After working with many underserved populations including homeless adults and families, adults with severe mental health issues/substance abuse, and previously incarcerated women with their children, Cait came to OFI in March of 2016 to complete her hours needed to pursue her license in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Initially Cait worked directly with OFI participants using her skills in expressive arts and found that they responded positively and a bond between them was created. Subsequently, Cait became an SLS Manager supervising support staff working one on one with OFI participants. In November of 2017 Cait took on the role of Interim Executive Director and in February of 2018 was promoted to Executive Director.
Cait has a Fine Arts degree from Gonzaga University, and after many years working in Arts Administration / Fundraising, and then living abroad in Japan, in 2013 she received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Cait enjoys the day to day challenges of running a small non-profit, whether it's organizational and program development, managing staff, finances, or events and fundraising. But above all she is gratified by seeing the participants striving for and achieving their personal goals by overcoming their limitations, becoming happier and healthier, all due to the great work of the exceptional OFI staff.
Shanna Katzenberger began working for Opportunity for Independence in the summer of 2010. She started out as a skills trainer with no experience in the field, but found she loved the work, and it turned out to be the perfect job for her. She enjoys helping people and teaching them new skills that are beneficial to their lives.
Shanna became a part of the SLS management team in June of 2015 starting out with the scattered sites stretching from Novato to Greenbrae. She took over as the manager of the Lincoln Avenue Apartments in San Rafael in August of 2016. Shanna has completed the Residential Services Specialist Training at the City College of San Francisco. The skills and knowledge she has gained over the years has given her the opportunity to share her adeptness with new skills trainers that come to OFI.
Shanna became the Operations Manager for OFI in February 2019. In her new position she will manage the SLS managers as well as the day to day needs for the office and for the Executive Director. She looks forward to the opportunity to share her knowledge with new SLS Managers and skills trainers as well as acquiring new knowledge and conquering challenges in her new position.
Bonnie Christensen has dedicated her time to working with individuals with intellectual disabilities since 2001. She has developed a passion for facilitating personal growth and independence in every individual she has worked with. Having worked at Sonoma County Office of Education within the adult transitional and community based instructional program for 13 years, Bonnie came to Opportunity for Independence with a strong background in education.
She began working at OFI in 2015 as a Job Coach, and transitioned into the position of Job Readiness Coordinator in 2016. In her current position, her main focus is teaching clients independent life skills and working with job coaches to implement community based instruction. Bonnie has had success in using SNAP (Specific Natural Activities Program) curriculum to help guide programming. During her free time, Bonnie enjoys cooking and creating in many capacities. Currently, she resides in Petaluma with her husband, two pugs, and her rescue pup, Chloe.
Jordan Ash joined the dynamic team at OFI in June of 2018. Having long held a passion for advocating for people with developmental disabilities, she enthusiastically dove into the role of helping the individuals she serves to find meaningful work for themselves as well. Jordan hopes to use her extensive experience in marketing to raise awareness in, and support of, the community to successfully integrate our clients into local businesses. Ensuring both the employees’ and the employers’ satisfaction with a job well done is a top priority for her.
Erica Richards came to Opportunity for Independence in 2017 as a supported living services provider and took on the role of SLS Manager one year later. Since 1991, she has served those with autism, intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury, mental health issues, and physical disabilities. Most recently, she spent nearly ten years working at a small non-public school in Marin for children with autism and other learning differences. From supporting her students participating in Special Olympics on the weekends, she developed relationships with several adults in the community and is delighted to be working with her new individuals at OFI.
Georgia Palmer completed a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from DePaul University in 2003 when she began working with people who suffered from traumatic spinal cord injuries. Thereafter, she worked as a housing specialist for a transitional housing program that housed emancipated youth from the foster care system. For the past ten years Georgia has worked in Special Education at a small private school in Marin County. She has experience with both the emotionally disturbed population and those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. Her passion to help people with such challenges led her to join the dynamic Supported Living management team at Opportunity for Independence in December of 2018.
Niele joined OFI in August of 2018 and is new to the non-profit world. Her background is in accounting and human resources and has been working as a bookkeeper for the past 15 years. Niele has picked up skills in managing at various offices such as Chiropractic, Architectural, and a CPA and Financial Services Firm. She does a little bit of everything…and helps make the train run on time. When Niele is not keeping the numbers straight, she spends her time going for walks with her husband and two daughters and taking advantage of the beautiful Napa Valley.