Our Board of Directors
Dr. Brenda Brooks-Alexander – Chairperson
Rev. Brenda Brooks-Alexander is the Associate Pastor of Service at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. Rev. Brenda joined the First Church staff in 2022 with over twenty years of ministerial experience and twenty-six years as an educator with the public school system. A navive of Dallas, Texas, Rev. Brenda has served as Senior Pastor of Alliance of Faith UMC, Campus Drive UMC, and numberous other responsibilities in serving God’s people. Rev Brenda is responsible for service opportunities in, out, and beyond the walls of First UMC of Fort Worth including local and international missions, ministry to our downtown friends, the Methodist Justice Ministry and serving as Chair of the Board for Dementia Friendly Fort Worth. Rev. Brenda’s heart is to serve the people of God with love, grace and excellence.t
PAM BRANDON – President
Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute, a Tarrant County based company that develops and delivers aging and dementia training for professional and family caregivers. Pam spearheaded the development of Dementia Live®, Flashback™ and Compassionate Touch® ⎼ innovative dementia training programs being implemented by care providers, hospitals, universities and others across the US, Canada and Australia.
Pam’s passion for aging and dementia education was grounded in her 15-year caregiving journey for her own father who lived with Alzheimer’s and her mother with Parkinson’s disease. Since 2007, she has educated and trained thousands of family and professional caregivers and worked with hundreds of organizations in helping to create positive change for older adults and those who serve them. Pam and her husband John have lived in Colleyville for 33 years and have 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
Wes Alderete, M.D.— Co Vice-President
After practicing for 35 years as a Family Physician in northeast Tarrant County, Wesley has recently retired. A lifelong Methodist, he grew up as a “PK” (Preacher’s Kid) and has been a member of FUMC Fort Worth for 25 years. In addition to being an active member of the Good Neighbors Sunday School Class, he has also served on the Outreach committee, Missions committee, and Church Council at FUMC. He is a “veteran” of several mission trips with youth to Mexico and to Costa Rica and medical missions to Costa Rica and Mexico. Graduating with his undergraduate degree at SMU, Wesley completed medical School at UT Southwestern and a Family Practice residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He is a past president of Tarrant County Academy of Family Physicians and has served as chairman of the board of Medical City North Hills Hospital.
Wesley has been married to church member, Barbara Alderete, for 43 years and they are proud of their 2 children and 4 grandchildren. In addition to being a grandparent, his current hobbies include golf and attending Cowboys and Rangers games. He hopes to lend his experience and lifelong learning to DFFW.
Paige Wolk — Co Vice-President
Paige Wolk, LBSW, CDP has over twenty years of experience in the Senior Care Industry. She began her career as a Social Worker in a skilled nursing facility working with elderly and found her passion. Mrs. Wolk has been active in the Social Work community, earning such distinctions as Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers and Social Worker of the Year by the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare, Texas Chapter. Her experiences with the elderly include Social Work, Business Development, Public Relations, Advocacy, Community Education and Marketing for long term care facilities, rehabilitation facilities and subacute units.
Prior to joining the Overture Home care team in June of 2016, Paige was employed with Rehab Synergies, a Rehabilitation Services Provider serving as the Director of Marketing and Recruitment for 6 years. Mrs. Wolk has a passion for the elderly with particular interest in Alzheimer’s and Dementia. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) and volunteers regularly for Dementia and Alzheimer’s related causes. Paige is married with three children and resides in the mid-cities. She enjoys cheering on her twin boys at the hockey rink and is an OU Fan (Boomer! Sooner!) given her daughter attends the University of Oklahoma.
Marsha Ammons — Board Member
Marsha Ammons retired after 44 years as a professional journalist. She now uses her “interviewer” skills to make friends of strangers wherever she goes.
Beginning in 1980, she started learning about various dementias through journeys with her mother-in-law, father, mother and husband.
has been a member of FUMCFW for 43 years. During that time, she has volunteered in community outreach, worked with two Camp Fire groups and has been active in Sunday school classes, United Methodist Women and FUMCFW’s Congregational Care Ministry. She is a member of the Fort Worth Iris Society, several cat clubs and has been a cat show judge since 2003.
