Eryca Kasse, LICSW
Founder & Executive Director
Eryca Kasse is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) in Washington, DC with a background in co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. She received her BSW from George Mason University in 1998 and worked post bachelors with youth in high-risk situations (runaway, homeless, LGBTQ & court involved). She received her MSW from Howard University in 2010 where she completed field placements with women returning home from prison & jail and adults living with chronic mental health & substance use disorders experiencing homelessness. Her post-graduate work has focused on adults living with co-occurring mental health & substance use disorders at community mental health centers, substance use disorder treatment programs, hospitals and emergency rooms; providing diagnostic assessments, individual & group therapy and crisis intervention. In 2016 she founded her consulting practice CHOICES, providing clinical supervision and CEU trainings for providers and workshops for people in recovery, focused on trauma informed behavioral health care. In Fall 2021, CHOICES in Healing & Recovery was approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and has expanded services to provide trauma informed peer support groups & facilitator trainings. Eryca currently lives in NE, DC with her tortie cat, and enjoys drumming, swimming and spending time with family.
Michelle Hurrell, BA, CPRS
Michelle Hurrell, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, has a background in teaching (BA in English Education) and training (former group facilitator at PRS, Inc and W.R.A.P. facilitator). Michelle is a management leader at Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia (RPSV), a peer run non-profit organization that hires those recovering from mental illness, substance use, food insecurity or homelessness to help those who are in various stages of recovery. RPSV runs four wellness centers that focus on providing emotional support groups, along with one center that provides participants access to laundry and showers. All the centers provide shelter during the day along with meals and snacks. RPSV also provides emotional support when the day centers close by offering Zoom "One on Ones " in the late afternoon and evening. Michelle's blurb under her high school picture was, “My goal is to somehow make a difference.” She uses this as her motivation mantra personally, in employment and in her work as Secretary of the Board of CHOICES.
Nicki Bender, ADCJ
Nicki Bender, a Philadelphia girl at heart, has lived, worked, and studied in Northern Virginia most of her life. After earning her Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice, attending the University of Maryland and interning as a juvenile probation officer in Loudoun County, Nicki returned to Philly for a year, where she was introduced to the world of mental health and substance use recovery. Nicki believes that those with personal experience of addiction, mental health & substance use disorders, are called to help others going through the same. She is a mental health advocate and has worked with the non-profit This is My Brave; whose mission believes that story telling saves lives. Nicki has shared her story of mental health challenges and victories through speaking (and singing) publicly about them. Nicki is one of the two very first CHOICES Peer Facilitators leading CHOICES Trauma Informed 12 Step Peer Support Groups, since first launched in March 2022. She also serves on the Board of Directors for RPSV, Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia. She is the General Service Representative for District 26 of AA, and has seen the miracles of peer based support programs, including Alternatives to traditional AA/12 steps. She has been a full time volunteer for her church in Winchester VA and for area non-profits since 2019. Before she was blessed with the opportunity to serve full time, Nicki was the Managing Partner for Longhorn Steakhouse; this business experience allowed her to help market and grow her church and ministry, and serves as a vital skillset to fundraise for and grow CHOICES as President of the Board. In Spring 2023 she will continue in her pursuit of a degree in Addiction Counseling.
Abdul Kargbo, LMSW, CAC II
Abdul Kargbo is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) and certified addictions counselor (CAC II) with a profound commitment to public service. Extensive experience with marginalized communities including returning citizens, homeless populations, undocumented migrants, and persons diagnosed with mental illness, substance use disorders, and HIV. Expertise in inpatient and outpatient settings, behavioral health services, infectious disease case management, and vocational counseling. Outstanding technical skills with clinical workflow design, record management, database development and maintenance. Substantial experience training clinical and administrative staff. Abdul lives in South Carolina with his partner and enjoys doing crossword puzzles.