Stone Soup Group was founded on the principle that it takes the varied experiences and expertise of many to support families caring for children with special needs. Meet the Board and Staff that contribute to the mission of Stone Soup Group every day.
Board of Directors
Stone Soup Group (SSG) is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors, who each brings unique and valuable skills and life experience to the table. If you are interested in becoming a part of this dynamic group of parents, family members, self-advocates and professionals, please contact Mary Middleton, Executive Director for more information.
Anthony Cravalho, President & Parent
Anthony came to Alaska in 1996 when he was stationed at Fort Wainwright while serving in the U.S. Army. Anthony is a father of an adult son with autism and is a Kotzebue resident of 11 years who works as the director of Planning & Development for the Maniilaq Association. He has experience serving as a board member for the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), Special Education Service Agency (SESA), and Governor Council for Disabilities & Special Education as well as serving locally on the Kotzebue advisory school council and Lions club board. Anthony, who is an Eagle Scout, is a graduate of University of Nevada Las Vegas with a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Political Science.
Debbie Brooks, Vice President & Parent
Debbi moved to Alaska from Payette, Idaho in 1980. She attended UAA from 1984 until 1990 and attained two bachelor’s degrees. She has worked for Refrigeration & Food Equipment, Inc. since 1989 in the foodservice equipment industry and became a Project Manager in 2001. She has enjoyed the teamwork with her fellow contractors to build some really beautiful kitchen facilities all over the state. Her new “pet” project is Axel, an 11-month-old lab/golden retriever, who she is training as a service dog to support her son with his transition into adulthood.
Debbi met her husband Rick in Anchorage and they live in Spenard with their son Django (16). She started visiting Stone Soup with her son in 2008 for Wii Club after visiting with a parent navigator for help with Django’s IEP. Django and Debbi can usually be found at Stone soup every third Friday for the Souper Gaming night as they connect with the friends they have made over the years. Debbi is also is involved in the MAP (Mentor Advocate Partner) program and is open to visit with parents about the journey with a special needs child and share her experiences.
Lisa Noland, Treasurer & Parent
Lisa has made her home in Alaska for decades now. She has worked in the field of disability since 1990 after getting started professionally in California. Lisa has 2 sons who are teenagers now. Both have experienced certain challenges in a traditional learning environment. This has grown Lisa’s ability to act as a strong advocate from a parental standpoint! The Noland home is expanded with previously homed animals that include a dog, cat, 2 cockatiels and a turtle. She has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration. Lisa works for Business Impact NW as the Alaska Women’s Business Center Director. She truly believes that we can work together to make a kinder world and that is why she is thrilled to be on this board for the Stone Soup Group.
Yvonne Biswokarma, Parent
Yvonne and her husband Sangram along with their kids Jasmine (12) and Jasper (5) have called Utqiagvik, Alaska home since the spring of 2013. Yvonne works part time as a Physical Therapist at Arctic Therapy and Rehab. She grew up in Canada, attended college in Michigan and California completing her Doctorate of Science in Physical Therapy at Loma Linda University. Before coming to Alaska she worked in California, Washington, Oregon and Nepal. She has experience in a variety of clinical settings and has also taught Anatomy and Physiology. She is currently completing a specialty in Scoliosis management. In additional to orthopedics, her research and professional interests include TBI management, uterine prolapse, Musculoskeletal Ultrasound imaging, and Sensory Enrichment Therapy. As a parent she has been blessed to have received information and resources from SSG that have been very valuable in addressing the communication delays and sensory needs of her son. Yvonne’s hobbies include travel, trekking, reading, and coffee; all of which are best enjoyed with her family and friends.
Cheryl Scott, Parent
Laura relocated to Alaska in 2017 in what was supposed to be a short five month visit. Originally from South Carolina, Laura completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern University, and her Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Rush University in Chicago, IL. She made several cross country moves, and eventually became a Nevada resident in 2015. After meeting so many wonderful Alaskans in 2017, she decided this was exactly where she needed to be. Laura is a speech-language pathologist and helps adults and children with a variety of communication deficits (written, oral, and pragmatic) as well as sensory swallowing disorders. She also donates her time to serving as a special education non-attorney advocate for children in need of special education services from the local school district. She achieved the Award for Continuing Education (ACE) from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association for her commitment to pursuit of continuing education above the required minimum in 2018. She received the Certificate for Special Education Advocacy from William and Mary Law School in 2019. In 2020, she became a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), where she is able to network nationwide with advocates.
