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Resources to Help your Neighbor

About our Presenter's


Donna Gauthier and Hannah Harrold have served with the Anti-Human Trafficking Ministry at Willow Creek for the past 5 years. They seek to break the bonds of local victims and vulnerable people through outreach efforts to those caught up in trafficking and bridge them to available resources. They are passionate about educating churches, schools, and the community through educational forums and book discussions on the epidemic of trafficking. Donna works at Refuge for Women Chicago as the Assistant Program Director and Hannah is a duo lingual teacher at North Elementary School in District 47.

Susan Keller has worked in the Human Services field for over 10 years. She has a passion for helping the youth in McHenry County. She is the coordinator of two programs in McHenry County. The Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services/Runaway and Homelessness Youth program works with youth who are 10-17 years old and are refusing to go home, have been locked out of their home by their parent/guardian. She works with families with concerns about their child's unsafe behaviors. The Homeless Youth program works with young adults ages 18-23 who are homeless in our community.

Diana O'Rourke is the Runaway Homeless Youth Case Manager for McHenry County. She has worked with the Pioneer Center since January 2018. She started as a crisis worker that responded to youth ages 10-17 that were without shelter. Soon after, she became the case manager. The case manager role is responsible for reunifying families after crisis and working with youth at risk of crisis or being locked out of their homes. She and her team work with many providers to get families the help they need.

Rebecca Ciesla is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist at BZA Behavioral Health. Rebecca has over 15 years of experience as a provider, supervisor, and manager in community mental health, hospital, and crisis settings. Rebecca specializes in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy as well as other trauma, crisis, and behavioral interventions.

Jessica Zaucha is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist specializing in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders. She is the co-owner of BZA Behavioral Health, a group behavioral health practice serving clients in the northwest suburbs of Chicago out of two locations in Schaumburg and Lake in the Hills. Formerly the Manager of Adolescent Programs at Family Service in McHenry County, Jessica has over 10 years of experience developing and managing programs. She has presented across the country on research, treatment, and wellness topics. Rebecca and Jessica have presented on Navigating Youth Anxiety in multiple settings throughout the county. Their approach to addressing anxiety and mood disorders blends well-established mindfulness and cognitive behavioral techniques with cutting edge research on neuroplasticity and brain functioning. Both Rebecca and Jessica are thrilled to offer some valuable information and resources at the People In Need Forum.


Shawna Price graduated with her Social Work Degree in 2012. She has worked as the Shelter Manager for Home of the Sparrow for the last 6 years, working alongside clients helping them achieve their goal of self-sufficiency. Shawna is very knowledgeable about the homelessness issues within McHenry County, specifically the issues that affect women and children facing homelessness.

Jena Hencin has worked in the McHenry County Community Development Division for over two years, serving as the system administrator of the McHenry County Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and is a board member of the McHenry County Continuum of Care (to end homelessness). In her role as Community Development Specialist for the County, she also works on long-term strategic planning and project management of other HUD grants, such as CDBG and HOME that have been awarded to area organizations and municipalities. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration, and previously worked as a homeless case manager and director of advancement for a national homeless service provider.


Laura Fry started with Live4Lali as a volunteer 6 years ago during her son's heroin use disorder. Currently the Director of Patient and Family Services with Live4Lali, Laura oversees all programming involving services to individuals, families and communities impacted by substance use disorder. Pat Polidori is a lifelong McHenry resident, serving as a McHenry police officer for 12 years. He is currently the Public Affairs Officer who handles community outreach, educational presentations and public and media relations. Pat is a member of the Substance Abuse Coalition as well as the Suicide Prevention Task Force.


Dr. Megan Peace is a clinical psychologist working in primary care therapy at Northwestern Medicine in Woodstock, Illinois. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in both Psychology and Sociology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and she earned her Master's and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at The Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Schaumburg, IL. Her career in emergency and medical behavioral health started in 2007 with Centegra Health Systems. She now works in an outpatient medical setting with Northwestern Medicine, providing integrative, brief treatments to children, adolescents and adults. Her specialties include primary care psychology, transgender health, anxiety disorders and mood disorders.


