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Cheryl Wassus - President

Cheryl received her Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University. Shortly after, she began working for the Michigan Department of Corrections as a Field Agent, retiring in 2010 after 30 years of service. Presently, Cheryl works as the MPRI Liaison for Monroe County and is committed to providing a comprehensive plan of case management to aide former prisoners in reengaging with their families and within the community. During her employment, Cheryl became one of the first female field agents to be trained in the Gender Specific caseload, which specializes in the needs of women in corrections. Cheryl has served on the board for four years and brings a vast amount of experience, dedication and a passion in working with others to assist women with their pathway out of crisis and into the community through self-sufficiency and workforce development.

 
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MElissa matiash - vice president

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Paula Whitman - Executive director

Paula worked for the Salvation Army Harbor Light in Monroe, MI for 10 years and for another 10 years she was employed at Monroe Community Mental Health Authority.  During this time, she witnessed the struggles of many women and the very low success rate for women with addictions. Upon investigation, it appeared these women would fare better if they had a support network and a safe place to go while they learned a trade, improved their education and reunited with their families, with therapeutic assistance.  It didn’t take long for Paula to realize that no one would take her serious about this project as she was new to recovery and she had a high school education.  Therefore, she began to pursue improving her education and when she graduated with her master’s degree in 1999, she began seeking potential board members to assist her in making her dream become a reality. Together, the original founding board members of Women Empowering Women, Inc. stood strong against the city and fearful neighbors until they were they were able to find an appropriate house. She graduated with her doctorate degree in psychology from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology in Farmington Hills, MI, in August of 2004 and, with permission from the city, the transition house opened in September of 2004.

 


aaron young - Treasurer

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Brittany Braunlich-Blaszczyk - secretary

Brittany graduated from Michigan State University with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Advertising.  Shortly thereafter, she went on to Law School and earned her Juris Doctorate Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.  Brittany currently works at Braunlich, Lievens & Braunlich, PLC as a licensed attorney practicing in a variety of areas of law, including criminal, general civil, family law, landlord/tenant, probate, and estate planning.  Brittany also serves as a member of the Monroe County Bar Association.


 


Michael brown

Michael has a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and afterwards earned a Juris Doctor from University of Michigan Law School.  He has been employed as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney at the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office since 2004.  Michael joined Women Empowering Women, Inc. Board of Directors in 2013.  He is also a member of Michigan State Bar, Monroe County Bar Association, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, Monroe County Assistant Prosecutors Association, and is on the Board of Directors for Friends of Potter Cemetery.

 


madonna burkit 

Madonna has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental, Safety, and Health from Findlay University and an Associate of Science in Environmental Management from Owens Community College.  Employed 16 years by DTE Energy and an active force for growth in the community with many non-profit organizations utilizing DTE  resources and foundation grants with husband and fellow DTE Employee, Pete Burkit, Madonna has a heart and commitment to the community where she lives and serves.  The American Legion in Toledo, Ohio, a United Way organization, was her first real job making Paula's House mission a natural fit and progression.  Madonna and Pete share their heart with a family of 6 wonderfully talented children and also share in the belief and commitment to keep children out of Foster Care and in a healing family setting.  Another natural progression is the enrollment to Madonna University pursuing a Master of Humane Studies focusing on animal welfare, impact with human relations, and working with non-profit organizations.  Madonna is a member of the Monroe Vineyard Church and also teacher and outreach coordinator for Kingdom Ministries classes with a personal God given promise:  Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
 


pete burkit

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