Board of Directors
Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Islandia, New York
Lisa Gatti grew up on Long Island, attended Mary Washington College in Virginia and St. Joseph’s College in NY, where she was granted a BS degree with dual certification in elementary and special education and a minor in psychology. Lisa received an additional Associates Degree in Regional Stewardship and has supplemented her education with several certificate programs in grant writing, non- profit management, sign language and applied behavioral analysis. As a teacher, Lisa gravitated towards “at-risk” teens and found, during her time teaching, that experiential learning was most effective for her populations. She founded Pal-O-Mine Equestrian in 1995, which is a comprehensive multi-faceted not for profit equine program that includes hippotherapy, therapeutic and competitive equestrian riding, a transitional work-study program and EAGALA model EAP and EAL programs.
Lisa was chosen as the US Team Leader for the Equestrian in the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. and Sydney, Australia. She served as the National Sports Technical Officer for Equestrian under the auspices of the US Cerebral Palsy Athletic Association from 1997-2000. Since 1996, Lisa has organized and managed the Long Island Invitational Horse Show, allowing local and national riders with disabilities to compete against their able-bodied peers. In creating Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Lisa, along with her staff and volunteers, have been able to touch the lives of many and are committed to and successful at improving the quality of life on Long Island for those individuals with disabilities.
Marian Heyink, LISW-S, JD
Achievement Centers for Children, Cleveland, Ohio
Marian got her B.A. in Social Work from Cleveland State University, and a Masters in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. She received a Juris Doctor from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. Marian is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with a Supervision designation, and a licensed attorney in the State of Ohio. She has over twenty years of hospital social work experience, with 15 of those years providing services in the Medical Emergency Room and the Psychiatric Emergency Room of an inner city hospital. During that time, she also served as the advisor to the Cleveland Emergency Medical Services Peer Support program. She worked in the field of Corporate Compliance at Cleveland Clinic Health Care Ventures. Marian worked for Catholic Charities Health and Human Services in the Diocese of Cleveland for over ten years. She started as the Assistant Director of a residential treatment center, then moved to the position of Director of Public Policy. She then transitioned to the position of Attorney in the Department of Migration and Refugee Services. Marian currently works for the Achievement Center for Children's Camp Cheerful in the Therapeutic Horsemanship program.
Marian is EAGALA Certified and both a mental health professional and an equine specialist. She is also a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor. Marian and her husband Mark Milam live in Seven Hills, Ohio with their two crazy canines, Abby and Charlie McFarley.
Mark Casagrande, MA, LADC
Park Avenue Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mark is the Owner and Executive Director of Park Avenue Center, a Minneapolis based gender-specific residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment program serving mostly poor inner-city clients, the majority of which are court-ordered. Programs include fully integrated Co-occurring Disorders programs, Primary Programs, Relapse Prevention programs, Drug Court Programs, DWI Court programs, and DWI Educational programs. In 2005, Park Avenue Center began utilizing the EAGALA model five days a week for clients in the residencies. With approximately 125 staff, Park offers 115 beds while serving around 250 clients that are in primary treatment with more than 300 clients in Aftercare.
Having been in recovery since 1986, Mark has been very active in the field of substance abuse since 1994 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Minnesota’s substance abuse trade organization. In addition, Mark has participated in rewriting Minnesota’s substance abuse licensing rules for both agencies and individual counselors, regularly lobbied and educated state legislators, and implemented evidence-based strategies. Mark has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services, is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and has a BS in Marketing. Mark has been married to his wife Linda since 1992 and lives in a suburb of St. Paul, MN with their two children, Abbey and Sam.
Alan Stover, MMin, MBA
Mark Wood, PG cert Health Sciences (CAMH), PGC Teaching and Learning, Bphil(ed) Community and Youth work, Dip HE Community and Youth Work
Helena has loved horses since she was old enough to point and smile at them. Starting her riding career in pony club she determined she had enough “Thelwell moments” and it was time to switch gears. She rode all around (english and western) for ten years and was state champion several times in different classes. In her twenties, she started riding dressage and has competed through Prix St. George. Now she has a two draft mares that work as therapy horses by day and jousters by night? Helena hopes any way...stay tuned.
Ricardo (Ric) A. Jerez, Ph.D., Licensed Professional Counselor
Open Arms Behavioral Health, LLC, Lawton, Oklahoma
Ric is a naturalized, bi-lingual immigrant from Cuba raised in Queens, New York. In his thoughts and memories of childhood, he can’t remember a time that horses were not involved in his life. His very first job at the age of 15 was as a stable hand at Belmont Park in New York. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1977 to 1985 and was medically/honorably discharged. While in the Marine Corps, he was trained as a Field Artilleryman and taught at the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill Oklahoma. He is a recipient of the Saint Barbara Medal (Exemplary Field Artilleryman) and the Navy Achievement Medal. He is a 100% disabled veteran.
After discharge, he worked as a land surveyor for several years, and in 1989 he started preaching for the Church of Christ in Temple, Oklahoma where he preached for over 20 years. In 1991, he went back to school and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Family Science, a Master's Degree in Behavioral Sciences and earned a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology in 1999 after which he started doing private practice work and joined the faculty of Cameron University. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology where he’s taught counseling and marriage and family courses at the graduate level for fifteen years and currently teaches Family Relations. In 2006, he established Open Arms Behavioral Health, LLC, a CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited outpatient mental health clinic which provides approximately 175 hours of mental health services for people of all ages to the Lawton-Fort Sill, Oklahoma area per week, and includes EAGALA Model EAP since his EAGALA Certification in 2013.