Thomas Faber, CWDP, currently is the Business Service Representative for McHenry County at the Workforce Network department. As Business Service Representative, he works with employers in the county to assist in meeting their employment and training needs. As the Business Service Representative, he facilitates direct placement, funded On-the-Job Training agreements, as well as funded Internship and apprenticeship agreements. He also develops training agreements with employers to fund trainings for their incumbent workers. Thomas has experience with MCWN as a Career Advisor to assist those job seekers to get into training that would lead to a return to work. Thomas has a Degree in Education and a career in teaching. Prior to coming to MCWN, he received training in Substance Abuse Counseling and then became a Certified Workforce Development Professional. Thomas currently specializes in working with the reentry population having a felony background barrier in finding a good career and employment fit. He assists job seekers with referrals from Illinois Department of Corrections and McHenry County Specialty Courts. Thomas currently serves as co-president of the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness – McHenry County. Thomas facilitates QPR suicide prevention trainings through the McHenry County Mental Health Board. Thomas is the workforce readiness director on the Stateline SHRM Board for Human Resource managers. Thomas is a 2015 Alumni of Leadership of Greater McHenry County and serves on the curriculum committee.

Evelyn Seiler is the Coordinator of Internship and Apprenticeship Program at McHenry County College. She has worked in community colleges for 14 years and in the workforce division for 9 of those years in various roles. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Community College Leadership.


Susan Grossinger has worked with older adults and their families for over 27 years as a case manager, program coordinator and Medicare/SHIP counselor. She has been at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital for over 17 years as the Senior Services Coordinator. Her duties specifically include providing Medicare navigation as a SHIP counselor, coordinating "A Matter of Balance" fall prevention program as a Master Trainer as well as other responsibilities representing the hospital out in the community thru organizations' Board of directors and educational programs.


Shira Greenfield is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Shira received her Master’s degree in counselor education from the University of Iowa in 1985. Since then she has worked as a therapist, a crisis intervention worker, a diagnostician, a clinical manager and an educator. She is currently a Manager for Northwestern Medicine'’'s Woodstock Hospital Behavioral Health Services.


Jacqui Hebein is a social service professional, mother, volunteer, and an advocate of ensuring hungry people have the food they need. Hebein has worked for the Northern Illinois Food Bank for over thirteen years, collaborating with food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community organizations to provide nutritious food for our neighbors in need. Jacqui serves on a team of more than 100 individuals dedicated to feeding their hungry neighbors in 13 northern Illinois counties. Prior to joining the food bank, Jacqui managed retail stores and worked as a bookkeeper and office manager for SunHaven Enclosures and Decks. She has held a variety of volunteer roles, including numerous leadership positions, with St. Bede Parish and School, the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the City of Fox Lake.


Jennifer Prell is the President of Paxem, Inc., an A+ Accredited Senior Move Manager and an ASEL Accredited (American Society of Estate Liquidators) company. Jennifer is managing Elderwerks Educational Services, a not-for-profit 501C3 corporation that helps seniors find senior housing, care and support services. Serves as Manager of Treasured Bits, a not-for-profit 501C3 corporation raising money for Illinois active-duty families, veterans, seniors and homeless for household related expenses.


Officer Ed Pluviose is Crystal Lake Police Department's Community Relations Officer. He has served as an officer for 10 years.


Jenn Balleto currently holds the position of Behavioral Health Community Navigator at Northwestern Medicine Woodstock where she works in collaboration with various McHenry County community partners to ensure linkage to outpatient services for clients in need of ongoing mental health and substance abuse treatment. She received her Masters of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 2012. Since then Jenn has provided behavioral health support through Crisis Work, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, Grief/Trauma Support, and Behavioral Health Consultation in the medical setting. In addition to her current role, Jenn also chairs the McHenry County Suicide Prevention Task Force and facilitates the Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group.


Ashley Lynch is a licensed social worker and the Program Manager for Independence Health and Therapy in Woodstock. She previously worked at the Alzheimer's Association in Southeastern Wisconsin where she was trained in Alzheimer's disease and other related dementia care. In her role now, she passionately advocates for the senior population specifically those with memory loss and educates the community on Health Aging and Dementia.


Linda Rothnagel is Director of Advocacy Training & Volunteer Services for Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. She is responsible for new employee orientation for all of Prairie State's offices across 36 counties; coordinates Prairie State's MCLE program for staff and volunteers; and works with new lawyers on client matters. She handles her own client cases, assists with supervision of the legal work of Prairie State's McHenry office staff, and since December 2016 has coordinated Prairie State's pro bono efforts. She has represented clients in family law, housing, foreclosure, consumer, Social Security, and public benefits matters, in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. Ms. Rothnagel graduated from Middlebury College and the University of Michigan Law School.


