Staff

Verna, Ophelia Place’s Executive Director
In Verna’s words, “I do everything I can to make sure systems, resources, equipment and technology is in place so all of Ophelia’s Place staff can do their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible.” Verna has a Liberal Arts degree in Economics from Willamette University and an MBA from Oregon State University. Before coming to Ophelia’s Place, Verna had experience in retail management, industrial sales, and working with school administrators both in the K-12 system and at the university level. Verna loves the challenge of organizing the staff and work at Ophelia’s Place to best serve, girls, families and schools. She is most excited about introducing and growing Ophelia’s Place in other communities.

Verna would tell her 13-year-old self to do whatever you do with love in your heart and good things will follow.

You can contact Verna at (541) 284-4333 ext. 101.

Hadee, Development Director

As development director, Hadee oversees fundraising initiatives and donor relationships that support the amazing work at Ophelia’s Place. Prior to joining OP, Hadee was the corporate relations manager at FOOD For Lane County. Before starting his career in the non-profit world, Hadee was a vice president and branch manager of a local retail bank. Born and raised in Eugene, Hadee earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in Economics with a minor in Business. Shortly after earning his degree, Hadee joined the Peace Corps as a rural health and sanitation volunteer in Paraguay, South America. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Springfield Education Foundation. When he is not busy raising funds for Ophelia’s Place, Hadee enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and catching a fútbol match.

He would tell his 13-year-old self to be strong enough to laugh at yourself, be bold enough to embrace your mistakes, and proud enough to know who you are.

You can reach Hadee at at 541-284-4333, ext. 107.

Laura, Program Director, LPC #C3046
Laura is Ophelia’s Place Program Director. She is responsible for clinical oversight of all direct services to youth and supervision of staff. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Approved Supervisor in the state of Oregon, as well as a National Board Certified Counselor (NCC). Laura is also one of two therapists in the city of Eugene who is a nationally certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Therapist.

After graduating from Webster University with an MA in Counseling, Laura was a Prevention Specialist in the field of domestic and sexual violence prevention before working as a mental health therapist specializing in the treatment of trauma of youth, ages 0-18. She has been with Ophelia’s Place since 2012, and in 2016 she was recognized for her work as a “20 Under 40” Rising Business Star in Eugene-Springfield.

Laura would tell her 13-year old self to do the things you like rather than the things you think others will, be kind to everyone, help others, and learn about the importance of saving money early.

You can contact Laura at (541) 284-433 ext. 102.

Francia, Office Manager
Francia is the first face you’ll see when you visit our Eugene location. As our bilingual office manager and receptionist, Francia sets up appointments for new girls who wish to use the space, assists parents with questions about the programs and resources, and serves as direct contact with Spanish-speaking families. Yearning for a change from companies whose aim was to make a profit for its top executives, Francia decided to use her skills and abilities for an organization that provides services to youth. Her previous office management experience helps her organize and implement systems to keeps things running like a well-oiled machine, and assists staff on tasks and projects as needed. Francia is a notary public, and is also responsible for keeping an eye on facility issues and concerns while being in-tune with safety protocols for the Haugland Building. Finally, she is our resident dead-pan human specialist and facial expression connoisseur.

Francia would tell her 13-year-old self to always work hard and set goals, take advantage of all the resources available to you in order to become your best self, and always remember your current situation is not your permanent destination.

You can contact Francia at (541) 284-4333 ext 106.

Anna, Executive Assistant
Anna provides invaluable assistance to the executive director and the rest of the OP team as the Executive Assistant. Although she spent most of her life in Medford, she has lived all over the country including California, Florida, and Minnesota. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from Oregon State University where she had a scientific paper published on her feral cat research. She has always had a focus in non-profit work, particularly humane societies which she has been involved in since age 11.

Anna’s advice to her 13 year-old self would be to not let anyone dull your sparkle. You are the only one who can define yourself. You can be your greatest enemy but you are also your strongest ally. Do not let the voices around you stop you from loving yourself.

You can contact Anna at (541) 284-4333 ext 116.

