Alandra Morin, Director of Day Support Activities
Alandra Morin was born and raised in the Eugene/Springfield area. She gained interest in the field of developmental disabilities at a early age in order to better understand her younger brother who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
She worked as a caregiver and personal support worker for 6+ year mostly assisting physically disabled individuals in their homes. She found that this work while fulfilling was not quite her final career goal. She felt that her future career would involve “helping others to help themselves” rather than individuals becoming more dependent on supports over time. With this idea in mind she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Oregon. She gained employment with Mentor Oregon Mid Valley Brokerage as a Personal Agent providing case management services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Lane County. Although she found this work fulfilling, she also saw large gaps in the supports being provided and many of the wants and needs of the customers, families, related agencies and case managers were going unmet. She met others who shared her concerns and had passion for the idea that there are better ways to inspire and motivate others to grow and learn to be more independent. This is how Allies, LLC was born.
Alandra is open to learning new things and enjoys creative and self improvement activities. She is interested in video games, anime, graphic novels, web design, creating functional resources, organizing, drawing, swimming and listening to audiobooks.
Ericka Rhodes, Director of Attendant Care
Ericka was raised and lived most of her life in the beautiful hills of West Virginia. She moved to Eugene with her husband, two children, and golden retriever in June 2014 to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in the Pacific Northwest. They have settled in nicely and recently bought a house to begin spreading their roots here. She loves exploring Oregon with her family on the weekends. She is passionate about homeschooling her children, volunteerism, and living a healthy and active lifestyle. Ericka has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Science in Special Education with a certification in Autism from West Virginia University. She volunteered as a coach for Special Olympics for 18 years. Ericka has worked in several different areas within the field of Exceptionalities. She worked as a Direst Service Provider in a group home as well as in individual homes, as a Service Coordinator, a Behavior Analyst, and most recently, as a Personal Agent at Mentor Oregon. She worked for the Mentor Network for 10 years, spanning WV and OR. Ericka is candid, quick to laugh, and happy that she has found her forever home in Oregon and with Allies, LLC.
Stephen Dawson, Allies Educator
Stephen Dawson escaped from Missouri and Kansas where he received his B.A. in Secondary Education and his M.S.Ed. in Transition and Career Development with a minor in Behavior Analysis. He has over twenty years’ experience working with adults/youth with intellectual, developmental, and behavioral challenges. Stephen has worked in the public school system (as a behavioral consultant, autism teacher, and behavior intervention specialist) and with adult service agencies (program director, behavior consultant/analyst). In addition, he completed the year-long training for creating positive behavior individual supports and has several years experience as a case manager with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as co-occurring disorders.
His hobbies include watching movies, terrorizing his cat and partner in life, sleeping, and working with other people. Stephen moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 and does not intend to move back to the Midwest any time soon.
Tiffany Brown, Self Expressions Program Coordinator
Hello! My name is Tiffany Brown. I am the Self-Expressions Program Coordinator. I love being a part of the Allies community and team. I am lucky enough to have found my life's true passion and have spent the last 14 years working with, empowering and educating adults with different abilities/exceptionalities. My work experience ranges from being a Direct Support Professional to Case Management. I am a native Oregonian, born and raised in the beautiful community of Eugene. I love to be an active member of the local community, hiking with my dog and spending time with my friends and family.
Heather Stewart, Office Manager/Provider
Heather is a Minnesota native who has found that her heart lives in Eugene. She returns to Allies (fun fact: Heather was one of the founding members of Allies!) with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and several years of experience as a case manager and job coach. Heather brings a nurturing spirit, a dry sense of humor, and an easy-going and non-judgmental attitude. Outside of work, Heather spends her time adventuring in nature, building mobiles out of driftwood, thrift shopping, dabbling in all manner of textile arts, and doting on her cat.
Dan Barker, Allies Provider
Dan joined the Allies team in July, 2017. He was born and raised locally in Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from North Eugene High school, he moved to southern Iowa with his sister to begin college. Upon returning to the Pacific Northwest, he finished college last summer at Portland State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management. Dan has over 22 years’ experience in various customer service roles and has always put the needs of his customers and clientele ahead of his own. Dan works with Allies because he loves helping exceptional people live better, get around better, and finds joy in seeing people reach their full potential.
Dan loves all that the Pacific Northwest and the great outdoors has to offer! In his spare time, he loves going camping, fishing, downhill skiing, exploring new places, trying new things, and strives to make each day a little better. Recently, he moved back to Eugene from downtown Portland and enjoys his new home with his girlfriend, their two kids, cat, dog, and 3 turtles!