Officer Adam Carson works at the Lake in the Hills Police Department and has been involved in law enforcement since 2002. He has made over 350 DUI arrests in his 16-year career as a police officer. Officer Carson's ability to detect impaired drivers led him to be selected to complete the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program. This intense 80-hour classroom instruction, along with 12 live subject evaluations and examinations has increased his ability to determine a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Officer Carson attended St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, from August 1994 through May 1998, earning a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Criminal Justice and Sociology. He is a certified instructor and presents to officers and others throughout Illinois.

Amber Meeke is a Social Work student at Aurora University. Serving at-need populations through advocacy, education, and case management has been her professional focus for some time. Amber presently interns with Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, works as an Outreach Coordinator for Live4Lali, and volunteers with NW CASA/The Care Center as a Medical Advocate for those who have experienced sexual assault.

Judy Pasternack, BSN, RN-BC has been in her role as the Substance Use/Behavioral Health nurse educator for Northwestern Medicine-NW Region since December 2014. She is also Liaison/Administrator of the Northwestern Medicine-NW Region Narcan program, training law enforcement officers to carry and administer Narcan in the field. She has trained over 24 departments/300 officers since the inception of the program. Judy has worked in the substance use disorder/behavioral health field as a nurse for twelve years overall, including roles as a charge nurse in a twenty-eight day adolescent substance abuse rehab program, as a charge nurse in an inpatient adolescent behavioral health unit, and as Psychiatric Liaison Nurse Specialist for behavioral health patients on medical/surgical units.


Patrick Finlon, a Veteran of the US Army, is the Chief of Police in Cary, Illinois, since 2014. He has served in various positions for Police Departments in Hoffman Estates (2 yrs) and Lake Zurich (29 yrs), including Police/Fire Telecommunicator, Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, Administrative Commander, Deputy Chief of Field Operations, and Deputy Chief of Support Services. He is a former member of the Elf Coalition Against Youth Substance Abuse and a current member of the Substance Abuse Coalition of McHenry County.

Michael Rathsak is a solo plaintiff's lawyer focusing on civil appeals. He has been practicing more than 30 years and has been working with many of his clients, who are mostly attorneys, for that long, handling up to 50 appeals at a time. His strong client base is a reflection of his skill level. In 2012, Super Lawyers® named him one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois." He is a member of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, the Society of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in physics.


Clyde Porter's background includes IT Program Management, Real Estate Broker and Minister. Born and raised in Chicago, he has been married to his lovely wife, Linda for over 41 years. They and their 4 children moved to the Northwest suburbs over 35 years ago. In that time, they have observed, experienced and continue to navigate numerous racial environments. He intentionally desired to immerse his family in a multicultural environment - in relationship with people from very diverse backgrounds. Both he and Linda have been actively involved and engaged in work and conversations related to racial healing, for decades.

Sue Burton currently works in HR for Community High School District 155. She grew up in a household where people of all colors would gather for meals, song, games and prayer. Her family worked tirelessly towards the goal of racial healing as she was growing up. With a degree in Recreation and Business Administration, Sue uses this background to help lead conversations that discuss various aspects of racial issues in a safe, friendly environment, with the intention of developing friendships and becoming allies with people of diverse backgrounds.


Dina Morgan, President of Mane in Heaven. Graduate of Elmhurst College Bachelor's degree in nursing and psychology. Dina understands the value of giving back, helping those in need and her community. When her husband was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, she took a more active role in helping and providing support to families in need. She became active in the Myocarditis Foundation and Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation. As a founding board member of Mane in Heaven, she was able to take her love of horses, nursing skills and compassion to help build Mane in Heaven into a sustainable non-profit organization. The all-volunteer staff and the adorable "minis" visit hospitals, schools, and rehab centers. She hopes that she can continue to make a difference in her community.


Maria Martinez McKinley has been serving as a Public Service Administrator in the Elgin DRS Local office since June 2013. Maria has over 29 years working with the Division of Rehabilitation Services; serving persons with disabilities in three major programs; Vocational Rehabilitation, Homebased Support Program, Transition/Secondary Transitional Experience Program. She has spent 24 years as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Suburban Cook County.