David W. Green
Founder & CEO
David Green enjoys building things – businesses and places. Over the years he has been involved in a variety of enterprises, including real estate, automotive, sports and marketing. In addition to practicing law, he directed the development of the Cape Eleuthera Resort in The Bahamas and serves as Chairman and Founding Director of The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Marine Research Institute. He is currently the founder and CEO of Archipelago Equities, a real estate and small business venture firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
David is a lifelong Grand Rapidian. He lives in historic Heritage Hill, after stints in Washington, DC, Africa and The Bahamas. Before discovering Sanford House at Cherry Street by happenstance, David and his wife Rae, had been thinking of opening a women’s addiction treatment center in Grand Rapids. David was drawn to the Civil War-era, Greek Revival architecture of the house. It fit with his concept that an inspirational, “town and country” backdrop, provided the best environment for rebuilding the lives of those in recovery. And when he found the historic Hazeltine mansion on John Street, the idea for another treatment facility, this time for men, was born.
David’s business expertise was instrumental in the renovation and establishment of Sanford House Addiction Treatment Centers. He continues to be involved in all aspects of its operations, while looking for more new things to build. David loves cooking, architecture, gardening and exercise. He and his dog Santino are often out exploring the city…
David says, “I strive to create unique and comfortable spaces. With Sanford House Addiction Treatment Centers, our residents inspire us to be exceptional in everything we do.”
Rae Allyson Green JD, MA, LPC, CAADC
Founder & President
Rae Green’s extensive experience working with women in residential treatment centers inspired her to seek a new approach to addiction treatment. In collaboration with her husband David, Rae founded Sanford House Addiction Treatment Centers to serve as a beacon for recovery and to inspire those suffering with substance use disorders, to achieve richer and more fulfilling lives in long-term recovery.
Rae studied history at Alma College, before attending Detroit College of Law for her Juris Doctor degree. But her passion was always helping those with the disease of addiction. She managed several nonprofit organizations prior to receiving her master’s degree in counselor education and counseling psychology. Rae worked first in a sub-acute detox unit, then she spent five years at a residential treatment center. There, she was instrumental in collaborating with the clinical team to implement successful, treatment models. She has since been certified as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC).
Rae has dedicated her working career to chipping away at the shame of addiction, educating about the disease and providing a comfortable setting for those seeking treatment to heal and rediscover a sense of worthiness. She lives happily with her family in Heritage Hill, just blocks from work. Rae’s interests include interior design and exploring Grand Rapids’ many cultural and culinary treasures. But, she is most passionate about creating special times for her family and friends…
Rae says, “I am inspired by the life stories and propelled to continually strive for a standard of excellence within the treatment world. I am privileged to commit myself and my resources to this specialty.”
Deirdre Quinn, M.D.
Dr. Deirdre Quinn has established a successful private medical practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her primary specialty is Internal Medicine and she has been practicing for more than 22 years. Dr. Quinn received her Biology Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo. She attended Medical School at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Dr. Quinn completed her residency at Blodgett Memorial Medical Center. She has advanced training in the care of the elderly and completed a Geriatric Fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Dr. Quinn is deeply committed to the successful recovery of those who put their trust in Sanford House. She is responsible for completing all physical exams of Sanford House clients at intake. She is also responsible for all medical reviews, stabilization and ongoing medical maintenance.
In her off hours, Dr. Quinn values spending time with her young family. She enjoys all manner of physical activity, gardening, and her main hobby is sewing. She is a Girl Scout leader and has participated in Girl Scouts since her eldest daughter was a Daisy.
Dr. Quinn says, “I see patients from young adulthood to advanced seniors. I enjoy supporting patients in the maintenance of good health, both mental and physical, or optimizing health in those suffering from multiple, chronic medical problems. I understand that working together with patients is the single most important aspect for achieving successful outcomes. I encourage and expect my patients to optimize their health and medical conditions so they can live the best possible physical life.”
Christine Walkons MA, LPC, CAADC, CCS-M
Christine Walkons has been working in the addiction treatment field for over twenty-five years. She embraces a welcoming approach that eliminates barriers to treatment. As Clinical Director, Christine encourages partnerships between clients and staff, resulting in individualized, person-centered recovery management.
Prior to Sanford House, Christine served as the Executive Director for a residential treatment facility. She was also integral to the development of their outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. In addition, Christine represented the Board of Counseling on the Michigan Health Professional Recovery Committee (MHPRC) for six years and is a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). In that role she monitors the standards of Sanford House and of behavioral health organizations nationwide.
