Melanie Christian
COTA, Clinical Director, Team Lead

Melanie is our Clinical Director and has over 20 years of pediatric experience. She has been with Building Futures since its opening in 2005. Melanie leads by example and enjoys mentoring new graduates and new OT’s in our profession. She strongly believes in seeing things from the eyes of the child and meeting the needs of each child individually in order for them to participate in their daily lives.

Kelly Cain
COTA, Team Lead, clinical manager

Kelly became an OTA in 2001 and has 20 years of experience. She has been with the Building Futures family since 2007!  She is a certified autism specialist and her passion is working with these children and families, so that they can meet their goals to the fullest potential! She loves being able to make a difference in each child’s everyday life! Kelly is a lead at our Monroe location and helps mentor, lead and train other staff members at this location. She believes in passing down her knowledge to others is at best benefit to the entire community!

Brittany Keen
LOTR, Team Lead

Brittany is earning a certification in Floortime DIR and will be one of only 12 practitioners in Louisiana. She also has personal experience with her own daughter being in the NICU and sweet little Alaina has actually already graduated from therapy!

Anna Dearman
LOTR, CLC, Team Lead

Anna attended Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and graduated in 2012 with a Master of Occupational Therapy. She has extensive knowledge and experience in pediatric orthopedic conditions including splinting prosthetics and equipment management from her time spent working at Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. She is a Certified Lactation Counselor and is currently working towards international board certification by completing the requirements to sit for the IBCLC exam. She is a tethered oral tissue (TOTS) trained provider, enabling her to establish a pre and post frenectomy plan of care tailored to each child. She works with dentists, ENTS, and physicians to perform functional feeding/oral motor function assessments on the bottle, breast, and solid feeding pre procedure and is able to collaborate with recommended release providers to develop a plan of care to meet your family’s needs. Anna enjoys working for Building Futures because it gives her the opportunity to serve the needs of families in our community that would not otherwise have access to lactation care.

Miranda Baer

Miranda graduated from BPCC with her OTA degree in December 2020. She has been with Building Futures since March 2021. She has a passion for helping the pediatric population thrive in occupational therapy. She enjoys working with our wonderful staff at the Ruston clinic and assisting the children in our community. In her free time, she likes hunting and traveling.

Jonann Arrant

Jonann is excited to have been in the very first certification class in the US for the Evaluation of Ayres Sensory Integration! She loves being able to talk with families about their goals they want to accomplish for their child and establishing a plan of care that is not only functional but also important to the family!

Jana Ferchaud

Jana graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Occupational Therapy program in 2006. Throughout her experience as an Occupational Therapist, she has worked primarily with pediatrics in the areas of early intervention, school system, and outpatient pediatric therapy. Her mom was a kindergarten teacher for 34 years, so she knew at an early age that she wanted to work with children, but had a deep desire to work within the medical field. The field of pediatric Occupational Therapy has allowed her to get a chance to do just that!! She remembers some of her first pediatric patients from over 16 years ago. Through the years, each patient of hers has left an imprint on her heart. Building Futures has such a wonderful team that she is thankful for and it brings her joy to be a part of our pediatric Occupational Therapy team!

Colin Brooks

Colin graduated from ULM’s OTA program In 2021 and recently joined the Building Futures about 6 months ago. She has a passion for finding creative ways to make working towards goals fun and functional. She’s also a part of the awesome hippotherapy team. 

Kristen Wallace

Kristen graduated from ULM’s COTA program in 2015 with plans to work with children. She worked with adults for 8 years before joining the Building Futures team in 2023. Kristen is excited to help every child reach their goals! In my spare time I love to be with my family and our pups. We love all outdoor activities and are very active in our church.

Rae Dickson

Rae graduated from Louisiana State University with her Bachelors of Science in May 2021. Since then, she has attended ULM Occupational Therapy Assistant Program and graduated December 2022. Rae is excited to begin her career with the Building Futures PediatricTherapy team. She has a strong passion to work with children and help them reach their highest potential through fun and creative ways. It brings her so much joy to see our kid’s smiling faces as they meet their goals.

