Meet Our Certified Instructors

Kim Petro-Orlik
Mental Health First Aid Instructor Program Coordinator
Pioneer Family Success Center
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.  

Jessica Dale
Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator
Pioneer Family Success Center.

Jessica develops, establishes and maintains relationships with community partners such businesses, non-profits, government agencies and schools. She works with the FSC team to maintain a welcoming community gathering place and to develop programs, workshops and fun events that are responsive to community needs. She also promotes the events and activities as well as supervises and provides direction to the volunteers. Jessica has a Bachelor's Degree in Management Science-International Business
Jessica is a Bilingual English/Spanish Certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

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, Union, NJ.

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

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.   
Abena Dakwahene
Director of Health & Wellness
EmPoWER Somerset. 
Abena works mostly with school administration and staff to implement health and wellness initiatives within their schools. One of her favorite projects was implementing the Instagram frame photo opportunity at the Far Hills Race - a creative way to take memorable pictures while educating the community about the importance of the 911 Lifeline Legislation. Abena loves working at EmPoWER Somerset and hopes to continue fostering community partnerships to improve health and wellness in the Central New Jersey region!
Kaitlyn Bedard
Health and Wellness Program Associate
EmPoWER Somerset

Kaitlyn previously completed a social work internship at the agency, where she ran programs with Veterans. She has a Masters of Social Work from Rutgers University. Kaitlyn mainly works with youth and school districts to implement health and  wellness initiatives. She also facilitates evidence-based programs with children and adolescents, to encourage healthy choices and good decision making. 

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