Diana Desens & Dean Wright
Diana Desens & Pastor Jonathan Evans
Amy Champlin , Alicia Vann , Dean Wright & Sammara Stowell
The name “Desens” comes from one of the original founding families of Elim Grace Church. In the same way that this single family has had an impact on the church community generationally, the Desens House, with its mission of hope and healing, is the next generation of Elim Grace Church.
Christine “Dean” Wright, Executive Director Dean’s professional background is in architecture, and she has always loved complicated multifaceted projects and opportunities for endless learning. She has learned that the same way an empty parking lot can be transformed into a community center, hurting people can be transformed into a family, a community and a tribe. Her passion is networking with others to create a vibrant community of recovery and hope.
Alicia Vann, Residency Director Alicia is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who has a passion for working in Geriatrics. She also served in a homeless shelter in Virginia in multiple capacities, but most notably as the Lead Case Manager for 3 years where she developed and oversaw case management and programming for about 40 residents. She enjoys meeting people, building friendships, mixing paint at Lowes, and dancing on Sunday mornings. She is developing and will oversee our long-term residency program in 2023!
Amy Champlin, Recovery Advocate Amy is the boots on the ground advocate for women in recovery. She serves as a role model, mentor, advocate and motivator to recovering individuals in order to help prevent relapse and promote long-term recovery.
Krista Cool, Board AdministratorKrista was born and raised in Central NY. She has a professional background serving in ministry in both leadership and administrative roles of various capacities. She has a heart to see lives transformed by the love of Jesus Christ and enjoys both building relationships with people and working behind the scenes to bring the vision to life. Over the last few years The Desens House has built an incredible tribe of peer advocates, recovery allies and community members dedicated to living out this mission alongside us. These volunteers show up to make meals throughout the week, teach classes, give rides, go on adventures and share their hearts. We could not do what we do with out them!
Pastor Jonathan Evans Jonathan is the senior pastor at Elim Grace Church, and has served the needs of the local community for many years. More than ten years ago, after visiting the Betel campus in Mexico, which has been “dedicated to restoring substance-dependent and marginalized people to productive and independent lifestyles,” Jonathan envisioned what a program like Betel could bring to the community of Oswego. He provides spiritual, pastoral and emotional leadership to the board.
Jodi Smith, Board Member Jodi Smith has a degree in nursing from Roberts Wesleyan College and has worked at Upstate Hospital beginning in the fall of 2017. She is deeply passionate about helping and serving others and loved working in the ICU as a pediatric nurse. Jodi was exposed to the trauma of substance use disorder as she watched a family member struggle with addiction to heroin. She visited her family member in jail, rehab, halfway houses and always believed that it’s never too late to hope for freedom.
Teresa Woolson, Board Member Teresa has a passion for helping others and is connected with many of the service agencies in Oswego County. She has been to trainings on substance use disorder, coalitions, harm reduction, etc and has planned and carried out many different events in our community. After her son died from synthetic drugs purchase in a store in Oswego in 2012, Teresa started a non-profit organization to promote awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs. She has been advocating and educating about synthetic drugs and addiction since then. She has traveled to Washington and Albany for legislative purposes regarding addiction and the laws surrounding synthetic drugs.
William King, Board Vice President Bill King and his wife of 43 years, AnnMarie, have “come up through the ranks” at Elim Grace Church. They have significantly impacted the lives of those around them while serving Elim Grace Church for over 31 years.
Eric Bresee, Board Treasurer Eric serves as Treasurer for the NYS Alcohol and Substance Abuse Providers, President of the CNY Alcohol and Drug Association, Board Treasurer for Integrated Community Planning of Oswego County, Secretary for the Leave a Legacy of Oswego County Steering Committee and is a member of the City of Oswego Poverty Reduction Taskforce. He is the Executive Director for Farnham Family Services. He has degrees in Psychology and Counseling. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor. He worked at Oswego County Opportunities for 15 years as Program Director, overseeing many of OCO’s programs including Homeless Services, Services to Aid Families, Medicaid Service Coordination, the PATH, OPTIONS and Health Education. His valuable experience in board and monetary leadership as well as addiction and recovery services provides valuable insight into the complexity of substance abuse and nonprofit fiscal management.
Rachael Stahl, Board Secretary Rachael has a degree in Social Work and is a Licensed MSW in New York State. She currently practices mental health therapy through Connextcare. She is passionate about intervening with individuals and families to break generational cycles of abuse and trauma. She is trained in a variety of therapy types, as well as trauma informed care. Her expertise in Social Work will be significant as we assist our participants in getting the resources needed to live lives of health and freedom.
Help us set generations free!