MEET THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS
Let's not forget our loyal 4-legged Volunteers!
Inspired, Passionate, Grateful, Blessed, Awed, Uplifted, Joyful, and Filled with Love…This is how I feel when I walk into 'work!' It’s the same way I felt in 1999 when Vicki & I followed a 'nudge' to begin a Program where participants come together to learn, laugh, and have FUN with each other. Friendships were born, and today they continue to grow and flourish. I am continually learning from the people in our Program. Their unconditional love for life and each other inspires me to be a better teacher, leader, and human being. Add to that the most talented, dedicated, unique, humble and passionate Team of Staff…and you’ve just created the Perfect Brew. Drink it in daily and it will promise to heal all that ails! As for me, I love yoga, walking in nature, playing with my puppy Max, and spending time with my family. I’m blessed with two beautiful homes in the most amazing places on earth, Alaska and Hawaii. I share my life with my partner Pat, who supports and inspires me to follow my passions daily. I’m a Spiritual Practitioner with the Alaska Center for Spiritual Living. I begin each day with prayer and meditation as it helps keep me present in the Presence of my Higher Power. I’m grateful for the amazing Life I get to live, the people who support and love me, and the 'kiddos' who shine their Lights out into the world and make it a better place to live….for all of us!
I was born in Anchorage, but spent most of my teenage years in Utah where I met my husband, Matt. We were best friends throughout our school years and got married in 2003 after I attended college in Utah. In the summer of 2004, we moved to Alaska and I met Cindy and Vic through our previous work at the Anchorage School District ACT Program. I started working part time for Cindy and Vic’s back in April of 2006, and have been a full time employee since September of 2010. Our agency is my forever home, and I couldn’t ask for a better place to work! I adore all of the ‘Kiddos’ and staff we work with!! Some of my favorite things are camping with my family, fishing with my husband, going on vacation, and spending time with our beautiful daughter! Matt and I welcomed Cambria in January of 2015 and we are so in love with our little girl!
I am grateful and amazed to see how much our agency has grown since Cindy and I started it back in the summer of 1999! I especially love that I get to see our participants every day. They always put a smile on my face, even in the most challenging moments. I love that we provide jobs in our community and that we are able to attract such talented and wonderful staff who support and teach through positive and fun activities. I have lived in Anchorage for over 40 years and I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live. My dog and I go for a nature walk every day. I love birds and animals, and that’s probably why I don’t eat them. I have played many sports over the years, and now I play tennis and golf… the latter weather permitting, of course! I am a big reader and I love the paper books – no computer reading for me. When I started this work, I didn’t have any gray hair! But the gray hair has been so worth it for the last 15 years… I have learned so much from our 'kiddos,' and I am still learning from them every day!
I moved to Anchorage in 1972, and started working for the Anchorage School District after graduating from West High in 1978. I started out as a substitute, and was then offered a full time Teaching Assistant position in 1984. I worked as a T.A. for 7 years, and then moved away for 4 years. When I moved back, I returned to the school district where I met Cindy and Vic. When they first opened their program, I worked on call. As the program grew, I worked the summer program and later was offered a full time position as a Residential Manager at Peace Place. My work at Peace Place has been an awesome experience! I am currently the Community Living Supervisor, which has been both challenging and rewarding! My faith and my family are a very important part of my life.
Teri 'Poppins' Cunningham
If you ignore the first 6 months of my life I am a lifelong Alaskan. My father was raised in Ketchikan and spent a short time in Colorado, where I was born. I grew up in southeast Alaska, eventually moving to Anchorage where I’ve spent most of my life. I lived in Fairbanks for 5 years but that’s another story…
After a long career in printing and publishing life brought changes and Cindy and Vic’s was one of those. I worked in the day-hab Program and weekend relief while completing certification in Medical Assisting.
When Cindy and Vic opened the 'Joyful Joint' house, I took on the role of Resident Manager and now live with 3 amazingly gifted young women. We cook together, work out, and generally laugh a lot. I enjoy helping both make healthy decisions and living and loving life.
Audra joined the Cindy and Vic’s family in June of 2017, and soon we were all feeling the Lovejoy! Audra was born in Colorado and raised in Alaska, where she lived in Hoonah, Cordova, and Anchorage where she met her husband, Rick. In 1988, they got married and moved to San Diego, and then to Oregon where they raised their 3 children. There Audra worked for a local school district, where she honed her skills providing supports for students with a wide variety of needs as a Behavior Consultant. Audra says, ‘We recently moved back to Anchorage and it feels so good to be home!’ Audra’s connection to Cindy and Vic’s came about during her daughter’s wedding, where our very own Anna Pieper was the photographer! After Audra heard about C&V from Anna, she was compelled to seek a job here. The stars aligned, and we had an opening that was the perfect fit: Peace Place Resident Manager. In Audra’s own words, ‘I feel so incredibly blessed… The ladies at Peace Place are amazing and bring joy to my life daily.’
I have worked for Cindy and Vic's since September of 2012, when I started out as weekend relief in our Assisted Living Homes. In May of 2013, I became the Resident Manager at Harmony House. I like spending time with the girls out in the community, making home cooked meals, and having dinner parties. But, most of all, I like living and sharing a home with two wonderful young ladies. I ventured to Alaska from Wisconsin after graduating college in 2005 to complete a year term of AmeriCorps National Service. I then moved back to the lower 48 and completed another term in St. Louis. Through AmeriCorps, I traveled around assisting with natural disasters and conservation before returning to Alaska in 2008. I found the first love of my life, Layla, on Craigslist in 2009. We like going for walks, spending time with our friends in Girdwood, camping, and going to summer festivals. But our favorite thing to do is snuggle!
