We are all here to make help accessible in the Connecticut River Valley towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex.
Get to know a little about us!
Charity Benedict, MACP
860-526-3600 ext. 103
Charity holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Marymount University in Arlington Virginia and a Masters’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology in Illinois. She has worked in non-profit, municipal, and county government settings. Charity comes to Tri-Town with over 10 years of experience in writing and managing federal, state, and local grants. She has successfully built community collaborations to address substance use and mental health and wellness. She enjoys analyzing and identifying community needs and building evidence-based programs to address those needs. She shares Tri-Town’s commitment to the crucial importance of mental health services and positive youth development programming. Charity is excited to be an advocate for the youth and families in the Tri-Town area.
Faith Sprigg, MSOL, ACE-CPT and CHC
Director of Positive Youth Development
860-526-3600 ext. 104
Faith comes to TTYSB with a not-so-cookie-cutter story. She has lived experiences throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, struggling with mental health and addiction. In recovery since 2005, she attributes her success to holistic health practices, wellness strategies, and recognizing the need for mental health support. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Health Coach because she believes in addressing all aspects of wellness when supporting others. She advocates transparency and story-telling to encourage others to speak their truths, with no shame attached.
Committed to being the person she needed during her teen years, Faith began her education at Middlesex Community College and quickly moved on to receive her BA in Human Services with a concentration in Child and Family Welfare from SNHU. Faith earned her MS in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofits from SNHU in February 2023. Faith is a certified Mindful Art and Meditation Facilitator and One Circle Foundation Facilitator who uses a variety of skills and modalities to create safe, trauma-informed, and non-judgmental spaces for youth to learn, grow, express themselves, and become changemakers in our community! A parent in Region 4, Faith brings energy, passion, and creativity to all of her programs at TTYSB.
860-526-3600 ext. 106
After 22 years as a stay-at-home mom, and a career in visual merchandising Megan joins Tri-Town working on a bachelor’s in health science from BYU-I, with anticipated graduation in June 2024. Megan’s learning experiences have afforded her a vast knowledge about public health issues including mental health, suicide prevention, and addiction. A considerable amount of her research focuses on adolescent health behaviors. She is dedicated to her believe that for individuals, groups, and communities to thrive and contribute to society; they need to have access to public health education and resources. This is especially true for teens and young adults that struggle with a myriad of health issues. Providing intervention and prevention methods is a step in the right direction, and she is excited to be on a team that offers services to the tri-town area.
Elizabeth Keyes Charles, LPCA, MT-BC
Prelicensed Mental Health Clinician
860-526-3600 ext. 102
Elizabeth Keyes Charles, MT-BC is excited to continue her journey at Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau and grow from an intern to a pre-licensed mental health clinician. Elizabeth holds a BA in Music Therapy from Anna Maria College and graduated from Wake Forest University in August 2023 with an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. When Elizabeth is not running her music therapy business or providing counseling at Tri-Town, she enjoys spending time with her two young daughters and traveling.
Charles Tracy, LMSW
Community Diversion Advocate and Mental Health Clinician
860-526-3600 ext. 105
Charles comes to Tri-Town Youth Services after a successful National Park Service career leading trail development, land conservation, and youth-engagement projects in national parks and communities across the country. He also specialized in connecting diverse communities to national parks through the arts, including dance, theater, music, sculpture, spoken word and video. Following his passion for working with young people, Charles recently completed the MSW program at UConn with a special focus on treatment and recovery from alcohol and substance use disorder for adolescents. In addition to experiencing art in public spaces, Charles loves hiking and kayaking, and believes that staying active is vital to positive mental health.
Lyn Connery, CAC CPS
Case Manager, School Engagement + Truancy
Lyn Connery comes to Tri-Town Youth Services with a vast and rich background of working with teenagers. As the Student Assistance Counselor for Westbrook High School for over 30 years, she had a reputation of engaging students into her counseling services and initiating a wide array of prevention programs. She successfully developed and facilitated a Peer Counseling Program, Students against Destructive Decisions Chapter and a Gay Straight Alliance. She was also recognized as the coordinator for Westbrook’s Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth and promoted asset-building initiatives throughout the community.
