Our Team

Meet Members of Your Kiva Center Team

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Meet Our Kiva Team

The Kiva Centers’ focus is the development, promotion, and delivery of healing communities for people experiencing different social class impacts like trauma, mental health, and substance use.

Your dedicated team in the trauma-informed, peer support community.

Brenda Vezina

BRENDA VEZINA

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

bvezina@kivacenters.org
508-864-0958
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Brenda Vezina is the Executive Director and CEO of The Transformation Center DBA Kiva Centers .

Kiva Centers mission and vision is achieved through her dynamic leadership and close community involvement. She has over 30 years of experience working within communities of people who have experienced mental health issues, substance use and all traumatic experiences as a program creator, administrator and direct service worker. Brenda is a survivor of childhood trauma and a thought-leader regarding the effects of childhood trauma and its lasting effects in adulthood. Brenda oversees Kiva Centers’ statewide Certified Peer Specialist Program and is also a skilled trainer in that program. Brenda has grown the Kiva Centers in both depth and breadth of service delivery and seeks the opportunities for advancement of trauma informed care approaches for recovering or creating the life that everyone deserves.

Vesper Moore

VESPER MOORE 

SENIOR DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZATIONAL EQUITY & YOUNG ADULT SUPPORTS

vmoore@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Vesper is the Director of organizational equity throughout the Kiva Centers. They are also the Director of the Zia Young Adult Access Center and are the administrative oversight of the Karaya Peer Respite. Vesper is a community activist, survivor, trainer, and writer. They have been a part of the Kiva Centers for several years and have been instrumental in the Kiva Centers’ growth as an organization. Vesper has brought the perspectives of survivors to national and international spaces. Vesper has experience working as a consultant for both the United States government and the United Nations in shaping strategies around trauma, intersectionality, and disability rights. They have been at the forefront of legislative reform to shift the societal paradigm around mental health. 

Vesper as a survivor concentrates on building social movements and public knowledge to facilitate and sustain systems change. Vesper is skilled as a trainer in Intentional Peer Support and for the MA Certified Peer Specialist Training. Vesper has supported the development of peer-run organizations in different parts of the world. They have been a lecturer in universities around Massachusetts.  Vesper is a skilled chess player and enjoys the late 80s/early 90s goth fashion, music, and film.

 
 

MIKE MACINNIS 

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND CONTRACT DELIVERABLES

mmacinnis@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Mike has been with the Central MA Recovery Learning Community and the Kiva Center for many years in many capacities. He oversees all of the Kiva contract deliverables, including CPS, Community Bridging, MBHP, MUCH, as well as managing all of the facilitators both at the Kiva  Access Centers and the 100 plus towns we service in the Central MA DMH catchment area. Mike is also the brand new Director of Communications and Public Relations, working with potential funders, legislators and organizations as Kiva continues to move forward.

Mike is a MA State Certified Peer Specialist and is also certified to train WRAP, Trauma-Informed Peer Support and the Parenting Journey ™. He is a tireless advocate in the fight against mental health stigma, with many speaking appearances on radio and television, representing those of us with lived experience. He has often spoken in front of state senators and legislators representing Kiva and the community that we serve.

Mike’s goals and aspirations are to continue to make the Kiva team a force, both statewide and nationally as sought after change agents, trainers and speakers. Mike is a relationship builder and is committed to making Kiva THE go to organization for trauma-informed peer support.
You can catch Mike every Thursday on WUTY 97.9 FM on his highly rated “Talking Wellness” show, which covers the eight dimensions of wellness, Kiva news and guests who are allies of the peer support community and leaders in the fight against mental health stigma.

When not at work, you can usually find Mike at the gym, or traveling New England in search of the perfect meal. He still on occasion performs stand up comedy throughout New England. He is a dad to three beautiful children and has never met a dog he hasn’t wanted to take home and raise.

Donna Macomber-Cassidy
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

dmcassidy@kivacenters.org
508-751-9600
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

A Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP), Certified Peer Specialist (CPS), and person with lived experience with mental health and trauma issues, Donna has worked in the mental health recovery field for 27 years.  Donna was a 2008 Eli Lilly Reintegration Award recipient for Mentor-ship.  She is currently the Director of Operations at the Central Mass RLC and Kiva Center, and is a trained WRAP facilitator, Hearing Voices Network facilitator, and Human Rights Advocate.  Donna is a firm believer in “nothing about us without us.”

Donna’s favorite author is Jane Austen, and she likes to spend time with her 4 grandchildren, read, cook, figure out crossword puzzles, and watch really bad monster movies (such as Tremors, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, and Sharknado).

Jasmine Quinones

JASMINE QUINONES

MARKETING & MULTICULTURAL DIRECTOR

jquinones@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“Jazz” has been with the Kiva Centers for close to 5 years, building solid working relationships throughout Central MA and serving as the consummate goodwill ambassador for our Kiva Centers.

