Clark Wilharm, Executive Director
Being with the agency since 1991, Clark has seen the transition of disability services in our state and has also played an integral role in ensuring The Larrabee Center’s programs and services evolve as well. With a degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa, Clark came to TLC while the agency was still operating a care facility and served as the service coordinator. Clark later served as co-administrator before becoming our Executive Director. Clark works closely with our Board of Directors and Leadership Team to guide our services and ensure we remain focused on our mission. Clark currently serves on a housing committee to address the needs of affordable and accessible housing in Waverly. Clark also serves on the board of directors with the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging. TLC’s mission has always been near and dear to Clark as he has a family member with a disability and understands the need for support services. Clark lives in Waverly with his wife and enjoys golfing and bicycle riding in his spare time.
Bonnie Gesell, Associate Director
Bonnie’s interest in working with individuals with disabilities began when she started volunteering with Special Olympics in high school. While a student at the University of Northern Iowa, she coached a track team for persons with brain injuries and cerebral palsy that travelled throughout the United States, providing opportunities for athletes to qualify for the Paralympics. After graduating from UNI, she began working with agencies that provided services for persons with disabilities and started with The Larrabee Center in 1994. Bonnie’s roles with the agency have changed and expanded leading her to wear many hats in the support of our mission. Bonnie oversees the agency’s accounting, insurance billing, human resources, quality assurance activities, HIPAA requirements, and serves as Director over all in-home services. Throughout all of her duties, Bonnie has remained focused on our mission. “I feel it is very important that everyone is allowed to work towards the things they want in life. The Larrabee Center provides each client the unique support needed to improve their quality of life.” Bonnie lives in Cedar Falls with her family and in her spare time enjoys traveling and playing indoor and sand volleyball.
Jessica Gulick, Employment Services Manager
A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Jessica found her passion for nonprofit and disability services working part-time at The Larrabee Center while completing her degree in elementary education, starting in 2001. Jessica’s enthusiasm for helping others turned into a career as she transitioned from TLC’s in-home community support services to employment services. Jessica currently serves as Employment Services Program Manager, overseeing services designed to assist individuals with disabilities on their path to meaningful careers. Her knack for social media and ability to communicate her pride in our agency’s mission has also led her to oversee TLC’s development and community relations as well as social media for the agency and Trinkets & Togs thrift stores. Jessica truly enjoys helping spread the word about The Larrabee Center’s mission with the community members and donors who share our vision for enriching lives and enriching the community. In 2015, Jessica was awarded the Nonprofit Staff Leader of the Year from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Jessica is a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP™). Jessica lives in Waverly with her family, and enjoys reading and volunteers with her church in her spare time.
Josh Brewer, Employment & Administrative Services Assistant
While a student at the University of Northern Iowa, Josh began working as a support staff in the Community Support Services. Through his work with The Larrabee Center, Josh found his passion for working with individuals with disabilities which led him to switch his major from Education to Social Work. Josh graduated in December 2016 with his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. After college, Josh worked at the Waverly Health Center for a year and a half before having the opportunity to return to The Larrabee Center as our new Employment & Administrative Services Assistant. Josh’s focus will be providing employment services in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to individuals seeking employment in Bremer, Butler and Grundy Counties. Josh is excited to be part of the Employment Support Services team and looks forward to creating relationships with area employers and assisting clients to obtain meaningful careers. Josh lives in Shell Rock and enjoys spending his free time with his dogs and boating with his family.
John Lord, HCBS Waiver Program Manager
After completing his degree in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa, John began a career in human services with at-risk youth and persons with brain injuries almost 15 years before joining TLC in 2004. John serves as the HCBS Program Manager, a position that manages the in-home and community support services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and the elderly. He also oversees the maintenance of TLC’s rental properties. John also helped to initiate and continues to manage TLC’s free transportation route that helps fill the gap of transportation needs in Waverly and surrounding communities on Saturdays. With his roots in the Cedar Valley and his background in social work from UNI, John has always found nonprofit and disability services to be important to our community. John finds TLC’s mission to be critical in ensuring people with disabilities and the elderly get to have choices in their lives and become or remain valued members of the community, which ultimately leads to a quality of life we all want and deserve. John lives in Waverly with his family and in his spare time enjoys boating and catching up on his favorite TV shows.