Teri, Communications Coordinator
Teri works with local media and targeted online marketing avenues to give the community a glimpse of the greatness inside the colorful, welcoming, safe space Ophelia’s Place hold for our girls. After graduating from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, she was a daily newspaper reporter in Pendleton. She transitioned into marketing on the California Central Coast, where she worked at public relations and marketing firms. It was there where she honed her specialization in digital marketing strategy.

Teri would tell her 13-year-old self to not be afraid to chase the things that inspire her. Because they’re pretty amazing.

You can contact Teri at (541) 284-4333 ext. 112.

River, After and Out of School Program Coordinator
As the After and Out of School Program Coordinator, River trains and supervises OP’s interns and volunteers, provides orientations to new girls, oversees the After and Out of School Program, and offers resources and referrals to girls and families. River has expertise in issues of poverty, eating disorders, body positivity, anti-oppression work, youth advocacy, and girls/women’s empowerment. In addition to these topics, she also trains students and professionals in self-care practices as a core component of providing quality care. River is committed to approaching every person she works with from a human-centered, compassionate, and respectful viewpoint and feels especially fortunate to be able to support adolescents in her daily work. She has taught at the University of Oregon for the Family and Human Services program and is on their Advisory Board. She has also been a guest teacher for the Couples and Families Therapy Master’s program at UO and Pacific University’s Master of Social Work program. Prior to OP, River worked at Options Counseling Services and First Place Family Center.

River would tell her 13-year-old self that there is nothing wrong with your body. Don’t focus on comparing yourself to others. And don’t worry about being “good enough”-you are exactly enough as you are.

You can contact River at (541) 284-4333 ext. 104.

Abby, Youth Activities Coordinator
Abby works with our partners in the community to create the exciting events that go on during our After and Out of School Program. She first joined Ophelia’s Place as an intern and volunteer. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Women and Gender Studies and Spanish, she left Eugene in order to pursue her career in working with youth. While practicing as a skills trainer in a residential treatment facility for kids, she worked to facilitate engaging, educational, and enjoyable activities that would allow space for youth to connect with each other and rest of the community. However, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to re-join Ophelia’s Place, and now spends her time working with the girls at OP to expand program and brainstorm activities that are irresistible!

Abby would tell her 13-year-old self to be as goofy as possible, because there are too many serious people already.

You can contact Abby at (541) 284-4333 ext. 109.

Yuki, School Program Coordinator
Yuki works with schools in the 4J, Springfield and Bethel districts to provide girls empowerment groups and classroom presentations to students in our community. Presentation topics include Conflict Resolution, Digital Decisions, Internet Safety, Media and Body Image, Healthy Relationships and our anti-bullying presentation titled, Peers as Allies. For the last several years, Yuki has been dedicated to providing school-based services to students statewide. Yuki graduated from the Family and Human Services program at the University of Oregon in 2014. Yuki interned at Ophelia’s Place during her junior and senior years when she began facilitating girls’ empowerment groups and classroom presentations. She hasn’t stopped since.

Yuki would tell her 13-year-old self that she is enough, exactly as she is. So often girls are taught that they’re not pretty enough, smart enough, competent enough or qualified enough to do certain things or pursue what matters to them. But ultimately, girls are immensely powerful and perfectly enough and are going to change the world.

You can contact Yuki at (541) 284-4333 ext. 100.

Yvonne, School Program Assistant
Yvonne spends her time at Ophelia’s Place empowering and educating students all over Oregon in a classroom setting. She presents on topics such as media and body image, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, and being an ally. Yvonne started interning at Ophelia’s Place in 2014 and continued until she graduated with a degree in Family and Human Service from the University of Oregon in 2016. During Yvonne’s time as an intern, she found a passion for our services offered in school programs. Once out of college, Yvonne spent time practicing her skills learned as an intern at OP while working as a social service assistant at an all-girls residential treatment facility. Yvonne joined the OP team in Fall 2017. Yvonne’s passion for empowering young women has her excited for a career supporting OP’s mission of empowering, educating, and supporting young women to make healthy life choices.

