Upreach is proud of our diverse team who all share a passion
for helping individuals with developmental disabilities
live their fullest and best lives.
Melissa GOURLEY, MSW, LSW
CEO & Co-Founder / Owner
While completing her Bachelors of Arts degree at Ohio Dominican College, Melissa began her journey working with individuals with disabilities by providing direct care services for a supported living agency. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree, she returned to college to receive her Master’s degree.
During Melissa’s second year in the Master’s of Social Work program at The Ohio State University, she was offered a fellowship at the OSU Nisonger Center. During the fellowship, Melissa helped to develop programs which benefit individuals with disabilities, provided counseling, facilitated groups, and taught a graduate level course at OSU.
Melissa received her Master’s degree in Social Work in June 2003. In August 2003, Melissa co-founded UPREACH LLC, and in 2006, co-founded Learning Never Ends LLC.
Co-Founder / Owner
Beth attended the University of Cincinnati, where she majored in Psychology. Beth started her career working in a group home in 1989. Beth relocated to Columbus in 1994 and began a career as a Support Specialist.
Beth continued to advance within the agency as she was promoted to Support Specialist Coordinator and Program Director. As a Program Director, Beth was responsible for hiring, scheduling and training support staff, coordinating medical services, overseeing and managing finances, and maintaining quality living conditions.
Beth was also a part of a Quality Assurance Team which traveled to other states to monitor the quality of services provided to individuals with disabilities. In August 2003, Beth co-founded UPREACH LLC, and in 2006, co-founded Learning Never Ends LLC.
Pat brings extensive experience from his past public and private experience in the disability field. After graduating from The Ohio State University in 1993 with a B.A. in Psychology, Pat began his professional career with a private provider of residential services for the developmentally disabled for 6 years as a Program Director and new staff trainer. Pat joined the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities in the service Coordination Department, where he served as Supported Living Service Coordinator and Placement Coordinator. Pat joined UPREACH in 2007 as Program Director.
Arkeeta began her journey with Upreach LLC in 2012, as a direct care support specialist. She continued working for Upreach as she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Eastern Michigan University. After graduating, Arkeeta was promoted to Scheduling Manager in 2014. Continuing to grow with in the company, she became a Program Manager in 2015. In 2017, Arkeeta was promoted to Assistant Director, where she worked alongside Upreach Program Mangers providing quality services to all consumers served by Upreach. Arkeeta ventured to Learning Never Ends day program, Upreach’s sister company, where she served as the Executive Director in 2019. While Arkeeta genuinely enjoyed her time with Learning Never Ends, she has since returned to her first love of residential services at Upreach as the Assistant Director. Arkeeta takes pride building lifelong relationships and in providing exceptional care to all consumers served by Upreach LLC.
Diana Slayton has served as Financial Coordinator to individuals with disabilities since 2000. She previously worked for a private provider for three years and joined the Upreach team in 2003. Services provided include assisting clients with budgets, bill paying, financial decisions and general oversight of their finances. Diana enjoys day to day interaction with our clients and assisting with all their financial needs.
Director of Human Resources
Nate is an Ohio boy, born and bred. He spent his youth in the Ohio River Valley and then headed south to the home of the Bobcats. After receiving his BBA from Ohio University’s main campus in Athens, Nate moved to Columbus and it has been home ever since. After many years in multi-unit Restaurant Management, his love for Human Resources grew. He found himself wanting more from his career and a more meaningful path and eventually found his way to Senior Care before arriving at Upreach. Nate has a passion for people development and employee satisfaction, however after coming to Upreach shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, he has quickly strengthened his skill for policy and procedure. Nate is a dog dad to Dash and they can often be found at the dog park. They also enjoy camping, trying new restaurants/foods and long walks on the beach. Nate is so happy to have found his home at Upreach! He recently implemented the “Upreach All-Star” program and says "I want our employees to work for us forever!"
Adrienne has provided services for those in the developmentally “Able” community for over 15 years. She believes their disability is just an ability to find a new and creative way of accomplishing their goals. Adrienne worked with another direct care service provider for several years before joining the Upreach family in 2005. She started as a Support Specialist and was promoted to a Senior Support Specialist. Adrienne is now part of our Administrative Team as the HR Assistant. While working as a Senior Support Specialist, Adrienne earned her B.S. in Business Studies Industrial Organizational Psychology. She is currently working towards her master’s degree. Adrienne is also, a wife and a mother of 2 beautiful children.
