BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A board of directors, also known as a nonprofit board, is the governing body of a nonprofit. The members of a nonprofit board focus on the high-level strategy, oversight, and accountability of the organization. This contrasts with volunteers or managers who oversee the day-to-day operations of the nonprofit.
Founder & CEO
Lydia conceived of the idea for the Freedom K9 Project when she had just gotten certified as a professional dog trainer, and realized that there currently weren't any organizations in the country that train PTSD service dogs specifically for abuse survivors. In addition to running the Freedom K9 Project, she also owns Naptown K9 in Indianapolis, a for-profit dog training business that specializes in rescued dogs. Now with 10 years of dog training experience and a background in victim advocacy and clinical psychology, she aims to blow the doors wide open for survivors seeking the service dogs they need, and use her success and knowledge to help young trainers who want to make a difference in the world.
As a Trauma Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist, Vikki has dedicated her career to empowering survivors of PTSD and Trauma. Vikki began to observe the amazing support that service animals were to her clients, and became determined to make this a more accessible resource to survivors. This is what brought her to the Freedom K9 Project. Animals have been a consistent source of healing and joy for Vikki her entire life, and one of the most amazing parts of her day is coming home to her own three pups. If you want to strike up conversation with Vikki, just ask her about her pug Arthur, but only do so if you're prepared for all the pictures.
Courtney is a trauma specialist and the Director of Victim Advocacy Services for a New York-based victim service agency, where she directly supports victims and survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. Her responsibilities include conducting safety and lethality assessments, designing tailored safety plans, and providing trauma-informed advocacy, support, and connection to services. Additionally, she serves as a liaison for victims with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and child protective services, and is an active member of the Domestic Violence High Risk Team and Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. Courtney holds a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work. She is deeply passionate about FreedomK9's mission to enhance accessibility to PTSD service dogs for survivors.
C Blanck has a Liberal Studies undergraduate degree in Communication and Religious Studies. C also has a Master of Social Work and Master of Divinity with a certification in Human Animal Environment Interactions. C graduated in August 2023 and plans to specialize in complex and religious trauma.
With their specializations in complex and religious trauma, C highly values the human-animal and environmental bonds in trauma healing and recovery. C currently has a therapy rabbit, Minnie, who’s been socialized and trained to aid clients in crisis and used to frequent different settings around Denver, CO, with C. However, Minnie has retired from all animal-assisted work due to age-related health complications. C is currently searching for a dog to do animal-assisted therapies with as they want to continue working with animal-assisted interventions.
C has also presented publicly about trauma-informed care, given training on trauma-informed care, and has worked with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection on their trauma-informed research design project.
Shelby Jurca graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in Advertising and a minor in Psychology in 2017. She has always had the goal to use her skills and degree to help end human trafficking and help survivors. Shelby feels her best when she is helping others and making people smile. Her creative mind brings a lot to the table for Freedom K9, but the most important thing is her heart for the mission.
These are our Founding Board Members, without whom the organization would have never gotten off the ground.
Thank you for seeing the vision.