Who We Are

In an effort to create long-term success, it is our goal to ensure that all clients have access to the education, support, and resources that will enhance their lives and futures. Our clients include:

  • Children
  • Teens
  • Families
  • Single-parents
  • Blended families
  • Multi-generational families
  • Multi-cultural families
  • LGBTQ+ community
  • Adoptive and foster parents
  • Relatives or parents working to reunify with their children
  • Families or individuals navigating the child welfare, family, or juvenile court systems

Our Team

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, LCSW, CBHCM, BC-TMH (she/her)

Ashley spent almost ten years in Florida’s foster care system, being bounced around to 14 different placements before being adopted at the age of 12 from a group home. Her often abusive and adverse childhood experiences are what inspired her to become a social worker, foster/adoptive parent, and a passionate advocate. Today, Ashley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager, BC-TMH, and the New York Times and International Bestselling Author of, “Three Little Words,” and “Three More Words.” She has worked domestically and globally providing lectures, keynotes, and workshops for agencies, non-profits, families, courts, policy makers, conferences, schools, and businesses. Ashley is also a Certified FirstPlay Infant Mental Health Practitioner.

Ashley aims to strengthen and empower others to succeed, despite their circumstances or previous traumas. She recognizes that families and individuals must have access to the skills, tools, and education necessary to sustain themselves emotionally, nutritionally, and functionally. 

Ashley has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, The Today Show, the New York Times, USA Today, Tampa Bay Times, GLAMOUR Magazine, Women’s World Magazine, and countless other news, print, and television outlets. Please visit
www.Rhodes-Courter.com for more information.

Brandice Almeida, LCSW (she/her)

For a more than decade, Brandice has worked with children who have intensive behavioral issues, come from high-conflict families, and youth who have experienced extreme childhood trauma. Brandice is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned her Masters of Social Work Degree and Certification in Play Therapy from the University of South Florida. Brandice has also worked in outpatient, in-home, residential, and medical settings. She is a strong advocate for concentrated, individualized care, and believes it is crucial to provide children and parents with the necessary support to strengthen the family dynamics and individual relationships that holistically create a healthy and nurturing home environment. Brandice has experience working with the LGBTQIAP+ community and providing affirming care. 

As Clinical Director at Sustainable Family Services, we are able to offer a holistic and family centered approach to our counseling services. We incorporate play, art, gardening, essential oils, mindfulness, yoga, and therapeutic chickens and guinea pigs into our counseling sessions when appropriate. 

Brandice believes that everyone is doing the best that they can given their individual circumstance. She is here to help you, your child, and/or your family understand your personal needs and learn to communicate healthy expectations and boundaries in relationships. Brandice understands that each person’s needs and experiences are unique and require a personalized approach.

Alex Cario, LCSW, MPH (she/her)

Alex is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a graduate of the University of South Florida. She completed her Bachelors in Psychology and Criminology, and her Masters in Social Work and Public Health from USF. Alex has experience working with individuals, families, and couples and specializes in trauma-focused and narrative modalities, grief counseling, and developing a personalized approach to meet each person where they are. Additionally, Alex has a background working extensively with the LGBTQIAP+ community and advocating for affirming and inclusive spaces. Alex believes that a person-centered and empowering approach is vital to strengthening individuals and families.

Genevieve Savage, RCSWI (she/her)

Genevieve is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern, a Florida Native, and a graduate of the University of South Florida. She completed her Bachelor’s in Social Work and and her Masters in Social Work from USF. Prior to working at Sustainable Families, Genevieve has experience in juvenile justice and first-line intervention. Genevieve’s therapeutic passions are foster care youths, art therapy, and at-risk youth. Genevieve believes that a strengths-based play therapy approach is vital to the therapeutic alliance. After work, Genevieve believes in self-care and actively works towards a work-life balance.

Jadon Gibson, RMHCI (he/him)

Jadon Gibson is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern. He received his Mater’s degree from the University of South Florida’s Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program. He is also certified in Addictions and Substance Use and believes in supporting those struggling with substance use by giving them the tools they need to assist in their recovery. Jadon has a passion for working with children and families on behavioral issues, changes in family dynamics, problems at school, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and trauma. He also enjoys working with adults and couples.

Lindsey Rash, RCSWI (she/her)

Lindsey is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern. She is a former Michigander, and Michigan State University Alumni. Lindsey has a Bachelors of Science and Masters of Clinical Social Work. Lindsey has been a part of Sustainable Families since 2017. Lindsey has worked in the foster care and adoption system. Lindsey works in the school system as a social worker and eagerly advocates for those who need a voice. She has experience working with children of various exceptionalities as well as emotional and behavioral disabilities. Lindsey has experience providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to children and adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Jamelia Arthur, RCSWI (she/her)

Jamelia is is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern and a graduate of Saint Leo University with her Master of Social Work degree. Jamelia completed her Bachelor’s in Social Work at Florida A&M University. Before working at Sustainable Family Services, Jamelia interned at the Going Places Street Outreach program and the Kearney Center, which are programs dedicated to helping the homeless population for children and families. After undergrad, Jamelia started working with the Family Support Services of Suncoast Pinellas and Pasco as a Placement Coordinator. While working there, Jamelia was able to gain knowledge about the DCF foster care system and worked with at-risk children. Jamelia is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and uses both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution-Focused informed interventions. Jamelia has always had a passion for working with children and is dedicated to helping others address, manage, and resolve different social problems.

Ayla Terrusa, RMHCI (she/her)

Ayla Terrusa is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern and a graduate from the University of South Florida with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling graduate and a certification in Marriage and Family Therapy. Ayla specializes in using Animal-Assisted Therapy and loves working with children using animals and play-based interventions. Ayla is passionate about helping children, individuals, families, and couples, especially those in the LGBTQIAP+ community.

Lisandra (Liz) Raba, MSW-I (she/her)

Lisandra is a Master’s Clinical Social Work Intern. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminology at the University of South Florida in 2020. She is currently in the Clinical Social Work program at Saint Leo University. Before joining the team at Sustainable Family Services, Lisandra worked with at-risk youth in the foster care system as a Guardian Ad Litem and with domestic violence survivors. Lisandra is also certified in crisis counseling and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Lisandra has a passion for working with children and their families to build sustainable, fulfilling interpersonal relationships. When not at work, Lisandra enjoys reading, hiking, and making art.

Ezerae Payne, BA (she/her)

Ezerae has been working with kids since she was 13, starting work in her family’s children’s entertainment business as a face-painter and field-game facilitator. Since then, she’s developed a passion for helping youth through challenging situations and giving them the love and encouragement they may be missing in their lives.

Ezerae received her Bachelor’s in Art with a minor in Psychology from McDaniel College right before moving to Florida and joining our team to continue her passion and gain experience in the field! She enjoys helping kids through behaviors that make it challenge for them to function in traditional settings, and she especially has a soft spot for youth in foster care.

Patrick Clayton, CBHT (he/him)

Patrick is a Certified Behavioral Health Technician. He enjoys working with kids of all ages. He finds himself drawn to working with families in need. Patrick makes a point to identify patterns in childhood experiences and implement strategies to intervene when needed. He has professional learning experience in suicide prevention, recovery-oriented cognitive therapy, and trauma-informed interventions. Patrick considers himself a chef, game master, punk rocker, science nerd, and geek therapist. 

Strong Families. Stronger Communities.

If you are interested in donating to our efforts, or volunteering with The Foundation for Sustainable Families, please see the many ways we support & aid families & children.

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