Barbara Gurley, Executive Director
Barbara Gurley grew up in Massachusetts and received her BA in child psychology and education from Clark University. One of her first jobs was doing play therapy with kids. She went on to work with teenage boys coming out of juvenile detention. She discovered that she loved these jobs and decided to obtain her Masters in Health Administration (MHA) from Clark University/University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Barbara moved to Seattle and soon started her own consulting business and began doing outcome evaluation consulting with small agencies that couldn’t otherwise afford it. She states, “I used to volunteer a lot of hours to help some of these little agencies out.” She also took on a part time job with the Washington Alliance for Better Schools called Readiness To Learn. That was when she met Celia Marquis about 13 years ago. As a part of the job, Barbara worked closely with family support advocates in four different districts and was heavily involved in a parent leadership project with immigrant refugee families.
About five years ago, Barbara and her husband took a bike trip and stayed in the Lopez Farm Cottages. Barbara states, “We just loved it here. We had said we would never own another house, but we really liked the peace and quiet here and the stronger sense of community.” They ended up buying property on Lopez and recently moved here full time.
Barbara is known by many as “the cake lady” at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. She knew that she was going to move to Lopez before she got the job at the Resource Center and she wanted something to do! In the midst of her move to Lopez, she was contacted by Celia and invited to come in to discuss the position.
When asked what drew Barbara to the Resource Center, she states, “I love all the staff and there’s a lot of positive energy and all of the programs that are offered are amazing. I can see it’s a really important thing in the community. There are a lot of opportunities that are provided to people. I was looking forward to being able to work with the staff at the Resource Center and to be involved in the community here. I’ve always volunteered a lot on the side. I enjoy being around people. Social justice and providing people opportunities and equity is a really big deal to me.”
Patt Moore, Financial Manager
Patt has been on LIFRC staff since August, 2016.
Patsy Haber, Program Manager & Mentor Coordinator
Soon after moving to Lopez with her husband and three kids in 2000, Patsy Haber recalls thinking that she would love to work at the Family Resource Center. At the beginning of 2006, she got her opportunity. As Program Coordinator, Patsy oversees after-school programs, summer workshops, financial & life skills classes, and the annual Spirit of Giving program. One of her favorite aspects of her job is the privilege of offering healthy activities and learning opportunities to Lopez residents. Although her work keeps her quite busy, Patsy also volunteers her time at the school, where two of her kids attend. Patsy holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Washington, and before moving to Lopez, she worked as a CPA and CFO for a wholesale electronics distribution company. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, yoga, and spending time with friends and family, which most recently involved a competitive game of round-robin ping-pong.
Contessa Downey, Household Support Specialist
Contessa Downey has been a family support specialist for the LIFRC since 2007. Tessa grew up in Oregon mountain country, but moved to Portland to pursue college. She worked as a Human Resources Manager in the city until relocating to Lopez. She is responsible for many essential tasks in the office, including management of the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Baby, Toddlers, & Me. Contessa spends her time away from the LIFRC caring for her two small children, playing on the beach, and visiting the Lopez Library story hour.
Heather Harrison, Program Manager & Preschool Play Therapist
Heather is excited to be in a variety of roles at the Family Resource Center. As a preschool play therapist, she enjoys getting to know and work with the island’s youth and families. She believes that one-on-one time for a child with an adult is very special, and is honored to provide this time. She also enjoys having the opportunity to help organize and assist the various programs that the Resource Center runs, and is in charge of a lot of the social media outreach for the Resource Center.
Heather grew up in Carlisle, Massachusetts and spent summers on Cape Cod. She attended Bard College in New York state, where she graduated with a BA in Psychology. She then attended Smith College and graduated with her Master of Social Work (MSW). After graduation, Heather worked in central Massachusetts doing outpatient therapy with children, adolescents, and families, as well as co-running several therapeutic groups. She has also taught science to children, trained fish, and run community events. In her spare time, Heather enjoys outdoor activities, reading, photographing, folk/contra/tap dancing, mindfulness and meditation, and traveling.
Alaya Battalia, Household Support Specialist & School Advocate
Alaya was born and raised on Lopez Island until travelling off to Skidmore College in upstate New York where she completed a BA in International Relations, Latin American Studies and Spanish. Her current role at the Family Resource Center is multifaceted, though her main focuses are implementing the Low Energy Assistance Program, managing Lopez Fresh and working as a home visitor in our new SafeCare parenting program. She is also the Family Advocate for the Lopez Island School District. In her spare time, Alaya finds life balance in gardening, perfecting her beadwork skills, dance, and long walks.
Deborah Bonnville, Household Support Specialist
Deborah has been on LIFRC staff since February, 2016. She has been rooted on Lopez since the early 80’s when she moved here with her family. Deborah raised her girls here and owned and operated Blossom Natural Foods, Earthwise Clothing and Body Care and helped to start Healing Energy Arts of Lopez. Her passion for nurturing makes her a natural to work with the caring LIFRC Staff in fostering well being on Lopez Island. Deborah works with a variety of programs including ferry ticket programs and the Basic Food Program. She will greet you as you come in to the LIFRC office and connect you with the person or program that will best suits your needs.
Libby Valluzzi, Preschool Play Therapist
Libby grew up playing in the Pacific Northwest rain, making forts underneath the garden rhododendrons, and exploring the forest with her four older brothers and sisters. Her love of the outdoors inspired her to study at the University of Washington, where she discovered the magic and power of immersing children in the outdoors. In 2012 Libby graduated with a B.S. in Forest Resources, B.A. in Community, Environment, and Planning, and Minor in Education. During her time at University, she created and taught a 6th grade science curriculum exploring the local watershed, mapped an educational tree tour of the UW campus, worked with local Seattle residents on installing “Green Streets” and stormwater management solutions, and volunteered many hours gardening and exploring nature with children.
After graduation Libby worked in the Santa Cruz Mountains as an Outdoor Educator for school-age children engaged in 5-day programs, then came to Lopez in 2013 to work as a farmhand. Once on Lopez Libby delved into the Mentor Program and established herself as a Summer Workshop Teacher leading forest adventure classes for children. After working as the Preschool Assistant Teacher for one year, she began working at the Lopez School as a 1-on-1 aide for a young child, and is now excited to take on the role of Play Therapist. In the past few years, she has taken additional college classes in Child Development as well as Waldorf Education, but embraces a wide spectrum of philosophies and practices regarding childhood. Libby loves the magic, curiosity, and wonder of young children and is thrilled to be a part of both the Children’s Center and the Family Resource Center. Outside of work, Libby enjoys long walks, gardening, backpacking in the wilderness, sewing clothes, creating in the kitchen, and playing the violin and guitar.
Dixie Budke, Food Security Specialist