Alex Brace, MA LPC

Executive Director/Crisis Counselor

Alex Brace has been with Small Talk Children's Assessment since November 2011. Working with children has been his passion for many years.  He is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapy and specializes in working with children and adolescents who have been impacted by abuse and trauma.  He is passionate about helping children heal and become empowered despite the traumatic experiences they have endured. He was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. He completed his Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master's in Counseling from Michigan State University. Additionally, he has volunteer, work, and internship experience with different populations in the mental health field in Michigan and Wisconsin over the last 10+ years. Alex is a licensed counselor in the State of Michigan.



Aubree Vance

Forensic Interviewer/Prevention Specialist

Aubree graduated in 2010 from Trine University with her Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology. While completing her undergrad, Aubree pursued her passion for making a difference by volunteering for Brooklawn Child & Family Services where she mentored troubled youth.  Aubree later joined the Steuben County Literacy Coalition and collaborated with local schools to provide enrichment opportunities such as art, music, theatre, science and math. After graduation, Aubree continued working with youth, as well as adults, by providing assistance with developing successful life skills.  Aubree moved from Indiana to Michigan in 2014, and joined Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center as their Intake Coordinator. Collectively, she has over five years of experience working and collaborating with children and young adults.  Aubree’s passion is to help youth to excel in all aspects of their lives.



Ashley Vance, LMSW

Crisis Counselor

Ashley graduated from Central Michigan University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Social Work. She continued her education at Grand Valley State University, where she graduated with a Masters of Social Work in 2014. While in college, Ashley developed a passion for working with children through a study abroad experience in Mexico and then followed that passion to a graduate internship at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Ottawa County. Ashley has a background in providing advocacy and support to young adult survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, in a university setting. She has additional experience in the mental health field, providing crisis intervention to adults. She is a master’s level limited license social worker in the State of Michigan. Ashley grew up on the west side of Michigan and joined Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center as a Crisis Counselor in October 2015.



Thomas Grieb

Forensic Interviewer/Intake Coordinator

Thomas Grieb joined Smalltalk in October 2017. Thomas graduated in 2015 from Ferris State University with his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. While completing his undergrad, Thomas was a police explorer for the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office pursuing his passion of helping the people of Ingham county. Thomas later completed an internship at the Ingham County Sheriff's Office, and became familiar with the mission of Smalltalk to help children heal. Thomas is excited to join our team as our Intake Coordinator/Forensic Interviewer.






Sara Helmer, LLMSW

Crisis Counselor

Sara graduated in 2015 from the University of Michigan with her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, and she went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2017. She joined the Small Talk team in December 2017 as a Limited License Master Social Worker. Prior to Small Talk, Sara served as a crisis line counselor for an Ann Arbor homeless and runaway youth shelter and completed a graduate internship at The Children's Center of Wayne County, providing therapeutic services to youth and families. Sara has a passion for social justice and empowering youth on their healing journeys. 





Lindsey Leech, LLMSW

Crisis Counselor

Lindsey Leech joined Small Talk in December 2017. Lindsey has provided service for children and families in advocacy, therapist, and education roles for many years. Prior to joining Small Talk, she provided therapeutic/mental health services for children and families who had experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, substance abuse, physical abuse, and/or neglect. She has specialized training and experience working with both victims and offenders of sexual abuse and trauma. Lindsey completed a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work from Michigan State University. She has taught courses on youth advocacy in the juvenile justice/child welfare system at MSU, and has developed a mentorship/aftercare program for adjudicated youth in Ingham County.  Lindsey is passionate about providing support and empowerment for children and adolescents to help them heal from past trauma, realize personal strengths, and reach their goals. 



Danielle Congleton

Business Manager

Danielle joined smalltalk in June 2018. She earned her bachelor degree from Saginaw Valley State University in 2015 in Sociology. Danielle has always had a passion for advocating for and empowering youth. This passion grew stronger when she served as an Americorps VISTA where she worked with youth who had entered the foster care system aged 10-21. She empowered them to take control over their life path through developing educational, emotional, and life skills through mentorship. Danielle is very excited to join smalltalk to help aid in the continuation of smalltalk's programming by providing administrative support and fund management.




Canine Advocate

Preston was raised at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility in Iowa by the Prison Puppies program. Through a partnership with Leader Dogs for the Blind and the Canine Advocacy Program, Preston joined Small Talk Children's Assessment Center as a canine advocate in September 2016. His job includes meeting with the children that walk through the doors of Small Talk and providing comfort to kids during the court process. When he is not at Small Talk helping kids, he loves meeting new people, chewing on his bone, and going for walks.

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Our Mission

To provide a comfortable, child-friendly atmosphere where children receive coordinated services during the child abuse investigative process.

our vision

A state of the art center leading the community in addressing child abuse and empowering children to have the courage to heal.