Board Members & Ambassadors

Board Members & Ambassadors


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 from emotional wounds, cultivate resiliency and promote mental wellness. She does this through providing individual, couple, group counseling; and advocating for trauma-informed practices throughout our communities.  
Stacey specializes in helping people build resiliency and 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; having served her internship and advanced practicum at the South Bend Veterans Center.  She 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 define their own solutions. She works with her clients using a blend of approaches including: traditional talk therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Eagala Model equine assisted psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), narrative/journaling, trauma informed yoga, as well as other strategies, to meet her clients where they are on their personal journeys. All her counseling is trauma informed, culturally sensitive, and centers on the needs and identity of the person in the room.
Stacey has been certified in the Eagala model since 2016. She serves as Eagala’s Networking Coordinator for the State of Indiana.  She has completed training in Yoga to Transform Trauma, and has started training in Somatic Experiencing. Through her work and her own healing journey, Stacey found that the approaches which integrated the physical, mental, energetic and spiritual impacts of trauma proved to be the most effective and the most empowering. She sustains her own healing journey by incorporating complementary healing arts modalities into her daily life.  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. 

On a personal note, Stacey survived a near-fatal car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of 16. As a result of that and other life experiences as well as working and advocating for people who have survived trauma, she has a strong desire to help people heal from trauma. 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 where she excelled and what she was passionate about; and the dream of Anam Cara manifested: to help people heal through equine assisted psychotherapy. Shortly thereafter, through a serious of serendipitous events, Stacey moved to Indiana to make her dream a reality. Integral to the process was the gentle nudging and support of her friend, equine specialist and co-founder, Sandy Cogswell, Anam Cara became a reality in 2016.


Suzanne Sheehy, Ed.D


Suzanne Sheehy, Ed.D, holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and has over 25 years of experience as a licensed teacher and administrator serving school communities in grades pre K-12. Suzanne is a certified Energy Psychology and EFT Practitioner. Her passion is to teach others how to self-manage their stress, release their emotional issues, re-wire limiting self beliefs, and clear blocks to performance.

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. Suzanne’s genuine caring personality and sense of humor enables her to work with people of all age groups. Her desire to help people heal, coupled with her unique perspective as a teacher and administrator, has drawn her to believe in, advocate, and support Anam Cara’s mission and vision wholeheartedly. 

Kristy Chambers

Vice President

Advocating for veterans and my love of horses run the length and breadth of my heart.

Generational military and equine trainers in my family are now seeing the 5th generation leave for boot camp and dive into the horse world.  I have advocated for my husband who is a disabled vet for 18 years, any veteran we run into I literally stop them to be sure they are receiving the benefits they are due.

While in college I worked at Red Cedar Center as a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association Instructor.  Helping children who suffered from severe handicap or disability find relief and joy while performing their riding therapy.  I organized benefit shows and Easter Seal programs in schools to raise funds to keep the program going.

Later I went onto become the Director of the Equestrienne Program for Girl Scouts of America, Camp Merriewood.  Part of this program serves the areas underprivileged, allowing an opportunity to feel the joy of riding a horse.  Which we all know the medicinal healing powers it yields.

I currently serve as a Equine Judging Team Coach to both the FFA program through New Prairie High School and LaPorte EZ Riders 4-H youth team.

Anam Cara can bridge the gap in our community with veterans almost immediately.  Veteran suicide is the highest it has ever been.  The numbers are staggering to review how many do not even know what benefits are available. Worse when they go to the VA the system is so cumbersome they leave with unresolved health issues, mental being at the forefront.  I see this as low hanging fruit to provide our community with this type of health support for our veterans.  This is a gap I can assist Anam Cara in filling.


Sylvia Mendoza


Sylvia worked in book publishing at not-for-profit university presses and at commercial publishing houses, having spent over 30 years at The University of Chicago Press. Her love of making books led her to opportunities at publishing houses throughout the United States and in Mexico. Sylvia was responsible for operations and book budgets throughout her career. Her father, two brothers, and a nephew all served in the US Military (Navy and Air Force). She is looking forward to contributing to Anam Cara and the great work that they do for a broad community of people. Sylvia also looks forward to spending more time with family and friends now that she is retired and living in the Midwest.

Clark Mitchell, LCSW

Board Secretary

Clark Mitchell served for nine years as a cook in the Coast Guard before they could no longer contain his awesomeness. 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 since 2012. He joined the Vet Center in 2017 where he still works as a Readjustment Counselor where he makes Veterans listen to his boring therapy monologues. From the Vet Center, Clark runs a weekly Vietnam Veterans Group, as well as Vet Center Eats and Game Night-each once a month. In his off time Clark is a big nerd who likes to play tabletop and board games, eat lots of food, and travel with his family.