Jasmine is a MA Certified Peer Specialist, certified to teach WRAP and TIPS (Trauma Informed Peer Support), and has completed IPS, Hearing Voices Network, Alternatives to Suicide, and Children and Family advocacy. Jasmine has received the Angel Award in the South County CHNA area two years in a row for Community Collaboration excellence. She has been recognized by the Salvation Army for her collaborative community work in South County as well as being awarded as an “unsung hero” on Salvation Army’s Disaster Relief team.

One of Jasmine’s greatest professional achievements was the honor to work alongside Puerto Rico’s Department of Mental Health on the island, bringing the Kiva model of Trauma Informed Peer to Peer Support services to their population in need. Because of Jasmine’s coaching and dedication to the cause, Puerto Rico will soon be launching Kiva Center models throughout many areas of Puerto Rico.

Outside of work, Jasmine is a mother of two wonderful children, who she loves to dote on. The beach is her happy place, where she goes to recharge her soul and feel the sand under her feet. Despite her humanitarian spirit and readiness to roll up her sleeves and get down and dirty, Jazz is the epitome of a “girly girl” and has never met the cosmetic counter she has failed to stop at.

Joyce Lafortune

JOYCE LAFORTUNE

OFFICE MANAGER, PEER FACILITATOR & CERTIFIED ALTERNATIVE HEALTH PRACTITIONER/TEACHER

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Joyce has been with Kiva for almost 11 years. As Office Manager, she strives to have things run smoothly and efficiently.

Joyce has received several certifications while with Kiva, however, most of her education and certifications were acquired prior in the position of Alternative Health Practitioner. These modalities played a big role in her well-being. And she lovingly shares with any who are interested.

Outside of work, Joyce is a mother, grandmother and friend. Her family means the world to her.  She enjoys warm weather, so in Spring, Summer and Fall you will find her outside doing “something” whenever possible. Favorite things are planting things and getting her hands in the dirt and of course playing golf. Her“peaceful places” are by the ocean/water and mountains or walking in nature.

Joyce’s motto: “If I can contribute in anyway to help to make someone’s life a bit easier and happier, then I am achieving my goal.”

 
 
 
Shayne McDonald

SHAYN MCDONALD

YOUNG ADULT ADVOCACY COORDINATOR

smcdonald@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Shayn is a Certified Peer Specialist who has been a part of the Zia Young Adult Access Center team since August of 2018. Their passion lies in expanding awareness around the diversity of human experiences, and believes that every person is deserving of community and self-determined support. Their lived experience within the mental health system motivates them to continue supporting people actively going through it. They are an advocate for young adult and queer communities, and actively seek to highlight and address
the impact of trauma and systemic oppression with the intention of creating greater change. Shayn has given presentations at high schools, colleges, provider agencies, and conferences in multiple states.

When not working, Shayn enjoys spending time with their cat and watching notoriously bad horror movies. They also love philosophical conversations and contemplating the nature of the universe.

CRISTALIZ ARROYO

YOUNG ADULT PEER MENTOR & COMMUNITY OUTREACH LIASON 

carroyo@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers/They/Them/Theirs

Cristaliz Arroyo is a Young Adult Peer Mentor & Community Outreach Liaison who works at the Zia Young Adult Access Center to provide peer support, advocacy, and linkages between individuals and services. She/they has/have been a member in the Kiva community for nearly four years and has been working for Zia for over two. Cristaliz has had experience in starting a peer support session within a newer site for behavioral health in Westborough with two other colleagues and has also worked with the Spanish-speaking community within the Worcester community at large and has supported the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Cristaliz believes that her lived experience and resources of the mental health system and substance use can be beneficial for youth and young adults of transition-age. She/they believe(s) that transition-age youth are not always as informed as they could be on services available and/or who to reach out to for specific services; instructors, providers, and other adults in the lives of young adults and/or transition-age youth are also not as informed as they could be on the topics of human experience and youth rights. She believes that with some knowledge, transparency, and clarity, the youth of transition-age and everyone in contact with the young adult can reach whatever goal they choose to put forth (together).

Cristaliz has had training like Intentional Peer Support, Core Elements, Certified Peer Specialist training, G.I.F.T., and other trainings in aspects pertaining to the work she/they do(es). Cristaliz has come to be a part of the ever-growing family that is the Kiva Center. You can talk to Cristaliz about anything!

Outside of work, Cristaliz plays video games, hangs out with friends, spends time with her family and long-hair chihuahua, takes long car rides and sings karaoke very loudly while doing so, and writes poetry when she/they feel(s) inspired.

 
 
 

SHULAMITH JACOBI

PEER BRIDGER

sjacobi@kivacenters.org
508-751-9600
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

From the earliest Shulamith can remember, they have loved the world around them and felt moved by their experiences to make the world a more equitable place. As a child, they would spend hours every day, consumed with making little homes out of sticks and snow and mud for faeries, because they felt scared that the 2008 financial crisis had caused an epidemic of homelessness amongst magical creatures. While these memories of childhood are quite goofy now, they highlight their passion for social justice, the values they hold most dear: mutuality, community and connection, and a willingness to pull up their sleeves and do the hard work, even if that means getting a little dirty. They bring these driving principals to their work at Kiva.

