STAFF & CONSULTANTS

 
Vanessa Volz, Executive Director.  Vanessa joined Sojourner House in 2011. Under her leadership the agency has developed new programming, tripled its budget, and established an organizational endowment. She previously served as a staff attorney for a disability rights legal nonprofit organization, and she has published articles in the UC Berkeley Reproductive RIghts and Justice casebook and the Rutgers University Women’s Rights Law Reporter. She teaches at Rhode Island College in the Gender and Women’s Studies program, and she also periodically serves as a visiting professor at Wheaton College. She is the current Board President of the RI Coalition for the Homeless and the Treasurer of the Board of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She received her B.A. in Gender Studies and Literature from Bard College and her J.D. from the University of Georgia.

Vanessa Volz, Executive Director. Vanessa joined Sojourner House in 2011. Under her leadership the agency has developed new programming, tripled its budget, and established an organizational endowment. She previously served as a staff attorney for a disability rights legal nonprofit organization, and she has published articles in the UC Berkeley Reproductive RIghts and Justice casebook and the Rutgers University Women’s Rights Law Reporter. She teaches at Rhode Island College in the Gender and Women’s Studies program, and she also periodically serves as a visiting professor at Wheaton College. She is the current Board President of the RI Coalition for the Homeless and the Treasurer of the Board of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She received her B.A. in Gender Studies and Literature from Bard College and her J.D. from the University of Georgia.

 
Kelly Henry, Director of Housing.  Kelly joined Sojourner House in 2012. She has worked in the domestic violence and sexual assault movement for twenty-four years when she started as a volunteer at a local rape crisis center. Kelly has worked in many different roles and populations but especially focused on LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, and folks struggling with addictions and recovery. She started as the Manager of Residential Advocacy at Sojourner House and over the last seven years, Kelly has overseen the development of the largest residential program for domestic violence survivors in Rhode Island, including the shelter for men and male-identified folks, a shelter for survivors of trafficking, and a large rapid rehousing program. She is also a co-chair for the Family Placement Meeting and a member of the RI Continuum of Care. She earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Women’s Studies from Illinois State University.

Kelly Henry, Director of Housing. Kelly joined Sojourner House in 2012. She has worked in the domestic violence and sexual assault movement for twenty-four years when she started as a volunteer at a local rape crisis center. Kelly has worked in many different roles and populations but especially focused on LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, and folks struggling with addictions and recovery. She started as the Manager of Residential Advocacy at Sojourner House and over the last seven years, Kelly has overseen the development of the largest residential program for domestic violence survivors in Rhode Island, including the shelter for men and male-identified folks, a shelter for survivors of trafficking, and a large rapid rehousing program. She is also a co-chair for the Family Placement Meeting and a member of the RI Continuum of Care. She earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Women’s Studies from Illinois State University.

 
Melissa Babington, Director of Shelter Operation.  Melissa joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for eight years and has worked in residential shelters and transitional housing programs throughout her career. Melissa has advocated for victims’ rights at community and state levels, and worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to implement policies for domestic violence programs across the state. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Substance Abuse.

Melissa Babington, Director of Shelter Operation. Melissa joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for eight years and has worked in residential shelters and transitional housing programs throughout her career. Melissa has advocated for victims’ rights at community and state levels, and worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to implement policies for domestic violence programs across the state. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Substance Abuse.











Liz Curran, Business Manager.  Liz joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has over fifteen years of financial operations experience related to the investment management industry. Liz decided to return to the workforce after taking time to care for her family. Liz earned a B.A. from Colgate University and an M.B.A. from Boston College.

Liz Curran, Business Manager. Liz joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has over fifteen years of financial operations experience related to the investment management industry. Liz decided to return to the workforce after taking time to care for her family. Liz earned a B.A. from Colgate University and an M.B.A. from Boston College.







Sophonie LaFortune, School-Based Advocate.  Sophonie joined Sojourner House in 2018. She was born and raised in Providence and is a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. Sophonie began working in human services as a supervisor at a shelter for homeless teens who were pregnant or teen mothers experiencing sexual abuse. Sophonie transitioned to Sojourner House after earning her degree where she became the first School-Based Advocate. Sophonie supports students who have experienced dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or who have witnessed abuse in their homes. She earned her B.A. in Music and Theology from Northpoint College in Haverhill, MA.

