Thank you to our Fall Brunch guests, sponsors, presenters, donors, and everyone who helped to make this event a success!

On Sunday, October 22, 2017, more than 100 guests gathered at the beautiful home of Mary and Joe Fenkel in Gladwyne, PA. Among them were Master of Ceremonies, Matt Bellace, PhD; Honorary Event Chair, Val Arkoosh, MD, MPH; Katchen Fazzini shared her experience as a family member who has found support after being impacted by addiction; and Father Bill Hultberg, who shared remarks and perspectives as a spiritual advisor.

Our honorees were Jamison Monroe, who received the Conversation Inspiration Award, and Carl Antisell who received the Conversation Youth Inspiration Award.

Sincere thanks to our Event Sponsors, Planning Committee, Board of Directors, and our incredibly gracious hosts, the Fenkels!

Since our first educational program, held six years ago, Be a Part of the Conversation has reached thousands of parents, educators, health care providers, students and community leaders and has become a leading voice in addressing substance use, misuse and addiction and its impact on individuals and their families.
Through innovative programs taking place year-round throughout the Delaware Valley, the Conversation is building and supporting communities that are increasingly informed, aware and able to take timely and positive action toward healing and lifelong recovery.

“Conversation Inspiration Award”

Jamison Monroe

Jamison is the Founder and CEO of Newport Academy. He is also the Founder of the Center for Families.

Jamison Monroe, Jr., brings years of both professional and personal recovery experience to his leadership of Newport Academy. Jamison cares deeply about teens and their families facing mental health challenges, and is dedicated to providing the highest-quality treatment. As a result, he has become a prominent voice in the field of adolescent mental health, and an active participant in the movement to reduce the stigma around mental health and substance abuse challenges. Jamison is a writer, spokesperson, kundalini yoga instructor, and meditation teacher. Furthermore, he is a strong advocate for holistic learning and compassionate care for all teenagers.

Conversation Youth Inspiration Award

Carl Antisell

Carl is the Director of Marketing and Information Systems, Minding Your Mind.

Carl Antisell has taken his experience in business and marketing and now applies it to advocacy and education at a grassroots level, always with a focus on empowering youth to make change. He is one of the founders of the Haven in University City, a collegiate community focused on providing support for college students in recovery from substance use disorder.

Carl also started the Philadelphia chapter of Young People in Recovery, a volunteer advocacy organization committed to reducing stigma and educating the community about the mental health aspect of addiction. Carl is one of the facilitators for the Lower Merion Youth Coalition and has been recognized as a community partner by Need In Deed for his work with them in inner city schools.

Honorary Event Chairperson

The Honorable Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH

Val is the Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Dr. Valerie Arkoosh is a parent of three, physician, health policy expert, and community leader who was appointed a Montgomery County Commissioner on January 29, 2015, and was elected to a full four year term on November 3, 2015. She currently serves as Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. A practicing obstetric anesthesiologist for over two decades, Val has always put the health and well being of her community and local families first. 

Val is also a member of the county’s Overdose Task Force. As a doctor, she believes in a multidisciplinary approach to fighting the opioid crisis, including advocating for responsible prescribing guidelines for physicians, ensuring that all law enforcement and schools carry the overdose antidote Naloxone, and supporting warm handoff treatment programs. She also signed a standing order in 2015 to allow participating pharmacies in Montgomery County to dispense Naloxone to any member of the public without a prescription.

>> Click here to visit Montgomery County’s Opioid Geostory Website

Master of Ceremonies

Matt Bellace, PhD

Matt is a Speaker, Psychologist, Comedian & author of A Better High

Matt Bellace, Ph.D., has been a youth motivational speaker and stand-up comedian since 1995. Dr. Bellace has a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology (the study of the brain and behavior), is a member of the National Speakers Association and the author of the book, “A Better High.” He is also a contributing author for the National Geographic Kids book series, “This or That.” His “How to Get High Naturally” program encourages over a hundred thousand students a year worldwide to pursue natural highs and make healthy choices. Matt was a recurring comedian on truTV’s hit show, “World’s Dumbest.”

Matt’s educational background reads more like that of a professor than a speaker and comedian.  He has always had a passion for neuroscience.  In fact, his doctorate in clinical psychology includes a subspecialty in clinical neuropsychology, which is the study of the brain and behavior. In graduate school, he spent two summers as an intern studying memory in primates at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. His doctoral work also included training in the treatment of epilepsy at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia), learning disorders in a pediatric neuropsychology private practice and psychotherapy at the Drexel University- Hahnemann Campus, Student Counseling Center. Matt completed his clinical internship working with traumatic brain and spinal cord injury patients at The Mount Sinai Medical in New York City. In 2005, Matt successfully defended his dissertation, “Activation of the Hippocampus During Emotional Learning,” which was later published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

Matt is currently lives with his wife and two children in the Princeton, NJ area. His wife, Dara, is also a clinical psychologist, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. She maintains a private practice in Princeton.

Blessing & Remarks

Father William “Bill” Hultberg, OSFS

Father Bill is the long-time Spiritual Advisor at Caron Treatment Center

Father William “Bill” Hultberg, OSFS, Spiritual Advisor, offers spiritual and religious counseling to recovering addicts and codependents and helps patients at Caron Treatment Center understand the 12-Step spirituality of recovery. He has developed and implemented a spiritual program of support for HIV-positive and AIDS patients and has played an integral role in developing HIV retreat weekends that are hosted by Caron. With 35 years of service with the U.S. Army and Navy, Father Bill retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1991. As a Navy Chaplain, he served with the Marines in the Vietnam War, where he received the Bronze Star Medal with “Combat V” for valor. As an active duty Chaplain with the U.S. Army, he also received four Meritorious Service Medals for his work in developing and implementing alcohol and drug prevention programs.

Meet Our Hosts

Mary & Joseph Fenkel

Thank you to Mary and Joe Fenkel for so graciously hosting this year’s fundraising event!

Joe Fenkel graduated from Penn state class of 1959 with a degree in engineering. He then went on to found McLean Packaging, and to this day he serves as their CEO. Joe loves golf, skiing, and spending time at his house in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

Mary Fenkel graduated from Rosemont College in 1972 with a degree in political science. She is the mother of seven children, and the grandmother of 12. Mary enjoys spending time with them, as well as her Irish setters, Gladys and Grover.

Event Planning Committee

Sue Crathern, Chairperson
Cindy Munger & Katherine Mitchell, Venue
Kirby Long, Silent Auction   •   Marti Phillips, Floral Decorations
Maureen Coulter   •   Casey Duffy   •   Katchen Fazzini
Caroline Fenkel   •   Mary Fenkel   •   Jackie Johnston
Chris King   •   Trish Larsen   •   Jean McClellan
Maribeth McConnell   •   Pam Moules   •   Kim Rubenstein
Kathy Sarlson   •   Carol Veneziale   •   Marijayne Wenk

Be a Part of the Conversation Board of Directors

Our Awesome Team!

John Mergenthaler, President
Doug Leavitt, Esq., Vice President
Chris King, Treasurer   •   Dawn Tucker, MS, Secretary
Shea Hoffmann   •   Bill Roberts
Kathy Sarlson   •   Jill Adams, SFW   •   Casey Duffy

Kim Rubenstein, CRS, Executive Director


Meridith Coyle & Aneu


Dave Guerin & Pro Vision

Event Photography

Lisa Schaffer Photography

Valet Parking

Justin Prince & Royal Valet

Kim Porter, CFRS
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