This page is dedicated to our incredible and inspiring Direct Support Professionals, who show their commitment daily!
Director/Founder: Scott Miller, has his BS from The University of Utah in Program Planning, with an emphasis on special populations paralleling outdoor programing and art. He is also a National Outdoor Leadership Alumni and was a senior therapeutic wilderness instructor for AYA. Scott is the co-founder of the Stir Art Collective and has served as a Maine Arts accessibility committee member. Scott has 20 years of experience working with individuals with intellectual uniqueness, including a year on a nationally recognized clinical team. He is also a John Rosser recipient for outstanding social achievement and lectures nationally. Outside human services, Scott c0-owned Washington Ave Art Studios, Vu-Master Gallery and Wicked Pulp Juice Bar and cafe. When Scott is not working or spending time with his wife and two boys, he enjoys good friends, traveling, surfing, tele skiing, and art."He allowed me to be who I wanted to be. He is smart, cool under pressure and is bodaciously awesome!" ~Nicholas S.
Listen Up Program Manager: Eric Schwan has his BA from Alfred University with an emphasis in language, art, and culture. Eric has interned at the Highland Nature Sanctuary in Ohio & The Birch Creek Arts and Ecology Center in Oregon, while also spending five seasons on the Pomona Harvesters apple harvesting crew in VT and NH. Since moving to Maine he has worked as an Ed Tech substitute in the Maine School District and performed and recorded in bands around Portland playing guitar, drums, piano, banjo, and bass. His inspiration for music and working with folks with intellectual uniqueness led to the development of the Listen Up! Music Program in 2012. When Eric is not working he enjoys playing music with friends in his songwriting project The Orchards, hiking, biking, swimming, social justice, reading, and writing. "Eric is supportive. He is someone to turn to when I need help. He tries his hardest to be honest.” ~Katie O.
Portland Foundation Program Manager: Melyssa Knight is in the process of completing her Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in English and Behavioral Science, from the University of Maine. Melyssa has eight years of horticulture experience and has worked with individuals with intellectual uniqueness for over 7 years. She is a certified Special Olympics coach for both summer and winter Olympics. She has camped all along the rocky East Coast and enjoys photography, hiking, making art, roller skating, cooking and spending time with her dog. “Melyssa is a good person! She helps me out when I am frustrated and can make me laugh." ~Shawn
The Art Department Program Manager: Lindsay Book was Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has always been drawn toward a path in the creative arts. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston in 2007, where she was awarded best new photographer of the year by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Lindsay’s journey eventually took her to Los Angeles where she went on to complete her Masters in Film and Television Production at the University of Southern California. After graduating, Lindsay worked for two years as an assistant camera operator for various network shows on Discovery, Bravo, Travel Channel, WE, and Oxygen. When not working, Lindsay can be found watching Golden Girls with her cat Lionel Alexander. "She is so great to be around and always has creative ideas to share with people." ~Sophie R.
Portland Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Emily Baisden, has a BS in Environmental Science from The University of New England and a MS in Entomology from The University of Delaware. While studying at the University of Delaware her research focused on native plant and insect conservation and the use of ornamental native plants to reconcile habitat. Most of Emily's career experience involves farming and land management and she enjoys making time to do outreach work that exposes people of all ages to the world of insects. When she is not at Creative Trails, Emily loves to explore the outdoors with her dog and is an avid birder. "Emily is very smart and always helps me relax and calm down. She is great to talk too." Ralph H
Portland Foundation Program Team Leader (CREATE): Regan Chase has her BFA from Maine College of Art with a major in photography. During her time in college Regan was awarded the Maine College of Art Vision Scholarship and the Lunder Scholars Award. Regan was also hired into a work study program during her time at Maine College of Art where she was able to work for other students to make professional photographs of their artwork. In her own artistic practice, Regan finds excitement in a wide variety of artistic experimentation and exploration. Regan enjoys challenging the power of art to communicate across all barriers, by working intuitively and embracing the happy accidents of art making. Check out her website at www.reganchase.com. When she is not at Creative Trails, Regan prefers to spend her time working on various art projects, cooking, hiking, reading, and enjoying the local music scene. "She likes art and helps me on my comic books. I think she's really nice." -Thy L
Portland Foundation Program Direct Support Professional:: Ben Thomas has his Bachelor of Science from Tufts University and went to medical school at the University of Vermont to receive his MD. Ben has worked as a physician for 25 years including many years as a personal trainer. The past 6 years Ben has focused on his art making stunning handcrafted flutes and sculptures and his work can be seen at various art galleries in Maine, as well as craft shows. You can see some of his creation at www.poetcarver.com. Outside of work Ben enjoys traveling with his family, poetry, woodcarving, hiking, downhill skiing and gardening.
