Christophre Woods: Poor. Black. Fierce. Gay. Southern and opinionated. These are all words that might describe Christophre Woods’s world view, both personally and professionally. The intersection of these identities is what has made his personal and professional life rich and varied.
Christophre realized from his own experiences growing up how social determinants increased risk for many problems…drug use, unprotected sex, unplanned pregnancies, incarceration, lack of education, increased chances for HIV, suicide, and more so he decided he would do something about it. So from working as the director of an AIDS service program with addicts, inmates and immigrants, to doing grassroots work on reproductive justice, to being a suicide prevention counselor in a state where one in three deaths is a suicide, he didn’t choose the easy topics.
Going to South Africa for nearly a year to work with the first transgender organization on the continent, Gender DynamiX, wasn’t easy either, but necessary, he says, to realizing things about how the world worked and how he fit in it. He has approached all this work with the same attitude with which he lives his life: He meets people where they are, listens to their stories and helps them get where they want to go —not as a savior, but as a facilitator who helps people gain a greater sense of agency and self-efficacy in a world that would beat them down.
Splashing back down in the US, Christophre continued his journey by working with children mired in the system before taking on the responsibility for finding shared living provider’s for people with developmental challenges. He is guided by the words of two people, his mother and Maya Angelou. His mother told him “As long as you have a little, you have enough to share.” Maya’s words were “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This is the philosophy he brings to VPS. In his mind we all struggle and need support, but as a peer, he understands getting the help and support one needs in a way that feels empowering is a challenge…one where he is willing to help others by accompanying them on their journey to become their best selves.
Anne B. Donahue
News Editor of “Counterpoint”
Anne is a member of the Green Mountain Care Board Community Advisory Committee and of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Advisory Committee of the Vermont Blueprint for Health. She was a member of the legislature’s Joint Mental Health Oversight Committee from 2005 to 2014, and co-chair in 2011-12.
She has received advocacy awards for her work from the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (2017); the Vermont Children’s Forum (2006), the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights (2004), and Vermont Protection and Advocacy (2001).
In 1990, Anne was recognized for her work with homeless children by the National Institute for Public Service Jefferson Award in the category of “Greatest Accomplishment by a Person Age 35 or Younger.” She received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Institute in 1997.
Anne served on the Subcommittee on the Inclusion of Individuals with Impaired Decision-making in Research, Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections, Department of Health and Human Services in 2008-9. In 2014-5, she served on a 5-member expert review panel to evaluate human research protection practices at the University of Minnesota.
Anne is a member of the bar, inactive status, in Vermont, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.
Anne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Boston College from which she graduated magna cum laude. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.
Michael currently serves on the non-profit boards of Another Way and Disability Rights Vermont (DRVT). Previously he served on the boards of Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights (VCDR) and Northeast Kingdom Human Services.
Michael has a diverse array of interests and work experience. He worked primarily as a career, letter carrier for the US Postal Service (and served as a union officer and steward), as well as several stretches as an athletic official.
He is also an avocational entomologist, has published several research papers on lepidoptera, and currently serves as president of the Vermont Entomological Society.
Director of Training
He advocates around issues of self-determination and autonomy within a network of systems, including access to housing, use of healthcare and mental health services, economic survival, etc. He is an experienced group facilitator and trainer/educator, on topics including crisis response, alternatives to policing, and peer-to-peer support, through a social justice framework.
Calvin is a certified Intentional Peer Support trainer and is also certified in Medication Withdrawal Harm Reduction. He is a writer, editor, copyeditor, and proofreader with 13 years in publishing with leading educational publishers, technical experts, and nonprofits.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Cloud State University, and a Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame.
He is also one-half of the Brattleboro-based electropop duo badweatherfriend.
Kaz DeWolfe is the Communications Coordinator for Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. They joined VPS as a Patient Representative based in our Brattleboro office.
Kaz works to build social media spaces focusing on mad pride, neurodiversity, and cognitive liberty. They are the co-founder and co-editor of Radical Abolitionist, a cognitive liberty blogspace. Kaz is also an artist and illustrator creating graphics inspired by social and climate justice and thermodynamics. Before joining VPS, Kaz worked as a professional artist and as a coordinator of various local-works projects with the Beehive Design Collective in Machias, Maine.
Kaz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Art and a Bachelor of Science degree in Cinema and Photography from Ithaca College, with some graduate coursework in Community Psychology from St. Cloud State University.
Kaz is a hobby naturalist and nature photographer with a particular interest in insects and macro-fungi. They are a frequent contributor to the Vermont Atlas of Life. Kaz is also the co-editor of Radical Abolitionist, a Cognitive Liberty Blogspace
She enjoys walking in the woods with her dog and taking her swimming, making and maintaining flower gardens, cooking, music, and going to the ocean.
She studied Human Services and Business at Community College of Vermont.
Amanda Elizabeth Leite
Before joining VPS in early 2018, Amanda worked as a nanny for the last decade. She is interested in helping children of all needs and abilities reach their goals and live joyful lives by working with families on building support systems for their children. In addition to working for Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, Amanda Elizabeth owns and operates her own design business.
Amanda studied social work at Castleton University from 2011 – 2014.
Amanda has a love for reading and writing and in her spare time enjoys volunteering for her church.
Peer Recovery Specialist
Amy is also a certified WRAP facilitator and is experienced leading groups in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, and Career Counseling.
Amy also serves on the board of Alyssum, a peer-run crisis respite located in Rochester, Vermont.
After coming to Vermont in 1981, Amy helped establish one of Vermont’s first cooperative day care centers that enrolled infants as well as preschoolers. For nine years, she owned an award-winning restaurant in the resort town of Stowe and remains an accomplished cook and pastry chef. Amy also ran the Montpelier office for a state-wide jobs training program serving as both case manager and job developer. In addition, Amy volunteered as a long-time, hotline operator offering support to victims of domestic abuse.
While living in Massachusetts, Amy taught creative movement and dance to kindergarteners and ESL to Spanish speaking students at the Joseph Hurley School located in Boston’s south-end.
Amy studied English at Emerson College and studied dance and choreography at the Boston Conservatory.
Amy is an active member of the Unitarian Church in Montpelier and is a published children’s author.
Isaac Lezcanois a Patient representative for VPS. He strives to build mutual and productive relationships with other consumers and to illuminate and explain alternative perspectives on treatment and social definitions of illness when apropriate. If an action can be taken to make his immediate world a more just and sensible place for him or his peers, he will attempt to take it.
Isaac has a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production from Keene state, an embarrassing ammount of underpaid freelance and corperate experience in the world of cinematography and editing, and a soon to expire liscense to work as a private investigator. He has dealt cards, tended bar, and mopped a thousand floors with panache. He has been styled by himself and others as a jack of all trades and endevours to apply the lateral thinking and people skills he has honed in other jobs towards achieving empathetic discourses and gains in social justice.
He is passionate about politics, rhetoric, law, practical special effects, north american horror film, and games of negotiation and strategy.
He strongly dislikes injustice, elective ignorance, misinformation, and the common and fallacious insistence of referring to uncooked mayonnaise based food piles as “salads”.
Catherine has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, from which she graduated with distinction.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her three children and doing crafts, particularly crocheting. She loves animals and has helped to rescue many cats and dogs and the occasional bird.