Christine says that her years working as a therapist have taught her that everyone has a story, and that all stories are sacred. She says, “Clients come in and share stories that they perceive are shameful, but fail to see their innate strengths. They must overcome barriers of hiding to reveal truths to themselves and others. They can find relief, joy and purpose as they begin new journeys of self disclosure. I sometimes say, ‘If you do not go within, you go without.'”
Christine has a home in Elberta, Michigan among the scenic dunes of Lake Michigan. She divides her time between Grand Rapids and her small northern village. At home she can be found walking on the beach or tending to her many fruit trees, vegetables and flower gardens.
“I am in awe of the courage of every person who comes through the doors of our treatment centers. I know that our clients must feel safe in order to heal, and the richness of the Sanford House environment and community promotes the highest level of trust and assurance for individuals to recover.”
Lynnel Brewster RN, MA, NCC, LPC, ADS, LLMFT.
Lynnel Brewster loves working at Sanford House because she is able to watch people in treatment rediscover themselves. Lynnel brings a compassionate perspective to her work. Her combined 15 years of nursing and counseling experience incorporate a holistic approach to addiction treatment. She understands firsthand that sobriety is not just an individual journey, but involves family and community as well. Lynnel was instrumental in developing the Sanford House Family Program – an opportunity to create recovery allies out of family members and educate the whole family about the disease of addiction.
Lynnel graduated from Geneva College with a Master of Arts degree in counseling. She is a Registered Nurse a Marriage and Family Therapist and an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist. She is a member of the National Board for Certified Counselors, and the American Counseling Association, and for more than ten years, she has organized and facilitated women’s support groups in the local community. Lynnel’s diverse background also includes cross-cultural experiences in Indonesia and Africa, where she served as translator and worked with local officials to meet medical needs for remote communities.
In her free time, Lynnel likes to read and hike and spend as much time as she can with her family – especially her grandchildren…
Lynnel says, “There is a realness in a gender-specific treatment center. A level of necessary vulnerability you do not get in a mixed gender facility.”
Carlee Whitcome, MA, LLMSW
Carlee Whitcome has a natural talent for counseling. As a person in long term recovery, she provides experiential therapy and specializes in a strengths-based, client-centered, mind-body-spirit approach. Carlee earned her Master of Social Work degree and her Bachelor of Psychology degree at Grand Valley State University, minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. Her areas of expertise include: parenting and the foster care system; domestic violence survivorship; LGBT issues; and gender disparities in the recovery community and society.
In addition to leading 12 step discussions, Carlee supports all paths to recovery, modeling and empowering a variety of new ways of thinking including: secular, religious, and spiritual. She is well seasoned in the spiritual paths of Yoga and Tai Chi, offering an integrated counseling program to her clients. Her guided meditations are a favorite of Sanford House clients with all levels of interest, ability and experience. She is a Level II Reiki practitioner.
Carlee loves to explore the Michigan landscape, create and facilitate support groups for recovering people as well as recreational programming for people with lessoned physical or mental ability. She is mother to two little girls, and can be found at various child-friendly entertainments around the city of Grand Rapids in her free time.
Carlee says, ” I am passionate about helping each and every person who passes through the doors of Sanford House. I want them to find the hope, joy and awakening of the mind-body-spirit.”
Jess Kimmel MSAT, LLPC
Marketing and Publications Manager, Art Therapist
Jess Kimmel has always had a passion for art. In fact, she’s an artist herself. Abstract painting and figure drawing are her hobbies. When she received her dual license in Art Therapy and Counseling, it made sense that she would apply her creative skills to all aspects of her counseling responsibilities. Jess’s versatility is apparent at Sanford House, where she facilitates Interactive Journaling and Art Therapy group sessions.
Jess recently joined the Sanford House Marketing Team, where she puts both her creativity and her understanding of our treatment programs to good use. Her clinical understanding, writing skills and artist’s eye for detail bring new depth to our marketing efforts.
Jess holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis on women and gender studies and studio art, and a Master of Science degree in Art Therapy. She is an advocate of sexual assault victims, and has worked as a counselor on their behalf. She believes there are many overlapping issues with trauma and violence facing women with substance use disorders. Jess has also worked in a neuro-rehabilitation center creating art with men and women living with traumatic brain injury.
Jess is from Hartland, Michigan and currently lives in Grand Rapids. In her off hours, she provides art therapy to adults with disabilities. She loves coffee (perhaps a bit too much) and enjoys exploring and supporting the local businesses of the area.
