At Social Sparks we are dedicated to creating a positive and supportive environment where clients can develop the essential social emotional skills needed to successfully navigate life and develop meaningful relationships. We believe our clients deserve an individualized and thoughtful therapeutic experience that empowers them in progressing towards their goals. Our client-centered approach incorporates strengths-based and evidenced-based practices to spark growth and positive change.
Kristen Spencer, LICSW
Kristen's clinical experience includes working as a full-time school social worker in a public school district as well as many years of experience as a classroom consultant in numerous special and general education classrooms throughout Rhode Island. She regularly collaborated with parents, educators and other professionals to facilitate special education services and accommodations. She is an experienced group facilitator and clinical program coordinator. Over the years, Kristen has worked closely with individuals who are diagnosed with autism, ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety, behavioral challenges and sensory processing disorders. She enjoys developing creative interventions with clients and families to meet their individual needs. She is an original founding member of Social Sparks, Inc.
Director of Operations
Shane has a background in managing and developing small businesses. He is a scholar in the 2018 Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business cohort. Shane is often the first person that families meet when they begin their journey at Social Sparks. He is compassionate and empathetic and works hard to make sure every family and client feels welcome and comfortable at Social Sparks. Shane is responsible for overseeing business operations and assisting with program carry over, among many other things. He is always on the go, keeping the day to day running smoothly. Along with his passion for business, he also enjoys connecting with clients and families and occasionally can be found supporting clients and groups with transition supports, a listening ear, and breaks from group when needed.
Colleen Dusel, LCSW
Colleen has a Master's Degree in Social Work from Simmons College (Boston, MA) and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Providence College (Providence, RI). Colleen's experience includes work within a variety of settings including Youth Pride Inc., Providence Public Schools and the Cambridge Eating Disorder Center. Throughout these experiences, Colleen worked with young people of varying ethnicities, socioeconomic status, backgrounds, and abilities. She utilizes Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, among other treatment modalities, in individual and group settings. As intake coordinator, Colleen schedules and provides intake assessments for new clients. She is also the Summer Camp Program Director. Colleen has a passion for kindness and empathy and is excited to share that with others.
Maggie Veiga, MEd, LICSW
Summer Program Director
Maggie is a former school-based clinician and current school psychology PhD student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She earned her BA in Psychology and Anthropology at Brown University and MSW at Columbia University. She uses Cognitive-Behavior Therapy techniques and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in her work supporting the social emotional development of individuals diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders, and sensory needs. Her research interests include implementation and progress monitoring of evidence-based social skills groups, school-based social emotional learning programs, and strategies to support students with challenging behavior. In addition to providing individual and group therapy, Maggie is also the Summer Camp Director at Social Sparks.
Kathryn Calle, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Kathryn works as a full time speech language pathologist in a hospital setting. She enjoys working with clients, families and other professionals to provide the most functional and beneficial therapy to meet each clients’ needs. Kathryn has also worked in a private practice, early intervention setting and most recently in a middle school providing group and individual therapy. She is experienced in working with children ages 1 to 15 with a variety of disorders including expressive and receptive language disorders, sensory processing disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, and Autism spectrum disorders.
Cathy Cochran, LCSW
Cathy has a Master’s degree in Social Work from RI College (Providence, RI), and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from William Smith College (Geneva, NY). She also participated in nursing courses at the Community College of RI (Lincoln, RI), and approaches her work from a holistic and strength-based perspective. Cathy has extensive experience working with children and families, as well as adults in a variety of capacities. This includes work with individuals experiencing mental illness, trauma, chronic illness,homelessness, developmental disabilities, and life changes. Cathy has a passion for helping individuals become empowered and connected to resources within themselves and the community. Her work is client driven. She utilizes mixtures of cognitive therapy, expressive activities (movement/craft), case management, and assisting individuals with crisis management.
Kenzi DeFaria, LCSW
Kenzi has a Masters and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. She currently works through a hospital as a Behavioral Health Therapist, providing home-based therapeutic and supportive services to young children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kenzi has experience working as a school social work intern at an elementary school in East Providence, RI, facilitating individual support and small group sessions to model and support the development of social and emotional skills. For the past seven years, Kenzi has gained valuable experience working closely with children with various learning and behavioral disorders both in-home and in school environments. As a former MSW intern at Social Sparks, Kenzi made many connections with clients and families. Following her internship, she joined the Social Sparks team where she continues working with and providing support to clients and families.
Lauren Donohue, LCSW, CGS
Lauren graduated with a Masters of Social Work degree and Certificate of Graduate Studies in Child and Adolescent Trauma in the spring of 2019 from Rhode Island College. Lauren has experience working with teens and young adults in the family court juvenile justice system and DCYF. She currently works full-time supporting clients experiencing poverty and homelessness to help them gain access to community resources in order to prevent recidivism and better quality of life. Lauren formerly worked as an MSW intern at Social Sparks and has officially joined the team to provide group and individual therapy. She is very upbeat and loves meeting new people.
