The Restoring Family Links Mentors
Restoring Family Links mentors serve as subject matter experts and champions of the program. They provide guidance and training on Restoring Family Links casework to American Red Cross staff locally and nationwide. They also provide feedback to national headquarters on the Restoring Family Links program and provide input and connection to local caseworkers and national headquarters. They are a crucial part of growing the Restoring Family Links program both within their local communities and nationally.
Please see the following mini-bios for the current roster of RFL Mentors. If you need help contacting an RFL Mentor, please email our team at FamilyLinksOutreach@redcross.org.
Tim Bothe - Colorado & Wyoming Region
Tim serves as the Service to the Armed Forces & International Services Regional Manager for the Colorado & Wyoming Region of the American Red Cross. Prior to transferring to Denver in January 2012, Tim served as the Emergency Services Director for the Central NC Chapter for over 5 years. In addition to being an RFL mentor and instructor, Tim is also an instructor for IHL and an advanced instructor in Disaster Services. Previous to joining the Red Cross as paid staff, Tim served two AmeriCorps terms of service. His first term of service was with Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville, FL and second term was with the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Red Cross. Tim earned a MA in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in 2003 and BA’s in Foreign Affairs and History from the University of Virginia in 2001. When not working, Tim enjoys hiking, running, museums, traveling and site seeing amongst many other things.
Jessica Chapman - Cascades Region
Jessica Chapman joined the Greenwich, CT Chapter of the American Red Cross as a National Preparedness and Response AmeriCorps member in 2005. Following her term of service, she worked in youth services and then became the Preparedness and Community Outreach Manager. She became involved in International Services in 2007 as an IHL Instructor. Jessica moved to Portland in 2011 and became the Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Cascades Region and recently switched roles as the Regional Program Manager for SAF and IS.
PJ Doyle - Minnesota Region
Pj Doyle has been an active volunteer with the Red Cross since 1991. She focuses her time on International Services programs and Disaster Services External Relations activities and is an instructor in both lines of service. As a DSHR volunteer she has responded to 21 national level disasters as well as multiple local events. She serves as a mentor for Restoring Family Links and coordinates RFL volunteers in the Minnesota Region.
Pj retired as Managing Director of the Mixed Blood Theatre Company in Minneapolis in 2012. A Minnesota resident and Iowa native, Pj has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College (Speech & Drama) and a Master of Business Administration from Metropolitan State University.
A frequent contributor to trade and literary journals, she is an award winning poet and fiction writer. She edited The Baker Street Dozen, a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories and commentary (Contemporary Books, 1987.) Her original mystery dinners have been performed as corporate team-building tools throughout the U.S. and on the high-seas for Royal Caribbean. In addition to numerous articles, essays and short stories, she has published three volumes of poetry: Signs on Posts (1971), The Singing Bear (1994) and Sometimes the River Comforts (1997.)
She has conducted business and creative writing, grammar and journaling classes though Metropolitan State University, Minneapolis Community College, the Loft, the Center for Developing Writers as well as through corporate and service organizations. She has served as President of the Minnesota Writers Workshop and initiated their joint writer’s conferences with St John’s University at Collegeville. She is a past President of the League of Minnesota Poets and has served on the Executive Board of the National Federation of Poets.
Mike Farrar - Los Angeles Region
Mike has been a Volunteer for the American Red Cross for 4 ½ years as a DAT team leader as well as a RFL chapter lead for the Greater Long Beach Chapter, L.A. Region. He is also an IHL instructor along with being a disaster services instructor for the region. Mike is also the SAF lead for the Long Beach and Rio Hondo Chapters. He is also the Director of the Veterans History Project for the L.A. region.
Reihaneh Hajibeigi - Central and South Texas Region
Reihaneh serves as the lead for International Services and Restoring Family Links for the Central and South Texas Region. She has been an employee with the American Red Cross since January 2014, and prior to joining as a staff member, she was an intern with the communications department and began as a youth volunteer in high school. Aside of her work with international services, Reihaneh serves as a Public Information Officer and Digital Volunteer assisting with management of social media accounts during times of disaster for the region. Reihaneh completed her BA in Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin in 2013.