Terry Mays

Therapist and Family Specialist

Terry is a Veteran of the Unites States Navy; having served our country for 13 years. She has a Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Psychology from Capella University. She is an experienced Therapist and Family Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the government relations industry. Terry has a passion for helping fellow veterans heal from PTSD, military sexual assault, as well as helping military families navigate transitions.

Michelle Boardman

Marketing and IT Director

Michelle has over 15 years of experience in IT and business communications. After earning her Master of Arts asa full-ride University Fellow at IUPUI, Michelle worked in It management for Fortune 1000 companies for over 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 for 7 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, taught free donation yoga classes as a certified yoga instructor, and now volunteers her time helping local non-profit organizations launch and build their programs by aiding in grant-writing, marketing, social media and IT endeavors. Michelle is thrilled to be apart of the Anam Cara family. 

Ayla Batton

Marketing and Social Media Specialist

Ayla Batton is a soap-maker and social media whiz from Three Oaks, MI. After graduating from Western Michigan University in 2011 with a BA in Creative Writing, Ayla spent seven years working in the craft beer industry and developing her skill as a soap-maker. Ayla opened her own business in 2015 called Aylamethyst Soaps and sells at a variety of local venues. She loves taking long walks on Lake Michigan with her husband and two dogs whenever she can. 

Cathy Alwine


Cathy Alwine has spent her entire career in “people helping” professions. After 20 years of practicing dental hygiene, she shifted her focus and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Services Management from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). She expected to enter the next stage of her life as a Medical Practice Manager, but God had a different plan in mind. Cathy accepted a position with the Foundation of St. Joseph Hospital, Mishawaka and began a long, successful journey in fundraising development.

During 25 years of event coordination, grant writing, program planning and marketing Cathy has raised more than $3M to benefit the organizations she has served. While employed by the City of Mishawaka, Cathy developed and implemented the successful First Time Homebuyers’ Program, funded by the US Dept. 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. She was named the 1998 IU Outstanding Overall Undergraduate Student in SPEA and the Alumnus of the Year in Nursing and the Health Professions in 2011. 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 providing healthcare to 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. The Executive Director took notice and hired Cathy as Director of Development, a position she held for 10 years. Her passion for therapeutic horsemanship deepened and she is now not only a horse owner and equine competitor, but also a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor and a PATH Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. During her tenure, she created a program to incorporate dressage into the therapeutic riding program and presented the results at the 2015 PATH International Conference. She also designed, created, and implemented the “Nuzzles & Snuggles” program, which brings residents of care facilities to the barn to engage in therapeutic sessions. Cathy has authored articles which have appeared in publications of PATH International and the United States Dressage Federation.

Of all the aspects of horsemanship that she has experienced, Cathy is most touched by the mental and emotional benefits gained by the horse/human bond. She was introduced to Anam Cara by a friend and knew immediately that she wanted to become involved with the organization. One of her horses, Solano, has experience in hippotherapy and has also visited schools and nursing homes. She has witnessed the awesome power of the horse to heal body, mind, and spirit both with Solano and also when she took Reins of Life horses to rehab facilities as an Instructor. Cathy is currently serving in an advisory capacity for Anam Cara’s fundraising development and hopes to become more engaged in hands-on work, possibly with Solano as well.

Meghan Johnson

Equine Specialist – Intern

Meghan is our newest Anam Cara team member and is currently pursuing her EAGALA certification. She shares the same passion for horses and desire to help others as her team members. Meghan has worked with horses in several different settings – from stable maintenance, to jumping, to groundwork – and currently owns two horses of her own – Forest and Rougar (pictured).
Meghan’s introduction to Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy came from her own personal journeys through trauma work and eating disorder recovery, and she is thrilled to be working and learning as a part of the Anam Cara team. 

Carmen Velasquez


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.


Ann Garcelon, with Sister Sheila Lyne, CEO of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center and Carmen Velasquez, is a co-founder of Alivio Medical Center. Dr. Garcelon served on Alivio’s Board of Directors for eighteen years. During this time, Dr. Garcelon was a member on both the Quality Assurance and Finance Committee of the Alivio Board.

Because Alivio serves the Hispanic, predominantly Mexican community, Dr. Garcelon, who is bilingual and culturally sensitive, had the insight to be a key player in the planning and design of Alivio’s health services and medical clinics. She continues to be available for consult 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. Garcelon immediately knew she wanted to be a part of bringing healing of trauma and holistic healing to communities in this way.

Most notably, Dr. Garcelon is a very caring human being without any self- interest or hidden agenda. She is a special individual who truly has a heart of gold.


Kathryn Garcelon


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


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.


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Phone: (219) 207-7222


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

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