Daniela Duarte, LMHC
Daniela Duarte is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician (LMHC), with extensive experience in the treatment of children, families, and adults. She has delivered treatment in a variety of settings. Most of her experience is rooted in her prior role as a home-based clinician- providing intensive therapy to children and their families. Her most recent experience has been providing office-based and school-based outpatient counseling. As a result of being a school-based clinician, Daniela has formed a partnership with staff at many charter and public schools in Central Falls, Lincoln, North Providence, Pawtucket, and Cumberland in order to provide more comprehensive support to her clients in these schools. Daniela readily utilizes and interchanges directives from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Family Systems Therapies, Art Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She is experienced in treating clients who have ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, learning disabilities, grief, past trauma, social deficits, self-harming behaviors, teen pregnancy, and parenting problems. Daniela prioritizes “meeting clients where they are,” and highly values building a strong therapeutic relationship in order to promote personal growth, resilience, and practical skills. Daniela is also fluent in Italian!
Cate Gorman, LMHC
Cate has many years of experience providing individual, group and family therapy to children, adolescents and adults in a variety of settings. A majority of her experience was in public and alternative schools, as well as community and home-based counseling with children and families. Throughout her work, Cate prioritized supporting clients in accessing resources and services to problem solve, lessen stress and work toward a feeling of empowerment. Cate's passion for her work continues on in her role at Social Sparks where she provides individual and family therapy to clients of all ages.
Krysta Jensen, LICSW
Krysta is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her MSW degree from the Rhode Island College School of Social Work. She has extensive experience utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness techniques, Social Coaching and movement based activities to work with children of all ages in individual and group therapy. Krysta has a passion for working with children diagnosed with Anxiety, ADHD and Autism. She enjoys using humor as an engagement technique with her clients. Her creative and thoughtful approach to therapy helps clients and families feel comfortable and supported.
Maura Scarboro, LMHC, BCBA, LBA
Maura is a full time clinician in a therapeutic school providing group and individual therapy. She also has a background in home-based services and is currently working towards her LMHC. Maura enjoys utilizing a strength-based approach and incorporating creativity and self-expression as much as possible. She has worked with clients from ages 3 to young adulthood with a variety diagnoses. Some of her experience includes alternative communication, behavioral difficulties, ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety, sensory disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Maura is fluent in English and American Sign Language.
Alicia Petrarca, LCSW
Alicia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Rhode Island College School of Social Work. Alicia has experience working with children, teens and young adults who have a variety of emotional, social and behavioral disorders. Her background consists of several years of experience supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder through her work in home-based services. In her work in the public-school department she has facilitated mindfulness groups for students in middle and high school. Alicia also has experience supporting adults in the hospital setting who are experiencing an adjustment to illness, substance use, and new mothers coping with post-partum depression. In therapy she utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques to promote client’s overall wellbeing.
Adrienne Pietraszka, LCSW
Adrienne is a graduate of Rhode Island College School of Social Work and currently works full-time as a medical social worker for Care New England. Adrienne's professional experience centers around residential, community and hospital based settings. Adrienne has extensive experience working in programs that are contracted with the Department of Children, Youth and Families to provide supportive services ranging from mental health and trauma to poverty and basic needs. Adrienne has a passion for working with at risk youth and has spent a majority of her professional career working with teen mothers. Adrienne's professional and personal experience allow her the ability to creatively engage clients and build a positive rapport. Adrienne's treatment modalities hover around Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Crisis Intervention.
Justin Roias, LCSW
Justin is a licensed clinical social worker and holds a bachelor's degree and a master’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College. Justin has worked in many community organizing capacities, namely as former state director of Wolf PAC Rhode Island and as a board member of Smith Hill Community Development Corporation and Direct Action for Rights and Equality. In recent years, Justin has served in various educational roles in Providence, both as a college advisor and school social worker to middle school and high school students. Today, Justin is a full-time clinician at Tides Family Services, where he provides home-based clinical services to children and adolescent-age youth to address their identified behaviors and clinical symptoms. Justin enjoys taking a creative and thoughtful approach to therapy to make meaningful connections with his clients.
