Monthly Archives January 2023

Faces of Mosaic Georgia

Lisa Pappas
Managing Attorney

Fun Fact: Lisa enjoys weightlifting and watercolor painting.

Lisa Pappas received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Mississippi State University (MSU), where she met her now husband Nick. Lisa then earned her Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law in 2009; she spent one year of this time as a visiting student at the University of Georgia. Most of Lisa’s legal career has involved working as a prosecutor. She’s been an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in the Western Judicial Circuit, the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit, and most recently, the Alcovy Judicial Circuit. As an ADA she prosecuted serious, violent felony cases including child molestation, armed robbery, and murder. She joined Mosaic Georgia in February of 2024 with hopes to have positive impacts on victims of sexual assault.

Lanie George
Executive Administrator

Fun Fact: Lanie has a sharp whistle that can be heard from a very long distance!
Lanie has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past two decades and finds great joy in helping others. Driven by a deep desire to help people see their value and worth, she founded and ran a home for women survivors of human trafficking in North Carolina before moving to Georgia. Lanie is grateful to bring this incredible professional and personal experience to Mosaic Georgia in an Executive Admin role where she works closely with the organization’s leaders to support the many operations efforts that make Mosaic a safe and supportive space for survivors.    

 A perfect day for Lanie would be lounging on a tropical beach with her hubby, a good book in hand, soaking up the sun and listening to the serenity of the ocean waves. 

Sarah Marin
Wholeness Collective Coordinator

Fun Fact: Sarah is your friendly neighborhood cat lady. She has 6 fur babies of her own, but is always feeding strays, fostering and trying to capture parking lot dumpster kitties. If you’re looking for a feline friend, just ask her!

Sarah’s passion for helping others, especially underserved communities, fuels her career in supporting survivors of trauma. With a BA in Psychology and Education, she brings valuable experience from her previous role as a Campus Advocate at a Sexual Assault Center, coordinating outreach programs, developing resources, and directly supporting survivors across 11 college campuses. Her work extended to assisting human trafficking victims and assisting/facilitating healing groups, particularly through art.

Sarah joins Mosaic excited to create a safe space for survivors to explore long-term healing through various avenues including art, music, movement, and nature. Fostering a mind-body connection, her goal is to empower them on their personal healing journey where they can find their individual, unique paths to resilience and well-being. She is passionate about inspiring their healing through the things that they love.

Her mission is to provide a safe haven for those impacted by trauma, fostering lasting change within the community. Sarah is now pursuing her Master’s in Counseling and is thrilled to join Mosaic’s incredible team, a one-stop shop for survivors seeking comprehensive support.

Maria Ortiz

Fun Fact: Maria is obsessed with the Twilight Saga and became a huge Paramore fan because of it.

Hola! My name is Maria Ortiz and I am a bilingual counselor/therapist at Mosaic GA. I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Georgia State University and dedicated most of my time to working on research studies in the Gesture and Language, and Child Health and Medical Pain (CHAMP) Labs. The studies I participated in analyzed gesture & language in bilingual children and families, and how pediatric patients with chronic illness perceived/coped with their illness including how it affected their health outcomes. My passion for clinical research and care led me to pursue higher education. I earned my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Mercer University. While working towards my degree, I worked in the behavioral/mental health department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) coordinating care for acute pediatric patients.

My clinical experience includes working with children on the autism spectrum, those with feeding and eating disorders, suicidal patients, and trauma survivors. As a first generation American with Honduran background, I enjoy being able to provide clinical services in Spanish. One of my professional missions is to support and educate Latinx families about mental health and wellness.

Rachel Pearson
Advocacy Specialist & Volunteer Coordinator

Fun Fact: Rachel wrote an essay for a writing contest at her university and won! Her essay is published in her university’s literary magazine.

Rachel received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Services Delivery and Administration from the University of North Georgia. Before joining the team at Mosaic Georgia, Rachel was an advocate at a domestic violence shelter which enabled her to gain valuable insight on the work of non-profits catered towards ensuring the safety and justice of victims of family violence. Rachel started last July as an Advocacy Specialist and has recently taken on the role of Volunteer Coordinator as well. She is incredibly proud and grateful to work for an organization whose mission is focused on believing and empowering all victims of sexual assault, providing them with lasting resources, and working alongside law enforcement and other agencies to ensure justice.

