Beth Garrigan, Chief Operating Officer
In May 2018, one chapter ended, as Safe Berks staff congratulated and said goodbye to Christine Gilfillan, Chief Operating Officer, who was chosen as the new Director of Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Lancaster County.
In July 2018, a new chapter began as staff welcomed our new Chief Operating Officer, Beth Garrigan. She serves as the organization’s second-in-command, reporting to Mary Kay Bernosky, Esq., CEO. Garrigan’s responsibilities include supervising staff, writing and managing grants, and representing Safe Berks locally, regionally and nationally. She will also work with the Board of Directors and staff to continually improve services.
For the past 11 years, Garrigan served the Children’s Home of Reading (CHOR), last working as the Program Manager of their Residential Program. Prior to CHOR, she spent more than 10 years working with the Department of Public Welfare and independent employers, helping Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients re-enter the workforce and gain self-sufficiency.
“I believe in and want to help support the mission of Safe Berks,” said Garrigan. “I feel proud to be offered an opportunity to be part of such an important non-profit organization, with such a committed team that works from the heart. My goals are to learn from everyone, build strong community connections, and help educate, advocate and end abuse.”
Mindy McIntosh, Director of Development
Mindy McIntosh was recently promoted to serve as Director of Development. In her new position, she will direct and coordinate fundraising efforts, special events, and volunteer activities.
McIntosh joined the Safe Berks staff in 2017, serving as Special Events & Volunteer Coordinator. In her first year she expanded volunteer opportunities by coordinating a Safe Berks gift wrapping table at the Berkshire Mall during December, as well as growing the number of volunteer groups who cook dinner for residents on weeknights. McIntosh also took on a leadership role in the two largest annual fundraising events for Safe Berks, the Celebration of Peace in December, and the Walk for NO MORE in June.
McIntosh arrived at Safe Berks with decades of experience in development and special events. For 24 years, she served the Children’s Home of Reading (CHOR), in such roles as Development Registrar, Special Events & Volunteer Coordinator, and Development Supervisor.
“I am very excited to be part of the Safe Berks leadership team, and to help enhance our fundraising efforts to benefit victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said McIntosh. “The Berks County community is so generous, donating both their time and treasure. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to work with our donors and volunteers to help build a Safe Berks.”
Danielle Palermo, Director of Counseling
Danielle Palermo was recently promoted to Director of Counseling. In her new position, she will supervise and mentor Counseling staff, provide counseling to clients, and coordinate individual and group counseling opportunities. She will continue to strengthen the Safe Berks commitment to trauma-informed, empowerment counseling.
Palermo has been working in the counseling field since 2013. Palermo served as a therapeutic support worker at Alternative Consulting Enterprises, and then as a lead behavior support worker at New Story. In these positions, she worked with children and adolescents to develop positive social, emotional, and behavioral skills. She joined the Safe Berks team in 2017, first serving as a Safe House Case Manager, and then working as a Counselor. In December 2018, Palermo will receive her master’s degree in social work from Widener University.
“As the Director of Counseling Services, I plan to bring forth a skills-based approach,” said Palermo. “Trauma impacts victims in many ways, and it is important for victims to be educated on what trauma is, skills that were affected by the trauma experiences, and ways to develop skills to heal from the trauma. I plan to offer trauma support groups, which focus on both support and skills.”
“Additionally, I plan to bring forth case management in combination with counseling services,” she said. “When helping clients heal from the trauma in which they have experienced, it is important that we guide them by providing resources that can help them advance within the community.”
Stacey Jordan, Campus Advocate & Paralegal
In May 2018, Stacey Jordan joined the Safe Berks staff, serving as Campus Advocate & Paralegal. She provides Safe Berks services to students of local colleges including Albright College, Alvernia University, Kutztown University, Penn State Berks, Reading Area Community College, and the Berks Technical Institute.
Jordan offers local college students free services including, but not limited to: counseling, safety planning, assistance with Title IX issues and/or Campus Proceedings, and information about Protection from Abuse Orders (PFA), Protection from Intimidation Orders (PFI), and Sexual Violence Protection Orders (SVPO). She also provides legal advocacy through the process of filing for a Protection Order, criminal court proceedings, and/or police interviews.
“Since entering the legal field, I have spent the majority of my career working in social services,” said Jordan. “In January of 2017, I began working with Safe Berks in the Safe House as a weekend Advocate/Counselor. I fell in love with the work being done by this agency, and I fully stand behind its mission to prevent violence, sexual assault and all forms of oppression.”
“At the time the Campus Advocate & Paralegal position was posted, I was working full-time as a paralegal in the for-profit sector, which was all new for me,” said Jordan. “I quickly realized that although I had an awesome job, it was not the work I wanted to do long-term. Therefore, I followed my passion and applied for and accepted the Campus Advocate & Paralegal position with Safe Berks in May of 2018. I am now working with faculty members and students across Berks County to end domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault on our local college campuses. I am super excited to be a part of this amazing team!”
Mary Kay Bernosky, Esq., Safe Berks CEO, said: “I am very proud of the leadership team at Safe Berks, and the entire staff, for their steadfast commitment to serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Every day, 24 hours a day, Safe Berks staff provide compassionate services to survivors. Our staff also provide education and awareness about these issues to schools, colleges, churches, and other community groups. In addition to serving survivors, we are working to prevent these crimes from happening in the future. Our staff – together with our Board of Directors, our donors, and our volunteers – are building a Safe Berks.”
Safe Berks provides safe haven and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Our advocacy and education programs increase awareness of oppression and promote the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.