Sophonie LaFortune, School-Based Advocate. Sophonie joined Sojourner House in 2018. She was born and raised in Providence and is a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. Sophonie began working in human services as a supervisor at a shelter for homeless teens who were pregnant or teen mothers experiencing sexual abuse. Sophonie transitioned to Sojourner House after earning her degree where she became the first School-Based Advocate. Sophonie supports students who have experienced dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or who have witnessed abuse in their homes. She earned her B.A. in Music and Theology from Northpoint College in Haverhill, MA.

Ashley Mazejko, Youth Coordinator.  Ashley joined Sojourner House in 2017. As the agency’s Youth Advocate, Ashley provides individual advocacy and a domestic violence support group for residential and community clients. Ashley's major community project is Camp Eureka, a week long summer camp for children who have witnessed domestic violence. She also offers community based education on teen dating and violence prevention in Central Falls schools and expressive arts groups for residential and community based children. Ashley is a trained PeaceLove Creator. PeaceLove is an organization based in Providence that helps people create peace of mind through art and storytelling.

Ashley Mazejko, Youth Coordinator. Ashley joined Sojourner House in 2017. As the agency’s Youth Advocate, Ashley provides individual advocacy and a domestic violence support group for residential and community clients. Ashley's major community project is Camp Eureka, a week long summer camp for children who have witnessed domestic violence. She also offers community based education on teen dating and violence prevention in Central Falls schools and expressive arts groups for residential and community based children. Ashley is a trained PeaceLove Creator. PeaceLove is an organization based in Providence that helps people create peace of mind through art and storytelling.

Kelsey Tabela-Baxter, Volunteer Coordinator.  Kelsey joined Sojourner House in 2019. As the Volunteer Coordinator, Kelsey works closely with Sojourner House staff to recruit, train, manage, and retain volunteers at the organization. She helps facilitate the acceptance of in-kind donations from community members and delegates donations to different shelters/locations as needed. Kelsey also assists with social media, e-newsletters, blog posts, and other communications work. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Gender and Sexuality and a minor in Environmental Studies from Rhode Island College.

Kelsey Tabela-Baxter, Volunteer Coordinator. Kelsey joined Sojourner House in 2019. As the Volunteer Coordinator, Kelsey works closely with Sojourner House staff to recruit, train, manage, and retain volunteers at the organization. She helps facilitate the acceptance of in-kind donations from community members and delegates donations to different shelters/locations as needed. Kelsey also assists with social media, e-newsletters, blog posts, and other communications work. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Gender and Sexuality and a minor in Environmental Studies from Rhode Island College.

Ada Zanella, Bilingual Advocate.  Ada joined Sojourner House in 2007. She has over twelve years of experience working with domestic violence victims and crisis intervention. She works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault providing them with individual advocacy and support groups. Ada provides a lot of supports to clients involved in the DCYF system, helping families to reunify after experiencing domestic violence in their home. She is a fierce advocate for her clients and often works with other staff to ensure her clients are receiving the services that they need; whether shelter programs, housing, immigration, et cetera. Ada is a member of Sojourner House’s HIV Team where she provides street outreach and rapid HIV testing to the community. She also works with the Spanish speaking clients in our residential program who live in Providence.

Ada Zanella, Bilingual Advocate. Ada joined Sojourner House in 2007. She has over twelve years of experience working with domestic violence victims and crisis intervention. She works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault providing them with individual advocacy and support groups. Ada provides a lot of supports to clients involved in the DCYF system, helping families to reunify after experiencing domestic violence in their home. She is a fierce advocate for her clients and often works with other staff to ensure her clients are receiving the services that they need; whether shelter programs, housing, immigration, et cetera. Ada is a member of Sojourner House’s HIV Team where she provides street outreach and rapid HIV testing to the community. She also works with the Spanish speaking clients in our residential program who live in Providence.

 
Sarah Decataldo, Deputy Director.  Sarah joined Sojourner House in 2016. Previously Sarah worked at Day One, Rhode Island's sexual assault coalition and managed their victim advocacy programs. Sarah was also the Grants and Media Relations Manager at The Providence Center and is a consultant with the national Office of Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. She is certified by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the is a law enforcement trainer with the Rhode Island Violence Against Women Act DV/SA Training Curriculum Committee. She also serves on the SAGE-RI board. She earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice with concentrations in Psychology and Sociology and her M.S. in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in Human Services.

Sarah Decataldo, Deputy Director. Sarah joined Sojourner House in 2016. Previously Sarah worked at Day One, Rhode Island's sexual assault coalition and managed their victim advocacy programs. Sarah was also the Grants and Media Relations Manager at The Providence Center and is a consultant with the national Office of Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. She is certified by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the is a law enforcement trainer with the Rhode Island Violence Against Women Act DV/SA Training Curriculum Committee. She also serves on the SAGE-RI board. She earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice with concentrations in Psychology and Sociology and her M.S. in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in Human Services.





