Board Members & Ambassadors

Board Members & Ambassadors

FOUNDER

Stacey Garcelon  M.ED, NCC

Founder & Director

   Stacey received her Master’s degree in education, with a concentration in clinical mental health counseling, at Indiana State University, South Bend. Stacey’s passion and life’s work is to help people heal emotional wounds, cultivate resiliency, and promote mental wellness. She does this by providing individual, couple, and group counseling, and also by advocating for trauma- informed practices in communities.  
Stacey specializes in helping people recover from trauma, addictions, depression, grief, self- esteem/self-worth issues, and other behavioral/mental health issues.  Stacey has a passion for serving veterans, active military, reservists, and their families. She served her internship and advanced practicum at the South Bend, Indiana, Veterans Center.  Stacey has experience
working with all ages, veterans, the LGBTQ community, and survivors of intimate partner violence. She believes in providing a client-centered holistic healing environment in which people are empowered to discover and to define their own solutions. She works with her clients using a blend of approaches including: traditional talk therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), the Eagala Model of equine-assisted psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), narrative/journaling, trauma-informed yoga, and other
strategies so that she “meets” her clients at a particular point on their personal journey.
Stacey has been certified in the Eagala model since 2016 to 2022. She serves as Eagala’s networking coordinator for the State of Indiana.  She has completed training in the practice of yoga to transform trauma and has started training in somatic experiencing, which focuses on getting
participants to focus on their to stress. Through her work and her own healing journey, Stacey found that the approaches that focused on the physical, mental, energetic, and spiritual impacts of trauma proved to be the most effective and the most empowering forms of therapy. Stacey is a current member of the EMDR International Association, the American

Mental Health Counselors Association, the American Counseling Association, and the Indiana Counseling Association. 
Stacey has always had a love for horses and knows from firsthand experience the healing presence of the horse. When considering advancing her education, Stacey looked at the areas where she excelled and what she was passionate about. This resulted in the dream of Anam Cara, which was created in 2016 to help people heal through equine-assisted psychotherapy.

BOARD MEMBERS

Suzanne Sheehy, Ed.D

President

Suzanne holds a doctorate in educational leadership and has more than 25 years of experience as a licensed teacher and administrator serving school communities in grades pre K-12. She is a certified energy psychology and EFT [spell out acronym] practitioner. Her passion is to teach others how to self-manage their stress, release their emotional issues, rewire limiting selfbeliefs, and clear whatever may be blocking a path to their recovery.

Her mission is to help bring mindfulness strategies into the mainstream, especially in schools, organizations, and businesses,through her “stress less” and “bolt to success” programs. Her desire to help people heal, coupled with her unique perspective as a teacher and administrator, has drawn her to believe in, advocate for, and support Anam Cara’s mission and vision. 

Kristy Chambers

Vice President

Spurred on by her efforts to help her husband, a disabled vet,Kristy has been working for the past 18 years to help veterans.

While in college, Kristy worked at the Red Cedar Center in Allen County, Indiana, as a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association instructor.  There, she helped children suffering from a severe handicap or disability find relief and joy through riding therapy.  Kristy has organized benefit shows and Easter Seal programs in schools to raise funds to sustain the programs.

Kristy went onto become the Director of the Equestrienne Program for Girl Scouts of America, Camp Merriewood in Plainwell, Michigan, a program that helps provide opportunities to underprivileged people to experience the joy of riding of horse.

Kristy currently serves as an Equine Judging Team coach to both the Future Farmers of America program through New Prairie High School in New Carlisle, Indiana, and LaPorte, Indiana, EZ Riders 4-H youth team.

She believes that the work of Anam Cara is incredibly important. She notes that veteran suicide has been a growing problem and that many veterans are unaware of the benefits to which they are entitledKristy seeks to help those veterans frustrated by the cumbersome Veterans Administration bureaucracy and who have consequently had their mental health issues unresolved.

Sylvia Mendoza

Treasurer

Sylvia has worked in book publishing at not-for-profit university presses and at commercial publishing houses, having spent more than 30 years at The University of Chicago Press. Her love of making books led her to opportunities at publishing houses throughout the U.S. and in Mexico. Sylvia has been responsible for publishing operations and book budgets throughout her career. Her father, two brothers, and a nephew all served in the U.S. military (Navy and Air Force). She is looking forward to contributing to Anam Cara and the great work that they do for the community.

Clark Mitchell, LCSW

Board Secretary

Clark Mitchell served for nine years as a cook in the U.S. Coast Guard. He then graduated from Southern Illinois University with his Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2013. Clark has been working with veteran mental health organizations since 2012. He joined a veteran’s center in 2017 where he still works as a readjustment counselor and counsels veterans about the benefits of therapy. Clark runs a weekly Vietnam veterans group from the center, as well as hosting a food night and a game night each month.  

