Meet our staff...
Jamie Bleakley, OTR/L (owner)
I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1996 and worked in a hospital setting where I got experience with adult acute care, rehab, subacute and outpatient for 5 years. In 2001, I was given the opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and work in an outpatient pediatric clinic. I was surprised to find a love working with children. Throughout my career, I have prided myself on being a jack of all trades, I sought out training in a variety of areas but did not have an interest is specializing in any specific area. I enjoy the variety of various diagnoses and ages. In 2012, my husband, two children, and myself moved to Alaska. I took a position working with the fetal alcohol diagnostic team in March of 2013 as a way to become more involved in the community and increase my relationships with the other professions in the area. I had no idea the impact this would have both professionally and personally. Upon returning from my first international fetal alcohol convention in 2015, I was contacted about foster care. My family has been fostering since 2015 and it has put precious little faces to the community epidemic of mental illness and trauma. My family has experienced firsthand the frustrations of lack of services or acknowledgement that our children are impacted and cannot advocate for themselves. I have a passion for making an impact on society by providing services for the infants and children that have been impacted by a traumatic start to life. I love working with families and being able to celebrate in their joys and successes. Until recently, I had not envisioned myself owning my own business, but I am excited about the opportunities to work with families and professionals and increasing the awareness of trauma and its impact to help build A Better Tomorrow. I look forward to being able to continue to use the skills that I have acquired over my nearly 20 years of practice as well as building a clinic that is trauma informed and focused on improving quality of life for the entire family unit.
Krystal Vermeire, OTR/L (owner)
I graduated from Mount Aloysius College in rural Pennsylvania in 2006. My primary job has always been in outpatient pediatric therapy settings. From 2008 through 2010, I also worked part time in hospital, long term care units, and skilled nursing facilities working with adults in a variety of diagnoses. My experience in pediatrics is varied. I have worked with a wide range of diagnoses and conditions over the years. Each child and family brings about a unique experience that helps to transform my knowledge base. I am addicted to learning more and am nearly done with my PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development with an emphasis on mental health and developmental disorders. I am an expert and training leader for DIR/Floortime treatment, credentialed through ICDL. While I have a strong background in many areas, I have a passion for infant and early childhood feeding challenges, including breastfeeding; Autism treatment; sensory processing and modulation; emotional and whole body regulation; and infant and childhood mental health. I grew up in Pennsylvania, started my career in Maryland, and moved to Alaska in 2010 with my husband, Andrew, and our two children, Alexia and Carter. It was a big move and we have been so happy here. In 2005, before I had graduated from occupational therapy school, my husband and I started a business that we have talked about expanding into something that we could work together and help make an impact on the world. That business has expanded into A Better Tomorrow Therapy and Wellness Center and I could not be happier that we are finally doing what we set out to do so long ago. It is my hope and dream to be able to help children and families grow into their future.
Andrew Vermeire, LMT (owner)
I graduated massage school in rural Pennsylvania through Computer Learning Network (CLN), which is now York Technical Institute (YTI), in 2005. I have worked in salon settings and offered private massages throughout the years under my own business license. I enjoy tailoring massage to each individual client's needs. I offer a Swedish based massage technique that focuses on the relief of muscular stress and tension. Techniques include trigger point therapy, deep tissue, and myofascial release. I also have training in prenatal massage, infant massage, post natal massage, and sports massage. I have worked in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and am excited to expand into serving the Alaskan community. I moved to Alaska with my wife, Krystal, and our two children, Alexia and Carter. We are excited to be here and I am excited to be expanding my business with my wife and our friends to serve the needs of Anchorage.
Gerald "Jay" Bleakley (owner)
I graduated from R.B. Hayes H.S. in Delaware, Oh and attended Eastern Michigan University (studying Music Education) where I met my wife, Jamie. I worked for several years in the fast food industry quickly working my way up from line prep to General Manager, leading my own team and facility. In 1999, I trained and became a licensed commercial driver. I worked for 12 years in this industry always gravitating towards and excelling at the customer service and training aspects of the job. In 2012, after much prayer, God blessed our family with the opportunity to move to Alaska. At that time, our children were entering their freshman and sophomore year in high school and we decided it was time for me to take a break and reconnect with the children, catching up on the things I had missed out on over the last few years. Eventually, we determined for everyone’s sanity, “Dad” needed to get back to work.
