Bri graduated in 2009 from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Bri moved to Asheville after a year of backpacking internationally. Bri intended to stay in Asheville only temporarily but quickly fell in love with the mountains and her Solstice family. Bri started with Solstice as a Mentor and then Team Manager before moving into the Residential Director role. She feels both pride and gratitude to be a part of the growth and healing she’s seen in students and their families during her time at Solstice. In her free time, Bri is often getting as much of the outdoors as possible. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, biking, and running
Danielle Manion, B.A.
Danielle graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville with a BA in psychology. Following college Danielle has worked in developmental childcare centers, YMCA summer camp and after-school programs and a Psychiatric treatment facility. Danielle has always has been passionate about helping young people who were “at-risk” or in need of extra guidance and support, find a greater peace and meaning in their lives. Since coming to Solstice Danielle has enjoyed using the relationship based model to not only build relationships with these young women, but has continued to learn more about herself. Danielle hopes to foster an understanding of self worth in the youth that she works with so that they may see the great potential their lives have in store for them. Away from work, Danielle loves creek hopping, waterfall jumping and any outdoor adventure she can find with her dog by her side. She has grown up in these beautiful mountains and is constantly finding new outdoor treasures. Danielle value the importance of a healthy active lifestyle and the benefits that working out and running have on everyday happiness.
Laurel Team Manager
Danielle Willis, MSW
Born in Asheville, Danielle moved to Florida when she was in elementary school. While living in Florida, her passion for being a listening ear pushed her to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Florida. She then worked as an elephant trainer while also teaching English as a second language. Danielle decided that elephants didn’t talk quite enough and began to explore advocacy in her home town of Tallahassee. She began working at a foster home for teen mothers, which sparked her love of Social Work. Quickly after, she went to Florida State University and obtained her master’s degree in Social Work. With her master’s, she practiced therapy with teenagers in the school system, crisis shelters, and trauma centers. She also traveled the West Indies to teach empowerment to suppressed populations. Although she loves the ocean waters, Danielle moved back to Asheville chasing the mountains. When she isn’t working, Danielle loves gardening and exploring. But, you can frequently find her around campus having impromptu dance parties or encouraging her students to step outside of their comfort zone.
Overnight Team Manager
Robin Mitzelos, M.S.P.
Robin is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Animal Science. Robin then went on to earn a Masters degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix, she is now currently working on her final year to finish her doctorate in Education. Robin also has experience working with children of various ages, working as lead preschool teacher to being a director for the YMCA. She also volunteered for the Knox County School System in their elementary reading program. Robin has also taught psychology, ethics, and logic at the National College of Business as well Walter State Community College. Robin loves animals particularly horseback riding and is a voracious reader.
Hazel Team Manager
Effy graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies. While living in Boone, NC she worked as a Desk Shift Volunteer with the ASU Women’s Center, as an After School Program Intern with Western Youth Network, and a Climbing Wall Supervisor at ASU Outdoor Programs. Her passion for feminism and women’s empowerment led her to Solstice East, where she loves working with the residents on finding their self-worth and teaching them to express themselves assertively. Effy believes that softness is a strength, and shows up as a role model for students by showing them empathy and unconditional positive regard. She spends her free time rock climbing, drawing, and studying for school.
Alarka Team Manager
Afton Weiner, M.S
Afton strives to make every day feel like Summer Camp! After attending summer camp for 9 years as a camper and 7 years as a counselor, department head, and head counselor, Afton decided to turn her passion into a career. She received a Master’s degree in Camp Administration and became the Program Director at Circle F Dude Ranch Camp in central Florida. Knowing it was time to leave the nest, Afton decided to give the mountains a go and found Solstice East. “I didn’t just find another place to work, I found a community.” Here, Afton can apply her passion for play in a new and meaningful way that fosters connection, healing, and growth.
Hominy Team Manager
Lauren was born and raised in Mooresville, NC. While in high school she worked with teenage girls who struggled at home and at school. She continued in the mentor role at Western Carolina University where she mentored freshman throughout her undergraduate degree. She graduated from WCU in 2015 with a degree in psychology and a minor in nutrition. Lauren has worked at Solstice East since 2015 and takes pride in the growth and all that she has learned working here. Lauren believes that there is an opportunity to learn in everything that we do and cherishes her time and growth at Solstice East. Lauren’s passion at work is to guide the students into loving and valuing themselves in a way they deserve and empowering them to make healthy changes in their lives. Outside of work Lauren enjoys hiking with her dog, cuddling with her cat and traveling.
Eno Team Manager
AJ graduated from UNC Asheville with a Bachelor’s in psychology. She started in the field by working 2 years in wilderness therapy, and then 4 years at a residential facility for 10-14 year old girls. AJ brings her passion for play and abundance of energy to all her relationships. Since being at Solstice East, AJ has enjoyed building connections through not only fun, but the heartfelt interactions afforded by the relationship-based model. In her free time, AJ is involved in several community organizations, such as Our Voice and Girls Rock. She also loves to garden, do woodworking, work on her truck, kayak, backpack, mountain bike and make pickles. AJ never likes to get bored and is always looking for adventures.