El Futuro has recruited an expert team of dedicated clinicians. El Futuro’s bilingual staff provides culturally appropriate care in a professional environment, where clients are treated with dignity and respect.
Lauren Albert, MA, LPCA
Intake Therapist, 919-688-7101 ext 636
Lauren Albert, a North Carolina native, first came to El Futuro as a volunteer while studying Psychology and Spanish at UNC-CH. Lauren lived in Mexico for a year where she developed a love for tacos al pastor and Latino culture. Afterwards, she earned an MA in Clinical Psychology while living and working in the Chicago area. More recently, married life has taken her on adventures to Ohio, Texas and most recently back to the Durham. Her professional experience includes supporting families in early childhood programming, counseling in community-based mental health clinics, connecting primary care patients to community resources and diagnostic assessments for children and youth. The approaches to counseling that she has found most helpful include cognitive-behavioral therapies, family systems approaches, experiential therapies and trauma-informed treatment approaches. She believes that while no person or family is anywhere close to perfect, all individuals and families have innate dignity, worth and potential. She aims to non-judgmentally listen, care for and counsel individuals and families with respect and compassion toward health, well-being, gratitude and joy. She loves the good work being done at El Futuro and is grateful to be a part of the team.
Alvely Alcantara, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, 919-688-7101 ext 625
Alvely grew up on a large farm in the Dominican Republic, and moved to New York City when she was six. She loved the north, but in 2006 her husband joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC– so Alvely decided to give the south a try! She loves living here, but having to learn to drive to get anywhere was a challenge on top of the cultural shock she experienced after years of living in a big city like NYC. After moving to North Carolina, Alvely completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and then attended the Virtual Academic Center at the University of Southern California to get her MSW. She is now working on completing her LCSW. In her free time, Alvely likes to spend time with her husband and take part in grueling workout bootcamps!
Front Desk, 919-688-7101 ext 600
Marianna came to the US from Costa Rica eight years ago. This makes her the only Costa Rican on our staff. When she heard of the opportunity to work at El Futuro, she jumped at the chance thinking “this is what I was thinking ever since coming to the US but I didn’t know how to do it!” Marianna speaks with gentleness and kindness as she welcomes people who come to El Futuro. In her spare time away from El Futuro she enjoys drawing, photography and walking with her family in nature.
Christa Atkinson, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, (919) 338-1939 ext 517
Christa specializes in working with young children, adolescents and families with trauma, abuse, anxiety and depression. Christa brings experience working with diverse populations with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and respect for all people. She has worked with court-involved youth in juvenile justice, traumatized and behaviorally challenged adolescents in a residential treatment center, and as the lead Clinical Social Worker in a Robert Wood Johnson funded program targeting mental health for Latinos in Durham elementary schools. Christa currently works as a Therapist at El Futuro serving Spanish-speaking clients in Carrboro. She is trained in providing multiple evidenced-based models including Incredible Years parenting groups, SPARCS adolescent treatment groups, MMTT child treatment groups and Child Parent Psychotherapy. Christa received her BA from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and her Master’s degree in Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill. She has lived in Costa Rica and Chile and traveled and worked in South America and Africa. Christa enjoys spending time practicing and teaching yoga, but most of all she enjoys her time as a mother. Specialties: Mental Health treatment with young children, adolescents, families and adults with trauma, abuse, anxiety and depression.
Kerry Brock, MPA
Manager of Grants Strategic Development, (919) 688-7101, ext 632
Kerry was born and raised in a small town in East Tennessee, where she learned to appreciate the free feeling of running through pastures and wading in creeks. She developed a passion for working with underserved populations while in high school, which ultimately led her to earn a BA in Sociology from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and then a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University – Bloomington. Over the last 15 years, she has had the opportunity to support the fundraising efforts of a variety of nonprofits serving diverse populations and needs, from Native American education in South Dakota to community health clinics in Chicago, and has been extremely fortunate to work with phenomenal colleagues at every step along the way. She is excited to continue this tradition with El Futuro, with a keen interest in supporting the mental health needs of our community. When Kerry isn’t at El Futuro, she can be found playing with her kids, hiking, running (meaning, an awkward combination of walking and jogging), or reading. Kerry is married to Allen and has two boys – Eli (8 years old) and Ben (14 years old).
Access Coordinator, (919) 688-7101, ext 605
Gisele grew up in Brazil with a French father and German mother. Throughout her upbringing and continuing until today, she has been involved in the arts as a teacher and director of a gallery. Before coming to the US, she lived for seven years in Ontario, Canada. Interestingly, she learned Spanish in Canada! In addition to art, Gisele enjoys writing and practicing and guiding meditation in several languages.