Vernon Scott
Advocacy Specialist

Fun Fact: Apple juice is my comfort drink.

Dr. Vernon T. Scott is from the state of Georgia. He is in the process of earning a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy with a Systemic Sex Therapy specialization. As a therapist, Vernon specializes in treating adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and Black men’s mental health. He is an advocate for trans rights and fighting against rape culture and its systemic impact within society. Vernon is a podcaster who uses his platform to provide healthy conversations related to the nuances of sexual expression and amplify the voices of those often forgotten by society.

Vernon has been a member of the Mosaic GA family since July of 2023. He is currently an Advocacy Specialist. Vernon strives to help families find a way to start their healing process and grow together.

Adina Becerra
Bilingual Advocacy Specialist

Fun Fact: Adina comes from Transilvania, the place where vampires are said to come from.

Adina grew up in Romania and earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Bucharest. Her thesis “Stalking on College Campuses” was published in the National Journal of Criminology, Forensics and Penology. She has a proclivity for foreign languages, being fluent in four (Italian, English, Spanish and Romanian). Her first summer job was as an Italian interpreter in High School for private Italian tourists visiting Romania. After interning in probation and conducting research in the Romanian prisons, Adina came to Atlanta and became a National Credential Advocate to better serve her community. Before coming to Mosaic, she volunteered for Dekalb CASA for 10 years, IRC and Day League before joining the Dekalb Solicitor General’s Office as a Victim Advocate in 2022.

Mairah Teli
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth (CSEC) Advocate and MDT Coordinator

Fun fact: Mairah’s average typing speed is 72 words per minute

Mairah Teli serves as the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth (CSEC) Advocate and MDT Coordinator at Mosaic Georgia. Mairah received her bachelor’s in English Education from the University of Georgia. After teaching in the Gwinnett County Public School system as a high school Language Arts teacher, she shifted her focus to social work and earned her Master’s of Social Work. Mairah worked within the nonprofit sector and has served in a variety of roles with a focus on victim services, trauma informed care, crisis intervention, and strengthening families. She is currently an LMSW and works with children and adolescents who have experienced human trafficking by providing crisis intervention, case management, and advocacy. Mairah is also an active member of the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. Outside of work, Mairah is passionate about community service and youth development. She leads a youth group program for adolescent girls, facilitates support groups, and leads a range of trainings on child abuse prevention and mental health in her local community.  

Brian Darden
IT & Data Administrator

Fun Fact: Brian is running his first marathon later this year!

Brian was born and raised in and around Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2013 with a BA in Sociology and recently completed a Master of Public Administration at the University of North Georgia. Brian previously worked for FOCUS, a non-profit in Atlanta that serves families who have children with developmental disabilities and who are medically fragile. He now works as Mosaic Georgia’s IT and Data Administrator where he handles all things technical and database-related.

Velma Wright
Paralegal & Legal Advocate

Fun fact: Velma is related to Viola Davis by way of her mother!

Velma works as a paralegal and legal advocate within Mosaic Georgia’s legal department, providing direct advocacy services to clients impacted by sexual assault, child sexual abuse or sex trafficking. She assists the managing attorney with civil legal matters in and out of court and criminal justice system advocacy services. Prior to that Velma gained experience working in the legal field for a number of organizations including Childers Schlueter & Smith, LLC and Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, and has also worked in the Gwinnett County Public Schools system as an educator. Velma has her BS from South Carolina State University and her Master of Arts in Human Services-Marriage and Family Therapy, in addition to her Paralegal Certification. Velma is passionate about being an advocate and serving others, especially children, through volunteer work. She is a graduate of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Inspire Atlanta Class of 2020.

Sara Longwell
Bilingual Legal Advocate/Navigator

Fun Fact: Sara loves horror movies, crafting, and building Legos with her family.

Sara Longwell is a Bilingual Legal Advocate/Navigator at Mosaic Georgia who works with victims of sexual assault to understand criminal and civil legal procedures, apply for Crime Victims’ Compensation, and find the resources they need. Sara believes that empowering survivors of sexual violence to make their own legal decisions on their own terms through education, the right resources, and compassion helps them build courage and confidence and to have authority over their lives.
Sara is Spanish/English bilingual, a certified paralegal, victim advocate, and crisis counselor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Agnes Scott College and a master’s degree in Music Therapy and Music Education from the University of Georgia.

