Val has served as the Director of Emma’s House since its inception in 2006. Val brings more than 20 years experience in the field of child abuse and mental health. Val obtained a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Montana and obtained clinical licensure in 2008, with a focus on trauma treatment and violence against children. In her tenure, Val has conducted more than 1000 forensic interviews of children at Emma’s House. Val enjoys spending time with family, traveling, hiking, skiing, and watching lots of baseball.
After discovering a passion for the difference Emma’s House makes in the lives of local children, Joni moved from board member to the Development Director in 2017. She is looking forward to reaching out to the community and is motivated to get donations for such a worthy cause. In her other job, Joni is the Executive Assistant for the Bitterroot National Forest. Joni has lived in Montana all her life and loves raising her family in the Bitterroot Valley. She enjoys being creative, singing in the car, fun adventures, and sarcasm.
Born and raised in Montana, Sarah recievied her bachelor of science in nursing from Montana State University in 2014. She joined the Emma’s House team part-time as an RN medical examiner and spends the rest of her time working at a family practice clinic. Sarah has become very passionate about the work she does at Emma’s House and feels grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so important. Outside of work, she enjoys all the beautiful hiking and running opportunities the Bitterroot Valley has to offer.
Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She attended both the University of Montana and Walla Walla College and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2003. Jennifer has been working with children, teens and adults for the past 17 years in a variety of settings. She recently joined Emma’s House in December 2017. Jennifer loves the beautiful Bitterroot Valley and enjoys gardening, hiking, and biking.
Office Manager & Prevention Coordinator
Kierstin has worked for Emma’s House since 2012 after working at a local for-profit business, in the native plant restoration and forestry field and local advocacy. A passion for social, economic and environmental justice has led Kierstin to putting that drive towards helping to protect children and teenagers from abuse and neglect. She has developed the child abuse prevention program providing trainings, presentations and resources for the professionals and the public, along with maintaining the geeky administrative tasks or the “wheels on the bus”, as we call it. Kierstin is the proud mother of Josephine, a spirited college student and, in her free time, she enjoys traveling, knitting and most outdoor activities, gardening, hiking, biking, powder skiing and playing on the water.
Pete decided to come out of retirement to join Emma’s House in 2018. He works as a Family Advocate to support victims and their families through the investigation and judicial process. Pete worked for the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department for 25 years, with an additional 8 years working as an investigator for the County Attorney’s Office. His wealth of experience is a perfect addition to the Emma’s House team, and our clients are lucky to have his support. Pete enjoys hiking, gardening, and participating in Citizen Science projects.
Originally from Rhode Island, Mary Vermillion moved to Montana in 1997 to pursue her education. Mary has been a resident of Hamilton since 2004, where she is currently employed as a Forensic Interviewer/Nurse Examiner at Emma’s House Child Advocacy Center as well as an RN at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. As a mother, health care provider, and community advocate Mary feels strongly that healthy kids are healthy communities.
Lisa is thrilled to be able to apply her passion for order and helping kids as the new Administrative Assistant at Emma's House. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Biology/Anthropology from Western Washington University and has worn a multitude of hats since including AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, medical office manager, professional organizer, and Bitterroot Public Library Assistant. Lisa has lived in the valley since 2000 and loves raising her family in such a beautiful place with such fantastic community. She first connected with Emma's House as a volunteer for one of the galas and is delighted to now be able to contribute so much more by helping with the day to day operations. Lisa loves practicing yoga, eating dark chocolate, skiing, reading and all things creative.
Twyla joined our staff in the spring of 2016 and has made a tremendous impact since her arrival. She was trained at Canine Companions for Independence in Santa Rosa, CA and was selected specifically for our program. Twyla is 4 years old and can provide comfort to our clients in the waiting room, interview room, counseling, and as victims testify against their abusers in the court room.