NYS Certified Peer Specialist
I have been at the Mental Health Association since April of 2000. I am born and raised in Ithaca and a graduate of LACS. I received my BS in Human Services from Empire State College. I became the Executive Director in 2015 after serving as both the Assistant Director and the Wellness Services Program Director.
I wish to live in a world where an individual who experiences a mental health issue is treated with dignity and respect. And like physical health, mental health is promoted and treatment is both preventative and accessible. It is important to me that our agency fulfill its mission of service to this community through education, advocacy and support.
I have been at the Mental Health Association since 2016. I am a Tompkins Cortland Community College graduate. I currently live in Danby with my two sons and two cats. I am fortunate to have found a workplace that has the shared goal of reducing barriers to services and treatment for people with mental health issues.
Director of Finance
Certified WRAP Facilitator
Director of Children and Family Treatment Services,
Credentialed Family Peer Advocate &
Certified WRAP Facilitator
I have been at the Mental Health Association for more than 18 years. I was born and raised in Lansing which is one of my greatest assets as the Director of Family Support Services. I have worked in the Ithaca area in human services for over 40 years. My knowledge of the community services available and my relationship with those agencies is a benefit I share with all the families enrolled in our programs.
I am a pioneer graduate of Tompkins Cortland Community College, a member of the first graduating class. I received my Bachelor’s degree at Cortland College. I am a certified Family Peer Advocate Specialist, a Wellness Recovery Action Plan facilitator and a Parent Empowerment Program facilitator. I’m also trained in Suicide First Aid and Special Education.
I currently live in Lansing with my husband Kevin. I have two children, four grandchildren that are my pride and joy.
Originally from Rochester, NY, I came to Ithaca to attend Ithaca College, and fell in love with the area. Upon graduating with my BA in 2013, I was delighted to join the Mental Health Association as a camp counselor at the KIDS FIRST Summer Camp. I found a passion for the work and the agency’s mission of supporting our community and fighting the stigma around mental health. After that summer, I continued on as a skill builder and respite provider for youth and co-director for KIDS FIRST, before joining the administrative staff in the fall of 2015. I am a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, a trained Wellness Recovery Action Plan® facilitator, and graduate of the University of Youth Power Peer Advocacy training program. At MHATC, I am committed to educating young people and adults to support our community’s mental health, and work to create spaces where youth can be themselves, find their voice, support each other, and grow.
Charles Niven, LMSW
Director of Peer Services,
Credentialed Family Peer Advocate
NYS Certified Peer Specialist &
Certified WRAP Facilitator
I believe there are two basic functions as Director of Peer Services. I see my task as helping to prepare individuals who have lived the life of a person with eccentric behaviors realize the power they have to change. Second, that Certified Peer Specialists provide effective services to nearly all individuals in need of advocacy, mentoring, or simply of being heard.
I have lived in Ithaca for too many years, so I am aware of most of the aids to individuals concerned with mental health issues. I have two children, one of whom has Downs Syndrome. This young man has provoked my interest in working with folks who are unable to articulate their emotional needs vocally–of course most people have such difficulty. I have BS from Cornell University (College of Agriculture, as it was known back then) and a MSW from Marywood University. Please call, write, e-mail to let me know how we can help one another.
I first became involved with the Mental Health Association nine years ago when I was hired to co-direct Kids First, MHA’s summer camp for children; a gig that I held for seven summers. Since then, I have retired after thirty-three years of teaching public school and have recently returned to MHA but this time as coordinator of the Jenkins Center, a drop-in center that provides a safe environment for mental health consumers. I am married, have two grown sons, and have lived and worked in Tompkins County since 1983. It is an honor and a pleasure to be working in the human service field with such a reputable organization.
Coordinator of Jenkins Center
for Hope and Recovery
Community Outreach Coordinator
Mental Health First Aid Instructor
Hi, I’m Amanda Kelly! I’ve lived in the Finger Lakes my entire life. Originally from Geneva, I moved to Ithaca in 2015. I’m a Wells College and Slippery Rock University Alumna with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Masters degree in Park and Resource Management. I combine my love for the environment and sustainability with my passion for advocacy. Bringing my enthusiastic and energetic personality to the mental health community, I hope to connect our diverse community members together! I am certified in Mental Health First Aid and on the way to being a peer specialist. Don’t hesitate to let me know if there is anything I can do to help you along on your mental health journey!