Kimberly Bird Peters— Board Member
Kimberly Bird brings 25+ years of marketing and business experience with a passion for generating creative solutions, process and efficiency improvements, and strategic planning. She served in the private sector for business-to-consumer, business-to-business clients, and government and non-profit organizations, most recently as VP of Retail Marketing of Fort Worth-based Calloway’s Nursery. During Kim’s tenure at Calloway’s, the company earned Garden Center of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and multiple local and regional marketing and communications professional association awards. Since leaving Calloway’s to focus on family, Kim has utilized her passion for consulting small businesses and independent garden centers in the US and Canada and serving non-profit organizations.
Kim is walking with her mother, who is living with Alzheimer’s Disease. She is passionate about supporting and encouraging others to find joy and blessings amid the challenges.
A First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth member for nearly 20 years, Kim is also a member of The Fort Worth Women’s Club and Fort Worth Phi Mu Alumni.
An avid gardener and Pilates student, Kim relishes times with family, music, arts, travel, cooking, and entertaining.
Don and Myra Gasser —Board Member (1 vote)
Don is a person living with early onset dementia in 2011 at the age of 54 and is a part of our “Activities for People Living with Dementia” program. Don and Myra both graduated from Kansas State University with Don’s degree in electrical engineering Myra’s in elementary education. Don concluded his career as a Sr. Engineering Manager at Abbott Labs in Irving. They married in June, 1977.
After his diagnosis, Don ad Myra determined that his disease would not define either one of them. Wanting to make a difference and to help others on this journey, they determined to learn as much as possible could Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Their mission is to let people know that this disease doesn’t just happen to older persons.
They have been active participants in an Early-Stage Support group in Bedford since 2012 and the Fort Worth Friday Group. Myra has led the Care-partners group in Bedford and volunteers for the ALZ National Chapter in Chicago as a Peer Volunteer on the message board. In that role, she helps to guide persons who ask questions concerning dementia / ALZ on the message board and to provide support. She has also served as captain of the Friday Friends team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Because of the pandemic, they searched for other types of support and engagement where they would be at home and safe. Their search led them to the DFFW virtual program “Activities for Persons Living at Home with Dementia” and they have been active participants. Don participates daily and has formed great relationships with the others. This has been the best thing to happen to us – becoming involved with DFFW.
Since his diagnosis, Don has taken up art, painting with both watercolor & acrylics. He has put together several complex wooden models. They have had a small-scale antique clock repair business. During the spring/summer they have a vegetable garden. Staying active together, they play cards, do word associations, play Nintendo games and frequently enjoy a Risk game that goes on for multiple days. Each year they produce a pictorial calendar of Don’s activities, including photos of many of his art projects.
Cheryl Mart, MSN, RN currently serves as the Faith Community Nurse Program Coordinator for Texas Health Resources. She is Board Certified in Faith Community Nursing and draws on her 14 years’ of experience in acute care and community nursing to develop health promotion programs that assist faith communities to maintain mental, physical and spiritual health.
She also co-facilitates a support group at her church for children of aging parents. Dementia Friendly Fort Worth fits with her personal mission to provide compassionate and culturally competent health information to the community by promoting wellness through health education and advocacy.
Beth Noah — Board Secretary
Beth Noah earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of North Texas and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas in Arlington. She is licensed with the state of Texas. Beth worked with family and children for 15 years through Big Brothers and Sisters and Communities in Schools. For the past 9 years she has served as the Coordinator for The Aging and Disability Resource Center in Tarrant County (ADRC). She has also been involved in various committees and networking groups in order to help connect seniors and people with disabilities with the resources they need.
Beth’s great aunt suffered with Alzheimer’s and at that time not much was known about how to recognize it in the early stage or treat it. In her spare time, she enjoys scrapbooking, card making, going to Ranger games, and traveling.