Macie Branch

Macie earned her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from LSU Health Shreveport in 2020 and recently joined the Building Futures team. She loves getting to work with children and coming up with creative and fun ways to help each child reach their goals.

Ashleigh Colvin

Ashleigh has worked as an occupational therapy practitioner since 2016 and continued her education by completing her master’s degree through ULM in 2020. She is passionate about using creative play that incorporates a child’s interest during sessions to promote the skills needed for everyday life. 

Baylen Harris

Baylen is able to meet any child at their level and loves the challenge and fun of helping them do hard work while they are having so much fun! He also has training in complex feeding and swallowing issues.

Jessica Huff
COTA, Hippotherapy Program Lead

Jessica has a passion for both children and animals. Recently, she has been able to combine her two loves with Hippotherapy by getting her certification in this specialized area. She enjoys being able to witness and experience the emotion, sensory input and problem solving of a child when working with the horses on the ranch!

Chase Owens

Chase is from El Dorado, AR. He graduated from SACC’s OTA program in 2021 and joined our team at Building Futures in May, 2022. Chase has a true passion for working with children and genuinely takes his kiddos’ success with Occupational Therapy to the next level. Not only does Chase work at our Ruston clinic, but he also works with our great team members at our Hippotherapy program at the Owl Center. Chase enjoys working with the other team members at Building Futures and learning from the best!

Jennifer Reeves
LOTR, CEO, Owner

Jennifer is one of our owners and has been practicing OT for more than 20 years. She has a highly creative mind and enjoys making both clinics fun and functional for our children. She is immensely proud of the growth of our company and is thrilled to have such an amazing team!

Amber Soignier

I attended ULM Occupational Therapy Assistant Program and graduated December 2019. I have over a year experience working in pediatric therapy, however have only been with Building Futures since September of 2022. I was born and raised in Lafayette, LA and moved to Ruston in 2017 to go to school. I enjoy walking the local parks with my dog and doing arts and crafts! Working with our committed families at Building Futures brings so much joy; I get to share the smiling faces of our kiddos and caregivers as they meet their goals.

Hadley Swartz

Hadley graduated from ULM’s OTA program in 2018, but she has loved this profession since she was a child. She has seen firsthand the benefits occupational therapy can bring to a child and their family. She strives to help her kids reach their highest potential imaginable through fun and exciting ways.

Jennifer Sanderson

Jennifer graduated from ULM with her associates in Occupational Therapy in May 1998. She has a strong passion to work with children and loves to see their smiling faces. In my free time I enjoy working out, tennis and taking care of my four teenagers and husband of 20 years

Ashley Miers

Ashley graduated from ULM in 2017 with an Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. It is exciting to work with children helping them to meet their highest potential! I am married with 2 children, love to garden, fish and spend time with my family.

Sarah Nguyen

Sarah grew up in Ruston, Louisiana. Graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science and received a Master of Occupational Therapy at the College of Saint Mary’s. Working with children and their spontaneity brings her joy. She hopes to be able to guide your child to be the greatest they can be. In her free time, she also enjoys reading and doing crafts, while listening to classical music. 

Katie Whitaker

Katie loved seeing firsthand how functional play and home exercises changed her daughter’s outcomes of being born with arthrogryposis and her son being a NICU baby! This is what helped her decide to be a COTA. She joined our team in August of 2020 and has been a wonderful addition with her positive and upbeat attitude!

Kristin Wyble

Kristin has a passion for kiddos with sensory processing disorders and she is finishing up her certification in Yoga Calm. She has been with Building Futures since 2016.

Kylie Reid
PTA, team lead, clinic manager

Kylie joined our team in 2018 after graduating from BPCC and greatly enjoys working with all of her kiddos. She has experience working with several different gait impairments, balance disorders, autism, and has even begun offering equine therapy sessions. Seeing her kids reach their goals and the joy it brings them is the highlight of her day!