Get in touch with Dan, today, he is sure to inspire you to thrive!
Myka Bitterman, Allies Provider
Myka was born in Salem, Oregon and raised in Texas and Oregon. She began showing interest in the developmental disability field at a very early age, when she began volunteering with Special Olympics of Oregon and Camp Shriver through the Y.M.C.A. She has been a volunteer and coach for Special Olympics for over 15 years now.
She went to the University of Oregon, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Special Education and studied African Studies, with a focus on East Africa and the Swahili language (2 years). Myka speaks Spanish and English fluently and French conversationally. She has traveled to more than 10 countries, almost all independently and for a month or longer. During her undergraduate career, she continued volunteering for Special Olympics of Oregon in Eugene and interned at The Relief Nursery, while maintaining 4 jobs and attending school full-time. After graduating in 2014, she worked for WomenSpace and was the Bilingual Co-located Advocate for Child Welfare for a year. Then she worked as the Bilingual Office Manager for Buena Vista Elementary and El Camino Elementary schools for over two years. After that, she worked as the Bilingual Personal Agent for Mentor Oregon Mid- Valley Brokerage and now, she works as a provider at Allies, LLC. part-time and manages her own small business as a Nail Technician at Bellissimo Beauty Lounge, part-time. Myka has a lot of experience working with both children and adults of all abilities.
Myka finds it important for individuals to discover themselves, their likes and desires, and goals. Myka is very goal oriented and enjoys creating plans for success. She works with individuals to explore potential goals and then works with them to create a realistic plan to make their goals into a reality, encouraging as much independence as possible. She is driven and motivated to help all those around her succeed in their endeavors. She is patient and always tries to find several ways of teaching that will work for everyone. She's flexible and easy-going, with a huge heart!
Myka is open to learning and exploring new activities. She lives an active and healthy lifestyle. She enjoys hiking, indoor bouldering, camping, fishing, arts/crafts, sewing, nail art, cooking, baking, bicycling, dancing, learning new languages, spending quality time with her family, and exploring culture & arts. Myka even teaches a sewing group alongside Joanna at Allies on Thursdays from 10am-12pm called "It's Sew On"!
Matt Bonham, Allies Provider
Matt comes to Allies with over 18 years experience supporting individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. He has worked in residential, supported living and vocational settings for Alvord-Taylor Independent living services, Alternative Services, inc. and at The Pearl Buck Center.
A Eugene native, Matt grew up with a love for the outdoors and especially enjoys hiking in the mountains and exploring both the desert and coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest.
Matt has been active in local community theater for over 40 years and has performed with The Very Little Theater, Actor's Cabaret of Eugene, Oregon Repertory Theater, University Theater, Trial by Fire and with Roving Park Players. He has also appeared at The Hult Center and venues in Houston, Texas and Denver, Colorado.
Matt is excited to merge his various passions in a holistic environment to empower each individual to find and express their life's story, or truth in a safe, supportive theatrical setting. Through theater exercises and games, improvisation, movement and speech, Matt believes the power of performance enables everyone, performer and non-performer alike to gain confidence, self empowerment and better connection with their own selves and others around them.
Chasten Bugge, Allies Provider
Chasten is a Pacific Northwest native who moved to Eugene from Portland to study human physiology and anthropology at the University of Oregon. She loves any outdoor recreation in which she can bring her energetic dog along (camping is their ultimate favorite.) Her work experience includes several years of volunteerism at the Oregon Health and Sciences University and Children’s Hospital as well as over 5 years of customer service oriented positions. Having had physical limitations since birth, Chasten has strong a belief in the power of individual narratives and the ability to create the lives that we want to live in. She loves music of all genres, reading and writing, laughing, and spending time with her family and friends.
Ryan Erickson, Allies Provider
Ryan Erickson is a big-hearted, fun loving person who has lived in Oregon since 2017. Ryan has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, where he lived for 12 years. Ryan loves learning and has about 101 hobbies like art, extreme sports, anime, music, social justice, languages, gardening, and looking for interesting things that grow in the forest. He also loves bird watching so much he started a group for it. Ryan’s focus with providing attendant care is self determination, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and non-judgment. He strongly believes in making sure people know their rights and get to live life the way they want to live while being aware of how to be healthy and safe.
Melissa Fleeman, Allies Provider
A little about myself…
My family dynamics are unique, as my younger brother is on the Autism spectrum. My very first learning instincts were to protect my brother and yet treat him as his own individual.