Paula Hodges, Director of Major Gifts.  Paula joined Sojourner House in 2018. She began her political and program management career in Missouri working for the Secretary of State, America Votes and Missouri National Education Association. She led the Governmental Relations team at Planned Parenthood in Rhode Island 2011 to 2014 and the America Votes New Hampshire coalition 2014 to 2017. Most recently she built the New Hampshire Progress Alliance, a pooled social change impact investing alliance. She continues to build progressive power through her social enterprise, Anchor Strategies. She earned her B.A. from Truman State University and M.B.A. from the University of New Hampshire.

Paula Hodges, Director of Major Gifts. Paula joined Sojourner House in 2018. She began her political and program management career in Missouri working for the Secretary of State, America Votes and Missouri National Education Association. She led the Governmental Relations team at Planned Parenthood in Rhode Island 2011 to 2014 and the America Votes New Hampshire coalition 2014 to 2017. Most recently she built the New Hampshire Progress Alliance, a pooled social change impact investing alliance. She continues to build progressive power through her social enterprise, Anchor Strategies. She earned her B.A. from Truman State University and M.B.A. from the University of New Hampshire.


Amanda Berno, Supportive Housing Coordinator.  Amanda joined Sojourner House in 2016. She coordinated the Transitional Housing Program and now coordinates the Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs along with other forms of housing assistance. She has worked in the field for six years and interned with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless on the Zero:2016 campaign to end homelessness statewide. During that initiative, she trained providers and volunteers throughout the city of Providence to administer the Vulnerability Index, a tool used to assess those experiencing homelessness for housing services. She earned her B.S.W. from Rhode Island College.

Amanda Berno, Supportive Housing Coordinator. Amanda joined Sojourner House in 2016. She coordinated the Transitional Housing Program and now coordinates the Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs along with other forms of housing assistance. She has worked in the field for six years and interned with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless on the Zero:2016 campaign to end homelessness statewide. During that initiative, she trained providers and volunteers throughout the city of Providence to administer the Vulnerability Index, a tool used to assess those experiencing homelessness for housing services. She earned her B.S.W. from Rhode Island College.








Kassie Hawkins, Manager of LGBTQ+ Programs.  Kassie joined Sojourner House in 2017. She has worked in human services for eighteen years with a variety of populations, including LGBTQ+, homeless individuals, victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, children, and people with substance abuse issues and/or psychiatric or physical disabilities. She coordinates the only shelter for male victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the state and heads an HIV team that provides street outreach and free, rapid, HIV testing. In 2017, Sojourner House was one of three agencies nationwide to receive the Mary Byron Project award for their LGBTQ+ work. She earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Texas.

Kassie Hawkins, Manager of LGBTQ+ Programs. Kassie joined Sojourner House in 2017. She has worked in human services for eighteen years with a variety of populations, including LGBTQ+, homeless individuals, victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, children, and people with substance abuse issues and/or psychiatric or physical disabilities. She coordinates the only shelter for male victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the state and heads an HIV team that provides street outreach and free, rapid, HIV testing. In 2017, Sojourner House was one of three agencies nationwide to receive the Mary Byron Project award for their LGBTQ+ work. She earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Texas.

Sidney Lane Smith, THEIA Coordinator.  Sidney joined Sojourner House in 2018. Sidney began their work as a volunteer, then joined the staff as Residential Advocate & Property Manager prior to taking on the THEIA Project Coordinator position. Sidney proudly identifies as a queer non-binary person of color and is a native Rhode Islander. Their personal mission is to support underrepresented populations, including but not limited to, sex workers, trans clients, and undocumented clients. Sidney provides case management and advocacy to survivors of labor and sex trafficking in a residential setting.

Sidney Lane Smith, THEIA Coordinator. Sidney joined Sojourner House in 2018. Sidney began their work as a volunteer, then joined the staff as Residential Advocate & Property Manager prior to taking on the THEIA Project Coordinator position. Sidney proudly identifies as a queer non-binary person of color and is a native Rhode Islander. Their personal mission is to support underrepresented populations, including but not limited to, sex workers, trans clients, and undocumented clients. Sidney provides case management and advocacy to survivors of labor and sex trafficking in a residential setting.








