Ben is an Iowa farm boy. Family values, hard work and a sense of stewardship for the earth were instilled early along with an insatiable curiosity. Education came from solid rural Iowa schools teaching critical thinking along with the 3 R’s. Graduate degrees from Western Kentucky in Public Services/Counseling and then the University of Iowa in Social Work has been augmented with great experience in many types of settings.
Life has taught the importance of enjoying every moment in the moment. Ben is very active both through his career and his relationships with friends and family. He enjoys outdoors both gardening and kayaking in the warmer weather and cutting wood and walking in the woods during the cold times. His work includes a private practice out of his home specializing in treatment of mood disorders, trauma disorders and addiction disorders with individuals and families. He teaches adjunct at Des Moines Area Community College and provides occasional trainings and small group presentations.
He brings the experiences of life into the classroom sharing stories that add perspective to facts and help the map seem a little more like the territory. Students are challenged to learn to think and to apply concepts and skills core to the success of a human services worker. He has been teaching at DMACC since 1989.
Joann McCracken Young is a licensed masters social worker with the State of Iowa. She has worked with adults who have a cognitive disability, adults with persistent mental illness, adults, teens and children who have experienced violent crime. She has been the Coordinator of the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and worked as an administration with the Iowa Department of Human Services. She works with the Polk County Restorative Justice Center as a mediator and facilitates Victim Offender, Child Welfare, School Truancy and Neighborhood Mediations. She also mentors and trains new mediators. In addition to teaching at DMACC, Joann teaches at Upper Iowa University and the University of Iowa School of Social Work.
Pamela has over 20 years of experience empowering persons with differing abilities. In the past she has worked with adults and children with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness. For the last five years Pamela has worked at DMACC as the Special Needs Coordinator counseling and advising students with disabilities in the development of reasonable accommodation plan.
Volunteerism is a way of life for Pamela, and she shares her time with Mosaic as a Care Review member and advocate for adults and children with disabilities. She spends time encouraging caregivers as they provide care for loved one with disabilities. Parents who have recently been told their child has special needs are dear to her heart so she often spends time counseling or coaching them through their experience.
Pamela also works as a Personal Agent with the Story County SMART START Program. She enjoys motivational speaking when possible.
Pamela is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and Trinity Bible College and Seminary with BA in Communication/PR and Masters Counseling. She is married to Joel and they have two sons Nichlaus and Chadwick. One of her goals in life is to take the Dis out of Disability and put the focus on Ability.
Jim is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC).
His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in chemistry(1987) and a master’s degree in mental health counseling (2004) both from the University of Northern Iowa as well as a master of divinity degree (1991) from the University of St. Thomas (MN).
Jim’s professional background includes pastoral ministry work with children and adolescents, substance abuse counseling through the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) in Cedar Rapids, work as a therapist for adolescents and families through Children and Families of Iowa, Cornerstone Recovery and in-home therapy services through LifeWorks. Currently, Jim is in private practice as an individual/family therapist at New Heights Counseling Resources.
Jim’s areas of interest/specialty include all aspects of mental health counseling for adults, and adolescents, family therapy and group counseling in the areas of depression, anxiety, addictions, codependency and spirituality. Jim identifies his theoretical orientation as humanistic/existential. As such he draws upon diverse resources to approach the counseling process from the perspective of the client’s strengths and place in life. A particular passion of Jim’s is Adventure Based Counseling/Education.
Karen Sallis, M.A., ACADC
Karen joined Capstone Behavioral Healthcare in October of 2002. She is an addiction specialist with twenty years of experience in the field of Chemical Dependency. In addition to her work in chemical dependency, she has experience working with youth and with domestic violence survivors. She has provided trainings in cultural competency. Karen has taught a variety of classes for the University of Northern Iowa and currently teaches for DMACC and BVU. She serves on the IBSAC board as a representative for IMSAAC. She is a life member of NAACP.
Karen received her B.A. in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa in 1977 and her M.A. in Counseling in May 1989, University of Northern Iowa. She was certified as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor in 1985 and renews every two years. She is also a Certified trainer in B/CODAP by the National Black Alcoholism Council, Howard University, Washington, D.C. - 1988 and Certified Domestic Abuse Victim Counselor and Sexual Assault Victim Counselor - 2000.
Papers include: "Prevention Programming in Iowa", National Alcoholism Forum Detroit Michigan, April 1994. Treatment Services for Drug and Alcohol Dependents, Federal Dependents and Offenders #0862-91-04. "Alcoholism Among Black Americans" Master's research paper, 1989. Acknowledgment for Minority Alcoholism programs: Issues in the Service Delivery Model, published in the
International Journal of Addictions.