Esther Ko
Bilingual Victim Assistance Attorney

Fun Fact: Esther has a bunny named Bomi and a dog named Silver (they do not like each other).

Esther is a first-generation college and first-generation law school graduate. Esther attended the University of Georgia and Atlanta’s John Marshall School of Law. She has a passion to serve the public interest and fights for equal access to justice. In her free time, Esther enjoys volunteering at her local Korean community center to help with translation and other related services for those in need.
Esther started at Mosaic Georgia in August of 2023 and is excited to continue to serve in her role as Bilingual Victim Assistance Attorney.

Susan Nerenbaum
Marketing & Communications Specialist

Fun Fact: Susan is a devoted animal enthusiast.Dogs are her favorite, with cats running at a very close second!

Susan is a proud alumna of Georgia Gwinnett College, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing in May 2022. Her journey into the world of nonprofit marketing took its first steps when she became a Marketing and Outreach Intern at Mosaic Georgia. Driven by her unwavering commitment to effecting positive change, she smoothly transitioned into the role of Marketing and Communications Specialist at Mosaic after successfully completing her degree. Susan’s dedication is rooted in her aspiration to create a safer world for everyone. Beyond her professional pursuits, Susan’s heart beats for the great outdoors and having an active lifestyle. You’ll often find her hiking through nature trails, embracing the tranquility of the natural world, or eagerly venturing into new experiences.

Amanda Makrogianis Mickelsen
Marketing Strategist & Project Manager

Fun Fact: Amanda got a job working at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after graduating from the University of Massachusetts – then after 15 years living in Southern CA – ended up right back in Atlanta in 2013 due to a documentary film her husband was making. The ATL always comes a callin!

Amanda feels lucky to have landed as a consultant at Mosaic Georgia where she works copywriting and project managing marketing initiatives and strategy. After gathering many years of account management experience in the corporate sector, Amanda put a focus towards her personal passion of health and wellness as a Wellness Consultant, and later a Chopra Certified Instructor, teaching meditation and the benefits of holistic health and yoga at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in CA. She currently teaches at Southwest Atlanta Yoga studio. Amanda feels passionate about serving the collective and contributing to a more just and humane world. She has served as Board President at the Doc B Cares, Inc. program and volunteers with various Atlanta organizations such as the King Center.

Amanda enjoys traveling, reading, meditation, the quiet of nature, cooking (when the mood strikes!) with her young son, swimming, and exploring new ideas. Oh, and she will soon-to-be enjoying RVing with her family!

Vanessa Zavaleta-Beltran
Client Experience Specialist

Fun Fact: Vanessa is the first one to graduate from her mom’s side of the family!

Vanessa graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s in criminal justice with a concentration in criminology and a minor in psychology in 2022. She spent time interning at Forever Family which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping at-risk youth. She began her journey at Mosaic Georgia in June 2022.

Danny Fernandez
Schedule and Intake Coordinator

Fun fact: Danny worked with capuchins and orangutans; the primary focus of his psychology degree was primate behavior. He also plays guitar in a band. 

Danny started with Mosaic Georgia during the summer of 2020 as a Client Experience Specialist. He has subsequently been promoted to Schedule and Intake Coordinator. Prior to joining Mosaic, he was working as a bar manager and beverage director in Atlanta. The pandemic encouraged him to change his life’s trajectory to become more aligned with community engagement. He had previously worked at The Ronald E. McNair Program from 2012-2014, an organization that assists first-generation college students matriculate to their PHD’s. Danny received his Bachelor of Science in psychology from Georgia State University in 2012.

Maryam Jordan
Professional Education & Training Services

Fun Fact: Maryam has been to five continents so far, but still wants to see and experience more of our world! 

Maryam Jordan manages Mosaic Georgia’s Professional Education and Training Services and has been with the organization since September 2019. She provides educational programs for medical professionals, law enforcement, educators, and other community members who may interact with victims of sexual assault. Maryam also manages outreach and community engagement efforts, where she draws from her experience working with people from various cultures. She is energized when she is able to go out into the community and educate about sexual assault awareness and prevention, especially to young people. Maryam earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the team, she worked in the international affairs arena where she lived, worked and traveled abroad and conducted training and educational programs for volunteers and members of an international non-profit organization. Maryam is a native Atlantan and moved to Gwinnett County over 10 years ago with her husband and three children. In her free time, she enjoys “getting outdoors” and hiking in the North Georgia mountains with family and friends.

