G.A.P. Advisory Council
Originally from New England, I relocated to Ohio 28 years ago after living in the UK and France for over a decade. In my “previous life”, I was an educator and special program administrator working with students from kindergarten to college for over 20 years. My involvement with behavioral health began in 2000 when I served as a Family Representative on the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board as an ODADAS appointee.
In 2002, I completed education in substance abuse counseling at UC, and worked first at River City Correction Center and then at Clermont Recovery Center before finally finding my “real home” in Prevention in 2009. For over 11 years I supervised the Prevention team at Solutions Community Counseling and Recovery Centers that provided early childhood mental health and school/community-based services in Clinton and Warren Counties.
In July 2020, I joined Talbert House to establish a new prevention program for Clinton and Warren Counties providing both community and school-based services in new and innovative ways. I am passionate about prevention’s role in creating healthy individuals and safe communities where people of all ages can thrive. I believe it is important to strengthen protective factors for individuals of all ages and develop the conditions that empower individuals and communities to tackle challenges and bounce back from adversity. Achieving collective community impact encompasses what prevention truly is to me and I embrace opportunities to collaborate with community partners. Lastly, I serve on the Prevention Committee of the OCDP Board.
- Certified Ohio Prevention Specialist
- Certified, PRIME for Life Instructor
- Certified QPR Instructor– Question, Persuade, & Refer Suicide Prevention
- Gatekeeper Instructor
- Certified PAX Tools Community Educator
- Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II
Awards: ADAPAO Community Champion, 2015; Phi Beta Kappa
Education: BA, Williams College; MA, Boston University, Professional Certificate in Addiction Studies, University of Cincinnati
Garza received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English from the University of Toledo. She is a Licensed Social Worker, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III with GAMB Endorsement, Certified Prevention Consultant, and Tobacco Treatment Specialist in the State of Ohio.
She is the Prevention Services Coordinator at the Zepf Center in Toledo where she is developing a prevention program for the agency including problem gambling prevention services, holistic wellness programs, PAWS (Pet Assisted Wellness Services), and a Northwest Ohio Regional Behavior-Based Addiction & Wellness Network. She also provides trainings in Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid and is an adjunct instructor for Owens Community College. Kelly is privileged to be a Board member for the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio as well as a 2021 Graduate of The Ohio Gambling Treatment Fellowship Program.
Kelly’s career spans over 25 years and has focused on working with at-risk adolescents with mental health and substance abuse issues. While working in the social service field, she created, implemented, and facilitated several programs, including a Life Skills and art curriculum at a detention center, pet-assisted therapy, and canine-assisted learning programs, and has taught hundreds of Life Skills classes. Kelly is a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Workers and is the recipient of a Senatorial Citation from Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor for her work with her therapy dogs with abuse victims.
Kelly lives in a rural area in Pemberville with her husband of 23 years. Her son is working on his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at The University of Findlay, and her daughter is self-employed as a pet sitter. Kelly spends her free time with her husband, children, and pets, enjoys being in nature, walking in the woods behind her home, riding her bike in the summer, and reading. She is currently training her two puppies to become certified therapy dogs.
A Stark County resident, Shelly is the co-founder of Hope United. She earned her Associate Degree in Science from The University of Akron, and Certificate as a Radiology Technician. She also became certified as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist and has 28 years of experience working in the healthcare field as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at Aultman Hospital.
She recently obtained a Certificate as a Chemical Dependency Counseling Assistant. Shelly is the co-leader of The Well Grief Support Group for Hope United. Along with a few volunteer leaders, Shelly began a support group for families who have a loved one in active addiction called Loving With Grace in 2021. She has attended CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) Training, Botvin Life Skills, Mental Health First Aid, as well as attended many other trainings, conferences, and seminars on addiction, mental health, and the opioid epidemic. Shelly is a graduate of Gorski-Cenaps Relapse Prevention Training and has completed both the CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery) and OMHAS Certified Peer Recovery Supporter Training. She is also certified as an Ohio Certified Peer Supporter. She is a member of the Summit County Addiction Leadership Council with United Way, Prevention Action Alliance – G.A.P. Advisory Council, and a member of both the Summit and Stark County Addiction Task Forces.
Shelly attended an intensive four-day training in October 2021 to become certified in Compassionate Bereavement Care through the Center for Loss and Trauma in partnership with the MISS Foundation and the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Family Trust. She has volunteered her time through the years at Rahab Ministries in Summit and Stark Counties and the Deliverance House in Stark County.
Ellen grew up in Bexley, Ohio, and graduated from California State University, in 1981, with a degree in social work. She worked as the assistant director of admissions at Ohio Dominican College (now Ohio Dominican University) and later as an independent contractor for International Professional Relations from 2001-2015, working with international ex-pats. In addition, she worked part-time as an outside merchandiser for Macy’s from 2007-2011. Ellen met her husband, Paul, in college and they married in 1980. Her greatest joy was being a mother to their two boys Myles and Matt. Sadly, in 2012, Matt passed away from an overdose, only one day out of rehab. At that time, she and Paul determined not to let Matt’s passing be in vain and began to educate others and advocate about opiate addiction. This was still in the very early stages of the storm that was about to hit our country with opiate-related deaths. As time progressed, Ellen’s interests additionally turned to helping other grieving families deal with complicated loss.
She has spoken at multiple events including Bexley Town Hall Meeting held at Capital University, City of Worthington “Community Conversation” at McConnell Arts Center, Statewide superintendents meeting, Toledo NAMI mental health conference, Ohio 2016 Opiate Conference, Ohio’s Recovery Conference, Madeira High School Parent Night, Ohio State Bar Association, Hilliard Community Call to Action, Youth to Youth conference, round table talks put on by Franklin County Coroner, Funeral Directors Association of Central Ohio, Bexley High School student assembly, and to classes at Arlington High School. As a member of the Changemakers committee with Bexley- Whitehall Rotary, she helped plan a community event at Columbus School for Girls and presented on a parent panel.
Ellen was interviewed along with Paul and Dr. Sharon Parsons for a segment on CBS Sunday Morning for a national story on pharmaceutical companies and the personal fallout with opiates. Airdate 2-25-18. Matt’s story was featured in the bestselling book Dreamland by Sam Quinones.
Ellen has served on the G.A.P. Network advisory committee and has helped plan multiple conferences. She currently serves on the Prevention Action Alliance Board of Directors. In addition, she is on the TAP United planning committee for Survivors of Loss Therapeutic Support group with licensed counselors. She is also involved in the TAP United More Than A Number has been on the planning committee for the yearly event. She wrote and presented a skit to help other grieving parents at More Than A Number and parts of it were used in a recent local news show. Ellen facilitated a grief group that was put on hold in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
CompDrug recognized Ellen and her husband with the 2021 Champion of Addiction Prevention and Treatment Award.
Andi has lived all over the continental U.S. and is proud to have finally settled in Central Ohio. Her foundational belief is that people are not broken, but rather that they are in need of support and healing. Andi is a systems oriented therapist who works with the whole person to develop a personalized approach to treatment. Her clients appreciate her tailored approach and resources, as well as a range of options for treatment including horticultural therapy.
Andi’s therapeutic experience includes trauma, OCD, ADHD, neurodivergence, intimacy, relationship issues including affairs, gender and identity expression, LGBTQIA+ clients, life transitions, and assisting people in improving their relationship with themselves. She also offers community based horticultural therapy programs throughout the year. She is a dual licensed marriage and family therapist in both Indiana and Ohio, with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University. Andi offers services full time through Holistic Consultation in Columbus and through teletherapy.