Renee Pilgreen
PTA, Team Lead, public relations director

Renee joined the Building Futures team in 2014. She is certified in aquatics and has several pediatric training courses. She loves her job and looks forward to going to work everyday! She is very passionate about making a difference in each child’s life. She is blessed to have the job in helping children meet their gross motor skills. Renee and her husband Clay have raised two children from NICU to teenagers. She understands the pain and trauma that parents face when they have babies in NICU. The best thing about her job is celebrating those milestones with the children and their parents!

Brianna Castaldi

My name is Brianna Castaldi! I graduated from ULM with a bachelors in Kinesiology, and followed it up at Louisiana College with a PTA degree. Since the start of me entering the therapy field, my passion has been to work in pediatrics, so Building Futures is naturally home for me!

My favorite thing about my job is watching kids succeed and reach the goals they have been working so hard towards. I love that I play a small role in their achievements!

Courtney Dye

Courtney Dye graduated from University of Central Arkansas in 2021. She has always had a heart for kids and, after having different opportunities to work with this population, that interest has only grown. She loves getting to be a part of an amazing team that helps children reach goals that allow them to play and interact with their peers and to live their lives to the fullest.

Morgan Hartline

Morgan has four years of pediatric experience. She joined the Building Futures family in January of 2017. Her pediatric training includes NDT-Pediatric Intensive Handling Techniques, MNRI, APTA Certified Clinical Instructor.

Kelsey Idom

Kelsey is a new graduate who is from the West Monroe/Calhoun area. She received a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from ULM and went on to LSU Health in Shreveport to complete her doctorate degree in physical therapy. Kelsey completed a clinical site rotation with Building Futures last year, and was excited to be able to come back and work with this amazing team and their awesome pediatric population! She is thankful for the staff’s encouragement and blessed to be able to help children meet their full potential.

Stephanie Boughner

Stephanie has 6 years of pediatric experience. She joined the Building Futures family in June 2020. Her pediatric training includes a Residency in Pediatric Therapy where she gained skills in multiple pediatric settings as well as the NICU and wound care. Stephanie recently obtained her Certified Primitive Reflex Clinical Specialist (CPRCS) Certification. She enjoys using her various experiences and trainings to help her patients and families reach their goals. In her free time she enjoys exercising, playing tennis, traveling, watching sports, and spending time with her husband, two little girls, and dogs.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen attended Belmont University Physical Therapy Program and graduated August 2011. She has nearly 10 years of experience working in pediatric therapy. She joined the Building Futures team in August 2022. She has been living out of state for several years but recently moved back to her hometown of Monroe, LA with her husband and 3 children. She is thankful to have the opportunity to empower children and families, and Building Futures is a great clinic where she is able to accomplish that!

Jason McGowen

Jason enjoys working at Building Futures! He is able to use his 20 plus years experience to improve the function and quality of a child’s life. He has come to love and cherish each visit and look forward to work everyday. Jason has a son who is Autistic and is able to relate to parents of Autistic children. Even though Jason and his family is from Texas, he has already become a LSU fan! In his spare time, Jason enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Amanda McDaniel
SLP, Team Lead, Clinic Manager

Amanda has been with our team for 12 years! She has a passion for helping children meet their goals by developing relationships and mutual respect. She believes using that foundation to understand their individual needs is key in empowering them to express themselves.

Erica Andrews
SLP, Team Lead, clinic manager

Erica has been treating clients for nine years and working for Building Futures for three years. What makes her stand out as an SLP is that she loves to collaborate with her fellow OTs and PTs. She feels that meeting the client’s sensory and physical needs allows for a more successful speech treatment session. You can treat the “whole client,” making therapy much more beneficial.

Hannah Altick

My name is Hannah Altick, and I graduated from Louisiana Tech university in May 2021. I began practicing as a Speech Language Pathologist and started working at Building Futures in 2021. I am LSVT certified! I love working at Building Futures and collaborating with the other professionals to help the sweet kiddos achieve their goals! I chose working with children because I love seeing them progress and work towards their goals and improve in life skills!

