Leadership Committee Member Bios


Mark Melanson, President

Director of Community Services, Toolworks

Mark is originally from the North Shore Area of MA. He has been working with people with disabilities since 1985 and has an Associate’s Degree in Human Services specializing in Counseling Psychology. In the span of his career he has worked in institutions, group homes, and finally 1:1 inclusionary and fully integrated settings. He has worked in a variety of domains in this field including Direct Care, Physical Therapy, Recreational Therapy, Adult Day Programs, Inclusion Specialist, Family Support, Intensive Family Support, Respite Care worker, Community Services based programs and in management positions. Mark has worked at Toolworks since 2001. He moved to the bay area and his current title is Director of Community Services. This is where he has learned much of the sign language he knows, prior to that only knowing the basics. Also Mark is a CPR/First Aid Instructor certified through the American Red Cross.

Kim Dodd, Secretary

Founder, Trinity CHANGE, Inc.

Kim Dodd is currently the Executive Director of Trinity CHANGE, Inc., a supported living agency in San Jose. Kim was introduced to the concept of supported living at a parent-vendor workshop she attended in 2000. She was seeking alternatives for her adult son, Christopher, to live in his own home rather than continuing to live with mom and dad. The next year was spent researching the philosophy and concepts of supported living. Kim decided  to leave her 20 year career as a human resources professional, and focus on creating a small agency committed to positively impacting the lives of the people requiring support to create a life of their own. The opportunity to merge her interest in person-centered supports for individuals with disabilities, staff development, and sound business practices laid the foundation for Trinity CHANGE.

Trinity CHANGE opened for business as a non-profit in 2002, and currently serves 20 individuals in Santa Clara County. Kim is passionate about sharing the opportunities that are provided to individuals utilizing supported living services and passionate about advocating to ensure these opportunities continue to be available to future generations.

Deborah Callahan, Treasurer

Founder, Networx Supported Living Services

Deborah Callahan was born and raised in Massachusetts. She graduated from Westfield State College with a bachelors degree, and from Fitchburg State College with a Masters degree in Education.  She has now been providing support to people with developmental disabilities for over twenty years, beginning as a teacher for students with Autism on Cape Cod.  Since relocating to San Diego, she has provided services through two supported living agencies before founding Networx.  Networx is a small supported living agency dedicated to serving individuals with complex support needs. Deborah is now a member of the CSLN Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the CSLN Training Sub-Committee.

 
 

Jacquie Dillard-Foss

CEO and Executive Director, S.T.E.P. Inc.

Jacquie has been a part of the CSLN Board of Directors since 1996. She has served with Carol McKinney as Co-Chair of the Network. She currently serves with Carol as Co-Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee. In 2009 she represented CSLN on the Budget Advisory Group for the state of California, and has also been a Provider Representative for ACRC, Alta California Regional Center. STEP has been providing SLS since 1994. Currently, STEP serves 165 consumers in SLS with a majority receiving 24/7 support. STEP has 500 employees and has worked diligently to provide a comprehensive benefits package to the employees of the agency. STEP specializes in serving folks that are Deaf and/or Deaf/Blind.

Over 125 of STEP's employees are Deaf and they provide the support to their Deaf and/or Deaf/Blind consumers. STEP has made a concerted effort to focus on its Vision and Values in all of its training. STEP is proud of its Human Resource Department, and has become proficient in labor laws, IHSS issues and Workers Compensation. STEP also provides a Supervisor Training Course to ensure its staff have the tools they need to meet the needs of consumers while still having a full understanding of the labor laws.

Beth Gallagher

Founder, Life Works

Beth is the owner of Life Works. Life Works was founded in 2004 after Beth moved to San Diego from Chico, CA. Her work with people with developmental disabilities began just weeks after graduating from California State University, Chico in 1986 with degrees in Child Development and Psychology. While for over 2 decades her emphasis has been on creating personalized services, she began her career operating group homes for persons with behavioral support needs and/or medical concerns. The vast majority of her career has been focused on creating unique support situations for individuals with severe reputations. Because Beth has chosen to work with people that have been historically under-served, she has spent a great deal of time studying person centered planning methods that allow people to be heard and understood as individuals. Beth is a strong proponent of collaborative endeavors geared towards creating dynamic opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Beth has served on the California Supported Living Network for over 10 years and is a past Co-Chair of the organization.

Rebecca La'Boriel

Director of Day Services and Supported Employment, Creative Living Options, Inc.

Rebecca had been with Jay Nolan Community Services in Mission Hills for over 12 years.  A Southern California native, Rebecca holds a B. S. in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from California State University, Northridge (CSUN).  While at CSUN, she worked as a counselor/advisor in the disabilities office, to educate others about autism.  Rebecca began her work at JNCS as a direct support staff member in the Supported Living department.  She then transferred as a Case Manager for Supported Employment as well as working as the day program staff.  She returned to Supported Living to accept the position of Community Support Supervisor and soon she accepted the position of Director of Supported Living.  While she held her position as a Community Supported Supervisor she became a roommate to an individual with disabilities.  She has been a roommate for over 10 years.  In 2005, Rebecca received her Masters Degree in Counseling from CSUN.  Rebecca has concurrently been a Director on several crisis hotlines as well as being an active volunteer and presenter for several humanitarian and animal rights organizations. She has been a part of the Board of Directors since 2006 and is a Co-Director for the Membership Committee for CSLN.