In addition to Lyn’s clinical duties at Tri-Town Youth Services, she works at Rushford’s Early Intervention Program and facilitates group counseling for teenagers who have gotten in trouble due to their drug use. She has a passion for helping young people find their way and continues her work, all while being semi-retired. Lyn loves exercise classes, walking and playing pickleball and believes staying active is an important component to one’s positive mental health.
Board of Directors
About the Board
The Board of Directors of the Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau consists of 6 to 18 members from the tri-town area of Chester, Deep River, and Essex. Each board member serves a two-year term, with no more than three consecutive terms served. One can serve again after a year’s absence.
Board members are expected to participate in meetings, fundraising activities and to promote Tri-Town Youth Services and its mission.
The Tri-Town Board meets the second Tuesday of each month (Sept-June) at 6:00pm. Committees meet as needed throughout the year.
Each board member serves on at least one committee: Suicide Prevention Task Force; Community Resources Roundtable; Early Childhood Council; DEI Steering Committee; and Committee on Restorative Practice. Additional special committees are formed as needed.
All board members participate in the bureau’s fundraising activities. We are always seeking new ideas for fun, family-friendly fundraisers!
Meet the Board
Board Member since 2019
Mary Boone is an entrepreneur who runs her leadership communication consulting business, Boone Associates, from Essex CT. Her award-winning research includes four books and numerous articles for the trade and business press, including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Harvard Business Review. Mary serves on the boards of Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial, volunteers for Public Art for Racial Justice Education, and is a substitute Sunday School at her church. A strong advocate for mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and inclusive school environments, Mary is deeply dedicated to advancing the goals of Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau. Her son Alex attended Region 4 schools from K-12 and over those 13 years Mary frequently volunteered in the schools in a variety of capacities. Mary’s degrees, an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. from Wake Forest University, are both in Communication Theory and she received the designation of Senior Fellow from the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute. Mary has been on the Board of Tri-Town since 2019 and has served as co-president since December of 2022.
Board Member since 2017
Sarah Waterhouse has been a resident in the tri town area for over thirty years and currently resides in Essex. She has two children, Ryan who is a senior at Northwestern and Lydia who is a sophomore at UCONN. Sarah is employed by Travelers insurance and has been with the company for over 25 years holding various positions including leadership roles. She is very active within our communities, participating in various fundraisers and nonprofits. While her children, attended Region 4 schools, she was a member of the PTO and ran the Parent Counsel up until her daughter graduated high school. She is a strong advocate for youth development and was a cub scout leader for 5 years. She has been on the Board of Directors for Tri Town Youth Services since 2017 and prior to that was a parent representative for six years, passionately involved in the Wellness committee.
Board Member since 2023
I am a retired IT system analyst who lives in Essex. I have been treasurer for many non-profits both in Essex and Greenwich. I was chair of the Greenwich Library Friends board as well as being on the Library Board. I believe in giving back to my community. A math major graduate from Tulane University who came to NYC from New Orleans in 1969 to work for IBM. Once I retired from IBM in 1974 I started my own business of writing software for smaller companies. I retired in 2010. My first husband passed away and I remarried in 1992. Between us we have 4 grown children and 8 grandchildren. I have lived in Essex since 2007 and have been a member of Tri-Town board since March of 2023.
Board Member since 2022
Gail Stanton is a retired English professor and Learning Disabilities Specialist who spent the last 25 years of her career at Manchester Community College. She is committed to developing programs that support underserved populations. In addition to designing and teaching courses in developmental education for nontraditional learners, she worked with students who had learning, physical and psychiatric disabilities. While at MCC, she developed a comprehensive program to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which included parent outreach and training. She also created a mentoring program for college students with learning disabilities as well as an internship program through the Office of Disability Services.
Gail received her B.A in Special Education and M.A. in Human Resource Technology from American International College. She has worked with youth from kindergarten through college level.