"Ben is really kind and helpful. " -Amanda G
"The Art Department/Publication Studio" Team Leader: Sandy Lowden holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University in New York. His artistic focus is in handmade printmaking processes and alternative process photography, and he is always drawing. After graduating from college Sandy spent four years traveling around the county by car, plane, train and even walking for 850 miles. When not traveling or working in the studio Sandy loves to learn everything he can about ecology, mushrooms, honeybees, plants and anything else that strikes his interest. "Sandy is very helpful and generous and I like him because he teaches us a lot about print making"- Amanda G
The Art Certificate Program Manager: Lianne Lewin graduated cum laude from the University of Southern Maine with her BFA in Art Education and concentration in Painting. Lianne has had a passion for art and teaching from an early age. During high school she completed a three year tech program in graphic design and printing, and was awarded first place in Sebago Long Lake Music Festival’s yearly poster design competition. As part of the USM art education program she has taught in many art workshops for local elementary students, curated opening receptions to exhibit their work, and helped launch the ArtLab Summer Camp workshop series. When she is not teaching or making art, she enjoys exploring the Maine coast, reading, relaxing with her cat and two bunnies, and spending time with her friends and family. “She’s wonderful! She’s wonderful staff; I like her and the way she does art. I give her an AAA+!” ~David M
Portland Foundation Team Leader (CULTIVATE): Patrick Bush has worked with adolescents in the education field over the past 6 years and over a decade in recreational work. With an Elementary Education degree with a concentration in Earth Science from the University of Maine, Farmington, Patrick loves to explore the outdoors. Growing up with Acadia National Park as his back yard, Patrick has had ample outdoor involvement; whether it is biking, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, or boating, active outdoor exploration is a part of his daily routine. Being new to the area, Patrick is excited to make the coastal city of Portland his new home. "Patrick is a good person, he helped me think about the word mindfulness." -Shawn C.
Auburn Foundation Program Manager: Angie Libby has been working in the social service field for over 17 years. She is a certified job coach, CMAS ski coach, project adventure certificate holder, certified bowling coach, certified athletics coach, certified alpine ski coach and a certified cross country ski coach. Angie has the ability to make people feel safe while having fun. Angie has been with Creative Trails for over 10 years. Angie is a proud mother of two children and when she is not working at Creative Trails she enjoys snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, kayaking, camping and baking. "Angie has so many different techniques about her; she’s funny, she’s fun to be around, she helps people when they need it…she tries to give people ideas.” ~Christine O.
Portland Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Audrey Maddox has her BS in Ecology & Environmental Science from the University of Maine, with a focus on Sustainable Food Systems. While studying at the University of Maine, Audrey helped with research regarding methods to encourage native pollinators in Maine, and assisted with building public awareness about the benefits sustainability practices. These interests led her to attend a Permaculture Design Certification course at Prospect Rock Permaculture in Vermont. During this time, Audrey began building interest and excitement in the study of Nonviolent Communication, and completed several workshops with the organization Open Communications. After graduating, Audrey apprenticed on a small diversified farm in Maine, and enjoyed living very connected to the environment and the changes from season-to-season. Audrey is currently prioritizing creative expression by focusing on songwriting for cello and voice, visual art, and cultivating a dance, yoga, and general expressive movement practice, and she still finds time to garden! "Audrey is smart and has good ideas and very easy going." -Chase G.
The Art Certificate Program Direct Support Professional: McKenzie Meserve graduated from Mount Ida College with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture and Design. Through numerous design internships throughout college at firms in the Portland and Boston area, she realized she needed to help people in a more direct way that was fulfilling and had a positive impact on the ones around her. With her love for art and design cultivated from the roots of her creative and artistic soul, combined with her passion for helping people, she perfectly meshed the two together and found a balance at The Art Certificate Program. When McKenzie is not working at TACP she enjoys being with friends and family, visiting art museums, traveling, and being in the company of her dog and two cats.