Jess says, “The effects of addiction stretch farther than the addicted individual alone. Addiction affects an individual’s friends, co-workers, barista… And addiction touches all members of a household, including the dog. Addicted behaviors are particularly impactful on little ones. Working with the entire family system can profoundly effect children’s developing ideas about the way the world works, and the way a family should function.”
Kathy Morrow’s passion for all things physical, shines through the minute you meet her. She looks like someone who runs marathons for breakfast, and in fact she has finished five marathons, including the Boston Marathon. Kathy holds a Bachelor Degree in Physical Education and a Master Degree in Educational Administration. Kathy has spent her entire career directing, teaching and coaching women and men of all ages and all fitness levels. (She is proud of her previous role, working inside the home as a full time mom as well). She has worked in athletic clubs as well as academia and now, serves as wellness coach for Sanford House.
As a wellness coach, Kathy is responsible for establishing a physical fitness plan for each resident at Sanford House. She also works together with the clients to help them meet their wellness goals both at Sanford House and as they transition home. Kathy thinks that challenging her clients is the point. During her two-hour wellness sessions, Kathy inspires our clients with her excitement for what she does. She has created the “House Workouts”: one-hour training sessions of planks, push-ups and crunches that can be done anywhere. When Sanford House clients leave treatment, they take their workouts with them.
Kathy lives in Grand Rapids. She volunteers as a coach for youth teams and is involved in her church. She spends her free time with family, boating, running and doing all manner of physical activities. One of her favorite workouts is going around East Grand Rapids’ Reeds Lake. She has included this walk in the Sanford House fitness routine. It’s an excursion for all levels with plenty of park benches for resting. But you won’t see Kathy resting…
Kathy says, “There is no pressure to perform in my group. This is each person’s workout, and each person’s recovery. I just want to impart the benefits of physical activity as a recovery tool. And have some fun in the process.”
Executive Director of Marketing, Editor-In-Chief
Marilyn Spiller has been a marketing professional for thirty years. She has helped organizations promote their products and services, from automated litigation support systems, to contemporary art. For the past three years she has directed her talents toward the addiction treatment field. Most recently as marketing director and editor-in-chief of Excursions Magazine for Sanford House.
Marilyn is a student of the world. (She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing). Marilyn has lived in NYC, London, San Francisco, The Bahamas, Jacksonville, FL. and Grand Rapids, MI. She is a writer, speaker, recovery coach (CCAR) and recovery advocate. Four years sober herself, she writes an award-winning blog called Waking Up the Ghost, where she pens a humorous account of her wobbly steps toward long-term recovery.
When she is not writing, researching, trolling social media and crowing about addiction recovery, Marilyn spends her time in the out of doors. Especially near water. She loves to hike, explore, photograph and chronicle all of God’s wonders.
“Just about everything I do professionally is in grateful homage to my sobriety. I am a shining example of what can happen when addiction meets connection. From the first moment I met Rae and David Green, I knew my advocacy had found a home at Sanford House. If my marketing skills can bring those who suffer to this healing place (and I can have this much fun doing so), then I have come full circle from my own addiction.”
House Manager - Sanford House at Cherry Street
Marrissa has worked in the administrative field for the past 5 years, serving individuals seeking mental health and addiction treatment. A former recovery liaison, Marrissa has a passion for addiction medicine and personalized care. As a woman in recovery herself, she brings firsthand knowledge to her role of House Manager of Sanford House at Cherry Street.
Marissa is often the first person clients see when they arrive at Sanford House. She makes a point of helping those new to treatment feel comfortable and safe. Her dedication, compassion, and organization allow her to assist Sanford House residents with empathy and respect.
In her spare time, Marrissa enjoys spending time with her family, painting, cooking, and working out at the gym.
“I am proud to be part of a facility that is as passionate about helping people as I am. Sanford House is beautiful and the staff is dedicated. My office door is always open to the women I serve. Recovery takes time. Early recovery is a process and I’m here for our clients every step of the way.”
Leslie opened Sanford House at Cherry Street in 2014 and has rejoined the team as House Chef. Leslie has gained experience over the past two years working with Grand Valley’s Phi Sigma Sigma sorority chapter. Leslie also has experience working with several prominent restaurants in the area (including Nantucket Baking Company, Charley’s Crab, Reserve Wine and Food, and Winchester). She has worked as a personal chef in the home kitchens of several Grand Rapids’ families.