Tiffany Bowman

Tiffany is currently working on her eighth year as an SLP. She has been working for BF for a little over two months now since moving back to Ruston, but she also worked for BF from 2014-2017, which is almost four years in total! Tiffany says, “I love working with individuals with early language deficits, especially kiddos with ASD. Growing up with an autistic twin brother has given me insight to not only know how to treat a child from a professional point of view but understand the challenges families face daily. I’ve had the opportunities to practice, supervise and teach pediatric language skills in the clinical and academic setting in my short time as a therapist and continue to learn and grow with each year.

Angela Daykin

Angela graduated from Louisiana Tech in 2015. She has worked in various settings as a Speech-Language Pathologist but pediatrics holds a special place in her heart. She has worked for Building Futures since September 2022. She says, “I have the best job on the planet! I love being a part of helping children improve their overall communication skills. I am super grateful to work for such a well-respected clinic that plays a vital role in helping children and families in our community.

Tara Holmes

Tara Holmes is from the small town Rayville, LA. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with her Bachelors in Pre-Professional Speech Language Pathology, May 2021. She has always had a strong passion to work with children and loves seeing their smiling faces and helping them meet their speech therapy goals! Tara has always had a special love for helping anyone who comes across her path. Tara enjoys working with all the Building Futures team members and learning new information every day from the best peers in this area! 

Linda Claire Horne

Linda Claire graduated in May of 2019 with her Masters’s in Speech-Language Pathology. She has served the pediatric population for the past three years in the school system and now at Building Futures!

She has a deep love for the kiddos she serves and thinks children have so much to teach us. The first words spoken, sweet smiles, and speech and language milestones reached are what motivate Linda Claire to be a better therapist every day.

Ashlyn Hanna

Ashlyn graduated from Louisiana Tech University with her bachelor’s degree in Pre-Professional Speech-Language Pathology in May of 2021. Then pursued her master’s degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and graduated May 2023.  Ashlyn has always enjoyed working with children and is so blessed to have the opportunity to play such a small role in their life. She has always loved how unique the field of speech-language pathology is; her passion for this profession grows with each child she meets. 

Madison Morris

Maddie just earned her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology at Louisiana Tech University. She says, “I have found a love for pediatrics. I love to help and watch them reach their goals. I’m so excited for my journey at Building Futures!”

Amanda Ables

Amanda graduated in 2021 with a master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Before becoming a speech therapist, she taught Montessori preschool and middle school. She is passionate about pediatrics and loves helping children reach their full potential!

Samantha Weems

Sam attended Louisiana Tech University for my undergraduate and master’s degree. I earned my master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in May of 2023. I always knew that I wanted to work with the pediatric population. Watching the kids gain more confidence and meet their speech and language goals is such a rewarding feeling! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, Kaleb, and my dog, Owen. I also enjoy reading a good book!

Elizabeth Neilson

Elizabeth has worked with our team for the past four years and had this to say, “As a therapist and a foster parent, I hope to always stand out by working as hard for each of my kiddos as I would want someone to work for my own child… and by being compassionate.”

Leslie Hebert

Leslie Smith Herbert graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 1990 and a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1993. Leslie has served as a practicing speech therapist, with additional supervisory roles in Arkansas and Louisiana in part for 30 years. Together, with her husband, Greg, they have raised a daughter, Devin, and a son, Dalton, in Ruston, Louisiana. She has treated individuals of all ages with a wide variety of communication disorders and brings with her a wealth of knowledge, training, and speech therapy techniques. The last 17 years she has worked as a full-time speech-language pathologist with the Lincoln Parish School system. In March of 2023, Leslie started working at Building Futures after school to help out as needed. Building Futures’ team-oriented, family-centered atmosphere is something Leslie enjoys. She loves to help children find their voice, maximize their communication capabilities, and achieve their developmental milestones.