“I think she’s very sweet.” –Kim C
Auburn Foundation Program Team Leader (Horsemanship): Sara Fickett is a Certified Equestrian Special Olympics coach. She has worked in the human service field for nine years. Sara is very knowledgeable of horses and loves to share her knowledge with others. Sara also has a talent for scrapbooking and loves to share this passion. Sara has been with Creative Trails for two years and supports the Horsemanship Leadership Program. Sara has worked as a DPS for various agencies for the past nine years. Outside of Creative Trails Sara enjoys scrapbooking, card making, and spending time with her family, her dog and two horses.
“Sara is good with horses” ~Michelle B
Auburn Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Ryan Decker has her degree in Cosmetologyfrom Mr. Bernard’s school of hair fashion. Ryan enjoys spending time in warm climates such as Florida and California. She often goes down to visit friends in Boston to enjoy the city life. Ryan is a practicing artist and has been featured in several art shows including a show at UMA and the Moxie festival. Ryan has been a CRMA, cleaning lady, waitress, hostess, bartender, daycare worker, movie theater attendant, shop keep, pizza maker, telemarketer, pedicurist, manicurist, hairdresser, volunteer driver, DSP, wife, mother, friend and lover of life. Outside of work Ryan likes to swim, hike, read, sew, watch movies, spend time with her kids, attend shows and events that support equality.
“Ryan is so funny and cool” ~Erin B.
Portland Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Kayla received her bachelors degree in psychology at the University of Southern Maine, while taking numerous studio art classes throughout. Kayla worked as an intern and is now currently a board member for Art H.O.P.E, which specializes in community-based art for people living with cancer or other long term illnesses. Kayla completed an internship at the Art Department, through which she found Creative Trails. In her free time, Kayla enjoys painting, watching horror movies, and hanging out with animals. "Kayla is a lot of fun to be around and cares about what you have to say" ~Sophie R
Portland Foundation Program Team Leader (Culinary Arts): Emily Lyon's studied Art and Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Maine with a focus in sculpture. She has a love for cooking and enjoys sharing it with others. Emily has been with Creative Trails in many capacities for several years. Emily has lived and traveled in many places in the US as well as Costa Rica. Outside of Creative Trails she also works at a glassblowing studio. She enjoys gardening, hiking, and hugging dogs. Emily likes to travel as much as possible but always finds her way back to Maine where she grew up. "Emily is a very smart women...she always knows what needs to get done and she always has a great smile". -Ralph H
Auburn Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Pat Conrad has worked in the Human Services field for over 17 years. She has a passion for sharing her art experiences with others. Pat is caring, compassionate and has a way of showing others how to have fun while creating masterpieces.
Pat has been with Support Solutions for 7 years. Prior to working with Support Solutions, Pat was a DSP working in various states. Outside of Creative Trails Pat enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors, hiking, fishing, rock hounding, antiquing, and music. Pat also loves spending time with her two grandchildren. “Pat is creative and has good ideas” ~Michelle B
Portland Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Nate Britten has his BA from Brandeis University in Politics with an emphasis on American Government. Nate has spent one fabulous year in the social services field as a Direct Support Professional and House Manager. Nate developed an interest in working with adults with intellectual uniqueness during his internship at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in Boston. Having been raised in the heavily wooded lakes region of central Maine, Nate has always enjoyed a special relationship with the outdoors and particularly enjoys nature walks, kayaking, and canoeing. In his free time Nathaniel also enjoys playing the piano, rollerblading, ice skating, and delivering fully committed heartfelt karaoke duets with his roommates. "Nate is a very good staff and he makes me laugh and is an awesome driver". -Ralph H
Portland Foundation Program Team: Sean Seary has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Hartwick College. While in college Sean participated in various projects, such as working on an archaeology field school, glass casting, and designing, building, and maintaining several trail systems in Oneonta, New York. Sean has also worked on internships ranging from land resource management, researching the cultural and economic benefits of trail networks, and studying humanity’s interaction with and impact on the environment throughout history. Before coming to Creative Trails Sean worked as an outdoor instructor and environmental educator, and loves leading exploratory and experiential outdoor activities. When not at Creative Trails, Sean is usually mountain biking, reading, meditating, and traveling around Maine. "Sean is a great leader and knows a lot about nature. He makes everything fun" -Ralph H.