Authorization Specialist, (919) 688-7101 ext 608
Mary is from Venezuela and moved to the United States in 2008. She got her International Relations degree from “Universidad Central de Venezuela”. She is also a GED Instructor at Durham Technology Community College. Mary’s love for helping the Hispanic community brought her to El Futuro. Her cheerful personality and work ethic make her an asset to our organization. On her free time she enjoys zumba, running and spending time with friends.
Adris Fortunato, BA, CSAC
Substance Abuse Counselor, (919) 688-7101 ext 612
Adris Fortunato has years of experience providing substance abuse counseling to the local Latino community. Adris has lived in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and New York before moving to North Carolina. Adris brings warmth, energy and hope to every interaction whether it be in individual counseling, group treatment or in casual interactions with fellow coworkers. In his down time he can be found with his family, playing baseball, or instructing Zumba!
Receptionist, (919) 338-1939 ext 517
Connie Garcia is the Clinical Assistant who first greets most callers and visitors to El Futuro. She is of Nicaraguan descent and grew up in New Jersey and Philadelphia. A licensed cosmetologist and legal secretary, Ms. Garcia has a wide variety of experience including organization, customer service, home health work, supervision, soldering, electronics, and site maintenance. Ms. Garcia is a proud grandmother and is active in her church community and extended family.
William Gonzalez, LCSW, LCAS
Therapist, (919) 688-7101
William Gonzalez is a clinical social worker and psychotherapist with a passion for working with his community. He has spent more than a decade as a coach, advocate, and clinician. He has a master’s degree in social work from Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and has continuously sought learning and training to provide client-centered, evidenced-based, best practice treatments to clients. William is licensed in the State of North Carolina and the State of Maryland. He practices a variety of approaches to support and accommodate the growth and needs of clients. He has extensive training and experience working with traumatic experiences and evidenced-based treatments such as Trauma Focused-Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness Based Treatment. William is a long-time mindfulness practitioner and advocate. William has worked with children, adolescents and families in a school-based mental health program, and adolescents and adults in an out-patient mental health program and primary care community clinic in Montgomery County, Maryland. He specialized in trauma and stressor-related disorders, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and adjustment disorders (acculturation, bullying, divorce, chronic illness, grief and loss, among others). He soon will be licensed with the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board as a Licensed Clinical Addition Specialist.
Linda Guzman, BA
Project Coordinator for Padres Efectivos, (919) 688-7101 ext 602
From the day Linda joined us, she has consistently gone above and beyond to grow our group programs including Padres Efectivos and SPARCS. Linda graduated from UNC Greensboro where she received a BA in psychology and minor in Spanish. Originally from New Jersey, she lived most of her life in North Carolina and has experience abroad in Peru, Puerto Rico and Spain. Linda is excited to be here and says “I am thrilled to be a part of a project that will help so many families and feel privileged to be working with such a great team.”
Molly Hayes, MEd, LPCS
Clinical Supervisor, (919) 688-7101 ext 614
Molly lived in the Dominican Republic for several years as a child, but is native to Asheville, North Carolina. She has degrees from rival North Carolina universities: UNC-Chapel Hill (BA in International Studies) and North Carolina State University (Master’s in Counselor Education with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling). Molly has been connected with El Futuro since it’s inception when she worked as a volunteer along with other caring and dedicated people to help bring the dream of El Futuro alive. Molly has worked professionally in a number of non-profit community based organizations doing family-centered work including serving as an AmeriCorps member with housing insecure families, providing early-childhood interventions, child abuse prevention interventions, facilitating group therapy and in-home family therapy. In 2011 she joined El Futuro as a full-time clinical counselor. In counseling with her clients she uses her training in attachment based therapies, person-centered therapies, trauma processing therapies and mindfulness based practices to help facilitate healing and growth. Molly also has advanced training in clinical supervision and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS). She provides clinical supervision to peer clinicians and provisionally licensed counselors and is part of the programming and administrative team at El Futuro. She loves the diversity and creativity she is able to bring to the mission of El Futuro through the various roles she fills. When not at El Futuro Molly she enjoys life in the Triangle eating good food, soaking up local culture and being active through many forms of movement including kayaking, running and PiYo, a combination of pilates, yoga and boot camp.
