Our Story

At a Community Public Health conference in 2007, Dr. Robert Anda challenged individuals by saying, “Go home and make something happen”. Teri Barila did just that – with the help of Annett Bovent and Mark Brown, CRI was born. Together with local community members, CRI started as a grassroots movement to inform its local community about the negative health effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) if left unaddressed. 

Over a decade later, CRI is now a nonprofit organization conducting trauma-informed training online and in person, across the continent. CRI is recognized as a leader in trauma-informed training and offers several levels of training based on Knowledge, Insight, Strategies and Structures (K.I.S.S.), its blueprint for building community capacity. 

Our Core Values


Relationships are the number one protective factor. Humans are social and crave to belong and be loved.


Culture is diverse and many communities are multicultural and we believe culture has to be fluid.


We believe diverse communities are resilient communities. Variation is the norm.


Knowledge is power and enables people to make informed decisions based on the current science.


Resilience is a skill that must be modeled, taught and practiced. Everyone has the capacity to build resilience.


Sustainability is paramount to transforming systems for healthy and equitable communities.


Every person has the right to thrive, be happy, and be healthy.

Our Team


Theresa Barila


Theresa Barila (she/her) is the founder of the Community Resilience Initiative (CRI). Teri earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from American University and a Masters of Science in Fisheries Management from the University of Maryland. Teri spent 20 years as a Research Biologist with the Federal Salmon and Steelhead recovery program in the Pacific Northwest. Her experience in that field helped her bridge science and practice when she changed careers and moved into community engagement work 22 years ago.

Recognized internationally for her work with CRI, Teri frequently travels, training communities to develop their own blueprint so that “Resilience Trumps ACEs.” Teri is involved extensively in training, consulting, writing, and researching in trauma, resilience, and community capacity building. Her work has attracted attention in various venues, in part due to the focus Teri places on grassroots organizational development and the focus on the hope of resilience.

Teri is mom to two children, a son and daughter, and was pleased to add the title grandmother in 2018. Experiencing a special needs child’s world has significantly shaped Teri’s thinking on systems, education, resilience, and advocacy for children. 

Rick Griffin

Executive Director

Rick (he/him) is the Executive Director for CRI.  With more than twenty years of experience in non-profit administration, Rick has first-hand experience with building organizations that use a trauma-informed approach in both internal operations and service delivery.  Under Rick’s guidance, CRI has become a leading voice in the field of trauma and resilience. His dedication to resilience, and his commitment to creating a citizenry conversant in the science of trauma, are an inspiration to all who know him.

CRI Picture

Becky Turner

Director of Community Engagement

Becky Turner (she/her) joined the CRI team as Director of Community Engagement in September 2022. A homegrown Walla Walla Valley resident, Becky has worked as a public school teacher and in the local nonprofit sphere. A former Executive Director of a reentry-based nonprofit, she and her team provided human services to people after incarceration. Becky is also an active volunteer in the community of Walla Walla, and a member of the local Reach Out coalition to prevent suicide. Eager to put her first-hand knowledge of the community to good use, Becky looks forward to bringing CRI’s trauma-informed and resilience-focused training to all sectors of the Walla Walla Valley. When she’s not working on making connections in the community, Becky enjoys gardening and having weekly Sunday dinners with her extended family, where she is the assigned dessert maker.

Board Members


Kelly Jedd McKenzie

Board President

Kelly (she/her) is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst at the Administration for Children and Families in Washington DC, where she works on research and evaluation related to home visiting, child welfare, and human trafficking. Kelly’s involvement with CRI began in 2010 when she became an intern with CRI as a Whitman College student. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Child Development from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, where she researched the impacts of adversity and trauma on brain development. Kelly was a Fellow with Doris Duke and the Society for Research in Child Development.