As I grew into my own individual and began a family, I knew my compassion could go further. In 2013 I graduated from Lane Community College with an associates degree in social science.
As I began interning and working in the social science field, again I knew there was more in life than working behind an office desk.
As I began searching for something more, I found my calling. Being a personal support worker (PSW) or direct support person. I was able to be flexible in my family's needs and able to share my compassion with others who need support emotionally and socially.
Within my experience of being a PSW, the main advice I can give others is to be patient, empathic and flexible and to have a diverse background. Also to not only gain a relationship with the individuals with whom we work but the entire family who also supports the individual as well–the community to which they belong to.
Jessica Hutchinson, Allies Provider
Jessica is a native Oregonian born and raised in Clackamas County where she lived and worked until August of 2015. Jessica and her family dissolved their decade old cleaning company to move to Lane County where Jessica found her true calling and passion working as a paid support worker assisting and working with some of the most pure and wonderful people on Earth. Jessica enjoys exploring the great outdoors, foraging for wild edible fungi including the elusive Oregon Truffle with her trained truffle dog, fishing, hiking, camping and various other outdoor adventures. I love taking people out into the community to volunteer, play, have fun and be involved in our community in a plethora of countless ways. I couldn’t imagine being more happy in my career doing anything else.
Kyle JOhnson, Allies Provider
Kyle was born in Missouri and raised in the Minnesota. He started serving people with intellectual disabilities and other exceptionalities during his 1st year of college in 1990, and continued for 12 years while earning a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota and while serving as an Educational Assistant with elementary and middle school aged students. He has worked in large group homes, small residential settings, and individual homes with a diverse number of people owning a wide range of exceptionalities. Clients as young as 11 years old to as advanced as 95 have taught him about living with grace and determination, the power of perseverance, and how each person is able to grow within the scope their own unique set of gifts, skills, abilities, and knowledge from living their lives. Working with these exceptional people has brought about a belief in Kyle that everyone, no matter their condition and position in life, is capable of growth and taking personal control in that life process.
Later, Kyle continued on to graduate school at the University of St. Thomas, and Hamline University Graduate Schools of Education in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. He went into elementary and secondary education, working as an ESL and English teacher for 14 years. Being an educator instilled in Kyle a love of teaching and learning of the countless facets of human nature: the cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual parts of those he serves. He feels that by having grown up and worked in the educational system, his awareness of the human condition has broadened in ways that he hopes will allow him to serve and benefit people in exciting and valuable new ways.
Kyle and his wife, also an educator, moved to Oregon in the late summer of 2016, both on extended leave from teaching, in search of ways that would forward their visions of serving people in new and relevant ways. Upon finding Allies, LLC he recognized a community of people who appear to value, like he did, the whole person and provide for them as such. He was very fortunate to join the Allies team on December 11th, 2017 as a Provider.
Kyle’s personal interests and hobbies include bookbinding, printmaking, painting, and drawing. He and his wife are involved in the tiny house movement. He loves to be in nature, and seeks to learn as much from it as possible. He enjoys cooking, sharing meals, and growing food using Earth sustaining, and healthy approaches.
Ben Luskin, Allies Provider
Ben was raised alongside an older brother on the autism spectrum and spent much of his childhood accompanying him to bowling games and pool parties. When he was 13, he sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and began a life of recovery. Not willing to take no for an answer, he graduated from high school with honors, received a Bachelor’s degree in religious studies, a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, became certified as a professional Life Coach, and entered his community as a strong advocate for empowerment. His resume includes work in a variety of environments and capacities with both the mental health and developmental disability populations. In addition to his work with Allies, LLC., he currently runs a private Counseling and Life Coaching practice: Launch Empowerment Mentoring (launchmentor.com), as well as contracts his services through the local center for independent living (LILA). As a life-long student of martial arts, Ben promotes self-discipline and responsibility as means for achieving self-acceptance, personal appreciation, and ultimately transformation. He prides himself in his ability to instill in others a desire to exceed their expectations.
Jessica Marsh, Allies Provider
Jessica Marsh grew up in Brush Prairie, WA and moved to Eugene Oregon in 2001. She has two grown daughters one of which is on the Spectrum. She has worked as a one on one aid for children on the spectrum at the University of Oregon for 10 years then moved into providing support’s for teens and adults for the past 5 years. She has two dogs and three cats. She enjoys working out, hiking, walking on the beach, backpacking, bowling and painting rocks.
