Meet Our Staff
Always Ready to Lend a Helping Hand
Kelly Smith Arickx
Kelly is an Iowa Board Certified Master Social Worker (MSW). Kelly uses a systems approach to work with children and adults. She has a specialization in trauma response and uses a variety of therapeutic interventions to meet individual client needs.
Kelly received her Bachelor’s degree in secondary education from University of Northern Iowa (1992), a Master’s degree in Behavior Disorders from Morningside College (1999), a Master’s degree in social work with a trauma specialization from University of Northern Iowa (2021) and is currently working on a Ph.D. in psychology from Liberty University. Kelly has professional experience as a youth development specialist/counselor at Gerard of Iowa, an EMT and a teacher of students in grades 6 – college.
Olivia Harden has been with Avalon Center since 2018 as an Office Manager. Olivia received her A.A. in Human Services through NIACC in 2020. She is currently attending BVU to double major with her B.A. in Psychology and Human Services.
LMHC, LMHP, LBSW, NCC
Leah Weber has been working in the field of social services for over 30 years. Leah has been with the Avalon Center since it’s inception in 2000 as the executive director. Leah received her master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of Northern Iowa. She is proficient in foster care, adoption and attachment issues. Leah is a certified Adoption Competent Trained Therapist. Leah provides evidence based treatments such as EMDR and TF-CBT.
Brittany Promes has been a social worker for the past ten years. After
providing in-home safety and permanency services to help keep families together she found a passion working with children from hard places. She
went on to get her masters degree from University of Northern Iowa with a
focus on trauma.
Kristin Brown has been working with a variety of youth for over 8 years. She received her master's in mental health counseling from Buena Vista University. She has a passion for working with youth and trauma informed techniques.
Deb Blankenship has worked in child welfare for over 30 years. She has completed her master's degree in mental health counseling from Capella University and received her bachelor’s in social work from the University of Northern Iowa. works with individuals of all ages.
Cassandra Arenas, LMSW, has been a social worker since 2019. She started her career in child welfare before transitioning to clinical social work in 2022. Cassandra gained experience providing inpatient mental health therapy for children and adolescents. Her main goal is to provide a safe and neutral environment for clients to express their feelings and gain skills. She sees anyone from age 2-65+. Cassandra uses a client strength-based approach with DBT and CBT skills. She is also a Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) therapist. Hablo espanol!