The ANCHOR Project Team
The ANCHOR Project is staffed by a team of super heroes from three different community organizations who work together to make the project the best it can be. Each member of the team brings the resources and expertise of their organization to the mix plus their own talent, creativity, experience, and personality. Most ANCHOR Project staff are available to meet during Empower Hours every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2-4pm. No appointment needed, just drop in!
MEET THE ANCHOR ALL-STARS:
(in alphabetical order by first name)
Peer Support Specialist
Hello! My name is Alex Felton. I am the Peer Support Specialist with the ANCHOR Project. Some of my hobbies include writing novels, making bottle cap magnets (which are really fun to make), horror movies, and playing table top games.
What is my role on the ANCHOR Project? I am co-located at CODAC Health, Recovery, and Wellness and I provide peer support there as well. I have resources available to participants who are interested in receiving mental health services there. While I am primarily here to offer peer support to participants, I have been known to dabble in assisting participants with housing with the help of our Housing Consultant, John Roldán.
Which groups and resources do I offer? I facilitate two groups here: S.M.A.R.T. Recovery and LIFEboat. SMART Recovery is a behavior modification group that offers tools to change behaviors relating to substance use and anything else that one finds that they would like to abstain from. LIFEboat is a social anxiety management group where participants can learn skills to get a firm grip on their anxiety. S.M.A.R.T. Recovery and LIFEboat are offered on alternating Wednesdays.
What can you expect when you meet with me? You can expect compassion and genuine interest in your needs and maybe a laugh or two. While I don’t have all of the answers, I make it a point to find them.
What will you need to bring when we meet? Nothing, just your fabulous self.
Why am I excited about the ANCHOR Project? I get to help LGBTQ+ folks find housing, meet so many people from diverse backgrounds, and learn from them when they share their stories. What could be better than that? I am happy to be a part of the ANCHOR Project because the team is top notch. Everyone brings something special to the table and it’s great to see such a well-oiled machine in action..
Other interesting facts about me. My useless superpower is being Caller #9 and winning prizes from the radio. I also enjoy doing long division for fun!
Corrie joined the ANCHOR team this past October. Stay tuned for more info on Corrie!
My name is Courtney Waters. I’m the ANCHOR Project’s Evaluation Coordinator. I have a background in Public Health with a particular interest in sexual health and sexuality education. I’m excited about research and teaching, and I love that my job allows me to do both! I’m originally from Pennsylvania and have been living in Tucson for over five years.
What is my role on the ANCHOR Project? As Evaluation Coordinator, I’m responsible for coordinating the research study that accompanies our program. I help new participants enroll in the ANCHOR Project and conduct follow-up interviews with folks. I often serve as the initial point of contact for new ANCHOR Project participants, and work hard to connect participants to the staff and services that will be most helpful to them. I also have the privilege of facilitating and supporting a couple of our weekly groups.
Which groups and resources do I offer? I facilitate the S.H.A.R.E. (Sexual Health and Relationships Education) group which covers topics such as sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology, sexually transmitted infections, safer sex protection, body image and self-esteem, relationships, communication, and more. This group is a combination of lecture, discussion, and activities. I also provide support for our trauma support group called BUOY (Building Understanding of Yourself), which focuses on developing safe strategies for coping with PTSD and substance abuse. Many participants who do not have PTSD or substance abuse disorders still enjoy this group and find it to be beneficial. I also offer individual prevention planning sessions where I meet with participants one-on-one to discuss health-related needs and goals. During these sessions, I can provide resources, information, and goal-setting assistance.
What can you expect when you meet with me? If you’re meeting with me to get enrolled in the program evaluation, you can expect to spend about 90 minutes going through several questionnaires together. When we complete the questionnaires, you’ll get an incentive and a Welcome Kit. We’ll also review the ANCHOR Project calendar and talk about next steps related to your goals and needs. If you haven’t already been to the ANCHOR house, I’ll give you a tour of the space and introduce you to other ANCHOR Project staff if they’re available.
What will you need to bring when we meet? One of the great things about the ANCHOR Project is the flexibility it offers and its informal nature. Thus, when you enroll in the program evaluation, you will not need to bring/provide any paperwork or documentation. The only paperwork we’ll ask you to complete is the Informed Consent stating that you agree to participate. (Another great aspect of the project is that you can always use your preferred name when providing signatures).
Why am I excited about the ANCHOR Project? So many reasons! For one, the ANCHOR Project is a unique program that is constantly adapting to the needs and interests of participants. I love the flexibility that we have in shaping and transforming our programming and services to be as relevant and useful as possible. I’m also excited by the ANCHOR house! It is a safe and cozy space where participants can feel at home and express themselves freely. Another thing I really enjoy about my role on the ANCHOR Project is the opportunity to get to know participants through the program evaluation. Every participant is so unique and has an interesting story; I feel privileged to get a glimpse into participants’ lives when we complete their intake. I also really value the relationships we form. It’s fun to keep in touch with participants and see how their lives have changed when we meet for their follow-ups.