Kerry Khan - Los Angeles Region
Kerry Khan currently works for the Los Angeles Region as the Disaster Cycle Services Liaison and Project Coordinator. She began as an Intern in the Volunteer Services department in 2013 and became involved with RFL in 2014. She served as an NPRC AmeriCorps member as the IS/SAF Coordinator where she recruited, trained and managed volunteers, conducted and managed casework for RFL and SAF, taught preparedness education, and coordinated outreach events and built partnerships with refugee, immigrant, military and veteran serving organizations. She holds a BA in Geography from Cal State University Long Beach and a Master of Public Administration from Cal State University Northridge. She studied abroad at Philipps-University Marburg in Germany and has traveled to the Netherlands, France, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Turkey.
Michelle McSweeney - Greater Chicgao Region
Michelle currently works for the Greater Chicago Region in the Community Preparedness & Resilience department, supporting the RFL, IHL and SAF programs. She graduated from the University of Iowa with her BA in Spanish and BA in International Studies, and Certificate in International Business. She also spent a semester abroad to study in Barcelona, Spain. Michelle started with the Red Cross in Disaster Services, where she worked for two years coordinating the local disaster response operations, deployed to national disaster relief operations, and oversaw the NPRC*AmeriCorps program.
Naomi Pease – Gateway to the Golden State Region
Naomi is the current Regional Director for International Services and Service to the Armed Forces in the Northern California Coastal Region. She has been with the Red Cross since 2011, working with the International Services and Service to the Armed Forces, and more recently in Disaster Cycle Services. Naomi graduated from Yale University with a BA in English, and spent time in various countries in Europe, traveling, studying and working, including studying Russian and teaching English in France. She moved to California to study law and received her JD from Santa Clara University. In her free time, Naomi enjoys reading, watching movies, attending concerts, and traveling whenever possible.
Robbe Sokolove - Colorado & Wyoming Region
Robbe is a retired reference librarian and has volunteered with the Red Cross for five years. She has been a RFL caseworker since 2013. A librarian’s research skills and training in conducting interviews are quite handy in performing the intricate jobs of tracing individuals and knowing how to respectfully extract background information. It also helps to have a genuine passion for getting to know people and learning about their cultures. Robbe was a Red Cross shelter volunteer during the 2013 Colorado floods and is certified to drive an ERV. She has survived raising a teenager and adores her four rescue animals.
Rosemary Spezzo – Heart of North Carolina Region
Rosemary has been a Volunteer in Emergency Services since 2001. She is an Instructor in basic Disaster classes as well as IHL and RFL as well as a caseworker in CAS, SAF and RFL. Rosemary has been a RFL Mentor since April of 2012. She has always had a keen interest in International Services and in building a rapport with the local agencies who assist immigrants and refugees and with the ethnic groups which represent these populations.
Mary VanderGoot - West Michigan Region
Mary is a Psychologist and author. She began volunteering for the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids as an Executive Consultant, but soon after was recruited to serve on the Disaster Mental Health Team. Along with other community service activities she is a mentor for Refugees who are resettling in Michigan, and this has provided a natural bridge to her involvement in the International Services work of the American Red Cross. Currently she is a Caseworker, a Mentor, and an Instructor for Restoring Family Links.
Jack Wilson - North Texas Region
Jack is the Assistant Director responsible for Service to the Armed Forces and International Services in the North Texas Region. After bouncing around from Texas to New York to West Africa to New Jersey and back again, he is happy to have found a home in an organization that is so connected to the world around us. Jack earned a BA in Political Science from Texas Christian University, where he studied the interactions between elected and traditional authority structures in Ghana. He then went on to study the impact of different types of military training on developing states in cooperative humanitarian missions, earning an MA in Diplomacy from Seton Hall. Jack speaks French with a limited vocabulary and a pretty terrible American accent, but he can probably still order in Asante Twi. He lives in Dallas with his books, records, a big plastic tree, and a Velvet Elvis.
Rachelle Wood - Eastern Pennsylvania Region
Rachelle began working with the American Red Cross as a Preparedness and Response Corps member through AmeriCorps in Cedar Rapids, IA where she conducted community disaster education presentations, was an active member of DAT and assisted with International Services and Service to Armed Forces. Following her experience in Cedar Rapids, Rachelle joined the ARC in Lansing, MI as their Emergency Services Coordinator and eventually their Regional Emergency Services Director before relocating to Naples FL to serve as a Regional Disaster Program Officer. Her most recent adventure with Red Cross has taken her to Scranton PA as the Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Eastern Pennsylvania Region. Rachelle can see the mountains from her office window and had to invest in many new pairs of socks when she recently moved north.