Ampersand Families strives to be the employer of choice for extraordinary professionals who are committed to helping develop innovative and effective approaches to achieving and supporting permanency for older youth.

 

Michelle Chalmers

Michelle is passionate about the need for system reform and the essential role that young people can take in leading child welfare to more effective, youth and family-focused strategies.

Al Willig

Al was a founding board member of Ampersand Families and is thrilled to now be a part of the staff as the Finance and Operations Director. Prior to joining our staff, he was the Director of Finance & Operations for 19 years at the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery; a shelter for children at risk of abuse and neglect.

Danielle Brown

Danielle has received her BA in Sociology and is currently working towards her Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy. Danielle is honored to be a part of the Ampersand family.  She is ready to dedicate her time & share her skills and experiences with the many families who choose Ampersand to be a part their journey into parenthood, in addition to, the youth that are in search for their ‘forever home.’

Misty Coonce

Misty has worked in the adoption field since 2009. Although she has worked across many programs (domestic infant, international, and foster care adoption), supporting youth in foster care and their families is her true passion. Misty is ecstatic to be part of the Ampersand Families team. She brings personal experience as an adoptee from the Minnesota foster care system.

Mandi Coppess

Mandi comes to us as a third culture kid who spent most of her formative years overseas among a myriad of cultures. She is honored to be joining a team that is so full of diversity and unified in our passion to connect youth to permanency and stability. Mandi has a heart for those who struggle to find a sense of belonging. She is inspired by those who take up space in the world and desires to bring self-empowerment and a sense of dignity and hope to youth who are lacking the confidence to define and live as their truest selves.

Stacy Gehringer

Stacy is excited about Ampersand’s unique commitment to youth and families. She is blown away by the staff’s passion to ensure permanency and continuously support families through thick and thin.

Aubrey Haddican

Aubrey’s twin passions are teens and adoption. She loves the energy, crankiness, and self-determination of youth, and enjoys helping them envision, articulate, and adapt to what they believe adulthood is and should be. She believes that adoption is a life-long process that encompasses both joy and grief, and is inspired by the millions of individual ways families come together, define themselves, and create new homes.

Tori

Tori Hensley has worked as a Foster Care Licensor since 2016, working primarily with relative-kin families throughout the state of Minnesota. She is inspired by the commitment that relatives and kin have for keeping children and youth connected to their families, communities, and culture throughout the child protection process. She's extremely passionate about providing education, support, and advocacy to relative-kin families throughout the licensure process and ongoing.

Perry Huff

Perry comes to Ampersand Families with a fresh perspective on waiting teens, adoption, and child welfare. Over the past few years, Perry has had the privilege of working with youth and adolescents primarily in school settings, and he has grown to love working with youth who have emotional, behavioral, and academic needs.

Marina Llanas

Marina joins the Ampersand Team with a background in Youth and Family dynamics. She specializes in the mind-body impact of trauma and brings her passion for building resilience within individuals and communities. She has had the joy of working alongside youth and families in various capacities, including Day Treatment programming and crisis family counseling. Marina is continually inspired by the creativity, playfulness, and inner strength of young people.

Vanessa Monahan-Rial

Vanessa holds a Master of Social Work from Augsburg University and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Since entering the field of social work, she has helped individuals experiencing homelessness find and maintain permanent housing, and has provided case management and treatment services to people with mental health diagnoses or experiencing mental health crises. Vanessa is passionate about advocating for individuals and families on both the individual and systems levels, and engages in public policy advocacy and social justice work whenever she can.

Renee Banas

Renee has a background in education and has worked with many diverse clients at several Twin Cities non-profits. She is thrilled to continue her work with an organization that supports children and families.

Matt

Matt joined Ampersand Families to manage the Minnesota Heart Gallery.   He brings over 14 years of professional photography experience to Ampersand Families, and the Minnesota Heart Gallery.    He has been featured in Magazines, and galleries around the United States and is an active member in the Arts community with in the Twin Cities.   Matt brings a unique perspective to Ampersand Families and is excited to be a part of such an amazing organization.

Katherine Wald

Katherine is thrilled to join the Ampersand Team and to work with and support youth and families in their lifelong journey for permanency – though the highest highs and the lowest lows. Her favorite parts about older youth and teens is witnessing and supporting each individual’s unique personality, resiliency, and growth during a formative period of their life. She is passionate about working directly with youth and families and believes that regardless of age everyone deserves a family.

Why choose Ampersand Families?

“Ampersand is amazing!  They are there for you 100% or more. Love them all.”

PARENT

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