Yvonne’s advice to her 13-year-old self would be, “You are worth it. Continue to practice using your voice and advocating for yourself and others. Never lose your ambition and continue to value compassion.”

You can contact Yvonne at (541) 284-4333 ext. 209.

Jessica, Senior LMFT Intern Therapist
As an intersectional feminist who is deeply committed to social justice, Jessica is keenly aware of the cultural, social, and political factors that are often connected to the problems people bring to therapy. Her approach to therapy is empowerment-focused and trauma-informed, and she primarily utilizes a combination of feminist family and emotionally-focused therapies. As an LMFT intern, she incorporates Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) when appropriate. Jessica graduated with her MS from the University of Oregon’s Couples and Family Therapy Program. She brings with her a decade of anti-violence work experience from her past positions with Sexual Assault Support Services, the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, and Sexual Violence Prevention and Education services at the University of Oregon. She is supervised by Laura Sanchez, LPC # C3046.

Jessica’s advice to her 13-year old self: You don’t have to waste any more time comparing yourself to others. Be brave and bold and trust yourself. All the things that make you different, all the things that set you apart – these are the best and most interesting parts of you. Embrace your inner weirdo because she’s awesome.

You can contact Jessica at 541-284-4333 ext. 103.

Rikki, LMFT Intern Therapist

As an Ophelia’s Place therapist, Rikki provides extra one-on-one support to girl-identified youth using Emotion-Focused Therapy and Satir’s Model with a systemic focus. She focuses on concepts such as self-worth, attachment, emotions, family patterns and rules, communication styles, and underlying needs. Before joining staff, Rikki served as a therapy intern at Ophelia’s Place while earning and graduating with her MS from the University of Oregon’s Couples and Family Therapy Program in 2019. She also interned for the Center for Healthy Relationships where she provided therapy to families and individuals, including children and adults. She also volunteered with Courageous Kids, a non-profit that provides support to children experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one. She is supervised by Laura Sanchez, LPC # C3046.

Rikki would tell her 13-year-old self: Don’t be afraid to be yourself; embrace what makes you unique. Having the courage to be one’s authentic self does wonders for self-worth.

You can contact Rikki at 541-284-4333, ext. 110.

Melissa, LMFT Intern Therapist

As an Ophelia’s Place therapist, Melissa focuses on empowering a client through their strengths. She graduated from University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2013 with a BA in Anthropology, and then from University of Oregon in June 2019 with an MS in Couples and Family Therapy. She was an intern at Ophelia’s Place before joining staff. As a therapist who utilizes Narrative and Satir therapy models, Melissa believes we can’t separate a person from the greater social, political, and cultural aspects in their lives. She is supervised by Laura Sanchez, LPC # C3046.

She would tell her 13-year-old self: Trust yourself. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your unique and odd qualities. You are not the only one who struggles, and it helps to talk about it! Stand up for yourself and others. Most importantly, remember to have fun and continue to embrace the silliness.

You can contact Melissa at 541-284-4333, ext. 111.

Ana, LMFT Intern Therapist

Listening to a client’s story allows Ana to provide therapy based on each girl’s unique context. She operates from a narrative and systemic lens to create a safe and judgment-free space for her clients. Everyone inherently has the strengths to achieve their goals, and sometimes just need a little extra support and guidance. Ana graduated with her MS in Couples and Family Therapy from the University of Oregon. Ana volunteers with Courageous Kids, a non-profit that provides support to children experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one. She also worked at Oregon Community Programs, working directly with foster youth and their families. She is supervised by Laura Sanchez, LPC # C3046.

Ana’s advice to her 13-year-old self is to set goals for yourself and go easy on yourself when your timeline to achieve those goals changes. Sometimes reaching a goal takes longer than we want – it is how we respond to that change that really matters. Remember not to compare your progress to others – we are all individuals and on our own path.

You can contact Ana at 541-284-4333 ext. 113.