Mohammed began working with individuals with disability in 2009 while attending the Columbus State Community College to earn a degree in Radiology but life quickly took a different turn when Mohammed started working with his first consumer Ernie Strickland as a direct care support specialist. In 2010, Ernie moved to Upreach and his mom requested for Mohammed to come with him. This is how Mohammed’s journey begins with Upreach. In 2013, Mohammed was promoted from direct care support specialist to a Scheduling Manager. After 3 years of hard work, in 2016, Mohammed was once again promoted not only as a Scheduling manager but to also manage the Scheduling Department and oversee all scheduling issues.
Mohammed truly enjoys helping others and planning to further his education for something that can benefit helping people.
Nimo was introduced to the supported living field by a good friend. She started to work with the developmentally disabled in 2013 and found it to be an extremely rewarding career.
She has enjoyed assisting people with disabilities in any way possible. Nimo spent some time as administrative staff in a doctor’s office and rehabilitation center but always found her way back to the DD community. Helping people has been always her main drive and she is very delighted to be part of the Scheduling Team at Upreach, where she can help with our focus of keeping the consumers we serve happy, healthy and safe.
George grew up in and graduated from High School in Ghana, West Africa. He briefly attended The Institute of Professional Studies in 2003 before moving to the USA that same year. He attended Columbus State Community College, studying Nursing and began work as a Direct Support Specialist in 2004.
George started with Upreach in 2013 as a DSP and because of his work ethic and zeal was promoted to the Scheduling Department in 2016. George enjoys watching sports and spending time with his family in his free time.
Alpha Omega, commonly known as Chief Omega started working with individuals with disabilities in 2007. He started with Upreach in 2012 as a Direct Support Specialist and was quickly promoted to a house lead. After working hard to learn all of our sites and developing close relationships with our consumers, he was promoted to the Scheduling Department in 2019. Alpha loves working with the DD community and also really enjoys helping our staff in any way he can!
Program Manager / Hiring Manager
Charlene attended Concord College where she pursued STNA training, while working as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher and as a nursing assistant catering to the elder population.
In 1996, Charlene began her career working at a day program, and has since held various positions in the disability field. Charlene joined our team at Upreach in 2004 as a Support Care Specialist and was promoted to Program Manager. Charlene possesses a passion for the individuals with disabilities, and strives to assist them in improving their lives.
Abigail Santorine brings years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities to Upreach. After graduating from Otterbein University in 2012 with a BA in Psychology and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Abigail began working as direct care staff for individuals with developmental disabilities. Since then she has worked a career consultant, assisted children with autism in learning life skills and helped many people with developmental disabilities to discover and maintain minimum wage or better community employment. Abigail enjoys staying up to date on current disability issues and using that knowledge to provide the most inclusive services to anyone she serves.
In her time outside of work, Abigail has a passion for animals, especially horses and dogs, and likes to study history.
Amanda graduated from Malone university with her bachelors in psychology. After graduation she worked as direct care staff at GentleBrook in Hartville, Ohio. In May of 2018 she moved to Columbus and started working at Upreach as a program manager. She loves working with individuals with developmental disabilities and it has become a true passion of hers. In Amanda’s free time she likes to work out, watch the office, and hang out with friends and family.
Candi was born and raised in Ohio until age 18. She graduated in 1993 and decided to move west to Colorado Springs. Her original plan was to go to school for Criminal Justice, but life happens and instead she started working on Fort Carson Army Base. She stayed in Colorado for 3 years and moved back to Ohio in 1996 and started working in Customer Service/Management for a Home Improvement store. She stayed there for 12 years. She held various positions with that company and even helped with new store openings in different states. However, she always had a passion to work with individuals with disabilities. Candi has always had compassion for people and in 2008 shortly after moving to Columbus, a former co-worker told her about Upreach. She started as direct care staff and then moved into scheduling. She then went to a day program for a short period and came back to Upreach billing department; she was then promoted to Program Manager in 2019.