After a short stint with Aflac, I found myself back in the transportation industry taking a job with Reliant Transportation. After a year as a special needs school bus driver and driver trainer I was promoted to Dispatch Supervisor. Jamie and I are parents to 2 wonderful bio children Drew, 22-years old and Bailey, 21-years old. Jamie and I have always had a heart for children. We have been blessed to foster 17 children and counting. We adopted our son M.J. in March 2020. My wife has always encouraged me to look for an opportunity that stretched my abilities, challenged me daily, and touched my heart. A Better Tomorrow isn’t just a catchy name for our business, it is what we strive to provide, not only for our clients and their families, but for our staff and personal families as well.
Hope Szymoniak(Front Desk Administration)
I graduated from Daytona State College (Florida) in 2011 and have worked in the health & customer service field ever since. From clinics that focus on postural therapy to pediatric therapy and even getting huskies trained through the summer for the Iditarod. I absolutely love seeing people, or dogs, achieve baby steps or goals towards A Better Tomorrow. Being born and raised in Seward, AK, I also worked my way through college in the tourism industry serving tables or checking visitors in for whale watching tours. My husband is also Alaska born and raised from Homer. Over the last few years, I’ve stepped away from the office scene and stayed home to just be Mom. Doing just one thing is not really me, so I continued to coach basketball and started my own health & fitness business while being able to attend every field trip and event my children were a part of. We have two very active children, Preston & Eva, as well as a cutie pie Chocolate Lab named Bruce. Our family loves adventuring. You can often find us fishing, glamping (or camping), walking or biking through the beautiful landscapes of Alaska, or playing any and all sports. I’m very excited to be a part of the team here at A Better Tomorrow Therapy & Wellness Center and look forward to making your experience at our clinic the best it can be!
Amy Forbes, DPT (Physical Therapist)
I graduated from Springfield College in 2012 with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I began my career in CT, working in an outpatient pediatric clinic and continued working in pediatrics after moving to Alaska in 2013. I have always been passionate about children, particularly in the special needs community, working with this population through various volunteer opportunities in high school and college and working as a camp counselor/teacher with Eden Autism Services for 9 summers after finishing my undergraduate degree. My interest in pediatric physical therapy began while volunteering at a therapeutic horseback riding program in CT where I worked for close to 10 years before moving to Alaska. Since moving to Alaska, I have loved having opportunities to use my knowledge as a PT across a variety of settings including hippotherapy and aquatics. In 2016, I began the process to become a foster parent and adopted my girls in 2019. Experiencing the therapy world as a foster and now adoptive parent has helped me to grow as a clinician and has opened my eyes to the world of trauma and the hope for resilience. This has made me more passionate not only about the children I serve, but their families as well. I am excited to join the team at A Better Tomorrow and to be able to use my experience and passions to impact the lives of families and to make an impact in this community.
Berrie Colyar, PT (Physical Therapist)
Brandon Chagnon, PT (Physical Therapist)
Christin Hronek, COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant)
I am a homegrown Alaskan, born and raised in the beautiful city of Anchorage. Shortly after graduating from East Anchorage High School, I left home to pursue adventure in Seattle, WA. While there, I waited tables at various restaurants as I put myself through college. In 2012 I graduated from Lake Washington Technical College as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. And in the spring of 2013 I returned home to Alaska. In 2016 I married my wife, Meg, and became the stepmom to two incredible kids, Lucy and Finn. In my off time you can find me roaming all the parks around town with my family and our pup, Marcus. We enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, and downhill skiing. Three years ago my family felt the pull towards foster care, and we are humbled to play a role in the healing and health of Alaskan youth in care. I have spent the last 6 years working in outpatient pediatric settings, as well as, 1 year working in the Anchorage School District. I am consistently fulfilled in my work being a part of the growth in children and their families, always working towards A Better Tomorrow for all. I am proud to be a part of such a dynamic and experienced team at A Better Tomorrow, and will continuously strive to bring my passion and insights to help create a brighter future for the children and families we serve.
Julie Nguyen, OT (Occupational Therapist)
Alexia "Lex" Vermeire, Office Assistant/Janitorial Engineer
I was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Maryland for several years, then moved to Anchorage, Alaska with my parents when I was 7 years old. I am a senior at East Anchorage High School where I attend the "school within a school" program. Once I graduate from East, I intend to pursue a career in medicine. I'm unsure if I want to become a doctor specializing in labor and delivery or if I want to become a midwife. A career focusing on children and the human body would bring great joy and purpose to my life. It makes me happy being able to work in a place where I can see so many young, adorable faces, eager to learn and grow. Part of my job is providing a clean and sanitary environment for our clients and therapists. The appreciation that my coworkers show for the work that I do definitely makes me feel good. I am happy to work in a place that values the work of each individual. In my spare time, I enjoy playing soccer and volleyball, camping and fishing with my family and friends, and spending time with my boyfriend.