Kawryne Tillman, MSW. Director of Volunteer Relations, is also a Signal Corp Officer in the Illinois Army National Guard. As a leader in the Illinois Army National Guard, Kawryne is dedicated to keeping the morale, safety, health and welfare of troops a top priority. Kawryne has spent the past 12 years working in the non for profit sector, partnering with individuals and families to help improve their social and psychological functioning.
Laura Gallagher Watkin, JD. is the Director of Veteran Programs at Health & Disability Advocates. She has created programs to improve the connections between veteran, military and community programs. She facilitated statewide training for behavioral health providers on military culture as well as Military Sexual Trauma. She has created a state-wide task force for families of fallen service members called Illinois Connections for Families of the Fallen (ICFF). ICFF provides statewide events and support groups for families dealing with grief and loss. She created the Warrior to Warrior volunteer veteran program which trains volunteer veterans and assigns them to National Guard units to provide peer support, as well as information and referral services. Prior to her work with veterans and their families, Laura's work focused primarily on public benefits and employment issues for people with disabilities, including training and counseling of thousands of individuals and service providers in thirteen states. She created the first work incentives counseling program at the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation services with a grant from Social Security. She received her BA from McGill University, Law degree and a certificate in Public Policy from The Catholic University of America, and her certification as a Benefits Specialist from Cornell University.
Zach Hunsinger LSW, Esq., Assistant director of Veterans programs, joined Health & Disability Advocates in 2010. He received his Juris Doctor and Master of Social Work degrees from Loyola University Chicago with a certificate in child law and a specialty in program management and development. His studies included domestic violence law, clinic courses about working with survivors of violence, and seminars about human trafficking. While in graduate school, he researched child sex trafficking at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and, in Tanzania, conducted field research about child, domestic servitude. During a field placement, Zach also interviewed children and women to search for indicators of child and adult sexual abuse at a child and family services department in Mexico. In addition, he participated in ICASA’s Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Course. At HDA, Zach helped write the training curriculum for Warrior to Warrior, a peer-to-peer support program that links volunteer Veterans to 1200 active drilling guardsmen in Illinois. His work with W2W also includes creating and implementing a mental health screening process to ensure that volunteers are healthy, and conducting mental health training sessions for the Veteran volunteers about interpersonal communications, self-care, vicarious trauma, and maintaining healthy boundaries.