Choices For Life – Georgia
Meet Our Staff
My staff and I are proud to play a much needed role in helping children in the Therapeutic Foster Care system reach their goal of adoption or reunification. The growing need in this area of specialized care cannot be ignored and it is our goal to find a healthy home for each and every one of these children under our care. I have a great team of trainers and counselors, and I trust in their ability to serve our dedicated Treatment Parent Specialists and children.
Sara Riley, MS, LPC
Sara has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2009. Sara attended Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, where she received her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. Sara is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia, a Nationally Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Masters Addiction Counselor, Board Certified TeleMental Health Provider and a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS). She has obtained extensive clinical, assessment and forensic experience while serving a multitude of culturally diverse populations for over 20 years. Sara has a passion for focusing on the needs of the community and working together to provide needed services through systemic collaborations.
Qualynn “Q” Wilson, a native of Chicago, Ill. (#1 Bears Fan!) and graduate of the University of Phoenix, comes with over 10 years of executive administrative experience and knowledge. She is very passionate, caring and willing to provide excellent service(s) to the community and those that reside in it.
Statewide RBWO Trainer & Recruiter
Katorah is a graduate of Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has over 10 years of experience working with children in the community and residential settings. Katorah also has seven years of supervisory and managerial experience working with private and nonprofit agencies. She is excited to combine this experience and help Choices For Life of Georgia continue to meet standards and serve the children and families in the community.
Dusty began her career as an office manager with Choices For Life of Georgia in June 2018. She is a graduate of Wiregrass Technical College with HIMT/coding diploma. She is happily married with four children. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling and attending her children’s sports/school functions.
Mariann received Associate’s degrees in Accounting and Business Administration from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming in 2001. Since then she has worked off and on in the banking world. Mariann is currently working towards a diploma in Health Information Management at Wiregrass Technical College in Valdosta, Georgia. She has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since October 2016.
Dorrissa is a true country girl who is from the great state of South Carolina. She moved to Valdosta over five years ago and is happily married with a daughter. She is currently working towards her Associates in Applied Science for Optician (eye glass technician). She has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since December 2017. She focuses on making her surroundings reflect that of positivity and smiles and leads with the saying, “Attitudes are contagious, make sure yours is worth catching.”
Program Development Coordinator
Adrian is a native of Valdosta, Georgia. He graduated from Valdosta State University with Bachelor of Arts and from Grand Canyon University with a Master of Arts. He has provided over nine years of services within the community and five years with the Department of Family and Children Services in Georgia. He believes that a healthy community must be filled with healthy people, and further believes that healthy people make a stronger more sustainable community. He has been with Choices For Life since 2018.
Kellie is currently pursuing her degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology from Brandman University. She has been working with Choices For Life of Georgia as an intern and has loved the time that she gets to spend here. She has over 20 years of experience working with families, adults, children and special needs. She has a passion for helping people overcome obstacles, difficulties and making the most of themselves. Her goal is to form a positive and constructive relationship with her clients and their families. When not working with clients and their families, Kellie volunteers at a local animal rescue where she has a passion for saving animals, rehabilitating them and finding them a home.
Room Board and Watchful Oversight Staff
Family Consultant Supervisor
Vivian graduated from Valdosta State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology. She has provided over 10 years of services with helping families and children of Georgia. She believes to whom much is given, much is required. She truly understands that our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children. She’s been with Choices For Life of Georgia since July 2016.
Kimberly has been with Choices for Life of Georgia since 2008. She attended Valdosta State University where she received her Bachelor of Art in Sociology. She thoroughly enjoys working closely with children and families and feels she has made a lifelong commitment to helping families achieve success. Kimberly is rewarded by seeing the changes that can be made in the lives of a child through hard work and dedication.
Pam has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2009. She received a Master’s degree in Special Education – Mental Retardation/Early Intervention, Birth to Three Years in June 1997 from Valdosta State University. She has worked extensively with families and children who experience emotional behavioral problems, as well as special needs. Pam states, “I truly enjoy my job and look forward to coming to work every day.” Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
Andrea a graduate of Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthology. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work. She has been serving families and the community for the last four years with the Department of Family and Children Services. She enjoys advocating and providing support to children and families. She is excited to combine this experience to embark and embrace joy, positivity and prosperity with Choices For Life of Georgia. “Embrace the journey, with joy, prosperity and love.”
Ramada joined the Choices For Life of Georgia family in the Fall of 2018. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and came with ten years of child welfare experience. Ramada is actively involved in several community service organizations and prides herself in caring for and helping others. Ramada lives by the motto “service before self” and strives each day to make a difference in the lives of others.
Bio to come.
