Meet our Staff

Sandy Hardie, CSAC, ICS, CTS

Founder and Executive Director of Mahala’s Hope

Sandy is the Founder and Executive Director of Mahala’s Hope.  Sandy is a certified Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor, Independent Clinical Supervisor, and is completing her certification as a Certified Trauma Specialist. Sandy completed a two year apprenticeship in Tucson, AZ to learn equine experiential learning and has been facilitating equine programs since 2001. She is an advanced instructor of Eponaquest Worldwide of Tucson, AZ. She has worked in the substance abuse field for over 30 years specializing in women and trauma for 20 of those years. While working with a sexual assault agency for 10 years she was an advocate to incarcerated women through PREA.

Sandy facilitates training state wide on Trauma Informed Care and Vicarious Trauma to law enforcement, health care systems, first responders, substance use providers and other collaborative agencies.

Sandy served on the Trauma Informed Care Advisory Committee of Wisconsin. Currently she serves on the State Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council and is active on the Diversity Committee as well as Secretary’s Advisory Council on Child Welfare. Locally she serves on the Opioid Task Force, NAS Project in Fond du Lac County as well as several other committees. Ms. Hardie has worked as clinician and held various management positions throughout her career. Most importantly she is in long term recovery herself. As a student of the horse, she continues to learn from her daily interactions with her herd.

Alexa Strehlow

Equine Specialist

I have my A.A.S. from Black Hawk East in Galva, IL, as well as 20 years experience with natural horsemanship and holistic methods. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel the country and attend natural horsemanship courses with legendary clinicians. Over the summer of 2021, I worked at a Christian camp for kids as a riding instructor/trail guide. That experience allowed me to see the effects horses have on humans on a scale I had yet to see, and through that incredible exposure grew my already present passion for healing people through horses. That is what led to my role here at Mahala’s Hope where I offer supportive care to our herd and assist in our Equine Experiential Learning programs. My favorite part of the role is working with our equine colleagues to not only benefit clients physically, but mentally and emotionally in a powerful way that is only able to be understood with horses. I am very excited to learn from all of the endless opportunities and experiences that Mahala’s Hope has to offer.

While not at work, I enjoy trail riding and camping with my horses, instructing horse riding and training, traveling (specifically to Colorado), judging livestock shows, and finding new local eateries.

Galina Sorbacheva

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.

Tierra Yonker

Counselor

In 2011, I began an internship in a women’s residential setting and knew right away that working with women was my calling. I completed an associate degree in AODA that year and continued working for that facility for over 10 years. During that time, I went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in psychology at Marian University in 2015, and a master’s degree in social work specializing in mental health at UW Madison in 2020. I believe that all things happen for a reason and how I came to work for Mahala’s Hope is an example of that.

I went on an open house tour just before the residence opened, and, after chatting with Sandy, I found out that they were still looking for a weekend counselor aide. I was lucky enough to join the team and be a part of the opening to the first client in October 2016. I left the part time position at Mahala’s Hope to pursue my master’s degree and was fortunate enough to come back to complete my internship, where my creativity was nurtured, and I got the opportunity to organize and operate the phototherapy group. I am beyond grateful that I am now in the counselor position at Mahala’s Hope as the program is nature-based and focused on healing mind, body, and spirit … something that I believe is essential in recovery.

In my free time I enjoy spending time outdoors, especially walking my dogs, doing yoga, or doing an art project. It fills my soul to see the growth that comes from empowerment and building on the strengths each women brings when they come into recovery.

Holly Mulder

House Manager

As a person who has experienced and overcome personal and family traumas, substance use disorder, depression, and many other adverse childhood experiences, Holly Mulder is no stranger to understanding how to connect with others who have experienced similar struggles. Because of this, she has strived to understand and best love herself and others, and has worked on developing greater interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Holly’s growth and development in these areas are what she believes have been the key to finding a life of peace within herself and with others.

In 2013 she began her journey into sobriety, and has since obtained her certification as a Peer Support Specialist, Recovery Coach, Reiki Practitioner, and Theta Healing Practitioner, and has goals to continue learning more with the intention of training others in these areas. Holly is employed as a Special Education Assistant in her local school district as well. She volunteers her time as a board member for Stop Heroin Now, an Advisory Council member for Wisconsin Voices For Recovery, is a member of Drug Free Communities of Fond du lac County, all of which envelope advocacy work for those in recovery. She also voluntarily does Reiki sessions with the women at Mahala’s Hope, and seeks opportunities to share her story at events, churches, and schools, and encourages others to do the same.

In her spare time, Holly enjoys hiking in the woods, spending time with her family, kayaking, reading, making custom essential oil blends, and doing research in various fields of interest.

“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’s 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

I have been a caregiver, in some capacity, for most of my life. I knew I wanted to continue my education outside of High School, but I had no idea what to do. I met with a school counselor to discuss my options and I had told her that all I knew for sure was that I wanted to help people. A few weeks later I was enrolled into a Human Services program. I graduated with my associate degree in Human Services in 2014 and I continued my Human Services schooling so I could have an emphasis in AODA.

I feel like Mahala’s Hope found me. I wasn’t actively looking for a job when I came across the job listing for the counselor aide position. I knew that I had the qualifications and the passion to help people in recovery, so I applied. I am honored to be part of a team that shares so many talents and skills with each other and the clients. Having the opportunity to witness the transformation of so many lives has truly been humbling.

Self-care is something I struggled to understand; however, I have learned the importance of it and why I needed to learn what that meant for me. When I am not at work, I am taking time to care for myself in some way whether that is spending time grounding myself outdoors, enjoying time with friends and family, or traveling.