Wendy Petrus
SLP, Admin Director, Owner

Wendy Petrus is one of our owners. She graduated with her Master’s degree and began practicing as a Speech Language Pathologist in 2007. She joined the team in 2008 and became a partner in 2010. She has always had a passion for helping children and knew very early on that she wanted to work with the pediatric population. She has a strong intention to work with not only the child but the entire family and instills these ideals and virtues in her team members. Over the years, she has gained extensive training and certification in pediatric specific techniques. She has a love for sharing her knowledge with new therapists and helping them grow to be amazing as well!

Abigail Hagood

Abigail graduated from Louisiana Tech University with my Bachelors in Pre- Professional Speech Language Pathology in May 2022. She joined Building Futures in January 2023. She has always had a strong passion to work with children and loves to watch them grow and achieve their speech goals. “I love working at Building Futures, not only do I get to have a relationship with the kiddos, I can form a relationship with their families as well! I am looking forward to my journey here at Building Futures!”

Sara Kate Putnam

Sara Kate has always had a passion for working with children for as long as she can remember! She has been practicing as a speech-language pathologist for over 8 years. She loves seeing the progress of the children on her caseload over the years and building relationships with the special families she serves. She has had special training in therapy programs such as the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol, SATPAC Speech, Lively Letters by TLC, and Vital-Stim Therapy.

Rayna Trujillo

Rayna graduated from ULM in May 2020 with her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology and has been a clinician at Building Futures since early 2022. She began her career in Skilled Nursing Facilities and now practices with both geriatric and pediatric populations. Her favorite part about working with pediatrics is developing relationships with the families and helping her clients reach their milestones through fun play-based therapy!

Allyson Gilbert
Patient Care Coordinator, Monroe

My name is Allyson Gilbert, and I am the Patient Care Coordinator here at Building Futures. It is such an honor to see our therapist making the biggest difference in these kiddos lives. And seeing the children’s exciting faces when they arrive and smiles when they leave is such a wonderful experience. While at home, I enjoy spending time with my fiance and family, going to the park and walking trails. When not doing that I enjoy reading and watching Netflix with my cat, Clairice.

Abigail Benefield
Collection Specialist, Monroe

Hello! My name is Abigail Benefield. I graduated from Louisiana Delta Community College with an associate degree in business technology. I am the youngest of three, a twin sister and a brother. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, Fortnite especially,  listening to music, painting, and hanging out with my family. I love working for Building Futures. The atmosphere is so fun, and the staff is so outgoing and positive. I am so grateful to be a part of such an amazing team.

Jasmine Green
Front Desk/Intake Coordinator, Monroe

Hi! I am Jasmine, the front desk/intake coordinator for our Monroe location. I joined the Building Futures team in November of 2022. I enjoy being the face that everyone sees when checking their children in for therapy. In my spare time I love finding diy projects , and organizing. I like working for Building Futures because it is a wonderful environment for the children to grow. I enjoy working with an amazing staff that has welcomed me with open arms.

Catina Lewis
Staff Success Coordinator

Hi, my name is Catina! As Staff Success Coordinator, I am excited to be a part of ensuring the growth and success of each staff member. Building Futures has built a team of outstanding therapists and staff of which I am thankful to be a part. I am filled with joy seeing our amazing team help our patients be the best they can be. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Amy Riley
Collections Specialist, Ruston

My name is Amy and I have lived in Ruston for over 20 years. I have worked with insurance/collections for over 15 years. I joined the Building Futures family over a year ago as a Collection Specialist. I now also handle credentialing. It’s a joy to collaborate with people who are enthusiastic about helping children. Seeing the smiles & joy on the faces of the kids that come to therapy is extremely rewarding.  When not at work, I love spending time with my husband, family & my very spoiled dog, Blu.  

Harlee Roberts
Front Desk/Intake Coordinator, Ruston

Hi! I am Harlee Roberts, the front desk intake coordinator for Ruston. I am currently getting my degree in Business Administration at Louisiana Delta Community College. I have three years experience with medical office work. My favorite thing about working at Building Futures is getting to see the smiles on all of the kids’ faces when they come through the door. Their excitement for our clinic and their therapist is very inspiring! My favorite pastimes are spending time with friends and family, traveling, and watching movies.

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