Hand2Paw Hires Our First Full-Time Executive Director!
We are thrilled to welcome our first full-time Executive Director, Marie Wenzel, MSW, LSW, to Hand2Paw! Marie brings fifteen years of social service experience to her position. After earning her Masters is Social Work from Temple University, she began her career in the child welfare system. Over the years, she spearheaded initiatives to increase access to innovative programming for underserved populations. Marie is dedicated to promoting positive social change and improving systems that perpetually harm people from marginalized communities.
Marie has significant experience in innovative program development. She implemented housing first practices at The Salvation Army Family Residence and led culture change within the Montgomery County shelter network. Most recently, Marie spent seven years as the director of the PEACE program of Horizon House, Inc.. PEACE is an early intervention, multidisciplinary team, providing intensive community based mental health services to youth who have new on-set psychosis. At PEACE, Marie expanded the program from a team of five reaching 50 young people with an annual budget of $450k, to a team of 20 with a $2.5m budget serving up to 150 young people in Philadelphia annually.
Having used therapy pets at PEACE, Marie understands the healing power that animal-assisted interventions have with humans. This experience motivated her to pursue the Executive Director position at Hand2Paw so that she could expand opportunities for youth to heal through helping rescue animals. Marie is passionate about addressing the violence crisis in Philadelphia by expanding Hand2Paw’s impact; offering paid internships to youth interested in developing work skills in the animal well-being and veterinary spaces, and increasing humane education workshops and pet food pantries in the community. Welcome Marie!
Meet Our New Program Director
In late May, we welcomed our new Program Director, Daisha Pierce, to the Hand2Paw team! Daisha has extensive experience working at animal well-being organizations where she has worked in various positions and supervisory roles. Daisha has a deep knowledge of the landscape of animal well-being in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas having worked at many local animal shelters such as ACCT Philly, BCAS, PSPCA, WHS, University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital and the Philadelphia Zoo. Most recently, Daisha worked in Behavioral Health with the PA Dept. of Human Services to develop a deeper understanding of the issues affecting marginalized people and pet owners in our community.
While working as a Manager at ACCT Philly, Daisha oversaw several departments including but not limited to; veterinary services, surrender prevention and the hiring of new staff. Daisha trained and managed youth interns, formerly incarcerated interns, staff, and young adult staff members (ages 16-24) in entry-level veterinary positions. We are excited to have Daisha’s expertise in expanding and teaching our animal well-being curriculum to Hand2Paw youth and managing our animal intakes and adoptions at Hand2Paw. Welcome Daisha!
Meet Our New Program Facilitator
In July, our newest team member, Jade Askew joined Hand2Paw as our Program Facilitator. Jade has experience working with youth in child welfare, crisis case management and as a therapeutic counselor for justice-involved youth. Jade held previous positions at Elwyn Seeds, CHOP’s Homeless Health Initiative, PHMC and Mathom House. Jade has a wide range of facilitation experience with youth ages 12 – 21 running groups and workshops on healthy boundaries, trauma, wellness and girls mentoring. This fall, Jade will be starting her final year of her MSW program at Widener University. Welcome Jade!
Meet the Rest of Our Staff & Board
Get to know the rest of Hand2Paw’s dedicated staff and Board of Directors.