In her free time, she donates her energy to another local Alaskan non-profit organization on the Board of Directors, Forget-Me-Not Service Dogs, which seeks to place service animals with Alaskans seeking to regain their independence. She acquired her year old puppy, who is training to be a facility animal in the future during her therapy treatments. When finally returning to her home, she is met by her 14 year old beagle/bassett hound and her one year old Nigerian Dwarf goat (Nigel), who have formed an unlikely, yet adorable friendship.
Mary Middleton, Executive Director
Mary has been the Executive Director at Stone Soup Group since 2013 and moved to Alaska from Texas in 2001. Growing up an Army brat, she moved frequently and still enjoys exploring to new places. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has worked in non-profit management for almost 30 years. She has two children, including an adult son who experiences autism. Time away from work includes spoiled dogs, hikes and far-away travels.
Donna Nichols, Administrative Services Manager
Donna Nichols has been with Stone Soup Group since 2003. At Stone Soup Group she keeps us running day-to-day as the Admin Services Manager. She serves as liaison with IT contractor, agency insurance and building manager. Donna is the mother of four children and is the sibling of an adult brother with developmental disabilities.
Lee Sweeden, Administrative Assistant
Lee is a life-long Alaskan with many years of experience working in horticulture and landscaping. In 2013, Lee decided to move to an office environment after she underwent hip surgery. She has enjoyed the change very much. Lee joined Stone Soup Group in August 2018 as our receptionist and is feeling comfortable and at home.
Megan Kelley, Communications and Outreach Manager
Megan was born and raised in Alaska and is a graduate of UAA, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Megan has a professional history working in sales, marketing, and media advertising. She has brought her skills, along with her wish to serve the greater good, to Stone Soup Group. In her free time, Megan enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, sailing, traveling, and learning a plethora of new things. New things she has learned to date are the ukulele, guitar, crocheting, beading, and hand lettering. Megan is the mother of two boys, one of whom experiences autism.
Marcus Douglas, Communications and Outreach Specialist
Marcus joined Stone Soup Group as a STAR Navigator in February 2017 and served families as a Developmental Disabilities Resource Connection (DDRC) Navigator before transitioning to Communications and Outreach Specialist. Prior to joining Stone Soup Group, Marcus served individuals that experience disabilities as a Direct Service Provider. He has previously worked with licensed child care before/after school programs and has also worked with Anchorage Parks and Recreation for the Municipality of Anchorage. Marcus is born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and has an Associates Degree from UAA. Marcus is married and his wife also serves individuals and families that experience disabilities. Marcus and his wife have 2 daughters, a very cool 10+ year old dog and a lively cat. In his free time, Marcus enjoys family time, sports, painting, hiking, camping, board games, grilling and Lego.
Cindy Anderson, Staff Accountant
Lisa Bennett, Program Director
Lisa is originally from Arizona and moved to Alaska in 2014. For Lisa, moving to Alaska was one of the most exciting adventures of her life. Lisa has over 26 years of experience in providing support services to individuals and families who experience special needs. Lisa proclaims that this is a very rewarding career! Lisa is the proud mother of three young adult children and one fur baby. Her hobbies include hiking, biking, camping, and anything related to water, or being outdoors.
Mandy Link, Parent Navigator
Mandy has been a Parent Navigator at Stone Soup Group since 2010. She is a lifelong Alaskan and has two kids with special healthcare needs. Her oldest has a genetic syndrome along with profound deafness and her youngest has ADHD. At Stone Soup Group Mandy is the resident expert when it comes to schools. She has many personal and professional years working with IEP’s, schools, specialist, private therapy and more. Her personal experience has given her a passion for helping families caring for children with special needs navigate when there are “stormy waters”.
