STAFF

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Marjie Rich, MPH- Program Director

Marjie  has worked in the field of women and children’s health her entire career. She received her Masters degree in Public Health from Columbia University, and her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan.   

Marjie directed the former Doula Teen Parent Program for over three years. After a two year hiatus, she returned to direct the revamped and renamed Generations Ahead program when TCAPS took over as program host. Marjie is really excited to return to Generations Ahead where she can work once again with teen and young adult parents. She recognizes and respects the tough work teen and young adults face, and loves helping them grow and develop into strong parents that bring heart to their babies and a fierce commitment to bettering their lives.   

In the Grand Traverse area, Marjie has managed adolescent health clinics, directed a breastfeeding program, and conducted community health assessment work at the Grand Traverse County Health Department. Through Michigan State University, she has done research at Munson on nutrition and pregnancy. In addition, Marjie has taught at Grand Valley State University, including courses on Health Care and Women’s Studies.   

In addition to her direct work in public health, Marjie also served on the TCAPS school board for six years, including two as president. Her earlier professional work was in New York City, working in International Women’s health overseeing research on international family planning programs.   

 Marjie and her husband, Roger Gerstle, have lived in Traverse City since 1994. They have three daughters and a well-loved dog. Marjie spends her downtime doing most anything outdoors: kayaking, biking to the farmer’s market, gardening, cross-country skiing, backpacking with her family, and traveling around the world. 

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Alison Woytowich, LMSW- Social Worker

Alison, Social Worker for Generations Ahead, grew up in northern Michigan. She received her Bachelors in Psychology and Social Work from Spring Arbor University and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan. She recently returned home to Michigan after spending 12 years in Central New York. While there, Alison’s work was mostly home-based family therapy with adolescents and their parents to prevent the removal of the youth from their homes. Alison began as a therapist and spent the last several years as the supervisor of the program. In addition, she provided clinical supervision to therapists working with trauma survivors.   

About 10 years ago, Alison became interested in Adventure Therapy. She was delighted to discover that experiential activities were not just for the challenge course, but could be brought right to her clients’ homes to make a profound impact on the engagement and process of the family work. Alison also became certified as a facilitator to work at two local challenge courses where she would bring families to do very intentional, and very fun, family therapy.     

During the past few years, the impact of trauma on families and individuals became the central focus of Alison’s work. She has spent considerable time learning about, and practicing, a variety of methods to help people along their healing journey. Alison found, in working with families, the role of healthy attachment and attachment focused parenting was especially important to renewing and reconciling parent-child relationships. She is eager to work with young parents to reinforce what they already know to build strong, positive attachment to their babies from the very beginning.    

 When not learning and growing as a therapist, Alison loves to cook and bake, as well as do all sorts of crafts, especially stitching beaded jewelry. Whenever possible, Alison can be found outside with her husband, son, and two dogs, engaging in various activities like hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and running.

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