Marilucia Munoz
Bilingual Advocacy Specialist

Fun Fact: Mari loves to read true crime books. 
Mari Munoz is a first generation American with family origins in Mexico and Honduras. She graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelors in Human Services Delivery and Administration in 2022. While getting her Associate’s degree, she discovered a strong interest in helping people of all sorts and in various ways. Her years of studying included multiple internships; the last one was with the DA’s office. In her time there it became clear that she wanted to become an advocate and help survivors during their process in the legal system. Mari started at Mosaic Georgia as a Bilingual Advocate in July of 2022.

Liliana Jimenez
Bilingual Advocacy Specialist and Campus Outreach Coordinator

Fun Fact: Liliana won the College of Health Sciences Outstanding Student award at her graduation.

Liliana graduated from Georgia College & State University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health in 2022. When she first started interning at Stepping Stone CAC she fell in love with this work and wanted to continue doing it after graduation. Liliana started as a full-time Bilingual Advocacy Specialist at Mosaic Georgia in May. Since then, she has also started as a Campus Outreach Specialist and works with surrounding campuses to spread awareness and implement on-campus education. Liliana is very excited to continue supporting victims of sexual assault.

Helen Cha-Choe
Director, Advocacy & Forensic Interviews

Fun fact: Helen played tennis in high school and recently rediscovered her love for the sport.

Helen is the Forensic Interview Manager at Mosaic Georgia.  Prior to joining our team in July 2018, Helen worked with the Asian American and immigrant communities and provided immigration legal and educational services, as well as legal advocacy to victims of domestic violence at non-profits in the Metro Atlanta Area and has also counseled high school students at a non-profit in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has always had a strong commitment to public service, previously working as a federal government attorney for over twelve years in New York and Washington, D.C.  Helen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University, her J.D. from the University of Hawaii School of Law, and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.  Raised in Hawai’i, she brings the “aloha spirit” to Georgia and has made Fulton County her home with her family.

Edith Garcia
Bilingual Advocate & Forensic Interviewer

Fun fact: Edith has watched the show New Girl over five times (and will continue to watch New Girl in her spare time).

Edith started with Mosaic during the pandemic in summer of 2020 as our Bilingual Advocate & Forensic Interviewer. She received her Bachelor’s of Human Services from the University of North Georgia and is currently working on her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Bellevue University. Edith is a first generation college graduate and the first in her family to continue her education to obtain her master’s degree. Before working at Mosaic Georgia Edith interned at Partnership Against Domestic Violence assisting survivors obtain temporary protective orders.

Jessica McGinnis
Advocacy Specialist, Forensic Interviewer, & SART Coordinator

Fun Fact: Jessica was the creative inspiration and driving force behind the beautiful painted “mosaic” design currently covering a picnic table at Ironshield Brewing’s Biergarten in Lawrenceville.

Jessica currently works as an Advocacy Specialist, Forensic Interviewer and SART Coordinator at Mosaic Georgia. She devotes her time to serving victims of all ages. She completed the ChildFirst Forensic Interview Training in March 2022. Her graduate studies were completed at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) in May 2018. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA in December 2015 where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice with a Forensics Concentration. Jessica completed the Gwinnett Young Professionals Journey Program in April 2023. She also is a recipient of the 1PowerHouse Unsung Hero Award.

Jaime Albright
Part-Time Forensic Interviewer & Advocate

Fun fact: Jamie has a fear of heights and overcame it by going cliff jumping and parasailing.

Jaime serves as a part-time Forensic Interviewer and Advocate. Jaime’s interest in serving children was sparked through volunteerism. She began her work at Mosaic Georgia in February 2014 as a volunteer Victim Advocate and moved into the role of SART Coordinator in 2015. Jaime earned her Bachelor of Sociology from Kennesaw State University in 2013 and earned her Master of Social Work from Valdosta State University in May 2018. Jaime was born and raised in California. She resides in Alpharetta with her husband and children. She enjoys writing and producing podcasts, yoga, serving on mission trips, and spending time with her family.

