The Team

Meet the team that is radically committed to hope and healing for our participants. We love what we do and who we do it for.

Rebecca
Executive Director

Pronouns:  She, They

Rebecca is a neurodivergent harm reduction geek with a passion for coordinating creative projects and connecting people. She believes every individual has the right to feel worthy of self-respect. It is an honor for Rebecca to be a part of Open Aid Alliance and to gratefully serve the people of Missoula and Lake Counties. She is an amateur horticulturist/meteorologist/food scientist and would love to see cute pictures of your dog(s). 

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Amanda
Director of Operations

Pronouns:  She, Her, Hers

Born and raised in Montana, Amanda has always had a passion for helping. After years in other helping positions, Amanda found her home and calling in harm reduction at Open Aid Alliance. Amanda is particularly passionate about supporting participants to become self-advocates and experts in their own lives. She fiercely believes in the right to self-determination.  To her, harm reduction means love and empowerment. She plans to continue to fight for the rights of people facing stigma and to amplify their voices and stories whenever possible.

Amanda also loves spending time with her loved ones and her furbabies, reading, cooking and getting outdoors.

Amanda Reese:  Data shows opioid, fentanyl overdoses rising in Montana

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Monica
Director of Finance

Monica graduated summa cum laude from Montana State University in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Business with Accounting and Finance Options. She was honored as the recipient of Montana State University’s 2018 Award for Excellence.

She has always wanted to help and support people and questioned if this was something she could accomplish with her education. She quickly learned that she could apply her financial skills to a purpose she believes in, and Open Aid has proven to be it.

When she is not working, you can find Monica on a hike with her dog Lucy or knitting and binge watching bad tv.

 

Kristen
Clinical Director

Pronouns:  She, Her, Hers

We are all writing our own unique stories, and that’s what makes us human.

Kristen began her counseling career in Atlanta in 2010, supporting people living with HIV and struggling with addiction. After stepping away from the counseling world for a couple of years, the universe brought things full circle when she took on a role in the Housing program at OAA, supporting individuals in Western Montana living with HIV. Having grounded back into her roots as an LCPC, Kristen is grateful to be a part of an amazing team who is boldly passionate about harm reduction.

When she’s not at OAA, you can find Kristen getting creative in the kitchen. She also enjoys spending down-time with her family, party of four. Kristen loves driving with the windows down, music up, and has been known to frequent the occasional mosh pit, one of her favorite forms of self-care.

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Chantz
Prevention and Testing Program Director

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Chantz is ecstatic to be celebrating his 2 year Anniversary with OAA in 2023. Born in Sidney Montana, Chantz has spent 32 of his (never you mind how many) years living on one side of the state or the other. He’s extremely thankful to be in a position with OAA that will allow him to continue giving back to the great state that raised him and impressed upon him the importance of community and togetherness. He recently completed Montana's Community Health Worker training to further expand his offerings at OAA. Outside of work Chantz enjoys all forms of travel, live music and theatre, pinball, board games, and fostering his obsession with Dave Matthews Band (have you SEEN them live?!)

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Aisha
Harm Reduction RN

She/Her/Hers

In kindergarten Aisha was asked, "What would you like to be when you grow up?"
"A nurse" she answered, "because I like to help people.
Cliche as it may sound, it was and always has been the truth. However, through a 20+ year long career in healthcare she started to realize the care she was able to provide was not always helpful or even useful to her patients.  Through OAA Aisha hopes to provide stigma free medical assistance to all of our participants. 

Dessilynn
Harm Reduction Program Specialist

Dessilynn has lived in Montana for 24 years. In 2015 she found recovery and after 4 years, was looking for a job that had meaning and that could allow her to do what she loves doing, helping people. In the fall of 2019 she gratefully joined the OAA team. The ability she has to meet people where they are speaks volumes about the team she works with. Their knowledge and guidance has been a staple in her experience here. Enjoying the freedom of working on her own she thrives in the Polson office, knowing the team has her back.

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Michelle
Contract and Compliance Manager

Michelle grew up in Southern California and moved to Montana in 2016 to attend Montana State University. There she completed a B.S. Sociology, and minored in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Michelle now attends the University Of Montana where she will be completing a Master of Social Work degree in Spring of 2022. Although there are many soapboxes she could jump on right now, Michelle’s main passions are in anti-racism advocacy and working towards a community where all members can have their needs met with dignity and respect.  She is stoked to be working at Open Aid Alliance and offering harm reduction-centered Case Management to participants.