Tracey Morgan, Parent Navigator
Tracey Morgan joined the team at Stone Soup Group as STAR Navigator September 2016. She has served individuals who experience developmental disabilities and/or complex medical conditions for over twenty-five years in various roles including, Direct Service Provider, Care Coordinator and as a Supported Living Specialist providing supervision and oversight of Medicaid waiver services. As a life long Alaskan in her free time she enjoys being outdoors camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and fishing, as well as road tripping and exploring nature and all our great state has to offer.
Karen Lomack, Parent Navigator
Karen Lomack was born in Anchorage, raised in Akiachak, then moved to Bethel, Alaska in 1995. In May of 2005, Karen moved back to Anchorage and made Anchorage her home. Karen has 5 children that range from 6 to 21-years-old. Karen has experience navigating the system on a personal and professional level. Some of Karen’s interests are beading, going on long road trips, camping, fishing, boating, and, participating in subsistence activities with her family.
Caitie Jones, Parent Navigator
Caitie has been a Parent Navigator in Anchorage since 2019. Caitie was born in Alaska and has been advocating and helping to take care of her older brother with Down Syndrome since childhood. Her personal experience has driven her passion for supporting other families with children experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2014. Caitie currently serves on the Key Coalition of Alaska’s Board of Directors and the Hope Community Resources’ Ethics and Human Rights Committee, and is a former LEND fellow. Caitie facilitates Friendship & Dating Programs, as well as Alaska’s only Sibshops, a support group for siblings of children with special needs. Outside of work, Caitie is married to her partner of over 11 years and a fur-mom to a dog and three cats. She loves to get involved in human rights issues, get outdoors, read, game, and spend time with family and friends.
Traci Fitka, Parent Navigator
Traci Fitka, a Yupik, Eskimo was born and raised in a village along the Yukon River in Marshall, AK. She spent much of her childhood along the river; commercial and subsistence fishing, ice fishing, bird hunting, and mushing the family sled dogs. Being connected to her culture and traditions that revolve around her culture are important to her. She served a year with AmeriCorps and gave back to her community by doing what she has a passion for, working with children. Traci now lives in Anchorage, where she has lived for 16 years. Her experience as a Foster Care Provider and Therapeutic Foster Care Provider created an interest in counseling. Traci is working to become certified as a Counselor and plans to continue working with families. She volunteers her time every week with Celebrate Recovery and enjoys being a part of that Ministry. One of her favorite quotes is, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt
Anna Zierfuss, Parent Navigator
Anna has lived in Fairbanks over 35 years and has volunteered or worked in social services since she was young when her grandmother introduced her as a nursing home visitor. She achieved her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University Alaska Fairbanks and a LEND Fellowship at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has extensive understanding of school issues like IEP’s, 504’s and research into resources from her time as a parent and auntie. Her past experience is comprised of assisting Seniors, teaching on a wide range of topics and finding resources for people or families with disabilities. In her downtime, Anna listens to audiobooks, crochets and takes pictures of her travels.
Laurie Hodne, Parent Navigator
Laurie is originally from Iowa, she moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1995 and then on to Ketchikan, Alaska in 2005. Ketchikan is where she and her family call home and she is able to share her time with her 6 grandchildren. Laurie has over 20 years of experience proving support to families and children who experience special needs. Laurie has taught pre-school and worked as a Family Advocate for Rural Cap/Ketchikan Head Start since 2005. Her most recent accomplishment is Being a part of the 2019/2020 LEND Alaska Cohort as a Family Fellow. Laurie has 10 children, 4 of whom are biological, 4 step-children and 2 that are adopted. Her family has provided safe and loving homes to many foster children since 2006 and has a sincere passion to help empower parents and children to discover the best and strongest version of themselves and enjoy life! Laurie has 3 children who experience special needs and is involved in advocacy to help support her children; she just joined the Stone Soup Group in 2020 in hopes of sharing her desire for advocacy with other families in Southeast Alaska. Laurie enjoys traveling, camping, beachcombing, spending time with family and anything that includes time in the sun!