 

Jessica Kennedy, LCSW

Board Member

Jessica Foster has nourished a passion for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy since her Bachelors level internship and thesis in 2000 and 2001. Since becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor, she has dedicated her career to the implementation of trauma informed, evidenced based modalities. Most recently, this has taken the form of EMDR/ EMDRIA training and Certification. Her ongoing pursuit of the the ethical, professional advancement of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and its practice within the community supports Anam Cara’s vision. She brings over 25 years of experience in the Mental Health field, in various clinical and administrative roles, as well as both micro and macro perspectives, which compliments the execution of Anam Cara’s overall mission.

 

Angela Rose

Board Member

Angela Rose graduated from Ball State in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and in 2014 with a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Ball State University. Upon graduation, she married her husband and became an Army wife for his 7 + years of service including multiple deployments. They have two children and currently live in St. Joseph County where Angela works for the City of South Bend as a Senior Planner. She is passionate about assisting combat veterans such as her husband.

Tracey Curtis

Board Member

Dr Tracey Curtis is a chiropractor, craniosacral therapist, movement specialist and wellness coach who is passionate about offering people tools to help navigate the world with less pain, illness and stress. She believes our bodies are truly the homes we live in, and regardless of our ability level, injury or illness we are each capable of living fuller lives with greater ease, well-being and joy. She believes the human-animal connection is powerful and healing and also believes mental health is a matter of priority for overall health. She fully supports Anam Cara’s mission and vision and sees it as a positive presence in the community and the mental health profession.

AMBASSADORS

Terry Mays

Therapist and Family Specialist

Terry is a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is an experienced therapist and family counselor. Terry has a passion for helping fellow veterans heal from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and military sexual assault. Her work has also led her in helping military families navigate transitions.

Michelle Boardman

Marketing and IT Director

Michelle has more than 15 years of experience in information technology and business communications. After earning her Master’s degree from Purdue/Indiana University in Indianapolis, Michelle worked in Information Technology (IT) management for Fortune 1000 companies for more than 12 years.

Community involvement and volunteerism have been at the heart of Michelle’s endeavors outside of the corporate world. She was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in LaPorte County, Indiana, for seven years. Michelle then served as a board member of the Salvation Army and was pivotal in launching the Backpack Food for Kids program. Michelle has taught film classes at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, Indiana, and yoga classes as a certified yoga instructor. She now volunteers her time helping local nonprofit organizations launch and build their programs by aiding in grantwriting, marketing, social media, and IT endeavors. One of those nonprofits is Anam Cara.

Ayla Batton

Marketing and Social Media Specialist

Ayla is a soap maker and social media whiz from Three Oaks, Michigan. After graduating from Western Michigan University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing, Ayla spent seven years working in the craft beer industry and developing her skill as a soap maker. Ayla opened her business, AylamethystSoaps, in 2015, and she sells her soaps locallyShe brings her talents to Anam Cara hoping to be a major part of its success.

Cathy Alwine

Consultant

Cathy has spent her entire career in “people helping” professions. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in health services management from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Rather than resulting in a career in medical practice, Cathy accepted a position with the Foundation of St. Joseph Hospital, Mishawaka, Indiana, and began a long, successful journey in fundraising for organizations. During her 25 years of event coordination, grant writing, program planning, and marketing, she has raised more than $3 million to benefit the organizations she has served. Among those efforts was a first-time homebuyer’s program for Mishawaka, Indiana, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Cathy shared her skills for 13 years as an assistant professor at Indiana University, South Bend, in the areas of community health, office practice management, nutrition, and ethics and jurisprudence. Cathy is currently a federal grants reviewer with expertise in the area of increasing access to healthcare for underserved and rural populations. She is also a member of the advisory board for HealthLinc, a federally qualified health center serving low-income residents of the Michiana area.

A life-long horse lover, Cathy became drawn to the use of horses for equine-assisted activities and therapies, and began volunteering at a therapeutic horseback riding center. She was director of development at the center for 10 years.

Cathy is currently a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor and a PATH Certified Equine Specialist in mental health and learning. She also designed, created, and implemented the “Nuzzles & Snuggles” program, which brings residents of care facilities to the horse barn to engage in therapeutic sessions. When she was introduced to Anam Cara by a friend, she knew immediately that she wanted to become involved with the organization, where she serves as an advisor for Anam Cara’s fundraising efforts.