Leslie earned a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from Grand Valley State University. After six years in the marketing field, Leslie decided to pursue a second degree in Culinary Arts at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. Leslie also holds a Personal and Private Chef Certification.
Leslie is passionate about working in collaboration with her clients, and is knowledgeable about tailoring meals to a variety of dietary restrictions and nutritional needs. Leslie describes her cooking style as “approachable meals with flair… I use modern techniques and fresh, local ingredients.”
Leslie says, “In early recovery, food can be a form of therapy… Meals, flavors, and even familiar smells evoke good memories. My goal at Sanford House is to create new and lasting impressions on our residents as they begin a healthy life in recovery.”
Director of Finance & Administration
Lisa Nargi earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography with a minor in Business Management, from Western Michigan University. Afterwards, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked for a California based corporate event planning firm, managing large scale conferences for major Silicon Valley software companies. She spent the next 10 years as an “It Girl” at Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss in various positions ranging from buyer, to marketing and account management. Returning to her hometown of Grand Rapids, Lisa served as a retail consultant for various companies, including Meijer, Inc.
After a successful career in retail, Lisa took on another full time position – the raising of three children. When she decided to get back into the workforce, and interviewed for her position at Sanford House, she had to step over construction debris to meet David Green. As Lisa puts it, she “literally got in on the ground floor” to secure the job. Since then, Lisa has seen wonderful things happen at Sanford House and she’s become very good at multi-tasking. She is inspired by the Sanford House mission, its positive culture, and gratified to have been a part of the Sanford House team from the very beginning…
In her free time, Lisa likes to hang out with her husband Dean and her three children, Ava, Lila and Jackson. She is an avid skier, runner and world traveler.
Lisa says, “I came to Sanford House with very little knowledge of the recovery community. Working with Rae and David, and being part of their passion to build a place for women and men to find help, I have developed a deeper appreciation and understanding for addiction treatment. Sanford House offers a positive, happy environment and I look forward to coming to work each day.”
Director of Admissions
Lindsey brings insight and knowledge to her position at Sanford House. As our Director of Admissions, Lindsey is often the first point of contact for potential clients and their families. Lindsey’s warm and engaging personality and experiential empathy often turns a difficult phone call into a life changing one. Before coming to Sanford House, Lindsey served as a Withdrawal Specialist, Case Manager and Deputy Executive Director for a prominent treatment facility. She is an invaluable part of our team.
Lindsey received her degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University, and minored in Law. Lindsey is a SMART Recovery Certified Facilitator and working towards her CADC certification through MCBAP. Lindsey enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her dog. Having lived in Colorado for 7 years, Lindsey appreciates “all things outdoors” and likes to hike, camp and golf on the weekends.
“Asking for help with addiction and considering treatment is a very brave step in the right direction. As the Director of Admissions, I understand that recovery is unique to each person and am here to meet their individual treatment needs. I am incredibly thankful to be part of the Sanford House team as my career in recovery has been the most fulfilling work of my life.”
House Manager - Sanford House at John Street for Men
Alec brings creative and organizational talents to his role as House Manager for Sanford House at John Street for Men. During the renovation of Sanford House at Cherry Street, he served as Director of Operations and was tasked with bringing new life to the long neglected outside spaces. Thinking big, Alec ordered 220 arborvitae and boxwood trees from Washington State, and led a brigade of friends in planting the trees and transforming the grounds. The resulting natural, green fence lining the property, has become a landmark feature of Sanford House and all of Cherry Street.
Armed with a BA in Political Science and Public Policy from Michigan State University, Alec joined Sanford House full time in May of 2016. His degree immediately proved useful as he led the re-zoning campaign for Sanford House’s newest venture at John Street for Men. The renovation of the Heritage Hill, Hazeltine mansion has become a 20 bed men’s addiction treatment center. With unanimous approval from the zoning board, Alec is now channeling his duties to direct the completion of this significant renovation project. He will also provide structure and organization to the men’s facility.
Alec is a proud fan of his hometown, Grand Rapids. He is oftentimes out exploring new features of the city or fulfilling a request to show an out of town guest everything Grand Rapids has to offer. As a nod to his passion for history and politics, Alec can be found traveling, in his quest to visit every presidential library in the United States.
Alec says, “I love being a part of Sanford House, because it is not just a place to work. We are a family. Everyone is dedicated to creating a warm environment where men and women can come to learn about their new life in recovery.”