Carmen Persaud, LPC, CSAC, CSIT
Carmen has lived and worked in Manitowoc County since 1998. She began her career with Lakeshore CAP in 2000 by directing and leading The Learning Club program for at-risk youth. At that time, she decided she wanted to pursue a career in therapy and returned to school to earn her Master’s Degree. She gained great experience by working as a student intern on 2East at Holy Family Memorial hospital and Tamarack Behavioral Health. In 2003, she walked into Manitowoc County Human Services Department as a clinical intern. By the end of her internship she graduated with her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and certification as a Registered Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She gained employment at the human services department and remained there until 2011, working in every program, including outpatient, Community Support Program, AODA and crisis. From there, Carmen worked as an outpatient psychotherapist with Aurora Healthcare at both the De Pere and Two Rivers clinic and advanced her certification as a Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor. It was at that time in which she was offered an opportunity to write a treatment program for a residential substance abuse treatment program. She not only partnered to write the program, but also was part of running the in’s and out’s of the residential treatment program. Knowing she had found her passion and desire, she chose to pursue a supervisory career in behavioral health and was hired as the Behavioral Health Supervisor at Calumet County and added the certification of Clinical Supervisor in Training, as well as training and supervising in the program known as CCS (Comprehensive Community Services). Carmen has extensive experience with state administrative codes and licensing, as well as state audits and surveys. In 2018, she partnered with Chris Gilbert to create what is now CORE Treatment Services, Inc.
Chris Gilbert, CPSS
Chris Gilbert is the founder and director of the TEEBOX transitional sober living homes in Manitowoc, WI. He is the Co-founder and Co-executive Director of CORE Treatment services Inc, the new sixteen-bed AODA residential treatment center in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Chris is also the lead pastor of Connection Church. Chris grew up in South Bend, Indiana, where he developed a deep love for Notre Dame football as well as the Chicago Bears. As you can imagine, living in Packer country and the Bears track record does not make this an easy endeavor, and yet he remains faithful to the cause. He is an engaging and entertaining communicator. His authentic, tell it like is approach inspires people from all walks of life. His practical next steps then helps people move from inspiration to application. He has used this approach to serve multiple organizations to help them to determine and transform their culture. This transformation has allowed those organizations to discover new employment pipelines as well as higher organizational growth. He has a passion for seeing people find and fulfill their purpose. He believes that "organizations and people don't have lasting change because we modify behavior. Lasting change happens when we find a cause that compels us forward."
Heidi Velazquez, CPSS
Heidi is passionate about Recovery because of her own lived experience. Heidi is in personal recovery for Mental Health and in family recovery for substance use. The number of losses she has experienced due to suicide and overdose has given her the drive and passion to help those affected by mental health and substance use disorders. Heidi’s work experience consists of providing direct services as a Certified Peer Support Specialist and CCAR Recovery Coach to those seeking recovery, Administrator of a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, Program Director for a Recovery Community Center, and Grant Coordinator for various recovery support programs including the ED2Recovery Program with Wisconsin Voices for Recovery.
Heidi has been very active in our community by volunteering with a number of non profits and community programs. Some of her recent volunteer work includes: Executive Committee Member of the Substance Abuse/Mental Health Coalition with HMC 2020; Co-Chair of the Access to Resources Workgroup, a sub-committee of the Substance Abuse/Mental Health Coalition; Planned and facilitated several Community Education, Awareness, and Engagement events in Manitowoc and Sheboygan Counties; Developed an innovative model for Transitional Recovery Housing and short term Non-Medical Emergency Recovery Housing; Developed a harm reduction effort and facilitates the training and distribution of Narcan kits (includes naloxone nasal spray, gloves, rescue breathing mouth guard, and resources) to the community and agencies through the Narcan Direct Program; Planned and executed community listening sessions and Screenings of The Anonymous People and Written Off to educate our community about addiction and the opioid crisis.
Allie Gallengerger, CPSS
Allie is CORE’s Residential Manager and she was the first Manitowoc County Drug Court graduate. Allie works part-time at Faith Adult Sober Living Home and volunteers at The Teebox Sober Living. She is also currently attending NWTC for her human services associates degree. She is a recovery coach and recently became a certified peer support specialist. Allie has experience and seen the struggle of treatment and recover and wants to devote her time and passion to other people starting that same journey.
Catherine Forbes, CSAC
My name is Cathy Forbes and I am a Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor and have been working with individuals and families struggling with addiction for 6 years. I worked with adolescents and their families in an inpatient and outpatient setting as well as adults and families in a residential setting. Prior to entering into this field I worked as an Operations Manager in the mortgage/banking field and when the housing and economy took a dive in 2008 I decided to go after my true dream and that is helping people. I received my undergraduate in Psychology with a concentration in mental health from the Southern New Hampshire University and now attending graduate school at Lakeland University in their Masters of Counseling Program with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health. I am a member of the American Counseling Association and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. In addition, I am a member of Faces and Voices of Recovery as I am dedicated to ending the stigma of addiction and mental health and bring healing into our communities. As Bill White once said, “we will shape the future of recovery with a detached silence or with a passionate voice." I am very passionate about being an advocate for those who still suffer and an agent for change.
I believe that healing is a collaborative endeavor that requires honest caring without judgment and create a tailored approach for each individual. I promote a client-centered, solution focused, and a holistic approach to help my clients move towards greater health and wellness that can be integrated into their daily lives. I am excited to be involved with CORE as I have a deep commitment to social change and feel privileged to be able to help people through difficult and transitional times of their lives. I am passionate about treating the client with empathy, compassion and respect throughout the client’s journey. I am committed to authenticity, empowerment, trust, vulnerability, and connection.
Mary Spaulding, APSW
My name is Mary Spaulding, a 42 year old country girl at heart, living in a small town. I have known from a very young age that I wanted to help people in some way or another. Around age 13 is when it was decided that I would end up as a counselor. I took some time to follow my dream of being in the Army and then moved into the workforce as I worked my way through college as a part-time student. Many years later I finally obtained my Undergraduate degree in Psychology and I felt right at home. After that and a little bit of guidance, I was accepted into the Master's program for my Social Work Degree in Mental Health.
From Individual therapy to working with those freed from trafficking, onto a new adventure freeing those from the slavery of addiction, I begin this adventure with CORE Treatment Services. A company full of drive to make our community better by encouraging those slaves to addiction to find their freedom through sobriety. A company full of heart for all involved now and all those that may come in the future. A company that is giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of helping people help themselves. It was their excitement and hearts for change that led me to want to be a part of it. I have two teenage boys and I have raised them here with support and honesty when it comes to the drug and alcohol world. But, in recent years I have become more and more concerned about the level of activity for drug use and the ease of obtaining it in the community, and the nation for that matter. This has led to more worry on my part as a parent as to the likelihood that they may become one of those slaves to addiction. So, it is my hope that in making a difference at CORE through addiction treatment and trauma therapy that the chances for my boys and the other boys and girls of this community will be at a decreased risk for enslavement. I was offered the opportunity to obtain training that has been proven to be very effective in treating trauma, and many other struggles, including addiction. That training is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). I have been able to witness people that have been struggling with lifelong trauma since the age of two be able to think about a specific event that would engulf them with painful memories as if they were in that moment all over again, to be able to talk about that moment with clear emotions and live through it. It is my continued hope that I will be able to assist those we serve, to do and feel that same with their trauma and addiction through EMDR and treatment.