Jessamine Phillips, Law Enforcement Advocate.  Jessamine joined Sojourner House in 2016. She provides immediate crisis intervention to clients involved in the criminal justice system due to domestic violence or sexual assault. She provides accompaniment to court dates, and keeps clients informed about their criminal case. Jessamine works closely with police officers, attorneys, and community agencies to better serve clients in Burrillville, Foster, Glocester and Scituate. She has also been invited to the schools in her region to teach students about teen dating violence and sexting. Jessamine sits on the RI VAWA DV/SA Training Curriculum Committee, and is certified as a law enforcement trainer. She earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from New England College.

Jessamine Phillips, Law Enforcement Advocate. Jessamine joined Sojourner House in 2016. She provides immediate crisis intervention to clients involved in the criminal justice system due to domestic violence or sexual assault. She provides accompaniment to court dates, and keeps clients informed about their criminal case. Jessamine works closely with police officers, attorneys, and community agencies to better serve clients in Burrillville, Foster, Glocester and Scituate. She has also been invited to the schools in her region to teach students about teen dating violence and sexting. Jessamine sits on the RI VAWA DV/SA Training Curriculum Committee, and is certified as a law enforcement trainer. She earned a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from New England College.


Kimberly Viafara, Bilingual Housing Advocate.  Kimberly joined Sojourner House in 2016. She began as an intern and is a survivor whose passion to work with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault victims brought her back to Sojourner House. She works closely with the Latino community in northern Rhode Island providing advocacy and support groups to both residential and non-residential clients. Kimberly is also a member of Sojourner House’s HIV Team where she provides street outreach as well as free, rapid HIV testing. She earned her B.S in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Addictions from Johnson and Wales University.

Kimberly Viafara, Bilingual Housing Advocate. Kimberly joined Sojourner House in 2016. She began as an intern and is a survivor whose passion to work with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault victims brought her back to Sojourner House. She works closely with the Latino community in northern Rhode Island providing advocacy and support groups to both residential and non-residential clients. Kimberly is also a member of Sojourner House’s HIV Team where she provides street outreach as well as free, rapid HIV testing. She earned her B.S in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Addictions from Johnson and Wales University.

 
Gloria Greenfield, Director of Immigration Advocacy.  Gloria joined Sojourner House in 2011. A native of Venezuela, she first worked as a court advocate and quickly recognized the lack of services for undocumented victims of abuse, setting in motion the creation of the first Immigration Advocacy Program housed at a domestic violence agency in Rhode Island. Gloria obtained the agency’s recognition before the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012. She has full DOJ accreditation which allows her to represent victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking who are in removal proceedings at the Boston Immigration Court, and also assists them with cases before USCIS. Gloria is certified as a Rhode Island Violence Against Women Act DV/SA curriculum instructor, and she is a member of the Rhode Island Human Trafficking Task Force.


Gloria Greenfield, Director of Immigration Advocacy.
Gloria joined Sojourner House in 2011. A native of Venezuela, she first worked as a court advocate and quickly recognized the lack of services for undocumented victims of abuse, setting in motion the creation of the first Immigration Advocacy Program housed at a domestic violence agency in Rhode Island. Gloria obtained the agency’s recognition before the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012. She has full DOJ accreditation which allows her to represent victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking who are in removal proceedings at the Boston Immigration Court, and also assists them with cases before USCIS. Gloria is certified as a Rhode Island Violence Against Women Act DV/SA curriculum instructor, and she is a member of the Rhode Island Human Trafficking Task Force.

 
Jessica Stults, Director of Clinical Services.  Jessica joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has worked for many years in mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness services. Jessica provides therapy to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and she works with all staff to ensure that the agency provides excellent trauma-informed, client-centered advocacy. She earned her M.S.W. from Hunter College, her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at University of Miami, and her B.A. at Reed College.

Jessica Stults, Director of Clinical Services. Jessica joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has worked for many years in mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness services. Jessica provides therapy to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and she works with all staff to ensure that the agency provides excellent trauma-informed, client-centered advocacy. She earned her M.S.W. from Hunter College, her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at University of Miami, and her B.A. at Reed College.







Alexandra Castillo, Education and Sexual Health Coordinator.  Alexandra joined Sojourner House in 2017. She was born and raised in the Hartford area in Providence. She became interested in the field due to family members and friends who were experiencing domestic violence. She worked as a Residential/Youth Advocate at DVRSC and transitioned to Sojourner House as the Education & Sexual Health Coordinator. Alexandra coordinates, develops, and conducts violence prevention education workshops to students and professionals throughout the state. She sits on the RI HIV/STD Coalition and was the co-chair for the Conference on Youth Sexual Health Education in 2018. She earned her B.A. in Psychology & Gender Women’s Studies from the University of Rhode Island.

