Meet the Kindering CHERISH Team
Julie is originally from IN, but has lived in the Seattle area for most of her adult life. She got her start in Seattle doing crisis intervention work and then outreach and engagement in homeless shelters. After receiving her MSW from the University of Washington in 2001, Julie has focused her work on at-risk children and their families. She worked with foster children in Snohomish and Whatcom Counties as a Connections Specialist on a project that assessed child well-being when birth and foster parent relationships are supported and encouraged. After studying under attachment therapist Deborah Gray and others, Julie earned a certificate in Foster & Adoption Therapy from Cascadia Training. Since 2006, she has been part of the CHERSH™ program and now serves as its lead trainer in the role of Infant Mental Health Clinical Supervisor. Julie oversees all things CHERISH, and with the help of Kindering’s amazing team of clinical social workers, is blazing new trails in the field of IMH in Early Intervention settings. Since 2013, Julie has been humbled and awed by all that she’s learned from other therapists (OTs, SLPs, and Educators) who have trained with her to provide CHERISH services at their agencies. Julie is always eager to talk with anyone who feels passionate about improving the lives of foster children and impacting systems and policies. In her spare time, Julie can be found laughing and playing with her family and friends. She’s especially engaged when playing scrabble or euchre (a Midwest card game), eating tasty food, or exploring something or somewhere new.
Jill is a New Yorker and went to Grad School at Boston University, where she obtained her MSW with a clinical focus on working with families and children. Her favorite internship at school was doing play therapy with children ages 3 – 5 who were enrolled in Head Start preschool programs. Post-graduation in 2004, Jill’s first job was in Boston as a behavioral therapist, doing home visits for a non-profit whose mission was to do a mixture of Floortime and ABA with children ages 0 – 3 with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. Once moved to Seattle, Jill started at Kindering first as an Educator in the Autism classroom, then became a Home Visitor, then FRC, and then finally to CHERISH as a Clinical Social Worker in the Fall of 2011. Jill fell in the love with the foster care population and has enjoyed being able to both continue clinical work but also have the opportunity to mentor. In her spare time, Jill enjoys traveling, working on her fixer-upper with her husband, going to every Sounders FC home game, being an Auntie, anything to do with the water, and adopting/rescuing dogs and cats that steal her heart.
Mara has lived most of her life in the Northwest and is deeply committed to supporting the lives of young children and their families in the community. She began her early intervention career at Kindering as a paraeducator and FRC, later returning as a CHERISH Clinical Social Worker after completing her MSW at the University of Washington. Since receiving her MSW in 2006 she has worked in educational, medical, mental health and child welfare settings providing her a cross-systems perspective helpful in her CHERISH role of program development and systems advocacy. She has been Clinical Faculty at the CHDD, holds graduate certificates from the University of Washington in Infant Mental Health and LEND (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) and is an Equity Facilitator for King County. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching soccer, volunteering in the neighborhood, spending time with family and friends, and raising two great kids.
Jennifer received her MSW from the University of Hawai`i, after studying Social Work and Psychology for her Bachelor’s degrees at the University of Washington in Seattle (where she was born and raised). Through school, volunteering, and work experience, Jennifer values the countless opportunities to learn from a variety of organizations that offer services to families, supporting the unique challenges and valuing the incredible strength of children and their caregivers. Jennifer has found passion for working with families who care for children with special needs, and supporting caregivers as they nurture the next generation. She is also passionately committed to confronting inequities in services and opportunities for systemically oppressed communities in order to create a more inclusive network of support that comprehensively addresses challenges and acknowledges the incredible strengths of families and individuals that make up our community. Now with CHERISH at Kindering, Jennifer enjoys connecting with families in the dependency community and providers, and the many opportunities for learning and growth this provides. While practicing mindfulness, she tries to incorporate humor and music into all aspects of life.
Tessa was born and raised in the Bellingham, WA area and first discovered her passion for serving children and families through working as an early childhood educator. While completing the Western Washington University Human Services BA program and the University of Washington MSW program, Tessa had internships in child welfare, public education, and healthcare settings. Prior to joining the CHERISH team, Tessa was working as a hospital social worker assisting patients and their caregivers in navigating healthcare systems and accessing services. As a CHERISH Clinical Social Worker, she greatly appreciates the opportunity to connect with families involved in the foster care system to help support their children’s social and emotional well-being.
(come back soon to learn more about me)
(come back soon to learn more about me)
Dianna is originally from the East Coast but has called the Pacific Northwest home for the last 20 years. She began her professional career in the for-profit sector which enabled her to travel extensively and experience an array of cultures. Dianna’s passion for social justice and volunteer work with homeless women and children ultimately led her down the path of social services. Dianna has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and graduate degrees in communications and social work. After obtaining her MSW from the University of Washington in 2007, Dianna spent ten years at a private child-placing agency as a social worker, clinical supervisor, and social services director, where she served children in foster care and their families. She has completed the Attachment and Trauma Focused Certificate Program and is a Bringing Baby Home Certified Gottman Educator. Eager to return to direct service work with families, Dianna joined Kindering in 2018 as a CHERISH Clinical Social Worker and Manager of the CHERISH 3-5 program. In her spare time, Dianna enjoys spending time with family and friends, cheering her son on at soccer games, traveling, reading, and listening to music.
Ursula, a native Midwesterner, started out her infant mental health career in academia, completing a doctorate in developmental psychology and a certificate in infant mental health from the University of Washington in 2004, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Infant Mental Health in 2005. She taught developmental psychology at Seattle Pacific University for 11 years before returning to UW for an MSW so that she could put her knowledge into action. She served families experiencing homelessness at Wellspring Family Services for two years, then joined the Kindering special education team in 2017. In 2018, Ursula was thrilled to accept a position as a CHERISH clinical social worker. Ursula finds deep meaning, challenge, and joy in working with children and caregivers with complex attachment needs. Underlying all her work is a call to social justice, respect for the huge diversity of the human condition, and an awe for our common need to be in loving relationships with others.
Ursula also enjoys a part-time private practice and leading Bringing Baby Home workshops in the Seattle community. She is a proud mother to a small zoo: three children, five chickens, one dog, and one cat. She loves to garden, cook, and explore the beautiful PNW.
Hello! My name is Kate Wilhite Brickell and I am a new CHERISH 3-5 Social Worker here at Kindering. I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and then traveled to Washington State to obtain my degree in Psychology from the University of Washington. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I worked in inpatient settings with youth ages 5-18. Throughout this work, I became passionate about advancing my skill set to support these families. As such, I returned to the University of Washington to pursue my Master’s in Social Work. During my Master’s program, I worked with infants, pregnant people, parents, and families. After graduating with my Master’s Degree, I have worked with prenatally substance exposed infants and their families in a medical setting. In my free time I love to camp, kayak, paddleboard, and spend time with friends and family.