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Meet the Team

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Stephanie Kohler-Pagan

Stephanie became the director of Lory's Place in January 2018. Her own family’s experience as participants in 2004 led her to attend facilitator training and become an active volunteer. Discovering a new passion to support others in their grief journey, Stephanie earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a communications concentration and a certificate in thanatology from the National Center for Death Education at Mt. Ida College. She joined the Lory’s Place staff in 2007 as a family services coordinator and later as a family services coordinator leader. In addition to overall program responsibility, she continues to administer several support groups, as well as lead community collaborations.


Lory's Place team member Jenine Lewis

Jenine Lewis

Jenine worked in the emergency room and as an EMT before joining the Lory's Place team as Bereavement Coordinator. In her time in those positions, she witnessed many families begin their grief process. Jenine began her journey at Lory’s Place as a facilitator and has also experienced significant deaths in her life. She has always wanted to be that person she needed or wished she had in her life during those tough times. She also volunteers with the Berrien County Victim Services Unit (VSU) and Advanced Care Planning at Corewell Health South. She is planning to graduate this summer with her bachelor’s degree, with a master’s in social work being her final goal.


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Trisha Pickett

Trisha joined Lory's Place in 2006. As a bereavement and donor support coordinator, she provides executive administrative support for various departments at Caring Circle and Lory's Place. She also works with the Lory's Place fundraising committees and volunteers where she facilitates and organizes events. Trisha has an associate degree in sales and marketing from Southwestern Michigan College.


Photograph of Denise Thomas

Denise Thomas

Denise first began her journey at Lory’s Place as a participant in 2016. Her time continued with Lory’s Place when she was hired as a family service coordinator in August 2018. As a family services coordinator she facilitates the adult and various school and community outreach groups. Denise is also an active member of and serves on the advisory board of the Strong Women of Faith Breast Cancer Support Group. She received a bachelor's degree in education from Moody Bible Institute and continued on to obtain her Master of Counseling Education and Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University.


Sydney Wagner, Bereavement Coordinator, Lory's Place

Sydney Wagner

Sydney began her journey at Lory’s Place as a St. Joseph High School teen volunteer in 2012. She became a participant in 2017 after experiencing a significant death within her family—with Lory’s Place playing an integral role in her grief healing journey. She continued to volunteer at Camp Lifetimes and as a facilitator until she officially joined the Lory’s Place staff as Bereavement Coordinator in 2022. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University and her Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University.