Staff

Christy Buck, Executive Director

Christy Buck, Executive Director

Christy Buck has worked in mental health for nearly 30 years as a professional licensed social worker and as a volunteer. After graduating from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation, she began her career as a recreational therapist in the day program at Transitions Community Support Programs in Grand Rapids (now part of Cherry Street Health Services). In her current role  as Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, her passion has turned to saving lives.

Christy has delivered presentations on mental health, bully and suicide prevention to communities all over West Michigan. Since 2006, she and the staff of the Mental Health Foundation have presented to over 80,000 students in West Michigan and beyond. Through her speaking engagements, faculty, staff, administrators and parents learn more about mental health and depression, more about themselves, and more about stigma and its disastrous effects on people living with mental illness and those who love them. The messages are of hope, recovery and treating people with respect in your schools and community. 

Christy is a member of the Grandville School Board, the Kent County Suicide Prevention Coalition, YMCA Strong Beginnings Impact Program Committee and Corporate Health and Wellness Committee, the Department of Community Health Anti-Stigma Campaign Steering Committee and the Grandville Community Leaders Forum. She is also a youth advisor to the local chapter of Greek Orthodox Youth of America and in 2012 she was recognized as Grandville’s Distinguished Person of the Year.

 

Larissa Payton

Larissa Payton

Larissa has been working with the Mental Health Foundation since 1999. She graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in 1997 with a BA in Visual Communications. Larissa, among other things, is the staff liaison with the Board, arranges meetings, takes minutes, and  managing corporate files.  She triages calls from the community, does graphic design, manages orders and invoicing for be nice. merchandise, and assists with our events.

Therran Hines

Therran Hines

Therran Hines has been both a volunteer and an employee at the Mental Health Foundation of WM.  He started with the MHFWM in 2006.  An alumni of MSU, Therran's college studies were in finance.  His most recent employment, prior to being with the Foundation was in building maintenance (volunteer) with the Food Bank of East Michigan.  On the side, he has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and has had great success with his recovery.

Kandice Sloop

Kandice Sloop

Kandice has been the Program Coodinator for the Mental Health Foundation since 2008. In her role, she works to facilitate mental health education initiatives with schools in West Michigan and spearheads team registration for the Foundation's annual charity walk, Stomp Out Stigma. Kandice graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2007 and received her Masters in Social Work from Western Michigan University in 2013. 

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family. 

Catherine Lanting

Catherine Lanting

Catherine (Cat) started at the MHF as an AmeriCorps member in 2011 and works as the Student Engagement Specialist, orchestrating be nice. leadership groups across the state.

Cat graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies - Health Studies and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Social Work.

In her free time, Cat races sailboats around the world.

Emily Underwood

Emily Underwood

Emily joined the team at the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in 2015 as the Fund Development and Community Relations Director. In her role, Emily cultivates relationships with donors and third-party fundraisers, manages signature events, secures creative partnerships, and increases visibility and community engagement across West Michigan. 

Emily holds a B.A. in Advertising & Public Relations from The College of St. Scholastica. 

Aside from the MHF, Emily owns and operates a dance studio in East Grand Rapids called EAU Dance. 

Michelle Geerlings

Michelle Geerlings

Michelle is the Program Advancement Coordinator for the MHF. She is responsible for seeking opportunities to provide a Hope Bridge movie and/or other community events in efforts to grow our programs. In addition, she helps grow the be nice. program at the corporate and business level. Michelle is a graduate from Hope College and Loyola University of Chicago receiving her Masters in Social Work with a specialization in Mental Health. She is also pursuing her Health Coach Certificate through the Institute for Integrated Nutrition.