Junction City Staff

Anuhea, Junction City School Program Coordinator/Therapist, CSWA
Anuhea oversees the Junction City school programs in the Tri-County area and managing the Junction City site. Anuhea was born and raised in Kealakekua, HI and moved to Oregon in 2011 to attend Pacific University. In her final year of graduate school, she accepted a position at Ophelia’s Place as a master’s level Social Work Intern where she built upon her previous direct service experience through individual strengths-based therapy and girls’ empowerment group facilitation. She graduated from Pacific’s Master of Social Work program in 2017 before joining Ophelia’s Place in her current position. She feels extremely grateful and fulfilled to work for an organization that gives so many young girls opportunities to learn and grow in an empowering environment.

Anuhea would tell her 13-year-old self that you don’t have to be perfect! It’s okay to fail, in fact some of the most valuable learning comes from failing.

You can contact Anuhea at (541) 284-4333 ext. 115.

Rachael, Junction City Site Coordinator
Rachael is the Site Coordinator for the Ophelia’s Place Junction City location. She runs the after and out of school program, and works with community organizations and volunteers to create exciting opportunities for OP girls in Junction City.

Rachael is a graduate of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, and a Bachelor of Education with a specialization in creating literacy-rich environments for second language learners. She worked in several countries teaching and mentoring youth in the arts before settling in Oregon in 2012. She is a musician and active part of the arts community, and has collaborated with Ophelia’s Place in a number of capacities over the years.

Rachael would tell her 13-year-old self:  You never know where life will take you, so enjoy the journey and don’t worry about the destination.

Albany Staff

Celeste, Albany School Program Coordinator
Celeste is dedicated to providing Girls’ Empowerment Groups and classroom presentations to middle and high schools in Albany. She is continuing to grow Ophelia’s Place programs in Albany. Celeste holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Oregon. After participating in a fundraiser for Ophelia’s Place in 2012, Celeste promptly applied for an internship with the agency. Since she was hired as staff in 2015, she’s experienced various roles at Ophelia’s Place – from coordinating youth activities to leading marketing and communications efforts, and working directly with girls.

She would tell her 13-year-old self to be bold, take the lead, and to not let her inner critic or other people hold her back from pursuing her dreams.

You can contact Celeste at (541) 730-4356.

Hillary, Albany Program Coordinator/Therapist, CSWA
Hillary is the Ophelia’s Place program coordinator for the Albany location. She supports school program services, facilitates groups, and provides counseling to girls. Hillary is a licensed Clinical Social Work Associate. She uses a strengths-based, person-centered approach in the therapeutic process focusing on the goals and needs of each individual. She also uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, mindfulness practices, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Hillary received her Bachelor of Social Work from Pacific University and earned her Master of Social Work from Portland State University. Before Ophelia’s Place, Hillary worked primarily with youth ages 10 to 18, assisting with crisis intervention, resource referral, ongoing counseling, and organizing preventative community-wide events.

Hillary would tell her 13-year-old self: Let go of your desire to be cool. Form your friendships based on kindness over status. Popularity ends up meaning very little, and the people who matter most will love you for your awesome weirdness, rather than your coolness.

You can contact Hillary at (541) 730-4356.

Rosaria P. Haugland, Founder and Benefactor
Rosaria was born in Italy, as one of six children and has lived in Eugene for more than 30 years. Latin, literature and exposure to opera were early inspirations for Rosaria in what would be a lifetime of learning. Rosaria was the first in her family to graduate from college, and then went on to earn advanced degrees in microbiology and biochemistry. Merging marriage and science, Rosaria and Dick Haugland formed Molecular Probes in 1975 where their pioneering work led to the development of florescent probes which are used to label and detect cell functions and activities. During this time she raised two children. Since retiring from her work in science, Rosaria has been involved in volunteer leadership in many community organizations. Rosaria’s commitment to strong healthy girls is the foundation of Ophelia’s Place.

Rosaria would tell 13-year-old self, “Enjoy learning. The knowledge that you will accumulate will stay with you and help you for life. Nobody can take it from you. Do not forget that you have responsibilities to yourself, your loved ones, people and your environment. This will make you self-assured and at least content when not happy.”