Outpatient Behavioral Health Staff
Mark has worked for over ten years in the human services field providing quality community service to children and families in South Georgia. Mark has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2012. He attended Valdosta State University where he received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Technical Studies. Mark also attended Liberty University where he graduated with his Master of Arts concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. He has an extensive background in supervision and administration of social service programs. He has worked as a Medicaid eligibility specialist, social service case manager, social service supervisor and program administrator for the state of Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services. Mark believes in providing consistent and quality services driven by the needs of the individual and family. “I truly enjoy helping others reach their goals.”
Brantley (William) Wheeler
Brantley Wheeler is a native to South Georgia. Brantley received his Bachelor’s of Arts in German from Georgia State University and his Master of Social Work degree from Valdosta State University. He is also an alumni of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program for Young Professionals. Brantley spent 12 months living in Germany and completed internships working with low income families. Brantley has been a member of our team since 2012. He has a passion to work with children and adolescents who have suffered abuse, trauma, loss and grief. “I never intended to work with children and adolescents when completing my Master’s degree. My concentration practicum placement was at an agency offering services to children and teenagers who have suffered physical and sexual abuse. My view of the world was quickly altered and I found a new calling in life. I quickly changed plans from working in adult mental health to becoming an advocate for those who had no voice.” Brantley enjoys time at the beach and traveling overseas. Future plans are to one day complete a PhD.
Leslie "Danielle" Davis
Danielle is a native of South Georgia. She attended Valdosta State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Psychology. Danielle has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2012 and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Danielle takes great pride in working with children and families in the community she has always known as home.
Christina was raised in Oklahoma and then moved to the South Georgia area. Christina graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2008 and Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2013 from Valdosta State University. She has worked with the state of Georgia for ten years providing a range of community mental health and crisis services to adults, families and children. She has recently worked as a therapist providing school-based mental health counseling. She is happily married with one child. Her passion is working with families and supporting them in overcoming life’s difficult moments.
Jana is a native of South Georgia. She attended Valdosta State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Masters of Social Work. Jana has worked with adults with developmental disabilities for seven years, children and families for nine years and four of those were with children and adults in crisis. Jana is trained in TF-CBT therapy and takes great pride in working with children and families. Her goal is to promote change within the family unit to prevent generational cycles and help children become strong, confident individuals.
Community Support Coordinator
Shayla graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Art with a mixed degree in Psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies. Shayla has been working with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2015 and trains staff members by helping them learn how to teach coping techniques and connecting clients to resources. She works to connect families with resources in the community, teach coping skills and apply behavioral modification within the home and school. Shayla helps build skills for families to use daily to reach progress within school and home.
With a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and previous experience as a lead educator for a family-focused nonprofit, Ayana is a passionate therapist who celebrates diversity by connecting with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Through her experiences, she has strengthened her ability to engage children, adolescents and entire families in ways that are positively meaningful. As a therapist, she utilizes a holistic approach to capture the experiences of the individuals and families she works with in order to empower them in all the areas of their lives. She strongly believes that working from a collaborative stance promotes the values and goals of those that she provides services to. She strives to foster renewed hope for the future by highlighting client strengths and resilience throughout treatment.
Bina graduated from Valdosta State University with a Master’s degree in School Counseling and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership. After 31 years of being a teacher, school counselor and assistant principal, Bina had always been concerned and involved with children and their emotional health in all of her roles in the school system. She has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2011 serving the needs of the children and families in our community.
Crystal is a native of Valdosta. She attended Valdosta State University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She received her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Thomas University and an Educational Specialist degree in Elementary Education from NOVA Southeastern University. She began her career as a child/adolescent therapist at Greenleaf Counseling Center. She also has experience providing in-home based wrap services for parents, children and families in the community. Crystal has a vibrant personality and she enjoys helping others.
Jaqueline Vallina is a Licensed Master of Social Work with a Master’s degree in both Social Work and Criminology from Florida State University. Jaqueline has experience with counseling children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. She specializes in the areas of depression, anxiety, self-harm, LGBT, substance abuse and incarceration. Jaqueline began counseling in 2010 at juvenile detention centers in Tallahassee, Fla., to assist youths with a history of delinquency. She also has experience with the Department of Children and Families where she investigated child abuse reports and later accepted a position as a Foster Care Counselor with the same organization. Jaqueline counseled foster families, as well as the youths in foster care, to provide support and assist in coping with change. When Jaqueline is not working, she enjoys reading, cooking, playing soccer and playing with her pets.
Jennifer has been a therapist with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2018. She received her BFA in Speech Communication (public relations) and Masters in Social Work from Valdosta State University. She is currently pursuing board certification/licensure with the State of Georgia and the ASWB. Her work and volunteer experiences include community development, community mental health, family preservation and foster care. Jennifer’s strength-based therapeutic perspective and system-oriented practice drives her passion to see children and adolescents, as well as their families, thrive. Her therapeutic mantra is to engage, equip and empower individuals and families. Jennifer most often employs cognitive and play therapy techniques. When not interacting with clients, she enjoys reading, hand lettering, photography, collecting pens, adventures and eating tacos with her family.
