Bethany was raised in rural Northeast Ohio. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Akron and has been working in the behavioral health field for over 5 years. Bethany started her professional career at a startup tech nonprofit where she learned the ins and outs of business development, grant writing, marketing, and collective impact. Bethany is excited to bring these skills and her passion for the community into Thrive for Change to help it grow and lead efforts to save lives.
Contact Bethany at [email protected]
harm reduction specialist
Ashley grew up in Portage County, Ohio, and has several years of marketing and event planning experience. She is a person with lived experience in recovery and has been trained as a certified peer recovery support specialist. Ashley knows firsthand what those we are serving are going through. Her initial harm reduction outreach efforts are what lead to the inception of Thrive for Change. Ashley’s passion and expertise in harm reduction have made her an incredible advocate, educator, and collaborator.
Contact Ashley at [email protected]
Harm reduction Specialist
For several years, Jessica has worked as an outreach team member at The SOAR Initiative, a nonprofit organization that implemented a deadly batch alert system and distributes fentanyl testing strips to those at risk. Jessica has lived experience with substance use and is a person in long-term alternative recovery for 8 years. She became a Naloxone distributor over 2 years ago in an attempt to help those in her community and has been actively adapting since in all areas of harm reduction. She has volunteered with many local non-profit organizations including Thrive for Change and today partners with many different organizations in order to share her resources and knowledge with all in her community.
Jessica has a passion for harm reduction work and her experience gives her a unique opportunity to connect, collaborate, and advocate. As a harm reduction specialist at Thrive for Change, Jessica conducts outreach and leads our Safer Smoking Initiative to distribute safer smoking supplies to those at risk throughout Cuyahoga County.
Contact Jessica at [email protected]
Participant Engagement Specialist
Z is a liberation-centered activist from Cleveland, Ohio. They have an extensive background in harm reduction techniques and peer recovery services. Having studied at Oberlin College, they also bring a wealth of knowledge in understanding the political and socio-economic landscape to their work at Thrive for Change. With a deep commitment to promoting health and wellness in their community and creating a more just and equitable world, they now use this knowledge to lead efforts in saving lives and promoting well-being at Thrive for Change. As the participant engagement specialist, Z is responsible for linking our program participants to ongoing care and treatment and for facilitating weekly meeting for those in active use to share safer use practices and other skills, and have social support.
Contact Z at [email protected]
Naloxone Distribution Specialist
Bri Wyza is a born and raised Clevelander. They have lived experience with poverty, mental health, and alternative recovery. Utilizing their lived experience to help service people experiencing homelessness and people who use drugs. Their main mission is to lead with empathy, understanding, and to keep those connected to services who need them most. For several years, Bri has been making and distributing hygiene kits which include harm reduction supplies such as narcan to individuals in need throughout the city. They have volunteered with several area nonprofits focused on harm reduction and homeless outreach.
In April 2023, Bri began volunteering with Thrive For Change and became one of our lay distributors. They spent some time at Tri-C where they studied human behavior and were awarded for their “outstanding service, time, and dedication to The Lambda Gay-Straight Alliance”. As naloxone distribution specialist, Bri sends out orders through our mail order program, coordinating with our lay distributors across the state, and participating in outreach events to equip people with harm reduction supplies.