The mission of the Prevention Team is to reduce substance use and suicide risk among Seneca Nation youth and families through the creation of community-wide and culturally relevant programming that collaborates with formal and informal systems and resources.
Our vision is to unify Seneca Nation communities, systems and resources so that our youth and families are protected against suicide and substance misuse. We strive to promote mental health in order to create a healthy Seneca Nation today and seven generations forward.
My name is Jamie Billings and I have worked in the prevention field for twenty years. I graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) with dual bachelor’s degrees in Social Science and Early Childhood Development.
I love educating people and helping them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. I am privileged to work with the Seneca Nation prevention team, who consistently aims to have a positive impact on Native youth, their families and the community.
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and three children the most. I also love traveling, ice cream, and animals…especially our dog Ivy.
Hi I’m Lydia!
Here is a little tidbit about me:
I graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2014 with a bachelor’s in social work. I’ve always had a desire to work with families, especially youth so I was excited to join the team. My journey through college was not always smooth or easy. The transition from high school to college, especially during that first semester, was difficult. I was really struggling with deciding what I wanted to do which then turned into me struggling with having good grades. I made the decision to transfer schools and it was there that I really found my niche and passion for social work. My journey then transformed into really enjoying college and the challenges it threw at me — and eventually graduating with honors. I look forward to honoring my journey by passing on the lessons I’ve learned from my experience to the future generations.
My other passions in life include true crime, alpacas, binge reading, trying new foods, and petting all the dogs I can.
Fun random fact: I eloped in Scotland in July of 2016 with my spectacular husband Chris, and together we have our mischievous (yet wonderful) son Oliver.
My name is Jessica Ackley.
I graduated from Lake Shore Central High School, then went on to further my education at St. Bonaventure University — Go Bonas! I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in sociology. My passion for working with children and families can be traced back to my time in high school. I was a member of the Brant Recreation Summer Program for six years. I was also a member of the Early Childhood Learning Center, located here on the Cattaraugus Territory.
I’m excited to work with the Prevention Team as a new member and hope to contribute to the growth of the Behavioral Health Unit. I’m looking forward to building relationships with members of the community and being involved with projects and events the Prevention Team provides. My goal is to influence Native youth, and have a positive long-lasting impact on their lives.
Outside of work, I’m committed to living an active lifestyle. Last summer sparked my passion for traveling. I was given the opportunity to study abroad my junior year at St. Bonaventure, with 40 other students, to attend Trinity College at the University of Oxford.
I honor my journey through personal experiences I’ve gone through that have shaped me into the person I am today. I believe that my time spent at college is where I truly found myself. During this time, I have learned how to step out of my comfort zone. That has allowed me to flourish and excel in my academic and professional career. I will honor my journey by sharing my previous knowledge and personal experiences with Native youth. Being young has its downfalls, but I think that it will allow me to connect on a personal level with the young adults and children I hope to inspire.
My name is Justin Gill. I’m Oglala Sioux/Seneca and grew up on the Cattaraugus Territory. I’m married to my wife Lottie and have two children. I graduated from Gowanda High School, then went on to attend Herkimer County Community College, where I received my associate’s degree in criminal justice. I was able to receive my bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in criminal justice, from the State University of New York at Fredonia. I have been employed by the Seneca Nation since 2010 and I’ve been working for the Prevention Team since August of 2018. I am certified as a registered trainer of the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop for suicide first-aid. My hobbies are coaching and playing lacrosse during the summer. I also enjoy spending time with family and the outdoors. The part I enjoy most about working for the Prevention Team is the opportunity I get to work with Native youth every week during the year. Growing up in this community. I feel the sense of responsibility to help wherever and whenever I can. I strive to be the best positive role model I can be. I want to continue to give back and do as much as I can for future generations.
My name is Marissa Haring. I grew up on the Cattaraugus Territory and I am Wolf Clan. I have always been very active in the community playing and coaching with the Seneca Girls Lacrosse Club and volunteering and working at the Seneca Nation Recreation Department during my teenage years.
I attended Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science and Community Health. During this time, I also became a Certified Health Education Specialist. After graduation I worked as a Sexual Health Educator in Buffalo and Syracuse.
I am very happy to be returning home and working with Native youth in our community. I have always worked with youth and I am passionate about promoting health and wellness in Native communities. I am really looking forward to get to know them and making a positive impact in their lives!
In my free time I love hanging out with my dogs Meatball and Shadow, going for walks outside and watching Netflix!
Fun Fact: My favorite thing to snack on is sunflower seeds and Snapple Apple.
I came to the Seneca Nation as a prevention specialist after 20 years of clinic and prevention experience as an addiction counselor with other agencies. I have a BS in management of organizations, and am a trainer for ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).
My favorite tasks in prevention are working with youth ages 5-8, teaching social and emotional learning. My goal is for them to start making good choices at an early age and carry this through to adulthood. I also work in our Family Engagement Program, and we have a great time interacting with the families.
At home I enjoy 1940s and 1950s detective movies, reading novels and working on my car and motorcycles. I started my 11th year at this job in 2019.
My name is Heather Ward. I am Seneca (Wolf Clan) and have worked for the Seneca Nation since 2011. I graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a bachelor’s in psychology, and I am grateful I am able to utilize my education and experience to serve Seneca communities. I consider myself a goal-oriented and ambitious individual who aspires to have a positive influence.
I honor my journey by working on a team that strives to have a positive impact on Native youth, their families and community. I love building relationships and collaborations across the community and empowering youth. My favorite part about working in Prevention is facilitating ASIST trainings and providing people with practical skills to help individuals who may have thoughts of suicide.
Outside of work, I enjoy anything that involves puzzles, Disney, crafting, giraffes, true crime, jelly-filled donuts, Harry Potter and being a positive role model for my daughter and community.
Feel free to reach out to discuss Prevention efforts — or even to chat about what Hogwarts House you belong to. Nya:wëh!
Hi I’m Jennifer!
First off I would like to say how happy I am to be part of the Seneca Nation Prevention Team as the Prevention/Aftercare Specialist Coordinator for the Seneca Clubhouse! I am excited to be taking on this position and begin my journey. So, I’ll just start with a little background about myself. I completed my Bachelor’s degree at Medaille College in Psychology as well as my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. While completing my master’s degree I completed a year of internship at the Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport, NY. I was an intern in the children’s psychiatric unit where I was able to work closely with children and adolescents from the ages 4-17. I was able to run group therapy, play games/activities, run supervised individual counseling sessions, and complete safety plans for individuals struggling with their mental health and/or substance use. I have a strong passion for working in this field and look forward to assisting the youth in their journey’s.
Other things that I enjoy doing during my personal time is hanging out with my family, my 4 year old nephew (who keeps me going all the time), my boyfriend, and going for long drives on country roads. I like to spend my time outside and with nature when I can. We all know that living in Western New York can be interesting as it will be 70 degrees one day, then 40 the next so sometimes I’m limited. I have a fun and caring personality and love to meet new people!