Other fun facts about me. I could survive for decades munching on goldfish crackers and a grande Americano with cream and one Splenda.
Graduate Intern, Expressive Arts Therapy
Gigi joined the ANCHOR team in September. Stayed tuned for more info on Gigi!
Youth Outreach Specialist
Hey there, my name is Jackson Wray. I’m the Youth Outreach Specialist for the EON Youth Lounge. I’m a lover of tea, most things athletic, and Studio Gibli films. Also sloths.
What is my job/role on the ANCHOR Project? Here at ANCHOR I support the team with outreach efforts. This means I plug folks in to all the awesome resources, support, and activities happening at the ANCHOR house.
Which groups/services/resources do I offer? I provide very similar resources, groups, and support for folks at EON – a LGBTQ+ hang out spot for youth ages 13-23.
What can you expect when you meet me or meet with me? Although I won’t be present for most Empower Hours or groups at ANCHOR you can expect to chat with me during a social event put on at the ANCHOR House or out in the community. If you are between 13 and 23, you can also come hang out with me at EON.
What will you need to bring when we meet? You won’t need to bring anything but your phenomenal self when we meet!
Why am I excited about the ANCHOR Project? The ANCHOR Project is a unique and dynamic project that addresses some critical gaps in support of young adults. I am most excited about the range and varied forms of support it offers from providing a safe space and groups to its behavioral health, education/employment support, and housing support.
Pronouns: she/her/hers or hey you 🙂
Hello! My name is Jeri Alexander and I am a Research Technician with the ANCHOR Project and an extra support to my co-workers when they need it. I also do data entry for other projects from SIROW at University of Arizona when they need the extra help. The ANCHOR Project is very special program and I have learned a lot about exciting things that are happening in our community.
I look forward to new faces and hope to greet you when you’re at our ANCHOR House with a smile, something to eat, or anything that I might be able to assist you with.
My name is John Roldán. I serve the ANCHOR Project as the Housing Consultant. After over 30 years as a provider of computer services, I choose to enter the Social Service field to assist those in need of appropriate, affordable housing. I love reading, music and am considered to be a videophile.
What is my job/role on the ANCHOR Project? My role in the ANCHOR Project is to assist participants in need of safe, appropriate and affordable housing to connect with housing providers.
Which groups/services/resources do I offer? I have been fortunate through the years to come to know many individuals in the housing services field who desire to make their resources available to those in need. I review the needs of individual ANCHOR Project participants and attempt to connect each with an appropriate provider.
What can you expect when you meet with me? Participants can meet me during the ANCHOR Project’s Empower Hours at the Space. We can discuss your current housing situation and, if there is a need for a change due to negative issues related to that situation, we can look into what alternatives exist that might benefit you to look into.
What will you need to bring when we meet? Be prepared to discuss your current situation while knowing that what we discuss will remain confidential unless you choose to share whatever will be needed by a housing resource provider in order to assist you with your requirements.
Why am I excited about the ANCHOR Project? The LGBTQ community has not been considered by the traditional housing resource providers as having a need that differs from those outside of that community. Since associating with the ANCHOR Project, I have learned how great a demand exists in the LGBTQ community for safe, appropriate and affordable housing that is still not being considered by the providers. I feel motivated to work for this community so as to enact positive changes among those providers.
Education and Employment Specialist
Pronouns: she or they
My name is Sami Gardner and I am the Education and Employment Resource Specialist. I am a trained librarian. I also enjoy reading, graphic design, and playing with my dogs.
What is my job/role on the ANCHOR Project? My role in the ANCHOR Project is to help participants create resumes, find job leads, explore education options, and do 1:1 educational and career goal planning.
Which groups/services/resources do I offer? I am the moderator of the ANCHOR Project’s “Tucson LGBTQ Job Leads” Facebook group. I present the monthly Queer Career workshop and I am also available for 1:1 educational and career goal planning during Empower Hours at ANCHOR and by appointment. Also I write about education and employment for the ANCHOR Project’s blog. In my work at SAAF, I provide staffing at Eon a few days per week. I also do outreach with employment focused nonprofits and local colleges.
What can you expect when you meet me or meet with me? Expect to see me during Empower Hours at the ANCHOR House as well as for appointments at my office located at the SAAF headquarters. I’m available if you want to talk about job hunting, career development, applying for school, applying for financial aid, polishing your resume, goal planning, and other education and employment concerns.
What will you need to bring when we meet? When we meet, please bring or email your resume, info about job leads, and other relevant materials on a thumb drive. Also your ideas and passions for your career and educational development! By the way, if you don’t yet have a current resume, I can help you create one when we meet.
Why am I excited about the ANCHOR Project? The ANCHOR Project and my role in it really address one of the biggest issues that the LGBTQ community faces: employment inequality. I really enjoy the process of helping others and I am really getting a lot out of the support groups that I am co-facilitating as well as meeting new people! I learn something new every day and I love that in a job.
Other fun facts about me. I write queer fiction of dubious merit, cries every time she watches the movie Selena, and rode a camel once.