Justin’s recovery led him to the Turning Point Center, and whenever he’s asked about it he says he feels incredibly privileged for his experiences with us. It’s what led to him volunteering in 2017 and eventually to accepting the position of Night and Weekend Operations Manager in January 2019. Come meet him! He’s fostered his role through a keen eye for building a compassionate community. This wonderful work is fueled by the knowledge that interpersonal bonds and peer connections are musts in promoting long-term health — and not just for those in recovery — for all communities at large. Justin is studying Human Services so he can expand his contributions to substance abuse and trauma. Equally noteworthy: he has been known to break into unnecessary song and can catch grapes in his mouth from great distances. He’s always eager to champion others and it’s easy to see why we couldn’t let him go.
Jennifer was born and raised in Vermont. She’ll tell you she always knew she was meant to help people, and we couldn’t agree more! She worked as an LNA until she shifted to full-time motherhood about eight years ago. Her four kids are just absolutely amazing, and her cadre of pets is a testament to her big heart. Her itty bitty dog has an outsized personality and we are here for it. Jennifer began volunteering for the Turning Point Center and has continued to grow from there. When she wanted to offer peer support she attended the Recovery Coach Academy, and has since become the Outreach Recovery Peer Support Specialist at the Chittenden Clinic. She’s now studying Human Services at Community College of Vermont. All that on top of being a single mom! Her optimism is infectious, “I can’t wait to see where life takes me. Recovery is great!” Agreed, Jen. Agreed.
Elyssa coordinates the New Moms in Recovery Program, one of the Turning Point Center’s signature programs. She has extensive experience in providing trauma-informed services to individuals, mothers and families. Elyssa is passionate about women’s issues; she has a background in women’s health having worked at Vermont Gynecology. Most recently, she worked at Steps to End Domestic Violence, providing legal advocacy and support to those affected by intimate partner violence. Elyssa draws on her life and professional experiences, one of which is being a mom herself of two young kiddos, to create a safe space for mothers and their children to heal and build community. Her favorite snack is drinking Kombucha while eating corn chips.
Tara began work with addiction recovery support six years ago, as a volunteer right here at the Turning Point Center. As a Peer Recovery Coach and an Outreach Peer Support Specialist at the Chittenden Clinic, she helped folks on Medication-Assisted Treatment find support for their recovery. (That long sentence is the fancy way of saying she’s just awesome.) She is currently a Peer Recovery Coach at the Emergency Department at UVMMC. Tara is a trained group facilitator, has started several recovery groups and plans on continuing her education in Human Services. She has a strong interest in holistic healing and human behavior. Fun fact! Her Pomeranian, Honey, loves to do yoga. Downward Dog, anyone?
Michael, a Vermont native, has co-owned several businesses in music and video production. He works as a freelance video special effects editor on historical documentaries and is also a photographer and watercolor artist. He’s incredibly generous with his time and talents and it continues to amaze us. (At a recent auction he donated a watercolor landscape he painted that utterly took our breath away.) Michael has served as a Peer Recovery Coach through the Turning Point Center for eight years and presently works in the UVMMC Emergency Department as a Peer Recovery Coach. When not on the board of the Howard Center, he is reading the user manuals for his new cameras. Come meet him and see why we can’t do without him!
Gary has been the Executive Director for more than six years and we’re grateful for all he brings. Before the Turning Point Center, he spent over thirty years in Human Services Administration, but equally as important he’s the founder and lead tour guide for Burlington History Tours. He’s always reading the paper and stays on top of local news. (Which might be part of why Gary can breakdown political and community systems so that they make sense to the rest of us.) He’s raised three amazing daughters and genuinely loves people. Last but not least, Gary knows more about the landscape of Burlington than anyone we know. Buy him a coffee and take him for a walk - he’ll repay you with local folklore and Native American history you never knew you needed.