Maria Herrera
Bilingual Forensic Interviewer and Advocate

Fun Fact: If you catch Maria watching TV it will most likely be The Office, and in her free time you might see her shooting some hoops.

From Atlanta, GA, Maria is of Mexican descent and is bilingual in Spanish and English. Maria received her bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University and is currently working on her Master’s in Public Administration at Kennesaw State University. Before Joining the Mosaic team, she worked at the Douglas County Task Force for almost three years as a Legal Services Coordinator, then as a Bilingual Forensic Interviewer. She joined Mosaic Georgia in March of 2022. Maria is passionate about serving her community and giving survivors a place to feel heard.

Charmaine Hayes
Part-Time Bilingual Forensic Interviewer & Advocate

Fun fact: Charmaine lived a year in Miami, Fl. with a Brazilian group who only spoke Portuguese so by default had to learn the Portuguese language!

Charmaine is of Cuban and Mexican descent and originally hails from New Orleans, Lousiana. In 2004, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Georgia State University and is currently perusing a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Liberty University. Charmaine spent many years working with Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta as a Program Director then transitioned to Emdeon as a Bilingual Healthcare Representative. Over the last 10 years she has operated her own business in the real estate market. Charmaine joined Mosaic in March 2023 and is passionate about supporting victims of sexual assault.

Rebeca Ruelas
Part-Time Forensic Interviewer

Fun Fact: Rebeca loves dancing to music, going to museums and finds joy in hearing and sharing jokes.

Rebeca Ruelas is part time Forensic Interviewer for Mosaic Georgia. Additionally, she is involved with a start-up app company focused on teenagers mental health. With over 10 years of experience in the field of social services, she has dedicated her career to working with victims, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and advocating for children’s rights. Throughout her journey, she has worked at various centers specifically focused on addressing these issues, providing crucial support and resources to those in need. In addition to her professional work, she is an active volunteer for a local Hispanic non-profit in Georgia working tirelessly to raise awareness and support these communities. In 2017, she graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.

Kendall Wolz
Mental Health and Wellness Manager

Fun fact: Kendall once got stuck on a train in Italy and missed her destination. Thankfully, any destination in Italy is desirable.

Kendall Wolz, LPC moved to Georgia and joined our staff in October 2022. Prior to joining Mosaic, she worked as the Center Director of a nonprofit organization in New Orleans that served individuals experiencing homelessness, struggling with addiction, and recovering from trafficking. She has her Masters of Arts in Counseling with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is currently working on her PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. Kendall comes to Mosaic with first hand experience of what it is like to be a client at a Child Advocacy Center. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Kendall is trained in both Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). Kendall loves all things coffee and reading a good book.

Hagikah Birden

Fun fact: Hagikah was a part of a Brazilian Street Drumming troupe in California. She played the Agogo, a type of bell.

Hagikah Birden is a licensed master social worker and therapist working towards clinical licensure. She joined Mosaic in October 2022 after moving to Georgia from the San Francisco Bay Area, California. She has a Masters in Special Education and a Masters of Social Welfare (MSW). Prior to becoming a therapist, she was a special education teacher working with teens and adolescents with cognitive, developmental and behavioral disabilities. Hagikah has worked as a social worker, advocate and educator in schools, criminal legal settings, and with survivors/victims of sexual assault in the Bay Area. Her experiences have significantly shaped her passion for and understanding of how exposure to violence and abuse can impact the individual, family, and community. She is excited to continue this work in the South.

Emily Felton

Fun fact: Emily enjoys letting her creative juices flow with painting and other crafts.

Emily Felton is a Therapist/Counselor for Mosaic Georgia. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Georgia and is currently working on her LCSW. Prior to joining the team, Emily gained experience as a hospice/medical social worker and as a mental health therapist in the prison system. She is excited to continue her social work journey with us by providing therapy to children, families, groups, and individuals that have experienced trauma. Her areas of focus include: trauma, crisis intervention, addiction, life adjustment difficulties, parenting issues, anxiety, depression, and death and dying, grief and loss, and self-harm. Emily loves family time and traveling.

