Our Mission

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

Owner/Clinical Director

Kristen's clinical experiences include working as a public school social worker where she was a member of the district-wide behavior assistance and support team. She also has many years of experience as a classroom consultant in numerous special and general education classrooms throughout Rhode Island. Within these roles, she regularly collaborated with parents, educators, and other professionals to facilitate special education services and accommodations. Kristen is an experienced group therapy facilitator, trainer, and clinical program coordinator. She has provided clinical supervision to colleagues and clinical interns for over 10 years. Kristen has worked closely with individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety, behavioral challenges, sensory processing disorders, and more. She enjoys meeting new clients and families and developing creative interventions to meet their individual needs.
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Shane Myers

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. Colleen has a passion for kindness and empathy and is excited to share that with others. 

Maggie Veiga, MEd, LICSW
 

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. 

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 Master's and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. She has experience working as a Behavioral Health Therapist, providing home-based therapeutic and supportive services to young children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kenzi also 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.

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Lauren Bolster, 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!

Michelle Hervieux, LCSW

Michelle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She has her MSW from Boston College and her Bachelor’s in Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology from Boston University. She currently works as a full-time partial and residential clinician in a hospital setting, providing individual, group, and family therapy to adolescents. She has experience working with disordered eating and mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, trauma, and many more. Michelle utilizes a strengths-based approach, with a background in DBT and CBT, utilizing the strengths of each client to help cope with whatever life may throw their way. She has a passion for her work and approaches each moment with patience, empathy, and a sprinkle of humor. She is excited to help you reach your goals and support you throughout the process!
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Krysta Jensen, LICSW

Krysta earned her Master's and Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. Her experience spans a variety of populations including work with substance-affected individuals, child welfare, adolescents, and domestic violence. She has a particular interest and experience in working with clients on the Autism Spectrum as well as individuals with sensory regulation needs. Krysta has many years of experience working with children and young adults. She places great emphasis on building a meaningful and supportive relationship with her clients. She uses empathy, compassion, and humor to engage clients and meet them where they are at. She approaches each client relationship with patience and kindness. Krysta's therapeutic approach incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Relapse Prevention, Play Therapy, use of social-emotional curriculum, movement-based activities, modeling/coaching, and parenting support. 
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Shannon Lemus, LCSW

Shannon is a graduate of Rhode Island College, earning her Masters's Degree in Social Work. She has many years of experience working with children and families. She works in a supervisory role overseeing a long-term family visiting program that focuses on attachment and bonding, child development, and school readiness. Shannon also has experience working with clients on the Autism Spectrum as well as related communication disorders. She utilizes various modalities in her work with clients including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness practices. Shannon has an upbeat personality and thinks outside the box. She works hard to creates opportunities for hands-on experiences to make therapy engaging and meaningful to all clients.

Michael Macedo, LICSW

Mike is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker earning his MSW in 2016 from Rhode Island College. Mike has extensive experience working with adolescents and young adults with Autism as well as individuals of all ages diagnosed with substance use disorders, mood disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and individuals experiencing compassion fatigue. Mike currently works full-time as an Outpatient Clinician at Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) by day, and has experience working in a variety of settings, including outpatient/inpatient settings as well as IOP/PHP, and home-based services. His main treatment modalities include CBT, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative Therapy, Crisis Intervention, and group therapy. Mike is also a passionate Autism advocate, doing public speaking events including keynote speeches, and contributing to online publications such as The Mighty. He is also an appointed member of the Rhode Island State Rehabilitation Council. In his spare time, Mike can almost always be found enjoying the outdoors. He is a distance runner at a competitive level, and always encourages outdoor exercise as a tool for coping with life’s stressors. 

Faith Norton, LCSW

Faith has her Bachelors's degree in Rehabilitation Services from the University of Maine Farmington and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maine. Faith has experience working in both residential and emergency placement settings addressing trauma and substance use across the lifespan. She currently works as a full-time school social worker enhancing the social and emotional wellbeing of students. Faith integrates aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing to address anxiety and other symptoms associated with life’s stressors. She takes a special interest in working with the LGBTQIA+ population, as well as children and adults struggling with Covid fatigue.

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.

Bryanna Sands, LCSW

Bryanna is an MSW graduate 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 range of experience 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 a camp for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Bryanna supports clients with a calm and positive demeanor, always assuring they feel comfortable and understood.

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.

Interns

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. 

Allori Fernandes

MSW Intern

Allori is a graduate from UMass Boston with a degree in Human Services. For the last 12 years, Allori has worked in the social work field as a direct support for children and adults with special needs to the Assistant Director of the Old Colony YMCA shelter program in Brockton, Massachusetts. There, she assisted families experiencing homelessness set housing goals and explore clinical needs. Allori is currently the Director of Aging and Adults services at Federal Hill House in Providence, Rhode Island. In this role she has helped seniors stay engaged with virtual health and wellness programs. She is also going into her final year as an MSW student at Rhode Island College. Allori is excited to join the Social Sparks team to build rapport with children and families as well as continuing to grow as a social worker!

Elissa Tortolani

BSW Intern

Elissa is an undergraduate, anticipating her Bachelors degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College, and will apply further to be inducted to the Masters program post-graduation of 2022. She was previously an Education major, having experience with elementary-aged children in schools in Bristol and Providence, RI. With her experience in co-teaching roles and the Social Work program thus far, she has been able to gain knowledge of strength-based approaches, how to conduct and be part of a positive group setting, and is able to make children feel important and valued in her presence. For her, being with children from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and capabilities is so important for understanding and growth. She absolutely loves children and working with them. Elissa is very kind, patient, positive, and caring, and looks forward to interning at Social Sparks, and growing in this field!

Jennifer Quenes

MSW Intern

Jennifer is a graduate of Providence College with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She also studied Spanish and French at PC. Jennifer is currently working on receiving her Master's degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. She has experience working as a case manager intern for a foster care agency. There she learned to use and apply trauma-informed care skills, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), & a strength-based approach when working with her clients in order to improve and strengthen the bonds between foster parents and children. Using those treatment modalities, she would help foster parents identify behavioral triggers, then offer support and work with foster parents to create a therapeutic behavioral plan that would increase the stability of a foster child's placement. Jennifer continues to learn and use a variety of treatment modalities when working with clients of different populations. She also has experience working as a social work intern at an elementary school in Pawtucket, RI where she worked 1:1 with students conducting crisis intervention and educating students on various coping skills to help them get through their rough days. Jennifer truly takes joy in helping kids build confidence in themselves and develop positive coping strategies. She is currently a behavioral health specialist at Bradley Hospital in the Children Inpatient Unit. Jennifer will work hard to make sure all her clients are happy, can feel safe and notice their growth. She is very excited to join the Social Sparks team to begin helping kids therapeutically! 

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James Marcil

MSW Intern

James is a first-year graduate student at the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College. He is interested in helping people improve their well-being using evidence and strength-based approaches. While earning his undergraduate degree in Psychology at URI, in partnership with the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, James contributed to a needs assessment that secured federal block grant funding for programs that serve those coping with mental disorders and substance use. Additionally, James had the opportunity to plan and participate in groups at the Providence Center that helped people of all ages from diverse backgrounds cope with varied mental health and substance abuse issues using techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Working with social work professionals, and seeing the positive impact they were making on their clients’ lives, James decided to pursue his MSW. James is excited about working at Social Sparks and hopes to learn as much as possible from clients and colleagues alike.