Functional Family Facilitators

Providing facilitation and support for families in transition, with an emphasis on the needs and value of each family member, in order for families to meet their unique community living goals.

Meshayla AppeltFunctional Family Facilitator
Meshayla is one of our Functional Family Facilitators and has been with us for about a year. Meshayla has had four years of experience in the Human Services field. She has worked with individuals with disabilities, at-risk teenagers, individuals who are homeless and living in shelters along with children and families. Meshayla attends Southeast Community College where she received an Associate’s degree in the Human Services Program. Meshayla is currently a Senior in the Social Work Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Shelisa BrooksCoordination Specialist & Functional Family Facilitator
Shelisa Brooks is currently our Coordination Specialist and has been with us for almost two years. Shelisa attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and a minor in Social Work. She has taken many courses that have prepared her in her line of work. These courses would include Mental Health and First Aid Training as well as Trauma 101 and Recovery Training. Shelisa has previously worked as a childcare provider, where she learned to care for children of all ages, create activities for children, and teach proper skills needed for each age group. Shelisa has had experience working as a security guard as well, where she escorted high profile performers, enforced local and state laws, and executed crowd control.
Cassidy CahillFunctional Family Facilitator
Cassidy has been with Independence Rising since 2018. She is working in our Family Support services program. Cassidy brings several years of experience working with children and families in daycare settings. Cassidy is currently enrolled in classes and working towards her Bachelors in Social Work. Cassidy has been a nanny for several families where she prepared nutritional meals, entertained the children, came up with ideas for arts and crafts, disciplining, reward and chore charts for the children. Cassidy also is a para with Head Start, teaching kids from ages 3-5. AT Head Start, Cassidy helped teach the daily curriculum which included math, literacy, art, science and social studies. Cassidy also has worked with individuals with all types of disabilities of all ages, helping them achieve community-based living goals.
Michelle CallahanFunctional Family Facilitator
Michelle has been with Independence Rising for seven months. Her main focus is the Family support piece that Independence Rising offers. Prior to working with us, Michelle was a lead preschool teacher at Head Start. She received her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Michelle has been trained in CPR and First Aid, Into the Darkness, and Trauma for children as well as Autism.
Melissa GriggFunctional Family Facilitator & Independent Living Specialist
Melissa has been with Independence Rising for a year. She has taken part in our Family Support services and our Independent Living program. Prior to working with us, Melissa has had experience working as a CNA. She has taken part in training such as Mental Health, Psychology, Drug and Alcohol, CPR, and First responder courses. Melissa has had experience working alongside people with disabilities. Melissa has an Associate’s degree in Human Services and a Bachelor’s degree in community services and Criminal Justice.
Brittany JamesChildren's Services
Brittany has been with us since 2018. Brittany was raised in a home that provided in-home daycare for over 20 years. Over the years, Brittany has learned how to care for and interact with children of all ages. Brittany has worked at a daycare with infants up to school-aged children. Brittany made sure the children were healthy, safe and well taken care of. Brittany received her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from ITT Technical Institute. Over the years, Brittany has dealt with many conflicting problems while learning and teaching positive ways to overcome them. Brittany works calmly under pressure and uncomfortable situations. Brittany has taken classes such as Circle of Security and Women’s Trauma to learn and implement things into her working career and personal life. These have helped her to interact and understand children and adults better and to understand the needs children present.
Kimberly MohlmanChildren's Services & Functional Family Facilitator
Kimberly has been with Independence Rising for three years. She attended Kaplan University, where she obtained a certificate of Human services families and children. She has previous experience working as a preschool para and CNA. This gave her experience in teaching about structure and techniques to help children succeed in the classroom. Kimberly also has experience working with people with developmental disabilities.
Mariah ReevesIndependent Living and Functional Family Facilitator
Mariah has been with Independence Rising since February of 2017. She has worked in many different programs within Independence Rising such as Independent Living, family support, and many more. Her primary position is working with the Census Project. Prior to Independence Rising, Mariah worked as a Preschool Teacher and an after-school program site Director. Mariah has an Associate’s degree in general studies and a one-year diploma in Family and Consumer Science with an emphasis in early childhood education. She has completed training in Mental Health First Aid, the Systems of Care series, Trauma-informed, and Helping Victims and their Advocates Normalizing the Grieving Process.
Drew SteinhauerFunctional Family Facilitator & Independent Living Specialist
Drew Steinhauer is a Functional Family Facilitator for Independence Rising. Drew is currently studying Social Work as a Junior at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and plans on graduating in May 2020. Drew has been working with Independence Rising since February of 2019 and is able to apply his learned knowledge from school to his work every day. Drew has always been a hard worker and values the importance of family. Drew has volunteered at Project Homeless Connect, The Catholic Newman Center, and Head Start in Kearney.
Billie TaylorFunctional Family Facilitator
Billie has been a Functional Family Facilitator with Independence Rising for the last 2 years. Billie has experience providing Family Support to a number of parents. Billie has worked on budgeting and parenting with these families. She also takes part in drug testing for Independence Rising. Billie is also a foster mom, which gives her the ability to see what it is like for everyone involved in the foster care system.
Cole TaylorFunctional Family Facilitator
Cole has been with Independence Rising for one year. During his time with us, he has worked in family support with probation and also as a Functional Family Facilitator. Cole is also an Independent Living Specialist. Before joining the Independence Rising family, Cole has worked as a server and a bartender. He has a Degree in Performing Arts. to prepare him for his line of work, he attended psychology classes as well as child development class classes. Cole had the opportunity to travel the world and the United States working with and teaching all groups of children and families. Cole was able to work with young children and adults with disabilities to help strengthen his knowledge. This taught Cole how to teach in different ways in order to meet everyone’s learning style.
Christian ValentinoFunctional Family Facilitator
Christian has been working with children and families for several years. To highlight his experience, he was a foster parent for three years. During that time, he specialized in the treatment and advocacy for the most vulnerable and unwanted children. He was a teaching assistant where he met the needs of children with both developmental and behavioral needs. He was a residential counselor in two group homes. He has worked in a homeless shelter as a support staff where he supported the long- term goals of men and families. Christian relocated to central Nebraska from New York to take a job at YRTC-K where he worked for a year. Following that, he started his career with Independence Rising. Christian is passionate about helping families stay together and helping reunify families with the support needed.
Michaela Wagner Functional Family Facilitator
Michaela has been with Independence Rising since April, 2020. Before starting with us, Michaela worked for the Royal Caribbean International. Michaela learned how to communicate effectively with many different individuals. Michaela was also previously an administrative assistant for FMH Material Handling Solutions. Michaela has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Michaela is working in our family support program as a Functional Family Facilitator.
Sawyer QuinnFunctional Family Facilitator
Sawyer has been working with Independence Rising since February, 2020. Sawyer has previously worked as a Para at Kearney Public schools. Working as a para has taught Sawyer how to work well with children and families. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Sawyer is one of our Functional Family Facilitators for Family Support. She is trained in First Aid and CPR.
Whitney Edwards Functional Family Facilitator
Whitney has worked with Independence Rising since February, 2020. Before starting with us, Whitney was previously a teacher at a daycare center. Whitney is currently working in our family support program as a Functional Family Facilitator. Whitney is currently CPR certified.

Levi Walker
Terry Walker

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