Staff

Karim Chapman

Karim Chapman

Executive Director

Karim Chapman comes to VPS with more than ten years of experience at the grass roots and advocacy levels of building and developing programs among our most vulnerable populations. As a lead mentor for Community Connections for Youth (CCFY), Karim was a member of a team that identified young men and women living in and around New York, Harlem, that had direct or indirect issues with violence resulting in court involvement or circumstances with law enforcement.

Previously, he managed and supervised a team of credible messengers that dealt with at-risk youth around gun violence, mediation, life choices, and hospital and shooting responses. Karim founded Life Intervention Team (LIT) in New York, an organization created to intervene in lives of at-risk youth by bringing them through different life experiences that helped cultivate their lives and mind set through education, civic engagement, economic development, team building activities, and mental health education.

Most recently Karim developed and ran the newly formed Crisis Peer Services program for Community Care Network in Rutland. His skill set and lived experience make him a perfect fit for VPS where he can continue his passion for widening the safety net through viable community-based services and advocacy projects for the peer network.

Walt Wade

Walt Wade

Outreach Coordinator

Walt Wade has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and 40 years working in the community. He has certifications as a Vermont State Recovery Coach, for people with substance abuse issues, he is also a Vermont State Recovery Coach to work with Family and Friends that are affected by the life of people with substance abuse issues.

Walt loves to help people, he is an avid Basketball fan, He has a great sense of humor that can change the mood of the room.

Nate Lulek

Nate Lulek

Peer Support Coordinator - Central

Nate Lulek has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science and a minor in Developmental Psychology from the College of St. Joseph. This is round number two for Nate here at VPS. Previously he was the Forensic Peer Support Specialist for the Community Links Program initiated by Karen Lorentzon.

Nate loves the great outdoors. He is an avid gourmand, that enjoys trying new dishes and ingredients. Nate is also a raconteur. He always loves a good story. He has a wicked sense of humor, that he utilizes frequently to bring laughter and levity to situations.

Laura Shanks

Laura Shanks

Peer Support Coordinator - South

Laura Shanks joins the team with a background in public relations, communications, activism, and holistic health.

A former publicist from New York, Laura has a strong interest in philosophy, self-inquiry, and self-healing. These interests, which stem from a lifelong search for truth, have become her life’s passion.

After spending several years traveling, teaching, and studying abroad, Laura found herself drawn to the green mountains of Vermont where she now dedicates her time to peer support, yoga, teaching, and nature. She believes in living and working from a place of compassion born of direct experience.

Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from SUNY Purchase College, is a certified yoga and meditation instructor, and an accredited TESOL teacher. She also teaches yoga, mindfulness, Eastern philosophy, Ayurveda, and anatomy on yoga teacher trainings around the world.

Carter Kinoy

Carter Kinoy

Peer Support Coordinator - South

Carter Kinoy joins Vermont Psychiatric Survivors as a Patient Representative. He himself is a Survivor of Mental Health services and brings lived experience of and passion for best practices in the treatment, and empowerment of Peers. Carter has deep roots in Vermont.

Carter is a graduate of Bellows Falls Union High School in Westminster. He has a deep interest in Sociology and a strong commitment to both social and racial justice that stems from his own life experiences and from his family’s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Grace Walter

Grace Walter

Peer Support Coordinator - North

Grace Walter joins Vermont Psychiatric Survivors as a Patient Representative. Born and raised in Connecticut, Grace graduated from Newtown High School and then found her way to Vermont for college.

Grace discovered her interest in working with non-profits when she volunteered with Gun Sense Vermont to advocate for common sense gun laws. Grace holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont.

She is passionate about advocacy for a number of social, racial and environmental issues, but is especially passionate about reforming the mental health system. Mental health strikes as a personal issue, and Grace feels fulfilled helping others struggling. In order to prioritize healing Grace takes refuge in the things that make her happy, like being outdoors in beautiful Vermont, practicing painting and drawing, and listening to music.

Grace enjoys traveling, and spent a month in Florence, Italy exploring and learning about the culture.

Amy Wales

Amy Wales

Peer Recovery Specialist

Amy Wales is a Peer Recovery Specialist with Vermont Psychiatric Survivors (VPS). In that capacity, she works at Second Spring, a residential step-down facility located in Williamstown, Vermont.

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.

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