Sonia Cole

Vice President

Sonia (she/her) supervises public child welfare in Walla Walla & Columbia Counties in WA state. She has worked in public child protection and welfare for over 30 years. Since her introduction to CRI in 2008, Sonia has used the knowledge and insight about trauma and resilience to help shift the local agency practices.




Ursula Volwiler

Secretary / Treasurer

Ursula (she/her) moved to the US from Germany in her late twenties, first working in the software industry as a linguist, then switching to the field of education. During her years as an elementary school teacher and community college instructor, she recognized the crucial role of trauma in the lives of the children and adults in her classroom, most of them immigrants. Learning about the ACE study through Teri Barila around 2012 finally provided some answers. Ursula has been involved with CRI ever since, first applying trauma-informed practices in her work as an educator and community activist, then as a CRI contractor, and finally as the interim Director of Community Engagement after Teri Barila retired. Serving on the Board is an opportunity for her to give back to CRI after receiving so much. 

Ursula holds undergraduate degrees in Language Studies and Elementary Education, a graduate degree in English as a Second Language with Emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction, and a post-graduate certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies from Trauma Research Foundation. She lives in Bremerton, WA. 


Heather Rodriguez


Heather (she/her) currently works as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology at Walla Walla University and has her own part-time, mental health private practice, Restore & Evolve, LLC. She has worked in the mental health field with children and families for the past 20 years, specializing in the area of trauma treatment. She is the co-founder and former Program Coordinator of Children’s Home Society’s Triple Point program in Walla Walla serving youth who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Amber Sosa


Amber brings to the Board her lived experience within the Child Welfare system and an unwavering passion for children and families. She strongly believes that it is her duty to help strengthen the next generation of children and families and reduce rates of childhood trauma.

After graduating from the University of Washington with a Master of Social Work, Amber pursued her goal of advancing the well-being of families by working as a grant writer and director of an outreach program in the Pacific Northwest. As a student, she volunteered and interned for organizations like the Mockingbird Society, Treehouse, the Institute for Family Development, and the Department for Children, Youth and Families.

Amber was a congressional intern for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. In 2017, she received the University of Washington Social Service Impact Award.

After growing up and working mainly in the Pacific Northwest, Amber recently moved to Northern California.

Penny Capko

M.Ed, Administrative Credential

Penny Capko earned her Master of Education through Washington State University. She currently works with Community Colleges of Spokane as a Classroom Quality Specialist, coaching and supporting staff at Spokane’s Head Start Program. She was formerly an administrator of Spokane Public Schools, an Educational Specialist in the Mead School District, and a Kindergarten teacher in Battle Ground, WA. She has experience working with children in high-poverty, highly diverse communities and with students with disabilities since 2000. She supports teachers and classrooms in Trauma Informed Practices as well as Trauma Informed curriculum and strategies. She has partnered to support university educational programs in training candidates about ACEs, self-care, and responding to trauma affected individuals and their families. One of her greatest joys is working with community members to provide resources to students and families.

Karissa Luckett


Ms. Luckett started her Nursing career over 30 years ago, and is currently licensed in Texas as a Registered Nurse (RN).  She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Louisiana State University, with a focus in Not-for-profit Management and Leadership. She has worked for the Center for Youth Wellness, a program of Safe & Sound, since 2016, initially serving as the NPPC Coach, and currently as the Senior Clinical and Quality Operations Director. Ms. Luckett facilitates training and provides content expertise in the areas of ACEs screening implantation, intervention, EHR build, data capture reporting, and monitoring, and patient education best practices. She has specialized training in Trauma Informed Care, and Trauma-informed organizations, and Healthcare Quality. She also consults with the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation to provide Center of Excellence reviews of Perinatal Programs, that focus on standards of care for Mother’s and Newborns. She is a member of the Academy on Abuse and Violence, and serves on the Scholarly Review Committee.

CRI helped me get the help that I needed - both in physical needs and also in helping me come to understand how to build the positive into my life.
Annett Bovent
Director & Founder of Hope Heals, Walla Walla
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