Medical Assistant, (919) 688-7101 ext 630
Carrie is a hard worker and someone with a big heart for others. She grew up in Asheboro, NC, and attended UNC-G where she earned a BA in Theology and later earned a BA in Spanish from UNC-W. Carrie also has a Diploma in Translation and Interpreting from Cape Fear Community College. As the Medical Assistant she supports our psychiatrists by helping with a range of duties from checking up on students in schools to making sure patients get their medications. In her free time she enjoys many activities like dancing, playing the guitar and writing songs, cooking, and even surfing!
Karon Johnson, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, (919) 688-7101 ext 611
Karon sees the potential in all those she encounters. Her long road to become a social worker has her doing what she hoped – helping empower others to overcome and rise up. She grew up in Los Angeles before coming to Durham in 1994. She raised her family and has been continuously involved in our community. She earned a degree in Spanish from NCCU with a concentration in education. She attended the School of Social Work UNC-CH with an interest in the intersection of experiences of African Americans and Latinos. Karon is a trauma-focused therapist who utilizes treatments such as EMDR, and DBT, and is also able to work with clients from a faith-based perspective. In her spare time she enjoys reading, gaming, bodybuilding, listening to music, spending time with family and playing Scrabble!
Jenna Horgan, MSW, LCSWA, MT-BC
Therapist, 919-688-7101 ext 633
Jenna brings her creativity and compassion to her work as a therapist at El Futuro. Jenna is a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) with her bachelor’s in Music Therapy from Appalachian State University and Masters of Social Work from North Carolina State University. She has over 9 years of experience providing music therapy to hospice patients, people with disabilities, adolescents with mental health challenges and migrant farmworkers. She is interested in ways the arts can improve overall mental health, increase self-esteem and create a greater sense of community. Originally from Durham, Jenna learned Spanish while volunteering at Centro Arte para la Paz in El Salvador where she taught English, yoga and music. In her free time, Jenna can be found exploring local hiking trails, doing yoga and playing her guitalele.
Intern, (919) 688-7101
Marleen was born in Puerto Rico but spent most of her formative years in New Bedford, MA. She is very close to her family. While growing up in a Spanish speaking household she would spend every Sunday exploring new places or visiting extended family. She’s graduate of Duke University and is interning with El Futuro to explore her interest in mental health in minority communities. She eventually plans to pursue a Master’s of Public Health. When Marleen is not at El Futuro, she enjoys being creative by making various art and crafts.
Marita Malm Morgan, PhD, LPCA
Therapist, (919) 688-7101 ext 610
Marita moved to the US six years ago from Argentina where she completed her Psychology studies (MA degree) and practice psychotherapy for 10 years. In her practice there she worked in public hospitals helping mostly adults and seniors. Her training is in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in an Integrated Model of Psychotherapy and also in Neuropsychology. As soon as she moved to US, she worked with us as a volunteer for a year and then she continued helping off and on over the last several years volunteering to help with special cases. Additionally she finished her PhD in Psychology and became licensed in North Carolina! She loves working at El Futuro and helping the Spanish speaking population living here in North Carolina.
DWI Counselor, (919) 688-7101 ext 617
Kenia was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Puerto Rico after high school in order to attend the University of Puerto Rico. She graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice, minor in Forensic Psychology and associate degree in Education. She has over six years of experience as a substance abuse counselor. She also has served as a Hispanic community parent liaison in Wake County School System.
Alejandra Martinez-Lacabe, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, (919) 688-7101 ext 612
Alejandra (Ale) Martinez-Lacabe was born in Parana, Argentina and moved to the United States after high school. She has lived in Chicago and Iowa before moving to North Carolina. While living in Iowa Ale attended Iowa State University and received an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Social Work. Ale has over 10 years experience as a family therapist and has worked in a variety of community and school settings. She has enjoyed helping children and adults since an early age. On her free time Ale likes spending time outdoors, enjoying music and traveling.
Christopher May, BS
Manager for Development, (919) 688-7101 ext 631
Christopher has many years of experience in healthcare related fundraising and working with Latino populations in South America. He has a passion for helping others and has a great understanding of the importance of healthcare accessibility. He is excited to bring his perspective and skill set to El Futuro to help acquire resources that will provide much needed mental health services to the Latino community in Durham and beyond. In his downtime you’ll find him traveling, playing guitar, or going on hikes with his two dogs.
Dave Mills, MDiv, MAcc, CPA
Finance Director, (919) 688-7101 ext 609
Dave is a North Carolina native who has lived in Durham since 1996. He received a Master’s of Divinity from Union Seminary and a Master’s of Accounting from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. He went back to school and became a CPA with the goal of managing the finances of a non-profit. Dave has a decade of work in the local non-profit community, including seven years as an Executive Director. He is an active volunteer in Durham and is currently the treasurer of three community organizations. When Dave isn’t crunching numbers he enjoys hiking with his wife and two daughters, reading, going to Durham Bulls games, and studying Spanish.
