Fr. Ken Schmidt is the Advocate for Priestly Ministry and Support, Diocese of Kalamazoo. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor. He is a co-founder of the Trauma Recovery Program in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. For the past 17 years, he has worked with individuals and small groups of survivors, as well as canonists, formators for religious communities, and congregations. He now serves as Executive Director of TRA, and is a Fellow for the Healing Springs Ranch in Tioga, Texas.
Co-founder/Senior Advisor to the Board
Sharon Froom was a Limited License Psychologist who most recently served as the Pastoral Counselor at St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish in Kalamazoo, MI. She is a co-founder and the first Director of the Trauma Recovery Program in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. She worked in a variety of mental health settings for more than forty years. Sharon worked with individual survivors of childhood trauma in small groups, and also worked with formators of religious communities and congregations. She became Senior Advisor to the TRA Board in 2015.
Melissa Caldwell-Engle is the Clinical Director and a co-founder of Healing Springs Ranch, a treatment center in Tioga, Texas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered Art Therapist. Melissa has more than twenty years of experience working with survivors of childhood abuse and neglect. She speaks internationally about trauma recovery, and leads training workshops for Trauma Recovery Associates.
Director of Research
Dr. Jennifer Foster is an Assistant Professor in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University. She previously worked as a licensed counselor and taught in the state of Florida. Her dissertation, An Analysis of Trauma Narratives: Perceptions of Children on the Experience of Sexual Abuse, received an Outstanding Dissertation Award. She serves as an editorial board member for the journal Counseling and Values, and is an active member of several professional counseling organizations.
Karen Acri has lived in 12 places in the past 20 years, including South Africa. Prior to taking on the role of Operations Director for TRA, Karen was on the Board of the American International School of Johannesburg Parent/Teacher Association, President and Treasurer for Hackett Catholic Prep (HCP) Home and School Organization, Treasurer for HCP Theater Boosters, and is involved in various school, church, and community organizations. Karen has a Bachelor’s degree and is a licensed Radiographic Technologist.
Lilian Mann was born and raised in Mexico. Twenty four years ago she moved to Kalamazoo, MI. She worked at Bronson Methodist Hospital as an office assistant for the Case Management and Social Work department. In addition to working at TRA she works as a Spanish Medical interpreter for Voices for Health. She also volunteers at Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes. Lilian has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.
Director, Portage District Library, Retired
Christine Berro retired as the Director of the Portage District Library. She led the process that took the library from a city department to an independent governmental agency with an elected board and was President of the Michigan Library Association and the Chair of the MLA Legislative Committee. She has served on multiple non -profit boards including Portage Community Center, Portage Senior Center, Society for History and Racial Equity and Portage Public Schools Curriculum Committee and Strategic Planning Committee.
Asst. Prosecuting Attorney, Retired
Chris Bourgeois retired from her position as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Kalamazoo County, where she prosecuted cases of child sexual abuse. She earned her Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing. Preceding her legal career Chris worked in Personnel and Human Resource management for Haworth Inc. after earning a Master of Arts degree in Counseling & Personnel and another Master of Arts degree in Sociology. With her SPADA certification she also worked as a substance abuse counselor.
Former V. P. Commercial Lending
Sarah Baird is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s in Finance and Economics and an Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in accountancy. Her previous work experience includes several positions in the banking industry, most recently as a commercial lender. She is active in her children’s school activities as well as various volunteer positions.
Hearing Officer, Retired
37th Circuit Court
Karl Beysiegel retired after 38 years with the 37th Circuit Court – Family Division, where he worked with adolescents and families referred to the Court for delinquency and neglect matters. After retirement, Karl volunteered with the American Red Cross in local disaster aid teams and national deployment. He has a Master’s degree in Agency Counseling and a Master’s of Public Administration degree, both from Western Michigan University.
PM Director, Stryker
Dean Birkmeier is an Engineering Leader. He has degrees in Engineering and Business Administration. He is passionate about building team, training and developing individuals.
Mollie Peterson has spent over 20 years using her life and career experiences advocating, supporting and empowering families and client’s who are dealing with daily traumatic situations and generational family patterns.
Her education includes a Master’s in social work from WMU. She holds a Bachelor’s and Associates degree in Family Studies and Family Life education.
Mollie has served on the Kalamazoo Public School Board, the K-Resa Board with Youth Advancement Academy and Open Doors. She is currently in the process of working to become a consultant for battered and sexual assault victims. She is also a member of MOM’S demand action and Everytown Survivor network working on gun violence prevention and safety.
Professor of Counselor Education &
Counseling Psychology, WMU
Dr. Alan Hovestadt is a professor and past chair of Western Michigan University’s Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. He has published widely in his field, and administered federal grants that have improved the training of graduate students. Dr. Hovestadt was President of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and has received awards from the American Counseling Association, the International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Ted Martin is a software developer and business owner. He has degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Ecclesial Law. He is passionate about the intersection of technology and culture with a desire to serve local communities, specially those that are most in need.
Marriage & Family Therapist
Ted Lindberg is a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He held major roles at Children’s and Family Services for over twenty years, including Director of Families First, Training Director, Director of Family Services, and Director of Family & Psychological Services. He is an adjunct instructor at the Western Michigan University School of Medicine and maintains a private practice.
President, TSI Consulting Partners
Tim Fallon was President of TSI Consulting Partners, Inc., a consulting firm that focused on strategy formulation, leadership effectiveness, alignment of organizational systems and structures with strategic requirements, and large-scale organizational change. He has worked with more than 100 organizations over the past 10 years, including Fortune 500 companies, high growth mid-sized companies, trade associations, philanthropies, and community organizations.
Executive Director, CSJ Ministries
Sr. Janet Fleischhacker is the Executive Director of CSJ Ministries, responsible for the oversight of the 29 nonprofit organizations sponsored by the Congregation of St. Joseph. She has held many leadership positions with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth, MI, including President. She has been the Client Services Supervisor at the Kalamazoo YWCA Domestic Assault Program. She a certified Domestic Violence Instructor, and also is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Direction.
Dr. Toni Perior Gross was a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Kalamazoo. She focused on the treatment of those who have suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of childhood trauma. She also lectures and teaches workshops on this issue. Dr. Gross was the first recipient of the Extra Mile Award presented by the Alliance for the Mentally Ill. She served as the founding Chair of the TRA Board.
Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Kalamazoo
Bishop James A. Murray served as Roman Catholic Bishop of Kalamazoo from 1998 to 2009. Ordained to the priesthood in 1958, he served many parishes in Michigan. He received a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University in Washington D.C. in 1964. Within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he served on the Committee on Sexual Abuse for five years and helped draw up the Charter for the Protection of Youth and Young People. Bishop Murray died on June 5th 2020.
Mental Health Executive, Retired
Rosalie Novara is a social worker with thirty-five years of experience developing programs and serving children, teens, and adults in poverty, experiencing family violence, and/or dealing with mental health issues. Rosalie has helped to develop programs that address family violence, including the Kalamazoo YWCA Domestic Assault Program, the Kalamazoo Child Abuse and Neglect Council, and the Family Resource Center for sexually abused children. Rosalie is currently a court-appointed Special Advocate for abused children.