Portland Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Brian Doody is an artist currently living in Portland, ME. Brian's work has been featured in numerous publications and group shows. Brian was a recipient of a 2017 Kindling Fund Grant from Space Gallery which funded a 2018 exhibition and solo publication of work. When not working on art, Brian enjoys watching weird movies, walking alone in the woods, and driving late at night. Brian's work can be found at briandoody.com. "Brian is really nice to everyone and he teaches cooking in a way that I understand...he is a very good cook."~Sophie R
Portland Foundation Program Team Leader (TRAILS): Hillary D went to University Maine at Augusta and University Maine in Farmington where she studied art with a focus in photography with hopes of becoming an underwater photographer. In the meantime, Hillary enjoys traveling. She has spent time in Costa Rica, and has backpacked across France and the Netherlands. During her travels, Hillary gained experience volunteering on an organic farm, explored various hiking trails and learned about the local culture. Hillary has several years’ experience working as a Direct Support Professional and enjoys the outdoor opportunities offered at Creative Trails. "Hillary is a very nice staff. She helps me with making good choices." - Ralph H
The Art Certificate Program Direct Support Professional: Rainey studied fine arts at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in ceramics and art history, but has created art with a wide variety of 2D and 3D mediums. She previously worked in home health care taking care of family members, nannying small children with unique needs, and also helped to run and operate a family business. Rainey has traveled the country several times exploring the beauty and diversity of the natural world, and takes a lot of inspiration from nature. Rainey has a passion for entomology as well as art, and has collected exotic tarantulas along with lots of other creepy crawlies. “I would say she’s perfect.” –Walter G
The Listen Up/Composition Studio (Team Leader): Tyler Heydolph has been an active performing musician in New England for the past 15+ years. Following private double bass study in NYC and his native VT he began performing regularly in the areas Jazz and improvised music scene as well as holding positions in the Keene Chamber Orchestra (NH) & Windham Orchestra (VT). Tyler currently performs regularly with Mark Tipton’s Les Sorcier Perdus, improvised “Doom-prov” trio Earbus and Snaex. Tyler worked at Listen Up! For 3 years prior to starting the Composition Studio in the beginning of 2017. When not at the Composition Studio Tyler enjoys playing/listening to music, reading, thinking and being outside. "Tyler is an good musician, very helpful and kind". - Michael O.
The Publication Studio Direct Support Professional: Mario Bermejo was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. In Montevideo Mario studied Science and attended the Pedro Figari Art School to learn Graphic Design all while furiously researching Comic Books and Video Games. After school Mario worked on IT and Graphic Design sometimes simultaneously. Until moving to Massachusetts in 2002. During the next 15 years he worked on print and design; Published ten comic book anthologies with the Boston Comics Roundtable and local Historical Societies to great reviews and awards; got married and adopted a cat named Chivita. At the beginning of 2017 Mario moved to Portland where he has contributed comics and drawn the cover of the prestigious local anthology “One Page Stinkers” and created a comic strip published on ”Preachers Fire”. Mario has also gotten really serious about baking rye bread and printing other artist comics with his trusty Risograph machine. "Mario is very helpful, kind and helps me with my stories for my children's book". - Amanda G.
The Art Certificate Program Direct Support Professional: Heather Wechsler received her Associates Degree in Behavioral Health and Human Servicesfrom Southern Maine Community College with a detour in Printmaking. Heather has worked in the photography industry as a printer and a shooter, in addition to avariety of other random jobs until finding her passion in community art education. When she is not at The Art Certificate Program you are likely to find her curled up in a comfy chair playing with yarn and other fiberous treasures, collecting rocks and sea glass on the beach with her teenage daughter or at apunk rock show with her husband feeling like the oldest people there!
“She’s a very good listener to what we have to say about stuff.” –Adam B
Auburn Foundation Program Direct Support Professional: Arica Turner has a degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello with an emphasis in Agricultural Studies. She worked at Nezinscot Farm for 10 years. Arica has also supported terminally ill boys, job coached, and was a physical and speech therapy assistant. She has spent some time traveling in Alaska, Hawaii and Canada. When she is not at Creative Trails she loves playing basketball and soccer. Arica also enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her friends and her dog.
"She is a very special one. Good staff!"-Ruth A.