Misti Powell, Founder and Chief People Officer for Civitas Senior Living, is a passionate executive with more than 15 years of experience in senior living operations. With a focus in market development and customer service, Ms. Powell oversees the evolution of the organization’s policies and procedures, management of resident health services, staff education and culture implementation. Leading through her passion, Misti has developed employee engagement programs including a candidate-centric recruiting and onboarding experience, robust resident activities programming, company-wide wellness standards and a meaningful culture that is the heart of the Company. Prior to starting Civitas Senior Living, Misti held roles of increasing responsibility at the community level including marketing, Wellness Director and Executive Director for a local community in the Fort Worth area. It was during this time, while her husband was simultaneously serving as a consultant for other senior living groups, they realized that they would make a greater impact in the senior living industry through ownership. In 2013 Misti and her husband formed Civitas Senior Living. The Company currently owns and operates more than 40 communities nationwide with 15 additional communities in development.
Shelly Young — Board Member
Shelly Young is the Program Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter where she has served for ten years. Ms. Young has a Master of Science in Gerontology from Abilene Christian University and has worked with seniors for over 20 years. Much of her employment has been in the senior care industry including assisted living, nursing facilities and home care. During this time, she has had the privilege of working with many senior adults and their families as they tried to find appropriate services and make the difficult choices that families often face.
Ms. Young’s mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for over 10 years. Her mother passed away after living a nursing facility for three years. Ms. Young’s father suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia and lived in a care facility for over six years.
Linda Abel, RN — President Emeritus
Linda worked as an RN in Assisted Living communities for 20 years. Since her retirement she has taught classes for assisted living managers across Texas. Because of her background in nursing, she is particularly interested in seeing nurses and other healthcare professionals graduate with an awareness and understanding of dementia so that they are better provide dementia-capable care.
Her greatest joy in working with Dementia Friendly Fort Worth has been the development of a weekly dementia friendly Chapel service. Through this virtual chapel service, it is possible for people living with dementia and their care partners to continue to enjoy worship with familiar hymns and Scripture in a comfortable environment. She has completed a Dementia Friendly Chapel Toolkit, available on the DFFW website, making it easier for others to offer such a service to meet the spiritual needs of their residents, families and friends living with dementia.
Linda served alongside her husband, Jim, a retired United Methodist Minister. They had 2 handsome sons, 2 beautiful daughters-in-love, and 4 precious granddaughters.
Gail Snider — Executive Director
Gail Snider currently serves as Executive Director for Dementia Friendly Fort Worth and was instrumental in launching this initiative which is now reaching beyond the borders of Tarrant County. Gail is committed to helping families and the community navigate age-related decisions. Having walked a 12-year journey with her Mother-in-law and dementia, she has helpful insight into issues and services families desperately need and works diligently to help persons living with dementia and their care partners have better quality of life within the
Having a passion to help the community understand dementia and understanding that it is difficult for everyone to be experts as a Certified Dementia Live® Coach and Certified Dementia Care Practitioner she strives to be a resource and educator for families, health care professionals and the general public. Additionally, Gail served as the co-chair for the Tarrant Area Gerontological Society (TAGS) Faith Based Bridge from 2017-2022. Serving in this capacity has given Gail a unique connection with faith-based communities in Tarrant County.
Martha Brown — Volunteer Program Coordinator
Martha Brown, LCSW is a Volunteer Program Coordinator for Dementia Friendly Fort Worth. She facilitates a zoom program which serves individuals with cognitive impairment and dementia, as well as their care partners.
Martha has a long history of providing Social Work for the dementia population and those who love and care for them. Since 1993, she has worked in the medical, home care and hospice fields, interacting daily with these special people. Martha’s personal life has been touched by the Alzheimer’s Diagnosis in both her mother and her husband. She sees this social work niche as her calling, and answers that call with enthusiasm and energy! She gladly provides understanding, counseling, and referral to appropriate resources for those in need.