In her (very rare) spare time, Michelle can be found playing video games or finding live music to groove to. She hopes to expand these hobbies after graduate school.

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Colin
Case Manager & Care Coordinator

Pronouns:  They/Them

I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. After living in NYC and Philadelphia for 5 or so years, I made my way to Missoula in 2021.
Harm Reduction has always been important to me, and as I've grown up and lost friends and community members to overdose it has become a core part of my identity and values. I'm passionate about providing care and services to this community and all human beings.


When I'm not working at Open Aid, you can find me playing music or running audio at local rock shows and dance parties, sitting down by the river, or hanging out with friends all over our lovely city.


I'm very grateful to Missoula and Open Aid Alliance for giving me the chance to do the work I've long wanted to do. I'm looking forward to being a part of this team and achieving my LAC candidacy.

Brady
Housing Intake Specialist

Pronouns:  He, Him, His

I was born and raised in Billings, Montana and moved to Missoula in 2019 to pursue a career in Social Work. I began my journey at OAA August 2022 and I have loved every minute of it. My favorite part of OAA is the compassion and support from the staff, and getting to interact with our amazing participants!

I will be graduating with my Bachelor’s in Social work from the University of Montana after the 2023 academic year. I have always been interested in helping communities in Montana, specifically the LGBTQ+ community and those experiencing homelessness. I am extremely passionate about the Housing as Healthcare model used here at OAA and believe that housing is a human right.

Outside of work, I enjoy exploring our beautiful city with friends and seeing the art this town has to offer. I enjoy being a music history and musical theater nerd, and am most likely listening to Whitney Houston at any given moment.

Katrina
Housing Compliance Specialist

Pronouns: She/They

Originally from the LBC, this retired skater-punk has been grateful to call Missoula her home for the last 14 years. Although her days now consist of mostly of Motherhood, cats and crochet, she will not hesitate to raise her voice (or her fist, in solidarity) to advocate for issues of social justice and do her part to help unravel the hateful fabric that the past has woven. Kat used to shoot dope, but she hasn't since getting clean in 2015 and is always willing to hold space for a fellow human. Her favorite band is The Cure and she enjoys reading articles about technological advances in studying the vast expanses of space and the cosmos and the vast oceans of our magical planet. <3

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Laurel
Director of Communications, Capacity, & Advocacy

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Laurel moved to MT in 2015 and joined OAA in 2021. Previously Laurel worked as a field organizer, policy associate, and lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana and the ACLU of Montana. In her freetime she can be found hiking, gardening, rewatching Stranger Things, and ranting about the legislature.

Craig
Director of IT

Pronouns he/his/him

I have been involved with Open Aid Alliance for many years in different capacities. As an IV drug user, I was first a client of the syringe exchange program. During my active addiction, I first started helping OAA with their IT needs and was eventually asked to be a board member. Since that time I have worked on a number of projects with OAA. In my time with OAA, I've created new systems for gathering data needed for grants and agencies, I've increased our social media presence, redesigned our website, and more.  There is always a project on the horizon waiting for me to finish what I'm working on.

One of my joys of working at OAA is that I'm supporting the staff that support our participants.  I optimize and streamline, create processes and procedures, research and develop new ways of doing things so the time we have is focused on supporting clients, not dealing with an IT issue.  I'm not always in the background, though.  I get to help our participants directly on a daily basis.  Sometimes it's just a simple greeting, other times, I'm dispensing syringes or finding a resource for a client.  I love keeping that connection alive in me because it feels good to help and the help is appreciated.  It helps me remember that I was on the receiving end not so long ago.

Besides all of the above, I am a dad, punk rocker, bicycle enthusiast, volunteer, and discovering addict. I appreciate the services, compassion and understanding Open Aid Alliance provides people like me.

Shannon
Connection Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her

I live to be silly, curious, and learn.

We made a quick little time-lapse of everyone preparing the meal from our 2019  World AIDS Day Dinner. It was hectic due to a tight timeline, but everything fell into place like we planned and everyone had a good time. The food was excellent and it was a great staff experience. We have a great group here at OAA (if I do say so myself… and I do) and it was fun to do something different together.

Attention:

We will be participating in an organization-wide staff development and training this week.  Please note the change in hours.  We look forward to sharing what we learn with you when we return on Thursday.

A contemporary pop art image of a crowd of people in an office.