Carol McKinney

Co-Founder, Harmony Home, Associated

Carol is the co-founder and Executive Director of Harmony Home, Associated.  She began working with people with developmental disabilities in 1976 when she was a high school volunteer in a Special Day Class.  It was during that time Carol realized her lifework would be to advocate and provide services to people with developmental disabilities.  Carol's plan was to teach; however, while working her way through college as an aide in a Special Day Class she realized the classroom was not for her; the community was where she wanted to be.  Harmony Home was co-founded in 1982, originally to provide residential services.  In 1990, Harmony Home started providing Independent Living Services.  In 1994, Harmony Home participated in the Community Supported Living Arrangement (CSLA) pilot project and began providing SLS in 1996.  Currently, Harmony Home supports approximately 300 people. Carol served as co-chair of CSLN, with Jacquie Dillard-Foss, for four years, and currently continues working with Jacquie as Governmental Affairs Co-Chair.  Carol’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis on Special Education, from San Francisco State University, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from St. Mary’s College.

Linda Plourde

CEO/Executive Director, Bayberry, Inc.

Linda Plourde began her career in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities in 1982 in the state of Maine as QMRP/Program Director for Powell Memorial Center, and later as Administrator for OHI.  Linda has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling.  Following a move to CA, Linda worked for Alta CA and North Bay Regional Centers for a combined 15 years.  Linda’s roles at the regional centers included case management, early intervention, case management and quality assurance supervision.  In 2006, Linda became Executive Director of Bayberry, Inc., a non-profit agency providing supported living services and residential living options to people with IDD.  Bayberry, Inc. is vendored by both North Bay and Redwood Coast Regional Centers.  As of 2014, Bayberry, Inc. has 170 employees who support 75 people in living arrangements of their choice.  In recent years, Bayberry has established a strong workforce that excels in supporting individuals with autism.

Linda was Co-Chair of the NBRC Vendor Advisory Committee and its representative to the NBRC Board of Directors from 2008 to 2012.  Linda is currently a member of the ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources) and serves on its finance Committee.  As a new member to the CSLN Board of Directors, Linda looks forward to joining the Governmental Affairs Committee.

Kevin Rath

Executive Director, Manos Home Care

Kevin Rath is the founder and executive director of Manos Home Care, an employee-owned company with 1,400 direct care staff providing respite and personal assistance to 1,300 people with disabilities in the San Francisco East Bay. In addition to CSLN activities, Kevin is actively involved in several disability service associations, and is the California Respite Association’s representative for the Lanterman Coalition. He has developed several financial models for wage and benefit cost reimbursements, which have been used to inform allocation structures for service providers in the DDS system. Kevin is currently overseeing the development of a cost reporting web site for implementing the July 1st 2016 rate increase for the DDS system. The web site is based on Manos’ thirty-year history of internal software development for its operations. Kevin is also a Ca Supported Living Network Board Member.


Joan Schmidt

Co-Founder, Creative Living Options, Inc.

Joan Schmidt is currently the CEO of Creative Living Options, a supported living agency in Sacramento.  Joan has an extensive background in professional presentation and training and has organized and conducted workshops and trainings for teachers, administrators and families on inclusive education, facilitated communication and supported living services.  She has been a “Single Household ” vendor for her son Deron since 1990 and co-authored, the manual published by CIRCL/DDS on providing supported living services as a single household/individual vendor.  She has participated in various workgroups, system reform efforts, and development of the SLS Regulations. Professionally, Joan has a public relations, marketing and communications background. She has worked in the Special Education field as a professional and parent, providing training and technical assistance in the area of services for individuals with a wide range of developmental disabilities. Joan provides consultation to agencies, families and individuals interested in supported living.

Kristoffel van de Burgt

Director, Creative Support Alternatives

Kristoffel van de Burgt serves as Director of Creative Support Alternatives in San Diego, CA.  He has worked for Creative Support Alternatives in multiple roles (serving as Support Facilitator, Community Living Coordinator, Associate Director, and Director) since September 2000. Kristoffel received his Masters Degree in Accounting from San Diego State University and his Bachelors Degree in History from Rutgers University. He is the current acting Chair of the San Diego Supported Living Vendor Coalition.

Prior to working with Creative Support Alternatives, he worked for a New Jersey-based non-profit organization as a Direct Support Specialist in a group home setting for people with developmental disabilities. While starting his work with Creative Support Alternatives, he also filled the role of Live-In Companion for three years. Kristoffel later worked for two years as an Accounting Associate with a local San Diego accounting firm where he honed his financial management skills.  Through collaboration with Interwork Institute, he functioned as Director of a person-driven planning grant project, known as “Take Charge!”

 

California Support Living Network Contact Info
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Kristoffel van de Burgt, Membership Chair

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Beth Gallagher, Training Co-Chair

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Joan Schmidt, Conference Coordinator

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Kim Dodd, Secretary

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