Creative Trails Float: Kyra Hunsicker has her bachelors in Communications with a minor in Art from the University of New England. She has previously worked assisting a director at a TV station and worked in a marketing position at a local clothing company. Kyra has also been hired as a wedding photographer, real-estate photographer, and product photographer and videographer. Kyra is passionate about photography and art, and you can see some of her work at kliffcreatives.wixsite.com/kliffcreatives. Growing up in the White Mountains, Kyra has a huge love for outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking and rock/ice climbing. Kyra is also a certified scuba diver and loves to travel and dive in new places. She has gone diving in places such as Nicaragua, Indonesia, Honduras, Bahamas, and the Florida Keys. Her adventure partner is her rescued dog, Dutch, who she met while volunteering at the Kennebunk animal shelter. "Kyra is very cool and takes us on great hikes".- Ralph H
The Art Department Team Leader: Jamison York graduated cum laude from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts concentration in Sculpture in 2001. Jamison uses his contractor and blacksmithing background to fabricate found art steel sculptures. Jamison creates commercial and residential art commissions and exhibits nationally from coast to coast. Besides staying active to the New England School of Metalworks, Jamison is an avid skier and physical fitness and wellness coach. His passion for teaching art and fitness has allowed multiple students to metal place in recent Special Olympics in Maine. “You are a Great Artist, Person, and Coach… How is that all possible?” –Abby O.
The Art Department Direct Support Professional: Sharon Allen has degrees in Photography, Art History, Information Technology and Library Science, as well as certificates in Museum Education, Grant Writing, Data Visualization, and Digital Storytelling. She has enjoyed a variety of jobs but most recently has worked as Library Director at Syracuse University’s Florence Program; Librarian and IT / Database Administrator at the International School of Florence, and Coordinator of Art Activities at the Centro Terapeutico Europeo. When Sharron is not at The Art Department, she enjoys being outdoors, trail running, hiking, snow shoeing/skiing, photography, creating fiber, textile, and book arts, reading, fixing/making things, and planning how to adopt all of the dogs and cats at the Animal Refuge League. "Sharon is very friendly and is an amazing person".
The Art Department Direct Support Professional: Michael graduated from the University of West Georgia earning a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a concentration in Sculpture in 2013. Michael focus in sculpture is in how the arts can be integrated into social practices using popular culture and humor through an artist’s persona dubbed “Crystal Unicorn.” Before residing in Maine, Michael worked and lived in Atlanta, Georgia at Inferno Art Foundry and for the Atlanta Film Industry. He has attended multiple art residencies along the East Coast and continues to present research and lead workshops at national and international cast iron art conferences. “He’s the ‘Idea Guy’…He can create anything with cardboard and a hot glue gun.” Jamison Y
The Art Department Team Leader: Mackenzie Bartlett In lieu of an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, Mackenzie studied media and communications with a strong focus in film production, and has since remained active in the creative Portland community. She is passionate about using film as a medium for creative self-expression, and to harness the whimsical and individual realities that are possible through visual storytelling. That energy spills out into the rest of her artistic practice, which could be summed up as “overall enthusiastic craftiness”. After a yearlong “why not?” adventure across the United States, Mackenzie moved back to Portland to join the inspiring and vibrant team of artists at The Art Department. When not covered in papier-mache from 9-5, Mackenzie is likely wrapped up in directing a short film project, co-hosting a podcast, and hanging out with her cat, Norma. "Mackenzie is very calm, kind and cheers people up if they are upset". -Amada G
Listen UP Direct Support Professional: Michael Townsend is a graduate of Rutgers College (New Brunswick, NJ) with a degree in Human Communication, Michael had a long career as an Advertising/Marketing Communications copywriter in New York, New Jersey and Portland, ME. His claim to fame: coining the state slogan “Maine, The Way Life Should Be’” for the office of Tourism in 1987. Before leaving the business in 2015, Michael served as Director of Creative Services for the firm of Perry & Banks in Portland, where he was employed for 19 years. Michael has also been a musician, playing guitar, bass and keyboards for various bands and projects throughout much of his life. In addition, he has been a volunteer producer and programmer for Portland community radio station WMPG since 1986, and continues to contribute there to this day. In November, 2016, Michael was certified a DSP and joined the staff of Listen Up Music for this simple reason: “I love being able to help people in their pursuit of the joys of music – be it listening, writing, recording or performing!" "Michael is awesome he helps us out with making music". -Michael O
Listen Up Direct Support Professional: Jon Gaither is a musician and recording engineer with a BA in political science from George Washington University. A lifelong Mainer, Jon returned home after college and quickly started a punk-blues band that helped re-ignite his love for noisy joyful music and his fascination with recording. A passion for civil rights and social justice led Jon to the ACLU of Maine, where he spent four years leading a statewide program educating young people about their constitutional rights. He has also worked for three years at the Jay School District and for one year at the Portland Conservatory of Music. When he isn't rocking out with the musicians at Listen Up, he is likely working on a new album or trying to teach himself a new skill he can use in the recording studio.
"Jon is very kind and helps me make music". -John G