Courtney Pope, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, (919) 688-7101 ext 623
When Courtney listens, you feel like you are the only one in the world. She sees each person we help as a special gift. Originally from California, Courtney began learning Spanish during her time pursuing her undergraduate degree at UCLA. Upon graduation, Courtney moved to Argentina, where she spent seven years working with university students and helping to develop projects to benefit rural Andean communities. During her time in Argentina, Courtney’s interest in mental health and social advocacy grew. Relocating from South America to the American South, Courtney obtained a Masters degree in Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. Courtney’s favorite hobby is exploring, particularly when mountains are involved.
Sarelli Rossi, MHA
Associate Director, (919) 688-7101 ext 603
She makes families feel welcome and quietly does the heavy lifting behind the scenes to make the impossible happen every day. Sarelli feels all of her experience from growing up in Peru to finishing her Masters in Health Administration at UNC prepared her to be our Associate Director and get to do her “dream job!” Sarelli was born in Peru before moving to Chapel Hill during high school. After graduating from ECU with a degree in Psychology and minor in Biology, she earned her Masters in Health Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill while working full time at the Blood Bank in Durham. She came to know El Futuro through volunteering and so was already part of our team before she joined El Futuro’s staff in the late summer of 2010 as our Clinic Manager. She later was promoted to Associate Director to oversee El Futuro’s operations and development work. Her commitment to the Latino community is obvious in every interaction. In her spare time she can be found with her family and listening to music!
Front Desk, (919) 688-7101 ext 600
Beatriz is from a large family with Mexican heritage – Guanajuato to be specific! As she was in high school, she frequently thought about how she could someday work to help others. Currently, Beatriz is studying at Alamance Community College to become a social worker. She loves working at El Futuro because even though she is still in school she can still work somewhere she can help people every day!
David Lucas “Luke” Smith, MD
Psychiatrist and Executive Director, (919) 688-7101 ext 604
Luke Smith was raised in Arkansas and moved to North Carolina for training in child and adult psychiatry. After volunteering in the community and perceiving a great need for Spanish language services, Dr. Smith mobilized the community to create El Futuro. He is the Executive Director and Medical Director, and provides psychiatric care to both children and adults. Each year, he and his staff provide services to more than 1,500 children and families who come for help. He is double board certified in both adult psychiatry and in child and adolescent psychiatry. He recently was a part of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. In addition to being active with direct services and shaping policy at the local and state level, Dr. Smith leads the organization in research efforts through projects funded by the NIMH and PCORI with a focus on creating evidence based practices that are especially targeted to help the North Carolina Latino Community.
Karla Siu, MSW, LCSW
Therapist and Clinical Director, (919) 688-7101 ext 601
Karla Siu grew up in Honduras, Tokyo and Virginia. She has worked in welfare reform, community mental health, research on biculturalism, and services to Latino domestic violence offenders. Karla has special expertise in serving families and children, conducting play therapy, and assisting in recovery from trauma. She co-authored a paper on cultural issues in treating Latino-Hispanic families with domestic violence issues, published in 2009.
Lynn Tovar, PhD, LPCA
Therapist, (919) 688-7101 ext 624
Lynn grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. She was a part of a large family growing up, and loved taking part in extended family gatherings. She went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her undergraduate degree, and then went on to get her Masters of Counseling and Career Development from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Before moving to North Carolina in 2007, Lynn lived in Mexico City for four years where she learned Spanish, taught in a counseling program, and volunteered with a non-profit organization focused on sustainable development in rural areas of Mexico. Lynn is currently working on her PhD in Counselor Education at North Carolina State University. Having completed a clinical practicum at El Futuro earlier in her doctoral studies, she feels fortunate to be part of the El Futuro staff serving the local Hispanic community. Lynn loves to camp, do yoga, and spend time with her husband and children.
Clinic Manager, (919) 688-7101 ext 619
Luis was born in Lima, Peru and came with his family to the US when he was 9. He graduated valedictorian from Southern Lee High School in Sanford and then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and two minors – one in Anthropology and the other in Spanish. He strongly identifies with El Futuro’s mission and is happy to facilitate the process of providing the Hispanic community with beneficial services that are otherwise not easily accessible to them. He believes that even though inequality seems like an inescapable feature of society, El Futuro strives to create equal opportunity for all individuals and is an example to be followed. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis, going to the gym, going on nature walks, and listening to music.