Alexandra Castillo, Education and Sexual Health Coordinator. Alexandra joined Sojourner House in 2017. She was born and raised in the Hartford area in Providence. She became interested in the field due to family members and friends who were experiencing domestic violence. She worked as a Residential/Youth Advocate at DVRSC and transitioned to Sojourner House as the Education & Sexual Health Coordinator. Alexandra coordinates, develops, and conducts violence prevention education workshops to students and professionals throughout the state. She sits on the RI HIV/STD Coalition and was the co-chair for the Conference on Youth Sexual Health Education in 2018. She earned her B.A. in Psychology & Gender Women’s Studies from the University of Rhode Island.

Malaysia King, Healthy Families Advocate.  Malaysia joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has over four years of experience working with domestic violence victims and youth and began her work at the Women's Center of Rhode Island as an intern and was then a Youth Advocate. Malaysia supports families holistically, empowers pregnant and parenting teenagers and assists them with developing vocational skills, building resumes, and promoting educational and financial freedom. She earned her the B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and B.A. in Gender and Women studies with a minor in Leadership Studies from University of Rhode Island.

Malaysia King, Healthy Families Advocate. Malaysia joined Sojourner House in 2018. She has over four years of experience working with domestic violence victims and youth and began her work at the Women's Center of Rhode Island as an intern and was then a Youth Advocate. Malaysia supports families holistically, empowers pregnant and parenting teenagers and assists them with developing vocational skills, building resumes, and promoting educational and financial freedom. She earned her the B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and B.A. in Gender and Women studies with a minor in Leadership Studies from University of Rhode Island.

Claire Macon, Residential Advocate.  Claire joined Sojourner House in 2018. She works with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex and labor trafficking. She provides advocacy and support groups to both residential and community based clients. Claire is also a member of Sojourner House’s HIV Team where she provides street outreach and rapid HIV testing. She has conducted extensive research on gender based violence and the decolonization of the body and earned her B.A. in Global Studies and Spanish from the University of Vermont.

Claire Macon, Residential Advocate. Claire joined Sojourner House in 2018. She works with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex and labor trafficking. She provides advocacy and support groups to both residential and community based clients. Claire is also a member of Sojourner House’s HIV Team where she provides street outreach and rapid HIV testing. She has conducted extensive research on gender based violence and the decolonization of the body and earned her B.A. in Global Studies and Spanish from the University of Vermont.







Eileen Rasmussen, Intake Coordinator.  Eileen joined Sojourner House in 2018. She began her work with DV as a volunteer and focused her academic work to investigate trauma-informed survey data. As Intake Coordinator, Eileen provides advocacy, crisis intervention, access to resources, case management and intake into programs. Eileen works to provide analysis of service trends about agency and client data, and she spent two years conducting cognitive-neuroscience research at Georgetown University. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from University of Massachusetts and her M.A. from Brandeis University.

Eileen Rasmussen, Intake Coordinator. Eileen joined Sojourner House in 2018. She began her work with DV as a volunteer and focused her academic work to investigate trauma-informed survey data. As Intake Coordinator, Eileen provides advocacy, crisis intervention, access to resources, case management and intake into programs. Eileen works to provide analysis of service trends about agency and client data, and she spent two years conducting cognitive-neuroscience research at Georgetown University. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from University of Massachusetts and her M.A. from Brandeis University.






Annell Vidal, Immigration and Resource Specialist.  Annell joined Sojourner House in 2016. Annell began her work with Sojourner House as the Bilingual Housing Advocate. She now assists clients in preparing and filing U.S. non-immigrant visa petitions and applications for naturalization, permanent residence, and adjustments of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Annell is partially accredited to practice immigration law by the Department of Justice, allowing her to represent clients before USCIS. Annell also works with the HIV and Housing team. She earned her B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from the New York State University, Buffalo.

Annell Vidal, Immigration and Resource Specialist. Annell joined Sojourner House in 2016. Annell began her work with Sojourner House as the Bilingual Housing Advocate. She now assists clients in preparing and filing U.S. non-immigrant visa petitions and applications for naturalization, permanent residence, and adjustments of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Annell is partially accredited to practice immigration law by the Department of Justice, allowing her to represent clients before USCIS. Annell also works with the HIV and Housing team. She earned her B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from the New York State University, Buffalo.