Our Mission

New Canaan CARES is an independent, non-profit community organization whose purpose is to advance the health and well-being of youth and families.

CARES provides responsive educational programs that support and strengthen parenting skills, positive youth development, and healthy lifestyles – free-of-charge.

Executive Director

Ellen Brezovsky, LCSW

Ellen received her Master’s in Social Work in Program Planning and Clinical Work from Columbia University. Ellen is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of CT and has a long history of working in prevention education and program planning.

Prior to her role as Executive Director of New Canaan CARES, she served as Director of Community Relations at Silver Hill Hospital. She has worked closely with New Canaan Cares and the New Canaan Coalition and is knowledgeable about the issues facing New Canaan’s youth and families. Ellen offers an excellent balance of clinical, program development and community outreach experience.

Ellen spent the previous 18 years working for the City of Stamford Health and Social Services Department in their HIV Prevention Program, first as the HIV Prevention Educator and then as the HIV Prevention Supervisor. Ellen also has consulted at the Stamford Counseling Center as an individual/couple/family therapist. She has also supervised school social workers in the Stamford School Based Health Centers as well as HIV case managers. Ellen began her career as a medical social worker in the AIDS unit at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY where she also planned educational programs for both staff and the community.

Additionally Ellen serves on the Board of Directors for a new non-profit, the Youth Mental Health Project whose goal is to empower families and communities to act with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to support the social, emotional, mental, and behavioral health of youth.

Staff Bios

Alexandra "Bunny" Potts, Preschool & Elementary Consultant

New Canaan Cares, Bunnyapotts@newcanaancares.org
Bunny has been an educator for over 30 years in both public and private schools. Most recently she served for 15 years as the Principal of East School in New Canaan. She has taught preschool and many elementary grades as well as programs for gifted and talented students.

Bunny is now a Parent Coach. Her areas of expertise include helping parents tackle everyday problems such as discipline, setting boundaries and expectations, and social issues. She also helps parents deal with school related issues such as homework, academic motivation and communication with teachers and administrators. Coaching can be individual or a small group.

Bunny is a graduate of Williams College. She holds a Masters in Reading as well as a 6th year degree in Educational Leadership. bunny and her husband have lived in New Canaan since 1974 and raised two children in the community. She is relishing being a grandparent. She loves yoga, travel, walking and most racket sports.

Jake Kircher, Social Media Consultant

New Canaan Cares, Jakejkircher@newcanaanCARES.org
Jake has been working with teens and their families for fourteen years and is a Licensed Minister. Currently, he is the Next Generation Pastor at Grace Community Church in New Canaan, CT where he has worked for the last nine years. He is involved with a handful of other local, regional and national organizations in various capacities from speaking, communications, writing and web design. He is a graduate of Gordon College, has been published in Youth Worker Journal, Group Magazine, Immerse Journal and Relevant Magazine, as well as having published numerous books. The two most recent are Teaching Teenagers in a Post-Christian World and Think Volume 1: Culture, the first of a four volume curriculum designed to help students own their own faith beliefs.

He has been married to Melissa (a writer whose work can be seen at www.mkircher.com) for ten years. Together they write a blog on marriage and relationships called The Holymess of Marriage and authored the book 99 Thoughts on Marriage and Ministry. They live in Norwalk with their two children.

Julia Willman, KidPOWER Advisor

Julia is currently a second grade teacher at West School. She has previously taught third and fourth grade at both West and East School in New Canaan. Julia grew up in East Hampton, New York and attended Kent School during her high school years. Julia graduated from Gettysburg College with a major in Political Science and a minor in French. Upon graduating, Julia realized that her true passion and dream job was to become a teacher. She enrolled at Sacred Heart University and received her master’s in Elementary Education. Julia lives in Trumbull with her husband and beloved pets.

Meg Rolla, Mentoring Through Drama Advisor

Meg Rolla, M.A., NBCC, is a certified school counselor for K-12th grade. Currently an elementary school counselor, Meg has diverse experience working with students at all levels of education in both urban and suburban settings. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with an Honors minor from Sacred Heart University, and continued her education at Fairfield University earning a Master of Arts in School Counseling. She is currently pursing her professional counseling license. Meg is passionate about working with youth, and is extremely interested in promoting healthy peer relationships through building resiliency. Meg likes to spend time with family and friends and loves reading and traveling.

Christina Ries, Elder Buddies Advisor

Christina is a certified elementary school teacher, who currently teaches 1st grade at Stratfield Elementary School in Fairfield, CT. She has worked with various age groups throughout her professional experiences. Christina grew up in Long Island, New York. She received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Education, along with minor in Psychology from Sacred Heart University. She continued her education at Sacred Heart receiving a Masters in Teaching. Christina is currently pursuing her Reading Degree, and one day aspires to become a Reading Specialist. Christina enjoys working with youth, and watching them grow as independent, responsible, and kind people. Christina currently lives in Stratford, and likes to spend time with her family and friends.

New Canaan CARES Board of Directors

Sara Schubert, Chair
Kelli Cook
Serena Gillespie
Shannon Kieske
Annie Drapkin
Christen Garcia
Tindley Gilbert
Cecilia Henderson
Jody O’Donnell
ME O’Connor
Stacey O’Malley
Michelle Riley