Melissa Drinkard
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Fun fact: I love to mountain bike in my free time. 
Melissa earned her nursing degree from Georgia Perimeter College in 2015 and began her career as an Emergency Room Nurse. From there, she discovered her passion for helping individuals that have been victims of sexual violence. Melissa became a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at the beginning of 2022 and began her journey as an on-call SANE at LiveSafe Resources in Marietta. Melissa Joined the Mosaic Georgia team in July 2022 as a full-time SANE where she gets to pour all of her dedication into the care of her patients.

Teresa Bullard
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Fun Fact: Teresa met her husband on the school bus freshman year and they won cutest couple for senior superlatives. (Not sure it gets any sweeter than that.)

Teresa earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa and worked in Mother Baby at NSH for 17 years. She first worked with Mosaic Georgia as an on call SANE and is now a full-time member of the staff. Teresa feels passionate about getting age-appropriate, sex positive inclusive sex education into our schools. She is very involved in her church’s outreach and advocacy for LGBTQ+ individuals and participates with the Atlanta area Lutheran church to support the Atlanta Pride Parade and Festival.

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Wholeness Collective – A Wellness Program Launch


By: Ashia Gallo, MPA

At Mosaic Georgia, we play a very sensitive role in the lives of the clients we support. From the first moment we meet them, the stakes are high. We are likely making introductions with a crime victim on the worst day of their lives. It’s a sacred responsibility that our team doesn’t take lightly.

At Mosaic Georgia, we specialize in crisis response for victims of sexual assault, child abuse, and more. A survivor may come to us after experiencing a sexual violation, calling the 24-hour crisis line mere hours or days after an incident. Next steps include an advocate helping the victim to ground, informing them of our services, and possibly making a same-day appointment at our confidential office location.

Once the victim arrives in person, we work to establish safety and trust among trained advocates, provide medical and law enforcement support, and determine the best plan for next steps – navigating difficult healing, and possibly legal, journeys.

The need to further develop these long-term responses became an issue that Mosaic Georgia leadership was desperate to solve. Our legal team helps victims through rigorous and otherwise expensive court proceedings to receive justice against an abuser. Our counseling team provides the one-on-one processing space that so many trauma survivors must undergo in order to move through their pain and not let the impacts of sexual or child abuse dominate their futures.

What isn’t often considered, though, is the isolation felt by these victims as they move through the healing process. The spiritual warfare, the identity crisis, the loss of self and safety at a soul level. The Wholeness Collective was born from these realities. When I signed on as program coordinator in Summer 2022, I was determined to combine my experiences as a victims’ advocate, activist, and international service worker to nurture the creation of this vision.

The goal of the Wholeness Collective was simple – design a trauma-informed healing and wellness program enhancing Mosaic Georgia’s mission by extending care to abuse survivors beyond our established crisis response period. To encourage and support long-term healing and wellness for those on the road back from trauma.

I spent the first several weeks creating a network of people who knew how to do just that. Reflecting its namesake, I aimed to build a “collective” healing community and knew that it couldn’t happen independently. I cold called and emailed countless community-serving nonprofits in Gwinnett County to spread the word about what we were creating. I also ensembled an Advisory Committee from those I talked to with diverse backgrounds, in terms of both identity and area of expertise. Committee members include local business owners, artists, mental health professionals, higher education administrators, and esteemed Mosaic Georgia staff members.

After months of building community interest, partner support, and referral processes at Mosaic Georgia and beyond, the Wholeness Collective launched in October 2022. The results were more than I could’ve ever imagined!

We held a total of 24 FREE Wholeness events and classes in the program’s first quarter, a variety of offerings: support groups for adult, female sexual assault survivors, music classes for children, sound healing and yoga classes, and a workshop for youth-serving professionals and parents about the ways we can protect our kids from abuse.

Nearly 70 participants registered for Wholeness events. Seven healing modality facilitators shared their gifts and led classes. Our program evaluation process (44% response rate) reflected success, revealing an increase in participants’ sense of agency, well-being, empowerment, and positive feelings about their healing journeys over an 8-week period.

We also received notable feedback we are excited to implement in 2023: creating more connection among participants and facilitators, offering culturally specific programming, and taking our events out of the office and into the community!

The sky is the limit for the future of the Wholeness Collective, and I am honored to lead the charge in Mosaic Georgia’s unique, holistic approach to victim services. Amongst our class facilitators, community stakeholders, victims, their families, and the Mosaic Georgia team, the message will remain the same: You are not alone.

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