Kara Martin, Allies Provider
Hello! My name is Kara. I grew up in Southern Washington and moved to Eugene for college! I graduated from University of Oregon in 2017 with a bachelors in Psychology and Spanish. I also studied abroad in Queretaro, Mexico, where I was immersed in Mexican culture and lived with a host family. I fell in love with Eugene and decided to stay here to pursue my career in the social work field. For the past year, I have worked with youth in residential programs to provide skill building and coach healthy ways for coping. I have decided to branch out from this and continue helping others from different populations. I am excited to be a provider for Allies as I am passionate about making myself be a service to others in any way possible. I am so excited for this opportunity and look forward to meeting new people.
For more about myself, I have been a vegetarian for almost 7 years and I am a huge animal lover. I have an almost-two-year old Shih Tzu puppy named Remi, who is basically my child. I love taking her for walks around Eugene. Some of my favorite outdoor activities include walking in the park, skiing, hiking, camping, and going to the coast, to name a few. I enjoy exploring Oregon and all that it has to offer. I also like going to musical concerts and traveling the world.
GOdwin Nwando, Allies Provider
Godwin was born and raised in the city of San Diego, California. He moved to Eugene in 2010 in order to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Human Physiology and the best school in the world, University of Oregon. Since then his mother and uncle have moved here and has made Eugene his home. Godwin enjoys sports, exercise, reading, dancing and having a lot of fun. All his adult life, he has served from working in the military from 2011 to currently and has worked as a Homecare Worker for Senior Disabled and a Personal Agent at Mentor Oregon. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public Policy and has a Master’s in Public Health. His ambitions is only matched by his amazing laugh which unfortunately, everyone in the office will probably hear!
JOanna Srigley, Allies Provider
Joanna joined the Allies team in August of 2017 as a provider. She was born and raised in Michigan and moved to Oregon in 1999 after spending seven years living on Guam.
Joanna graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in Education. While living on Guam, Joanna earned her Master's degree in ESL (English as a Second Language). During her time living there, she had multiple opportunities to travel to Asia as well as the culturally diverse islands near Guam.
Joanna’s background includes over 20 years as an educator, as well as positions as a women's varsity soccer coach, director of a health/wellness expo, and co-founder of a small business.
While most of her career has been in education, Joanna has always had a strong passion for working with those with exceptionalities. In addition to her teaching work, she has been working as a PSW for the past year.
Joanna considers herself a life-long learner and spends a great deal of time exploring new things and reading. She loves to travel and also enjoys taking advantage of the Oregon outdoors with interests that include boating, hiking, camping, mountain biking and simply hanging out in nature. She lives in Springfield with her beautiful teenage children, Marli and Tanner.
Joanna is excited to bring her diverse experiences and longtime passion for helping those with exceptionalities to benefit the Allies, LLC team and its clients.
Shaina Schumacher, Allies Provider
Shaina grew up riding horses and competing in national horse shows. With her love for animals, Shaina utilized volunteer opportunities to work with people and horses to facilitate personal development and has worked in equine-facilitated psychotherapy. Shaina now has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences, with an equine focus for human therapy. Working on her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Shaina plans to obtain her LPC in Oregon and open a private practice offering equine-facilitated psychotherapy.
Spencer Smith, Allies Provider
Spencer is well acquainted with I-5 as he was born in Eugene, raised in Portland and returned to Eugene for school and now works at the University of Oregon. Spencer loves Oregon and all the outdoor opportunity that living in Oregon brings. You will often find Spencer spending time with friends, hiking, playing frisbee, traveling, watching movies and at most Duck events! Go Ducks and Go Blazers!
Hannah Stebbins, Allies Provider
I might be a California girl but my heart is in Oregon and I moved there when I was 4 years old. I am a caring, sensitive person with a big heart who loves to help people. I enjoy the outdoors, traveling and working out and hiking, hanging out with friends and family. I went to school here - it was hard to fit in when going to school for a while and make friends since I had social anxiety but over the years I have overcome that.
I even bought my first place at 27 years old it will be 2 years this December. I never would have thought I would be able to do that on my own without help from my parents! That was big milestone for me to accomplish that. I love a good comedy, a great book, my family, the ocean and champagne!
Rosa Valenzuela, Allies Provider
I am a client-focused, energetic, professional caregiver. I have been providing care to individuals for the last 7 years. I have worked with people of all ages ranging from infancy to the elderly. I am familiar with feeding tubes, G-tubes, super pubic catheter sites care, extensive wound care, and CPR. I also have great knowledge when it comes to local resources available in the area such as low income housing opportunities, food pantries, clothing closets, and vouchers for household items.