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Meet Our Certified Instructors

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Kim Petro-Orlik
Mental Health First Aid Instructor Program Coordinator
EmPoWER Somerset
Kim was a part-time group facilitator for EmPoWER Somerset for over 7 years. For over 10 years, she has used ABA therapy to work with children from preschool age through teen years. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Elementary Education from Bloomfield College.  
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Bethzabe (Bethzy) Fernandes
Family Support Specialist
Pioneer Family Success Center
Bethzy effectively engages with individuals and families by providing Information & referrals, linkages, and coordinating and implementing services and programs in response to the needs of the community. She works with the FSC team to maintain a welcoming community gathering place.
Bethzy is completing her Psychology degree in
Kean University.

Bethzy is a Bilingual English/Spanish
Certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

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Brenda Esler
Executive Director
EmPoWER Somerset
Brenda has been a full-time staff member of Empower Somerset since 1998 and Executive Director since 2012.  Brenda earned her Bachelors degree in psychology from Trenton State College and Masters degree in Social Work from Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work.   She is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Prevention Specialist.   
Katie Hoben
Health and Wellness Program Associate
EmPoWER Somerset

Katie has Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration from Muskingum University (New Concord, Ohio.) After working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for some time, Katie began working for Child Protective Services as a caseworker. She relocated back to her hometown where she grew up in New Jersey.
Katie briefly worked for Bound Brook School District,
after returning to New Jersey, in an ABA pre-k classroom. 

Aarti Patel

Health and Wellness Program Coordinator

EmPoWER Somerset

Aarti has a Bachelor Degree in Cellular Biology and Neuroscience from Rutgers University and a Master of Public Health from George Washington University. She is a youth coordinator at EmPoWER and works towards youth empowerment initiatives. She also works with school districts to implement and promote health and wellness programs. Through this training, Aarti hopes to reduce the stigma associated with mental health in our community.

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Jennifer Gomez

Partnership For Success Project Coordinator

EmPoWER Somerset

Jennifer works to educate and promote the importance of early substance use prevention among the youth in healthcare
facilities and schools.
She has a Bachelor Degree in
Public Health from Rutgers University and a
Master of Public Health from
George Washington University. 


Radhika A. Patel

Program Assistant

EmPoWER Somerset

Radhika has a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology and a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University. She is a program assistant at EmPoWER. Her main focus is to create an inclusive and supportive environment for those in need through
his training. 

If you have any questions about the
program, please contact
Kim Petro-Orlik - MHFA Program Coordinator

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