Jenny is a native to the Greater Lowndes County area. She obtained a Master’s degree from Valdosta State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program. She takes pride in having the opportunity to work alongside children and their families in discovering the knowledge and strength gained through life experiences. She views her opportunity to work with each family as a true honor.
Born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, Lydia moved to America to join her husband in 1998. She has two children. Lydia earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Valdosta State University. Lydia has 20 years of experience with teaching Social Studies in Ghana. She completed a one-year internship with LODAC as a school therapist with kids and adolescents, and another year with PruittHealth Hospice. Lydia has experience working with the Methodist Home for Youth and Children. She is currently pursuing board certification/licensure with the State of Georgia and the ASWB. When not working, Lydia enjoys cooking, hanging out with family and friends, boards games and movies. Lydia’s passion is to see children and adolescents make the best of whatever situation they may be in, thrusting themselves to attain better heights in life.
Monica is the school counselor for Berrien Elementary School. She received her National Certification in Counseling in 2013 and her State License in Counseling in 2014. She has enjoyed helping and seeing smiles on other people’s faces for over twenty years. Monica recently joined Choices For Life of Georgia as a part-time therapist/assessor. She is excited to be a part of a wonderful team and looks forward to the experience in her role. Monica’s purpose as a counselor/therapist is to assist in overcoming barriers in order to become healthier socially, emotionally and cognitively.
Stacie is a native of South Georgia. She holds a BA in Sociology and is currently finishing up her Masters in Social Work from Valdosta State University. Stacie began her career in 2009 working with adults suffering from severe and persistent mental illness. More recently, she has gained experience working with children, teenagers and families dealing with the effects of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. “After working directly with children who have been victims of abuse for almost a year, I can say I have become very passionate in my work with individuals suffering from the effects of trauma. I am constantly trying to expand on my knowledge in regard to trauma and how it affects the mind and body.” Stacie will soon begin working towards becoming certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy.
Ashli received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in May 2003 from Valdosta State University. She has worked as a contractor through DFCS doing wrap-around and homestead services, visiting clients (adults, adolescents and children) in their homes to provide Parent Aide services for a variety of life issues including educating individuals about appropriate parenting practices, and supervision of parent/child visitation for the last eight years. Ashli has completed CCFAs in addition to parental and adolescent fitness assessments. Ashli has been working as a paraprofessional for Choices For Life of Georgia focusing on the children and adolescents, addressing skill building, behavioral management and adaptive functioning skills since 2009. Ashli works closely with community partners to help develop and link youth and families to additional services, programs, and/or collaborative and natural supports that will assist children and families in our community.
Caitlyn is originally from Brooklyn, New York, raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Valdosta State University and is currently working to obtain a Master’s degree in Social Work.
Megan obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in August 2018 from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She completed an internship with Lowndes County DFCS participating in child welfare investigations, which involved home visits, providing assistance to families in need of services from the community, ensuring safety of children within the home, as well as securing stability within the family unit. She also completed an internship with the Lowndes County Schools where she assisted school officials in ensuring children receive the best education possible and families receive any needed services from the community that would aid in the child’s experiences while at school. Megan spent over ten years volunteering at Jacob’s Ladder Therapeutic Riding Center, where she worked directly with children with special needs. Megan has a passion for animals and has spent most of her adult life involved in animal rescue. She was born and predominately raised in Valdosta.
Riahna received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in December 2016 from Valdosta State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at Valdosta State University. She has worked with children of all ages most of her life. Riahna started at Choices For Life of Georgia as an intern in September 2018 and as a Paraprofessional/CSI (Community Support Individual) in February 2019. She provides skills, techniques and coping mechanisms to children and adolescents. Riahna addresses a multitude of behavioral health problems and provides resources for children and adolescents. The ultimate goal for Riahna is to start a nonprofit organization for children with special needs.
Shana enjoys helping families reach their goals in promoting growth in their lives. Her grandparents have been an active part in her desire to work with families, as they are foster parents themselves. Shana desires to care for her clients as her grandparents care for their foster children – with care and determination to help them move toward a bright future.
Tosha is from Crestview Florida, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Tosha has been a resident of Valdosta, Georgia, for nine years and been with Choices For Life of Georgia since July 2017. While being married and raising her children in the Lowndes County school system, Tosha remains focused on helping families and children by preparing them for tomorrow by doing their best today. Tosha continues to seek helpful information, tools, resources, skills and support to all families in need in her community.
Psychiatric and Nursing
Nitin Patel, MD
Dr. Patel has over 25 years working in adult and child psychiatry and is Board Certified with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She has been with Choices For Life of Georgia since 2011. Dr. Patel provides psychiatric evaluations, assessments and medication management to children and youth during after-hours clinics held at the office.
Bio to come.
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Choices For Life of Georgia