A recent graduate of the Social and Human Services program at Columbus State, Cate Aponte joined the Upreach team as direct support staff in May 2018, taking on the role of Program Manager in October. Cate is no stranger to the field of developmental disabilities. She began here career as a Day-Hab Specialist at Muskingum Starlight Industries in Zanesville before moving to Columbus, where she worked three years of direct care. She completed an internship at Learning Never Ends, which led her to her current position. Cate spends her free time watching superhero movies, going to concerts, and writing. She is really good at claw machines. Cate works to share her experience and passion for building positive relationships while helping to improve the lives of the individuals we serve.
Currently a Program Manager, Chris joined the Upreach family as a direct Care Support Specialist August 2004. With aspirations of growing with the company, Chris wanted to learn as many aspects of the job as possible. From Support Specialist he became a Site lead then tackled the task as a member of the Scheduling department. Throughout the years, Chris has obtained priceless knowledge and experiences that helped shape him into the person he is today.
In his free time he enjoys working and spending time with his family.
Claudia graduated from Central University with her Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management in 2013. She started working with Upreach as a direct support staff in March 2017.
Claudia was promoted to the lead position in 2018 and later in June 2019 became a Program Manager. She has the zeal to help and support individuals with disabilities to become the best they can be.
Eleanor has a bachelor degree from Ohio University in Child and Family Studies. She is currently getting my Master in Social Work at Ohio University. Before coming to Upreach she has a year’s experience with working with children with disabilities. Eleanor got hired as a Program Manager and started in August 2019. She loves working with clients with disabilities and it has became her passion to further her career so she can help as many individuals as possible. Eleanor’s passions outside of work are playing volleyball and hanging out with friends and loved ones!
Jasmine is a mother of 5, wife, and now Program Manager here at Upreach. She was raised in this field and her mother has taken care of individuals her whole life. She started her personal journey working with the developmentally disabled in 2015.
Shortly after she started, she was promoted to a site lead. She worked for Upreach for a year before she moved on to another company. After leaving Upreach Jasmine spent one year as a Program Manager. From there, she was promoted to the Financial Coordinator position within that same company and then on to a Director's position. No matter what position she’s held, it’s always been within direct care.
Jasmine believes that this is truly what she is supposed to do. She loves to help people and to see someone achieve their goals, no matter how big or small those goals are. Jasmine says she is happy and excited to be a member of a team that shares her love for the individuals we serve.
Moriah grew up in a family with two siblings on the Autism Spectrum which fueled her passion to work with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Moriah started college at The Ohio State University in 2012 and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education in 2017. During her time in college Moriah worked as an ABA Therapist and direct care staff. After graduation Moriah was unsure which career path she wanted to pursue. Moriah started working for Franklin County Children’s Services in 2017, which is where she found her love for social work. After this, Moriah decided she wanted to return to working with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Moriah joined Upreach in March of 2019. Moriah loves working as a Program Manager because it perfectly combines her love of Social Work and her passion for working with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
Paige attended Ohio University, where she majored in Human Resources Management and sharpened her interpersonal skills. She joined the Upreach HR team in July 2020 and has quickly helped the team with Certification compliance and developing more efficient training practices. Prior to Upreach, Paige worked at Huntington National Bank in the Human Resources Department and learned that she genuinely loved helping others! She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude! Paige has lived in Columbus for her entire life but enjoys traveling with her fiancé Justin. In her free-time, she enjoys playing fetch with her cats and volunteering at the animal shelters.
Tasha was introduced to the Developmental Disability field in late 2016. After reaching out to a mentor of hers for a change in career paths, it was recommended she volunteer for 3 months at Learning Never ends, LLC. After the first week of volunteering and working with individuals with disabilities, she knew she found a great love for the field. Shortly after finishing the 3 month volunteer service and position came open where Tasha was hired as a Community Engagement Specialist. After a year as a CES, Tasha was promoted to Program & Employment Coordinator at Learning Never Ends, West. During the 2 years serving in this role, she worked to encourage and promote independence and empowerment in a safe and fun learning environment. Recently Tasha was again promoted to now serving as a Program Manager at Upreach.
To me its not just a job because I truly love the individuals we serve! In my free time I enjoy eating, church, & socializing with friends & family.