Washington House Staff

Carol Casey

Carol C., our Life Skills Supervisor, is no stranger to our STARS since being involved in STARS Disability Ministry for almost 25 years. Carol works diligently with the Life Skills Tutors to ensure the residents have the tools they need to move closer to independence. She recruits, trains and schedules staff, develops life skills goals as well as behavior plans for residents, develops operating procedures and communicates with families. Carol has a background that makes her well-suited for this position. She is a certified special education teacher and behavior specialist who has authored an adaptive Sunday School curriculum which was published in 2001 by Faith Alive Christian Resources. Carol knows the STARS well and is very sensitive to their individual needs. Carol has been married to Kevin for over 30 years, has 7 children and 4 of the cutest grandchildren!



A certified Social Worker, Darlene is our morning Life Skills Tutor II. She greets our women each weekday morning and sees them through the process of their morning routine. Each woman has a unique daily schedule. Darlene knows who has to get where and when! As each prepares for her day, Darlene comes alongside - utilizing Boardmaker pictures and moving them closer to independence. The women are responsible for making their own breakfast and getting themselves ready on time. These are busy mornings, but Darlene has it down to a science. Darlene also is our grocery shopping partner. Ladies work on shopping skills as Darlene monitors them during their monthly shopping outing. We are thankful for Darlene’s social work background which contributes much to her interactions with the residents.


Trace is our Washington House Community Builder.  As the CB, Trace is the overnight presence at the house, nightly devotions leader, and physical plant monitor.  He came to us very prepared as he had over 9 years of experience in the STARS Disability Ministry in various capacities;  serving on Sunday mornings, as well as being a buddy at Friday Nite Fun and STARS Retreats.  Prior to becoming involved in STARS, Trace has had many interesting jobs, one of which is a nuclear plant engineer, having received his master’s degree in engineering from U of I.  Trace is much beloved as the Community Builder, and is affectionately known as “Uncle Trace”.


Tonya D. Is our Partner Coach Supervisor. She has worked with our STARS for over three years beginning as a volunteer for Praise in Action and later working at the Washington House as a Life Skills Tutor. Tonya oversees the hiring, training and scheduling of substitute Partner Coaches. She also acts as a Partner Coach herself, working alongside our STARS in two resale shops run by College Church (STARS Resale and Twice is Nice). She teaches our STARS to be true partners in the shops by modeling job specific tasks in the workplace. She also assists the STARS with social skills and in forming relationships with co-workers, managers and customers. Tonya enjoys spending time with her husband, Dan, their five children (four of which are quadruplets) and their two dogs.



Originally from St. Louis, Nathan has been working at the Washington House since the summer 2014 when he jumped right in as Trace's 7-week Community Builder sub. Nathan is now our Sunday evening Life Skills Tutor, in addition to subbing for Trace occasionally. He enjoys hanging out with the guys on Sunday evenings and loves both the joys and the challenges that those friendships provide. Currently a grad student in mathematics at UIC, Nathan enjoys playing any fretted instrument he can get his hands on.



Christian comes to Stars Family Services as a guy very familiar with our STARS! He has been involved with STARS Disability ministry for 13 years as a volunteer in the Teen STARS Sunday school, providing respite care, attending STARS retreats as a buddy and even serving as a one-on-one aide on a STARS trip to Florida. Christian has taught at Giant Steps, a school for kids with autism. Joining the Washington House staff in 2014, Christian enjoys his role as Sunday Life Skills Tutor. He provides leisure time activities for our residents which include; watching football, doing puzzles, going for walks, playing games, and of course eating pizza!



As our morning Life Skills Tutor, Kelly brings much joy to the Washington House. Kelly is a certified Special Education teacher with many years of teaching experience. Most recently a substitute teacher, Kelly enjoyed working in many areas of special education. Kelly utilizes her education and teaching experience as she comes alongside our men of the Washington House as they begin each weekday. As she oversees their morning routines and their interactions with one another, making sure each is prepared for his day she is thankful to be able encourage them in their faith journeys. Kelly and her husband have served together in youth ministry, church planting, and as missionaries to Indonesia. We are thankful for the wealth of experience and strong faith Kelly brings to the Washington House.



A lifetime member of College Church, Leah has been very familiar with the STARS Disability Ministry. As our Saturday Life Skills Tutor, Leah has truly gotten to know and love our women of the Jean Hooten House. Leah’s degree in Psychology has prepared her for a deeper understanding of our residents and she has a passion for her work at the JHH. Leah has shared her love of baking with the women, which is evidenced by the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen! She also is eager to take the women on outings, going to such places as Cosley Zoo and St. James horse farm which appeal to our resident’s love of animals. We appreciate Leah’s positive energy and creative ideas. Leah feels she has gained so much from the women of the Jean Hooten Home as their example of faith has been a blessing to her!



With a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and Educational Services, Christine brings much creativity and energy to her position as weekend Life Skills Tutor! With an older sister who participates in STARS Disability Ministry, Christine has the benefit of being well acquainted with our women of the Jean Hooten Home. In addition to being a well loved weekend staff at the JHH, Christine brings her energy to the STARS Partner Program as she works as a substitute Partner Coach.

Christine incorporates her interest in yoga into the Saturday morning activities at the Hooten Home~a nice way for our residents to start their day!