a wealth of knowledge and experience through counseling adolescents at an Atlanta-based mental health hospital during her internship year.

As a counselor, Paige is passionate about working with individuals through the daily struggles of their life, whether it is in their marriage, relationship issues, or personal problems. She highly values the power of the therapeutic relationship and has an authentic ability to meet clients exactly where they are. Paige believes individuals can best grow when they are met with an environment of genuineness, warmth, acceptance, and empathy. Therefore, she is committed to providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere, where clients can explore the challenges they are facing. She also believes in addressing the individual’s entire personhood, assessing needs in all domains of life instead of focusing solely on mental health needs. Paige uses a combination of techniques, drawing from client-centered therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and positive psychology. Paige has been a lead presenter with the LRJ Foundation since 2018.

Fundraising and Community Support Committee


Carrie Chase

Advisor

 

Dr. Douglas Hiser, DMD

Advisor

 

Education Committee


Joe Moceyunas

Advisor

Principal at Riverside Jr/Sr. High School