Sandy Hardie, CSAC, ICS, CTS

Executive Director of Mahala’s Hope

Sandy is a certified Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor, Independent Clinical Supervisor and Certified Trauma Specialist. She has been working in the addiction field for over 30 years, specializing in women and trauma for 15 of those years. Sandy completed a two year apprenticeship in Tucson, AZ to learn equine therapy and has been facilitating equine programs since 2001. She is an advanced instructor of Eponaquest Worldwide of Tucson, AZ.

Sandy is an active member of the Trauma Informed Care Advisory Committee of Wisconsin, and facilitates statewide training on Trauma Informed Care and various other topics to law enforcement, health care systems, first responders, substance abuse providers and other collaborative agencies. As a student of the horse, she continues to learn from her daily interactions with her herd.

Kris Rebedew

Administrative Assistant

Kris has worked as an Administrative Assistant for 21 years with the recovery community. She enjoys watching the women grow in their recovery journey as they begin to realize their own personal strength within. The support they get from each other and staff nourishes the soul.


Karen Simon

Counselor Aide

Karen Simon is a Counselor Aide who has been employed part-time at Mahala’s Hope since the Recovery Residence opened its doors for its first client October 2016. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Marian College in Fond du Lac, and has over 16 years experience counseling clients in her full-time social work position.
Growing up with good family values and a strong work ethic have enabled Karen to reach her goals and utilize her strengths to guide others in reaching their full potential. Her ability to mentor the clients at Mahala’s Hope with daily household duties and cooking techniques is one of the many things that give her fulfillment in her career.
Karen is able to recognize the importance of a work-life balance, and when she is not busy helping others, she enjoys spending time with her pets, kayaking, and grounding herself in nature and all the blessings it has to offer. She is involved in her local church and is an avid reader; she also appreciates the benefits of staying fit both mentally and physically through walking, hiking and yoga.
The holistic approach and rural setting of the Recovery Residence at Mahala’s Hope is what makes this a perfect fit for Karen, as she is a country girl at heart.


Ariana Blaylock

Equine Specialist

Ariana Blaylock A.A.S. Equine Business Technology
Ariana is a graduate of Martin Community College’s Equine Business Technology program in Williamston, North Carolina. Currently, she is working towards her PATH Certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Her gratitude to the horse that led her to her position here at Mahala’s Hope where she offers supportive care to our herd of equine colleagues and assists in our Equine Experiential Learning programs. Her favorite part of her role is giving a voice to the wisdom of the horse.


Ruth Holmquist

Counselor Aide

As a non- traditional student Ruth earned a B.S. in social work at UW Oshkosh and an M.S.W. at UW Milwaukee. In her 50’s she followed a dream and enjoyed two year as a U.S. Peace Corp. volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean, returning to Wisconsin where she earned an AODA certification and was introduced to human informed care.

Prior to retirement Ruth provided mental health and substance abuse counseling in a variety of settings developing a passion for supporting people as they grow.

When not working, she can be found learning from experiences, with grandchildren, meditating, doing yoga, traveling, hiking, gardening or volunteering.

Galina Anqud

Counselor Aide

Galina is a graduate of UW Green Bay with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She is passionate about social justice issues. Another big part of her life is animal advocacy. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, fitness and various arts.



Keri Bushweiler

Peer Specialist

I am a woman in long term recovery, and enjoy helping other ladies find their way through the recovery process.  I love being a part of the Mahala’s Hope team because they teach everything I strive for in my daily life. The facility is a beautiful place to begin the most wonderful and rewarding part of any women’s journey in recovery, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.


Jaime Gunderson


Jaime has a Bachelor’s Degree from the UW– Stevens Point and a Master of Social Work graduate degree from UW-Oshkosh. She holds an Advanced Practice Social Worker and Substance Abuse Counselor license. Jaime began her employment as a case manager with ATTIC Correctional Services – a non-profit agency in Marathon County from 2008-2012 and then with the Department of Corrections from 2012-2017. Most recently she worked as a Treatment Specialist who provided substance use disorder services.

Jaime held past positions as a MSW Student Representative board member with the National Association of Social Workers, and was also the MSW Student Representative for the UW-Oshkosh Social Work Department. She served on numerous committees while employed with the Department Corrections, including as a peer supporter for the Employee Assistance Program. She has also served as an active member for the Portage County Alliance on Alcohol/Drug Abuse Prevention and the Marathon County Domestic Violence Program, as well as has volunteered with the Relay for Life – Fond du Lac and the Dodge County Restorative Justice program.

I am honored to be a part of Mahala’s Hope, and truly believe people who have a substance use disorder have the ability to be successful in all avenues of their lives. I appreciate Mahala’s Hope strength-based and holistic approach, and it is a humbling privilege to be able to work with and support women in recovery.


Emily Trudgeon

Counselor Aide

Emily is a counselor aide at Mahala’s Hope. Emily earned her Associates Degree in Human Services in 2014, then continued her education by studying substance use disorder counseling in 2016. Fun fact: Emily has traveled to 27 states.