As the Community Bridger, they support people in hospital settings by first really getting to know who individuals are: whether that’s listening to someone’s favorite songs, or seeing their art, or learning about their passions, Shulamith absolutely adores building genuine and mutual connections. Through these relationships, they advocate with peers during their treatment team meetings, bridge people to outside resources, and foster community-building, so that even after discharge, the people they support have the knowledge that there is a whole network of peer support we can access.

LINDSEY VEZINA

WELLNESS COORDINATOR

lvezina@kivacenters.org
508-626-2206
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Lindsey Vezina is the Coordinator of our Kiva Metrowest Center and with the Kiva organization for a decade. She brings her qualifications and expertise as a certified Yoga Instructor to all of our centers as well as her training experience. She is trained by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and has organized multiple Trauma Informed Peer Facilitation Trainings as well as is a facilitator for The Parenting Journey receiving her training in the Somerville, MA.

Lindsey is also the owner and operator of Yoga by Lindsey and her young persons yoga studio Yo Omies both located in Putnam, CT. She received her Trauma Informed Yoga training in Brooklyn, NY in 2017. She travels throughout school systems teaching yoga and mindfulness with a focus on the reduction of anxious feelings. Her mental health career began in NYC at the Chelton Loft Clubhouse as a community coordinator. She is active in advocacy for the fair treatment of all persons particularly in mental health , domestic violence and childhood trauma. Lindsey is currently studying to become bi-lingual in Spanish. She interested in paddle boarding, travel, spending time with her family and friends and particularly with her 8 year old Pomeranian, Alice.  Lindsey is a Boston sports team aficionado, and never misses the opportunity to attend live games and support her favorite teams. She’s the real deal-no Pink Hat for this real fan!

Andrei Silva

ANDREI SILVA

WELLNESS COORDINATOR

asilva@kivacenters.org
508-656-2206
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Andrei has been working with Kiva since 2014. His current roles include co-coordinator at the Framingham MetroWest site, as well as a peer supporter, multicultural outreach coordinator, and Zumba instructor.

Education & Credentials:  Andrei holds Bachelors’ Degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a MA as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Awards & Certifications:  Andrei has a CPS, Alternative to Suicide, Trauma-Informed peer support, WRAP, and Zumba certifications.

Goals & Aspirations: Andrei’s aspirations are continuing reaching out and connecting with people we serve by sharing his story and create bonds that  he believes help to heal both parts.

Most Impressive and Relevant Achievements:  As a multicultural outreach coordinator, Andrei is able to connect and let different populations know about the services we provide. Because of that he was invited in 2017, to talk about the Kiva Center at the Brazilian embassy. He continues to make connections with a lot of organizations like BRACE (Brazilian American Center) and MAPS (Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers).

Outside of work, Andrei loves to spend time with his dog ( Luxy), read, watch tv and do Zumba, which is my main workout and hobby.

“Remember to show, not just tell.”

Kristina Walters

KRISTINA WALTERS

MASS CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST COORDINATOR

kwalters@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kristina Walters has worked in the peer support community for over ten years.   She has vast array of experiences, from working at a Recovery Learning Community to an inpatient hospital setting.  Kristina has been with the Kiva Centers Inc. for over a year. Her current position is the Coordinator for the Massachusetts Certified Peer Specialist training.  She has a love and passion for her work. Inspiring and encouraging people is her life-long dream and her current position is by far her favorite. She loves interacting with incoming students and discovering how people’s lives are changed after taking the training.  Kristina’s first love though is her family.  She shares her life with her husband.  Her nephew is the light of her life and a main reason she pushed through some of her darkest moments.  Kristina comes from a large family, being the oldest of 35 cousins and still counting. Her favorite thing to do is be together with her whole family, which she often does.

Aroldo Ferreira

AROLDO FERREIRA

MASS CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST DIRECTOR

aferreira@kivacenters.org
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Aroldo is the Massachusetts Certified Peer Specialist Program Director, responsible for all the logistics for the Peer Certification process for the state of Massachusetts. Including managing and delivering quality training practices to prepare prospective CPS’s the certification process.
Prior to this position, Aroldo has worked as a Program Coordinator and Director of Multicultural Affairs. For the Central Mass Recovery Learning Community since January 2010. Aroldo coordinated all Kiva’s meetings, built Peer facilitators’ teams and brought Peer Support to different communities, such as the Latino, Brazilian, Young Adult, LGBTQIA, and others.

For these years, Aroldo has been a lead multi-lingual trainer for the Central Mass RLC, teaching different Peer-oriented workshops, such as Trauma-Informed Peer Facilitation training, Wellness Recovery Action Plan, Parenting Journey, Trauma and Healing Dialogues and others.

Aroldo is inquisitive about people’s cultures and has as a priority to understand different values, beliefs, and habits, to help diversify groups with mutual support.

Aroldo is known to be happy and outgoing. He strives to keep up the quality and integrity of our Peer services throughout the Peer certification process as well as throughout the community. Overall, he is driven by the belief that everybody can achieve a fulfilling and meaningful life of their choice and that Peer to Peer support is an essential part of this process.

Interested in Joining Our Team?

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