She served on the board for Valley Shore YMCA in Westbrook. Currently she is a member of Chester’s Sustainability Committee. Gail has been on the board of Tri-Town since 2022 and has served as co-chair of the Personnel Committee and a member of the Suicide Prevention Committee.
Board Member since 2019
Jan is a retired educator with diverse experience ranging from pre-school to college. Jan’s work in education began at UConn where she served as the Assistant Director of the Honors Programs advising students and overseeing requirements, followed by Associate Director of the Museum of Natural History planning events and writing texts for exhibits. Her work with students at Museum programs inspired her decision mid-career to pursue her original career goal of classroom teaching and she became a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at a K-8 charter school. As the lead teacher at her school, she also guided the schools’ anti-bullying, kindness, and diversity initiatives, and coordinated the buddy program between older and younger students. That work led to her first project after retirement, writing a handbook of 100+ activities for integrating kindness into the school climate.
Jan was an active volunteer when her children were young, serving as a preschool substitute teacher, Girl Scout leader, and PTO leader in numerous roles. She now serves as a member of the Chester Elementary Board of Education and is active in Chester Rotary where she serves as the representative to Valley Interact Club and has spearheaded several projects in the community, including the renovation of Tri-Town Youth Services Hub and Haven rooms in 2018.
Jan is the mother of three and the Grammy of seven, so is deeply invested in all ways our actions today matter to our youth and our future. Jan has been on the Board of Tri-Town Youth Services since 2019 and Co-President since December 2022.
Board Member since 2022
Tiffany Zwart brings a wealth of expertise from a background in the event planning industry. With a career orchestrating seamless events and meticulously coordinating logistics, Tiffany has honed her skills in the art of organization and precision. Her dedication to creating memorable moments and ensuring every detail is perfect has been the hallmark of her professional journey.
Most recently, she’s taken her skills to a digital audience, as the owner and CEO of Lovespun Creative LLC, providing online business management services. Lovespun Creative offers virtual support to professionals and organizations, streamlining daily projects and processes, with a dedication to making businesses more productive, and assisting business owners in being fully present and intentional in their services.
Her deeply-rooted commitment to family, community, and service is exemplified in her volunteer work. A true advocate of the community, Ms. Zwart wears multiple hats to make a positive impact. She is a dedicated Rotarian, living by the Rotary motto, “Service before Self,” serving as the Club Membership Chair for the Rotary E-Club of Global Diversity and Environment in Southern CT, USA, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose within the club. Committed to promoting mental health awareness, Ms. Zwart also plays a vital role on the Mental Health Committee for the Rotary, working to reduce stigma and support those in need.
Since Fall 2022, Tiffany has been a valuable member of the Tri-Town Youth Services Board, where she contributes to shaping a better future for the younger generation. As the board representative for Friends of Tri-Town, she orchestrates various activities and volunteer opportunities, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie. Further demonstrating her commitment to the community’s well-being, she is actively involved in the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, understanding the importance of tackling such issues to create a safer, healthier, and more prosperous environment for all.
In addition to her professional and community endeavors, Ms. Zwart is a dedicated volunteer with the Hartford Habitat Women Build project, lending a hand to create safe and affordable housing for those in need. She also devotes her time to the East Coast Canine Rescue.
A resident of Deep River, she and her husband are the proud parents of two sons who currently/ recently graduated from the Region 4 school district.
Board Member since 2022
I am a lifelong resident of the tri-towns, mostly and currently in Chester. I have worked professionally in various youth development capacities for over 30 years, including a 20 year career with a state agency where I provided direct service to youth and families for the first 12 years, and then served as a staff and program development specialist the last 8 years. In semi-retirement I continue to provide training and coaching services on a freelance basis, including coaching with people recovering from substance use disorders. In 2022 I also began working as a job coach for developmentally delayed students in the Region 4 Transition Academy . I have a long association with Tri-Town Youth Services, predominantly as a member of both the Local Prevention Council and the Juvenile Diversion Board, and was instrumental in transitioning the latter from a traditional model to a Restorative Practices model. I joined the board in October 2022, prior to which I served on the Chester Board of Education for 8 years.