Meet our staff...
Jamie Bleakley, OTR/L, CLC (Occupational Therapist, Certified Lactation Consultant) (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, PhD, OTR/L,CLC (Occupational Therapist, Certified Lactation Consultant) (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 in December of 2021 got 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, 24-years old and Bailey, 23-years old. Jamie and I have always had a heart for children. We have been blessed to foster 23 children and counting. We adopted our son M.J. in March 2020 and Zeke in November 2021. 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.
Bailey Bleakley, CMA(AAMA),Office Manager, Billing Specialist
I started at ABTAK in February 2021. I am in charge of coordinating billing between the families and the insurance companies. Finding care for your child is difficult enough and I believe families should not also have to stress about understanding their insurance. I will also be taking on the behind the scenes role of bookkeeping. I have had the pleasure of watching ABTAK grow since the beginning and am excited to see how many lives we can impact.
In my free time, I enjoy decompressing at home by cooking and hanging out with my dog, Boomer. I enjoy hiking and camping in the summer and hibernating in the winter. I became a Certified Medical Assistant in the summer of 2021. I am also enrolled at UAA in the medical billing and coding program and the accounting program and am planning on completing both of these in the next year.
Alexia "Lex" Vermeire, Scheduling Specialist
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 recently graduated from Family Partnership Charter School, prior to that I went to East Anchorage High School where I attended the "school within a school" program. I intend to pursue a career in medicine. I'm unsure if I want to become a nurse 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. I am happy to work in a place that values the work of each individual. In my spare time, I enjoy sleeping, playing with Wallace, my bearded dragon, camping and fishing with my family and friends, and spending time with my boyfriend.
Nicole Chagnon, Scheduling Specialist
I was born in Massachusetts where I met my husband, Brandon, in high school. I then graduated from cosmetology school and was a hairstylist for several years before moving to Arizona and now Alaska. I started working at A Better Tomorrow in August of 2022, alongside my husband, just after having my first baby, Aurora, in July. It is wonderful to be able to come to work with my family each day.
In my time I’m not at work, I love hiking and visiting national parks with my family. We have a goal of visiting all 63 and have been to 22 so far. I love going to the gym and running when I can find the time to get away for an hour or two. I ran a half marathon a couple years ago and have a goal of completing another after having a baby.
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)
I have been working at ABTAK since June of 2020. The kids keep me on my toes - learning new things every day. Working with children is a challenge in unexpected and insightful ways. I have always enjoyed my patients' stories, and the privilege of sharing part of their lives for a time, but with children, I get to watch them grow, learn, master new skills and work toward higher levels of functional movement and play. "I did it" is a great thing to hear.
I have 3 teenage daughters, my oldest with Down Syndrome, so I know how important physical therapy (OT and ST) was and is to her development. I wanted to be a part of giving that kind of physical therapy to other children - it's the reason I work here.
I have broad experience in PT - graduating in 1983 from University of Southern California (USC) with a master's in physical therapy, then spent my first seven years working in a private practice specializing in Maitland Manual Therapy and Orthopedics. I have had my own practice - a niche field of treating private patients in their homes - which expanded into working in Home Health for many years. I love the challenge of discovering what is preventing a person (patient) from moving like they want to and then facilitating the development or restoration of optimum physical performance.
In my non-working life, I love hanging out with my daughters. Personally, photography delights me - long walks on the beach, in the mountains, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Alaska is my birthplace, and even when living elsewhere, has always been my home.
Brandon Chagnon, DPT (Physical Therapist)
I am originally from Massachusetts but obtained of Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in Arizona at A.T. Still University before moving to Alaska. I have a background in health and fitness including prior employment as a personal trainer as well as competing in professional athletics. I love working with children and helping build the skills they need to thrive to their highest potential at home, school, and in the community.
In my free time you will find me in a local gym working out or on one of Alaska's many hikes. At the time of writing this my wife and I are getting ready to add a new member to our family, my daughter Aurora!
Christin Border, 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 my off time you can find me roaming all the parks around town with my pup, Marcus. I enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, and downhill skiing. Three years ago I felt the pull towards foster care, and I am 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.
Viva Pannor-Brown, SLP-CF (Speech Language Pathologist)
I grew up here in Anchorage, Alaska. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Health Science at U.A.A. with a minor in Communication Science Disorders. I then earned my Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Akron. I am excited to be fulfilling my Clinical Fellowship year at A Better Tomorrow. I am passionate about working with children and giving them the tools they need to be successful in life. Whenever I get the chance, I love to go camping or out on hiking adventures with my dog Izzy.
Tiffany Roberts, SLP-CCC (Speech Language Pathologist)
I graduated with my Masters degree from Tennessee State University in 2010. I have worked in a variety of settings, adults and pediatrics for a couple years. I soon realized that working with pediatrics was the most fun and rewarding for me. I worked in Indiana and Florida before starting a travel speech therapy position and got to experience: Louisiana, Oregon and Alaska. After spending over a year in Alaska I realized, much to the dismay of my parents, that I had to move permanently up here. So 2021 I moved my stuff up to Alaska and cannot wait to make more memories here. I look forward to working with all the great families, staff, and children at ABTAK.
When not working I enjoy experiencing Alaska, food trucks, festivals, time with cat & dog, crocheting ‘things’ in the hopes I get better and can start making nice blankets for friends and family.
Chloe Jones, Clinic Aide
Hi there! My name is Chloe. At the office I clean, organize, and keep the areas well maintained. Aside from work I'm a mother of two kiddos and an avid gamer. If I'm not cleaning, you'll find me at home enjoying the company of my bubbly kids and making lots of arts and crafts!