Jodie Sexton, LMHC
Jodie is a licensed Mental Health Clinician (LMHC) and currently works full-time as a clinical supervisor overseeing home-based services for children with behavioral and emotional disorders. Jodie has over 15 years of experience working with children and families in a home-based capacity. Jodie's clinical experience includes working with individuals diagnosed with autism, ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, intellectual disabilities and behavioral disorders. Jodie works closely with outside providers, schools, and families to support children to receiving the services they require and the accommodations they need to be successful. Jodie is a certified Circles of Security parent trainer and is passionate about enhancing parent child relationships, specifically with children diagnosed with developmental and behavioral disabilities. Jodie's philosophy is that the therapeutic relationship is the vehicle of change and supports children and families to develop skills necessary to live to their fullest potential and be a part of their community
Stephanie Vece, LCSW
Stephanie Vece is a full-time school social worker, currently working by day in an elementary school in Providence. She has worked with young people of all ages, from elementary school through college. Stephanie is skilled at facilitating groups for children and adolescents with social, emotional and behavioral challenges. Over the span of her career Stephanie has worked with young people in residential treatment facilities and a variety of educational settings including charter schools, alternative schools, public schools and colleges. Stephanie has many years of experience advocating for students with disabilities who require accommodations. Stephanie worked for several years at Brown University where she arranged disability-related accommodations for university students and facilitated a variety of support groups. She has also provided after-hours crisis counseling to college students at Providence College and Johnson and Wales University. Stephanie is skilled at working with children and adolescents who have ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and behavioral difficulties.
Brittney Walker, LCSW
Brittney is a Licensed Social Worker who works full time with parents in recovery from substance abuse and their young children. Brittney earned her MSW from CUNY Hunter Silberman School of Social Work (NY). Brittney has experience utilizing modalities such as Child Parent Psychotherapy and Trauma Systems Therapy. Her areas of expertise are parent-child relationship-building, early childhood mental health, and trauma-centered care. Brittney has experience working with a variety of providers such as schools, DCYF, hospitals, residential programs, and other community-based agencies, which lends to her wrap-around approach to serving clients. Brittney is passionate about working with families in a way that utilizes their strengths to benefit their children and relationships.
At Social Sparks we value the opportunity to work with interns who are pursuing degrees and licensure in the field of mental health. We see this as an opportunity to share some of our knowledge and experiences in a supportive and collaborative environment. Our interns participate in training and regular supervision with licensed practitioners to ensure they are supported in their clinical practice and that clients are supported to the best extent possible. We are proud of the work our interns do at Social Sparks and find that we learn something new from each and every one of them.
Gemma grew up in the United Kingdom and earned her degree in Psychology and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and is currently in her final year in the Master's program at the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College. Since moving to the States, she has worked in a variety of behavioral health settings, such as a research-based counseling role at the Department of Corrections, then later in a community mental health center, helping adults with severe mental illness obtain public benefits. Gemma has completed a clinical internship at the Acute Stabilization Unit where she worked on an inpatient unit with people suffering from mental health and substance use disorders. There, she completed psychological assessments and facilitated cognitive-behavioral groups. She currently works at a private practice in Rhode Island in an administrative role and provides support in psychological testing services. At Social Sparks, Gemma is looking forward to learning from the clinicians, children, and families, and continuing to develop skills needed to provide support and help people achieve their goals by practicing social and emotional skills. She is especially excited to build skills in working with younger populations and practice therapeutic work in both group and individual formats.
Bryanna is an intern MSW graduate student from the University of New England. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island in 2015. She has a wide-ranging experience in working with children with behavioral and developmental disorders. Bryanna has worked as a behavior specialist for 6 years providing home-based therapeutic services to children and teens with Autism. She has also worked as a camp counselor for many years at camp WANNAGOAGAIN by the Autism Project of RI. Bryanna is excited to be able to join Social Sparks and is eager to learn as much as she can.
Anna is a second-year, MSW graduate student from Rhode Island College. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Work and Psychology from Saint Anselm College in 2017. She has an eclectic background of experience working with children and adolescents diagnosed with a variety of emotional, behavioral, and developmental disorders. She has prior experience working with women and children in a residential treatment facility in NH and served as a student-volunteer at a Head Start Program throughout her 4 years of undergraduate education. She recently completed her internship as a clinical social work intern at an Elementary School in the Westerly, RI school district. She is thrilled to be joining the Social Sparks team and is eager to meet the kids, families, and staff, and embrace every new learning opportunity.
Jennifer is a first year MSW graduate student from the University of New Hampshire. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College in 1998. She has a wide range of experience working with children and adults. Jennifer previously worked at DCYF for 10 years providing case management services to at risk children and youth. She is currently employed by the RI Department of Corrections as an Adult Probation and Parole Officer in Pawtucket. Jennifer also facilitates psycho-educational domestic violence groups for men and woman at RIBIP. Jennifer is excited to be able to join Social Sparks. She is looking forward to meeting the staff, kids, families and is eager to learn as much as she can.
Freila graduated from John Jay College with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice in 2015. She is currently in her final year of graduate school, pursuing her MSW online from Denver University. Within the last four years, she has worked with all different age groups and backgrounds. Freila recently completed her internship as a clinical social work intern at The Providence Center. There, she facilitated three adult substance abuse groups. She currently works at The Providence Center as a case manager. She has experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and at risk-youths as well as adults who suffer from mental health, substance use, and trauma. She is excited to start at Social Sparks and is eager to meet the kids, families, and staff, and begin her new journey with the team.