Meghan Johnson

Equine Specialist – Intern

Meghan is currently pursuing her EAGALA certification. Meghan has worked with horses in several different settingsstable maintenance, jumping, and groundwork. Her introduction to equine-assisted psychotherapy came from her own personal journey through trauma work and her recovery from an eating disorder. She is thrilled to be working and learning as a part of the Anam Cara team. 

Carmen Velasquez

Ambassador

An impressive leader, a tireless campaigner, and a committed advocate of health care policy, Carmen Velásquez has changed community health care for the Latino, predominantly Mexican, working-poor, uninsured, and immigrant community. As a former community activist, social worker, bilingual education specialist and founder of a not-for-profit community health center, Ms. Velásquez has spent most of her life advocating for universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform, and for workforce development. As a result of a passionate vision, strong partnerships and the crucial need for bilingual bicultural medical providers for the uninsured and undocumented, Ms. Velásquez founded Alivio Medical Center in 1989 as a bilingual bicultural, nonprofit community health center.

Velásquez has received numerous awards for leadership, vision, passion, community organizing and overall outstanding service and dedication to the community. Most recently in March 2016, Ms. Velásquez received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

At the present, Ms. Velásquez is focused on the Healthy Illinois Campaign whose mission is to make quality, affordable health care accessible to all people in Illinois, including the undocumented.As you can see, Ms. Velasquez is passionate about creating healthy communities; she brings her expertise and advocacy to expand healing and healthy communities from Illinois to the Greater Michiana area

 

Ann Garcelon, M.D.

Ambassador

Ann is a doctor and was a cofounder of the Alivio Medical Center in Chicago with Sister Sheila Lyne, CEO of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, and Carmen Velasquez, an ambassador for Anam Cara. She served on Alivio’s Board of Directors for 18 years. During that time, Ann was a member on both the Quality Assurance and Finance Committee of the Alivio Board.

Because Alivio serves the Hispanic, predominantly Mexican,community, Ann, who is bilingual and culturally sensitive, had the kind of insight necessary to be a key player in the planning and design of Alivio’s health services and medical clinics. She continues to be available for consultation and has volunteered many hours advocating for Alivio, promoting the clinic’s public health agenda to the medical community, and working with the administration to generate strategic ideas for service expansion.

Upon learning of Anam Cara’s vision and mission, Dr. Garcelonimmediately knew she wanted to be a part of the organization’s efforts to address trauma and to bring holistic healing to communities.

Kathryn Garcelon

Ambassador

Kathryn graduated from California State University Sacramento.  She retired from the California State Civil Service after serving over 25 years; Agencies included, Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning.  Her expertise included development and auditing of legislated programs including sexual assault/domestic violence prevention and juvenile justice and delinquent prevention. She was also actively involved in grant writing, request for funding proposals, as well as program monitoring and review. She now is focused in her retirement in LaPorte, IN to apply those skills to help Anam Cara Stables help individuals, families, and the community heal from trauma. 

 

Webb Garcelon

Ambassador

Webb graduated from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He has 43 years of Financial Accounting experience in the Energy business in both California and Texas.  The years in California his expertise was managing the accounting of 30 Profit Centers, which included receivables, fuel payables, inventory, and exchanges for the second largest propane company in the United States at that time. The years in Texas were with Enterprise Products the second largest pipeline company in the United States.  He managed the out flow of cash for product purchases that averages 2 billion dollars a month.  Now in his retirement in LaPorte Indiana, he is utilizing his accounting expertise as a way to give back to the community by helping Anam Cara grow and help people heal from trauma.

 

Traca Beck

Equine Specialist

Traca is an Equine Specialist certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) in equine therapy.  Incorporating her passion for and life long work with horses, her love for people and her faith, as well as her own personal journey through healing she joined Anam Cara’s team with a desire to help others find freedom from their own trauma.

Carlie Dunn

Equine Specialist

Carlie is a soon to be graduate of Purdue Northwest with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She completed her junior internship at Anam Cara in the spring of 2021. Carlie has always had a love of horses and is now expanding her knowledge and experience with Anam Cara and outside training. She is excited to be a part of an organization that offers an alternative therapy that incorporates horses healing capabilities. After graduation Carlie plans to further her education with a Masters degree focusing on mental health, addiction and equine therapy. Her future goals are to create a sustainable organization that implements holistic approaches for individuals who are suffering from mental illness and addiction. 

Get in Touch

Phone: (219) 207-7222

Email: info@anamcarastables.org

Address: 4298 E 1000 North, La Porte, IN 46350

Our Partners

Drop Us a Line

Let us know if you have any questions!