Amy Allison Thompson: Executive Director
Amy Allison Thompson, LCSW, is the Executive Director of the Poverello Center. She graduated from the University of Montana twice, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers Montana Chapter. She also worked as a psychotherapist for the past five years and specializes in issues related to domestic violence, the LGBTQ community, and homelessness. Her most notable accomplishment is the development and implementation of an integrated behavioral health program in a primary care setting at the Northwest Community Health Center in Libby, MT. In addition, she served on the board of directors for the YWCA of Great Falls as President Elect. She was instrumental in the creation and development of the Great Falls LGBTQ Center. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with family and going on adventures in remote corners of Montana on foot and mountain bike.
Kristen Border Patton: Director of Operations
Kristen Patton is the Director of Operations at the Poverello Center. She graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in political science and began working at the Pov in 2009 as the Administrative Assistant. Kristen has completed graduate courses in Human Resource Management, Technical Writing and Non-Profit Management while working at the Pov. In her spare time Kristen enjoys golfing, fishing and spending time with rabbits.
Laura Folkwein: Development Coordinator
Laura Folkwein, MSW, M.Div, is the Development Associate at the Poverello Center. Laura earned her MSW from the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver and her Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology in 2005. She started work with Housing MT Heroes and “the Pov” in the fall of 2014 and recently transitioned into a part-time development role to pursue other passions. Laura’s non-profit human services experience includes significant program development, implementation and evaluation work. She has worked with homeless and low-income families and volunteers in faith-based and non-profit settings, including helping to develop community partnerships to provide additional cold weather emergency shelter beds in Adams County, Colorado (near Denver). She speaks and writes intermediate level Spanish, and enjoys reading, cooking and getting outdoors to hike, snowshoe or bicycle as often as possible. Laura is also an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ and the small groups coordinator with University Congregation Church in Missoula. She grew up in Montana and is thrilled to have recently moved back to her home state with her family.
Anastasia Bakos: Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Anastasia Bakos is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at the Poverello Center. She supports and assists all perspective and current volunteers, helps staff with any volunteer needs that they might have, as well as speaks to various groups about the services that the Poverello Center provides for the community. Prior to being the Volunteer Manager she was a volunteer at the Poverello Center, serving in various capacities. Anastasia has a true passion for volunteerism, and has given her time to the Roxy Theater, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and the Western Montana Humane Society. Anastasia made her way to Montana to attend school, studying primarily Physics and History. In her free time, she loves to play with her dog Chewbacca and play board games with her friends and loved ones.
Amber Gladney: Program Manager for the Valor House
Amber Gladney, MSW, is the Program Manager for the Valor House. In this role she collaborates with residents and community partners to help Veterans transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Prior to serving as the Program Manager Amber worked with individuals impacted by homelessness and addiction in Spokane, Washington, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, and volunteered for the Poverello Emergency Shelter while completing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Montana. In her down time Amber enjoys cooking meals from scratch, searching out international and independent films, and taking in Western Montana’s beautiful scenery while hiking and fishing.
Jill Bonny: Program Manager for Housing MT Heroes
Jill Bonny, BSW is the Program Manager for Housing Montana Heroes, a transitional housing program for homeless veterans, located at the Poverello Center. Jill earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana where she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work. As the daughter of a veteran, Jill enjoys her work and is honored to give back to those who have sacrificed for our country. Growing up in Montana, Jill has always been involved as a volunteer in hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, local coalitions, and currently is a member of the NASW-MT Board of Directors. Jill joined the Poverello in the fall of 2014 as a practicum student while earning her social work degree. She has also been a Certified Pharmacy Technician since 2004, which she finds excellent knowledge to have in her current role with Housing Montana Heroes. When she is not working or studying, Jill enjoys spending time with her husband and children on their “little farm” in the Bitterroot Valley.
Melissa Brooks, BSW: Support Services Manager
In her current role, Melissa oversees the provision of supportive services to people accessing our shelter services, focusing specifically on the coordination of services for those most at risk. Melissa joined the Poverello Center team in 2013 as a fill-in support staff. Shortly afterwards, she became a lead support staff member, a role she embraced until she transitioned into her current position. Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana and has worked in a variety of settings. She has supported at risk youth at Missoula Youth Homes and spent time at Open Aid Alliance and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program where she worked with hard to reach populations. Melissa grew up in the Missoula community and is passionate about social justice issues and advocating for under served populations. In her free time Melissa takes pleasure in fitness activities like boxing and hiking. Most of all she enjoys spending time with her two young sons.
Will Gardner: Homeless Outreach
Will Gardner is the Homeless Outreach Worker/H.O.T. Volunteer Coordinator at the Poverello Center. He began his work with the Poverello Center in 2013 as a Jesuit Volunteer/AmeriCorps Member, and served through that program for 2 years as a direct care staff member. He is passionate about learning as much as he can about the interweaving systems that affect our most vulnerable populations. Originally from New Jersey, he spends his free time relaxing at home and exploring Montana’s vast expanses with his friends and family.
Sam Hilliard Hightower: Homeless Outreach/ H.O.T Volunteer Coordinator
Sam is the Homeless Outreach Worker and HOT Volunteer Coordinator at the Poverello Center. A recent graduate from the UM’s Community Health & Prevention Sciences program, she hopes to promote and improve individual and community health, by direct service and education. After working two and a half years at the Poverello, as both Support Staff and Lead Support Staff, Sam transitioned to her role on the HOT Team. She looks forward to assisting chronically homeless individuals with housing, health services, and feeling cared for. When not at work, Sam enjoys watching horror flicks with her significant other, hiking, and playing with her two adorable cats.