Sarah Lewis, DDRC Program Manager
Sarah joined the Stone Soup Group team in May of 2022. She has lived in North Carolina most of her life and recently moved to Alaska. Sarah graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s in science in Recreational Therapy. Sarah has worked with individuals who experience mental/behavioral health needs and with individuals who experience Autism for the past 7 years. Sarah has a strong passion for helping and supporting others with a non-judgmental approach. In her free time, Sarah enjoys all things outside, reading, and, most importantly spending time with her dog.
Thomas Summers, DDRC Navigator
Thomas was raised in Palmer, Alaska…and has lived in Alaska on and off for 35 years. Before returning to college in 2010, Thomas has worked in several different industries. It was through life experiences that Thomas decided to obtain a BA in Human Services at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Thomas graduated from UAA in May of 2017. Thomas has a passion to help others, and strives to live by the Golden Rule! In his free time, Thomas enjoys spending time with his son, cooking for friends and family, and just enjoying the beauty that Alaska has to offer!
Dan Gallagher, DDRC Navigator
Dan moved to Alaska with his family (an Air Force brat) when he was 3 and they got to stay until he graduated high school. He enrolled in UAA and that’s where he met his partner, in EMT class. He has since graduated from UAA and UAF (online) in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Dan has worked for and with the State of Alaska, law offices, and other local agencies and groups in peer support, admin, intake, and social media. He enjoys connecting with others and groups online through social media and content creation. He and his partner have 4 children and a dog. Their family has a mix of strengths and struggles in mental, behavioral, and physical health and LGBTQ+. Dan believes that communication and connection are key to working and connecting with individuals from varying walks of life. Dan enjoys learning from people and never underestimates them. He enjoys being active with his family and relaxing with movie nights. He is an aspiring chocolatier and likes to bring his family into the kitchen to work (and play) with chocolate and test their creations.
Breanna Brian, DDRC Navigator
Breanna “Bre” was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She has two children, one of whom experiences autism, and spends most of her free time with family. She earned an Associate’s degree in Human Services, with an emphasis on Disabilities, from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2013. After earning her degree, she began working as a legal rights advocate for Alaska’s designated Protection and Advocacy Agency. During the seven years as a legal rights advocate, Bre developed legal rights expertise in the areas of special education/IDEA, mental health rights within community agencies and institutions, prisoner rights, and abuse/neglect investigations. Bre is passionate about assisting individuals and ensuring families have the information they need to support their loved ones within their home and community.
Roberta Hovermale, DDRC Navigator
It has been said of Roberta that she excels at connecting people and resources. Roberta loves to partner with individuals and families and assist them to accomplish their priorities. Roberta and her husband have 3 young adult sons whom they love dearly and appreciate the men they have become. She has been working professionally in the Developmental Disabilities field since 2005 as a Service Coordinator for an Early Intervention Program in Colorado. She has done a variety of different positions in the DD field in Colorado and Alaska and is now happily serving in her present position as a DDRC Navigator here at Stone Soup Group. Roberta enjoys being a lifelong learner but most importantly being able to share what she has learned with others. Some of her interest which are near and dear to her heart are: Spending time with her family, Bible fellowship & research, ceramics, essential oils and aromatherapy, cake decorating and specialty baking.
Alyssa Rose-Miller, Intake Specialist
Alyssa has a heart of empathy and compassion for others. This began in childhood with her same-aged Aunt/playmate who experiences Down Syndrome. Her heart grew when she cared for her 3 bonus-daughters who experienced Seizures, ADHD, Trauma & Sexual Abuse, Substance Abuse, At-Risk Youth & LGBTQ+. Alyssa also has 2 bio-sons, one who experiences Autism & Sensory-Processing Disorder and the other who experiences Auto-Immune Disorders, Mental Health & LGBTQ+. Alyssa spent 2 decades advocating for all her kids and grand-kids in school districts for IEP/504 help & supports. Her life journey has also given her experience as caregiver & support to people who experience various mental illnesses, cancers, surgeries, dementia, stroke, heart-attack, hospice, fertility challenges, chronic pain, & long-term disability, as well as LGBTQ+ issues. Alyssa acknowledges she used “labels,” here, but stresses this does not describe the essence of any of these people. Alyssa believes everyone deserves Love, and Love is a choice we can make every day.