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
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.
Director of Training
Rick (he/him) is the Director of Training and Curriculum Development for CRI. Rick holds a Masters degree in Education and uses his education to develop cutting-edge content and to deliver engaging presentations. He speaks to thousands of groups from all over the country and is widely recognized for his work with trauma-informed practices. His experience allows him to consult seamlessly with schools, businesses, and community organizations.
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. As the former Executive Director of the STAR Project, she and her team provided reentry 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.
Kelly Jedd McKenzie
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 (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.
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.
MSW, LICSW, CMHS, CCTP, CATP, RYT 200, TCTSY-F
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.
LICSW, RYT, YYT
Amy is a clinical social worker with the District of Columbia Public Schools, in Washington, DC working under the federally-funded SAMHSA grant, Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). Amy hails from New Jersey where she received her Bachelors of Social Work degree from Georgian Court University. After moving to Washington, DC in 2002, she went on to pursue a Masters of Social Work degree from Howard University, where she specialized in criminal justice from The Black Perspective. Amy’s work as a clinician, a healer, and an educator have been woven throughout her experiences in the corrections, foster care, juvenile justice and education systems, where she attained a great passion for studying trauma and its impact on self-regulation and interpersonal relationships, particularly as it relates to student achievement and educator wellness. On her journey to deepen her skills and awareness around trauma and healing-centered practices, Amy earned a much-anticipated Registered Yoga Teacher certification (RYT), Trauma Recovery Yoga certification (TRY) and a Yin Yoga Certification (YYT) where she teaches a variety of classes to her community through Rising Sun Wellness, LLC where she is the Founder and Owner. Amy finds much joy in raising her son in Washington, DC, exploring the outdoors, engaging in community advocacy, while ensuring time for self-care.
M.Ed, Administrative Credential
Penny Capko is an administrator in Spokane Public Schools. She has had experience working with children in high-poverty, highly diverse communities for the past several years, and with students with disabilities since 2000. She has worked with Early Childhood as well as Elementary aged students. In her role as administrator, she supports teachers, and classrooms in Trauma Informed Practices and continues to support with Trauma Informed curriculum and strategies. One of her greatest joys is working with community members to provide resources to students and families. She has partnered to support teacher candidates and their supervisors in self-care and responding to trauma affected individuals.
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.
Marc Elcock is the Director of the Criminal Justice Program and also an instructor in the program at Southwestern Community College, Creston, Iowa. He is an attorney and Judicial Magistrate in Lucas County, Iowa. In addition to his legal background, Marc holds advanced degrees in forensic psychology, public health, and public administration.
Marc has served in leadership roles for boards with diverse interests. He joined CRI’s Board of Directors because he believes in the power of connections, healthy relationships, and community. He is a strong advocate for restorative justice and the importance of being trauma- informed.
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.