Stephanie Brooks, SCL/Habilitation Manager
Stephanie joined The Larrabee Center in 2006, shortly after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She started working with individuals in their home and the community, spent time as Services Assistant in vocational services, and then transitioned to her current role of SCL/Habilitation Program Manager. Stephanie manages the in-home services for adults with mental illness living in the community. She also assists the Associate Director in accounting and quality assurance duties. Stephanie believes it’s important for persons with disabilities and the elderly to have the support they need to remain living in their own homes and be part of the community. The mission of The Larrabee Center is near and dear to Stephanie as her grandfather received similar services to help him live independently until the age of 90 before having to move to assisted living. Stephanie lives in Waterloo with her family and in her spare time enjoys being outside gardening and swimming, and spending time with friends and family.
Lori Shepherd, Retail Services Manager
Lori’s personal experience of having a sibling with disabilities led her to a 30-year career in human services, specifically disability service organizations in the Waverly area. Lori began as a direct support professional at The Larrabee Center in 2007 and quickly moved into the role of Store Supervisor, utilizing her retail skills and disability service experience. In her current position, Retail Services Manager, she oversees operations for both the Waverly and Grundy Center Trinkets & Togs locations. Lori works closely with the Employment Support Service program to provide work experience opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Trinkets & Togs has been a staple in the community for over 20 years and Lori is so grateful for the support from the community including shoppers and donors who are helping to fulfill the mission of The Larrabee Center. Lori lives with her husband in Waverly and in her spare time enjoys photography, especially capturing pictures of her grandchildren, and spending time outdoors.
Darleen Lindahl, Retail Services Assistant
Darleen began her career with The Larrabee Center as a clerk at Trinkets & Togs in Waverly. It wasn’t long before Darleen found her way to client services in the vocational program. Darleen’s passion for the mission led her to spend some time also working in the Community Support Services program with clients with mental illness. She made her way back to the thrift store when she transitioned to the Retail Services Assistant at the Waverly thrift store. The combination of her passion for our mission and her extensive retail experience, make Darleen a great fit for her role. Innovative and creative, Darleen has an eye for displays and helps keep the store fresh and inviting for customers. Darleen lives in Charles City with her family and in her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities including kayaking as well as spending time with her kids and granddaughter.
Steve Thomas, Retail Services Assistant
A native of Charles City, Steve has spent most his life working in the for-profit world. With a BA in Communications from the University of Northern Iowa, Steve moved to Chicago where he started his family and worked in the automotive industry as a Sales/Marketing Director for over 25 years. Steve recently moved back to Iowa to be closer to family. Having had some experience working with people with disabilities, Steve found the position at Trinkets & Togs to be a great fit. Steve says it’s very rewarding working with caring, hard-working and optimistic people and can truly see how The Larrabee Center and the thrift store are enriching lives and the community. In his spare time, Steve enjoys the outdoors, golfing, and spending time with family and friends.
Karla Brickhouse, Retail Services Assistant
Born and raised in Cedar Falls, Karla and her husband now call Grundy Center home. With her BA degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa, Karla worked as a substitute teacher for a couple years before changing lanes and working for various companies heading up training programs. While Karla didn’t have professional experience working with people with disabilities, she learned a lot from her uncle who had cerebral palsy. The way he didn’t let his disability affect his ability to live life to the fullest had a big impact on her. After working in the for-profit world, Karla realized she wanted to do something more meaningful and her search for work in non-profits led her to Trinkets & Togs and The Larrabee Center. Karla loves the daily challenges that working at a thrift store brings and especially enjoys the team she works with each day. In her spare time, Karla enjoys spending time with her husband and family, watching movies, gardening and cooking.
The Larrabee Center’s 2017 Board of Directors:
- Melissa Tapken, President
- Jerry Elsamiller, Vice President
- Ryan Rasmussen, Secretary/Treasurer
- Steve Willemssen
- Jay Colsch
- Mike Byl
- Donita Dettmer