Sara joined us in 2017 as an Operations Manager. Two years in, she’s celebrating four years in recovery - in large part, she feels, due to her continued work at the Turning Point Center and her many creative exploits! She’s a very talented artist in her own right, not the least of which includes face and body painting. Being with her is a little like sitting under a tree on a summer day — her passion and experience for the Expressive Arts in recovery has helped others connect to themselves through art, too. She guides people through different modalities and is an inspired teacher. Currently, Sara is helping orient new volunteers, supporting our amazing group of Recovery Coaches… and sneaking off to the new Art Studio whenever possible.
Lucky’s internship with us several years ago, as part of his Certification of Substance Abuse Treatment and Services, led to us keeping him! He has experience as an Employment Consultant through VABIR (VocRehab) but he’s also worked as a residential counselor for both Maple Leaf Treatment Center and the Howard Center. He shares this passion with his son, who is a residential counselor in Burlington as well. Besides just being a gem, Lucky is in long-term recovery. He loves every aspect of helping people in early recovery find work and stay sober. After a brief retirement, (who doesn’t change their mind sometimes?) Lucky was brought on as an Employment Consultant. We share him with the Chittenden Clinic and his busy Pickleball schedule.
Chuck is an Employment Consultant with us, which started as a volunteer gig in 2015. He’s retired from thirty years of City Management for three very lucky towns, including twenty-one years in South Burlington. Before helping us, he mentored pregnant teens and teen mothers to find work through the Reach-Up program with the Department for Children and Families. Before accepting his position here, he served a term as Vice President of our Board. His Master's in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but it’s his unofficial Ph.D. in World Travel you’ll likely catch him referencing. (And just like that, his ability to find a great travel deal just became our worst-kept secret.)
Cam hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but after six years in Burlington, we can’t imagine him being anywhere else. He has an Associate in Arts from Community College of Vermont, and a Bachelor’s in Psychological Sciences from the University of Vermont. Cam is currently the Supervisor of the Emergency Department Recovery Support Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center. (Much respect if you can say that three times fast.) He’s an active person in long-term recovery who plays ice hockey almost daily. Plus, he has a glorious cat named Twinkle. P.S. Twinkle, if you’re reading this, thanks for consenting to Cam spending so much time with us. We’ll send cat treats soon.
When Krista Marzewski walked through the doors of The Turning Point Center she embraced all services and programs offered here. Krista found her tribe- others in recovery who are looking for a non-judgmental, safe and supportive environment through which to heal. Keeping her recovery first, upon completing her 200 hours of yoga teacher training with Story Yoga, Krista began volunteering once a week teaching a Y12SR (yoga class combined with a 12-step topic discussion meeting). She then became a Peer Support Specialist and later, the Development Coordinator. Keeping herself in the middle of her tribe, she’s able to combine her passion for teaching yoga to people in recovery and to share her experience, strength and hope with others.
Tori is a communicator through and through. She has come to find that one of her favorite hobbies is talking. Come sit down with her and see for yourself! Since moving to Vermont in 2012 to attend Champlain College, Tori feels truly lucky that Burlington has become home. After graduating in 2016, Tori has found multiple ways to put her love of helping people to use, whether that was volunteering at Zeno Mountain Farm, a local organization for folks with disabilities, or working to create affordable housing for marginalized groups, Tori always tries to support people through times of need. Tori is honored to be apart of the Turning Point Center and foster a safe space for recovery through emotional and social connections. It's been noted that Tori can parallel park as quickly as she talks and will pet almost every dog she meets.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, Liza found her way to Burlington as a Champlain College student in 2016. She’s set to graduate in 2020 with a dual degree in social work and criminal justice. There is no degree for cheering on her Buffalo Bills, but it’s not for lack of effort. We honestly could not be prouder of how our quiet Liza speaks publicly about her experience. She’s been in recovery since December 2013 and became a Recovery Coach her sophomore year at Champlain. She joined the Emergency Department at UVMMC as a Peer Recovery Coach and now hosts events and initiatives to further help others.
Al Teodosio is a Peer Recovery Coach at the Emergency Department at UVMMC. He lives with his wife, three cats, a dog and a frog. Disorganized but intuitive and short but nimble, Al has found a passion in helping people who struggle with addiction. Music, animals, cooking and reading are all integral parts of Al’s life, and he is a huge fan of distance running’s ability to activate his own endorphins.