Cindy Jo Powell
I started working at Cindy & Vic’s 4.24.14. I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and at the tender age of 19 started a nearly 20 yr career as a hairstylist. The most exciting thing that happened to me was moving to Alaska in 1994. That is, until I met my husband in 1997. My passions include our puppies, kayaking, hiking, softball, advocating for shelter dogs, and volunteering for The American Cancer Society. My favorite thing about working at Cindy & Vic’s is having met the most amazing people, both staff and the individuals that are served by this agency.
Ana started working here in December of 2014, and since then she has become an integral part of the Cindy and Vic’s family! She brings a fun loving spirit and can-do attitude to everything she does, and she is quick to step up and show initiative when an extra hand is needed. Ana is a natural at providing supports in a respectful manner - encouraging independence, fostering personal choice, and bringing a sense of joy to her work. She has made some awesome contributions to the photos and videos on our Facebook page, and they show both her creative side and her quirky sense of humor. Ana is thoughtful, reliable, and consistent – a true asset to our team and to the people we serve.
We are so blessed to have Tara as part of the Cindy and Vic’s team! Her vibrant personality and can-do attitude have a positive effect on all of us, and she shows true dedication to helping others work toward their full potential. She shares her many gifts with our Participants, such as her love of nature and her passion for yoga. Tara has a sparkling smile and a calm but powerful energy that she brings with her to work each day. In the words of her team members, who nominated her for Staff of the Quarter, “I would love to nominate Tara to be recognized as an exemplary employee. She always has such a positive attitude and is willing to step up to the plate when needed. I also very much enjoy her calming effect on everyone.” “Tara continues to do an amazing job with the ladies. When they come from a day out with her, they talk about the activities and the healthy choices and the fun they had. I appreciate all that she does!” Thank you for everything, Tara! You are a shining star and we love you!
I came to Cindy and Vic's with the recommendation of the best services available in Anchorage for our wonderful participant population. I agree! - the care and heart of human exchange at Cindy and Vic's is exceptional. Like many others, I have connections with the ACT program at the Anchorage School District where I am a TA. I work as a weekend relief for the homes and a group day provider in the summer doing lots of fun activities among fun people. I have a passion for outside adventure all year round taking to the mountains for hiking, backpacking and x-country skiing, biking, kayaking, et all. I also love cooking, gardening and volunteering to usher. I feel thankful for life's opportunity to be at Cindy and Vic's.
I was born and raised here in Anchorage. I was first introduced to Cindy and Vic’s by my mother, Allison Wilson, who was already employed with them. She suspected I would really love this job, so she had me come and visit her at work and introduced me to some of the participants. She was right! I fell in love. Shortly after my introduction to the Program, I began my work here in August of 2013. I am currently a student at UAA, getting a Health Sciences degree. I love American Sign Language! I am conversationally fluent and I absolutely love teaching sign to our participants. This job has been wonderful and challenges me daily. I learn so much from our participants and I find that there is never a dull moment!
Wendy joined us in January of 2017, and we are so happy to have her warm and friendly spirit as part of the Cindy and Vic’s family! Wendy was born in Queens, New York, as the first generation of a family who immigrated from Mexico. Wendy married her high school sweetheart, and they headed from Kansas to Alaska in search of adventure! Wendy was a hairdresser for 12 years and says, “I helped people feel good about themselves on the outside and I believe I got into DSP work to help people on the inside!” Wendy has lots of love to share with her 5 godchildren and 3 “fur babies,” and she and her husband also foster dogs and raise chickens. Wendy’s hobbies include yoga, gardening, and bellydancing… when she’s not busy with her cute menagerie!
Jerry has been part of the Cindy and Vic’s team since 2012, and in that time, he has made himself indispensable! Jerry uses his skills as an educator and a long-term IDD services provider to provide compassionate and skilled supports to our participants – all with an undeniable sense of FUN! Jerry also has some serious DJ skillz that he shares with us at our special event parties. The party atmosphere just wouldn’t be the same without DJ Jerry! In the words of a teammate, “Jerry is a highly valued member of the C&V team. And that’s an understatement!” Jerry, thank you for sharing your fun-loving and caring personality with our Group Day Hab program and as a weekend relief staff person in our homes. You always bring a smile and a sense of calm and consistency, with great ideas for special adventures and personalized activities. We think you rock!!!
I started working at Cindy and Vic’s in February of 2019. I was born, raised, graduated from college, married the love of my life, and raised three awesome kids in Minnesota. My husband and I owned and operated a portrait photography studio for 20 years. When our first grandchild was born in Anchorage in 2013, we knew we couldn’t be so far away. We walked away from our business, sold almost everything we owned and began a new adventure in Alaska. Now we have two precious granddaughters here and they are my joy! Another joy of mine is flower gardening. I feel so blessed to work at Cindy and Vic’s. I have worked in the human services field in the past, but have never worked alongside staff the caliber of those I work with here. I am honored to work with these wonderful individuals who mentor me, and lift me up, every day. However, it’s the people we serve who truly bless me, even on the tough days when things don’t go quite as I planned. The following quote sums up how I feel about the work I do here at Cindy and Vic’s:
“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.”
Allison is a much-loved member of the Cindy and Vic's staff team, and she can often be found pitching in with our Group Day Hab program. She brings a zest for healthy living and a dose of motherly love to everything she does. In late 2017, Allison took on Case Management duties in addition to her role as Direct Support Professional. Thanks for all you do, Allison!