Providing Hope, Help & Guidance for Alzheimer’s

and Dementia Families

We can help….we have been there.

Meet Our Board

ErichErich is a Physician Assistant currently working for York Hospital in Kittery, ME as the Lead Provider of the Walk-in clinic. He has spent his 20 year career in emergency medicine, urgent care and wound care. Erich is an invited presenter at local, region, and national medical educational conferences. He has served on numerous boards focused on practice policy and program development. Erich studied biology at Springfield College in Springfield, MA before earning his Master of Medical Science degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Erich lives in Kennebunk, ME with his wife Kris and daughter Gabby and is an active member of the community.


Erich has been directly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, losing his grandmother to the disease.


Mary-Lou is the Library Director at the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library in Kennebunkport.  She has spent 20 years in the field and enjoys all aspects of interacting with patrons, finding them the right materials, and helping with computer questions/issues.  She has served on several literary committees reviewing primarily children’s books and memoir for adults.  She just completed a $1.5 Million Dollar construction project at the Graves Library that increased the space by 5,000 square feet to offer the community and visitors many new resources.  Mary-Lou graduated from the University of Southern Maine before earning her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston.  She lives in Saco with her husband Greg and two cats.  After caring for her aunt for several years, she joined A Place To Start to volunteer and support other families dealing with Dementia.

Erin grew up in Upstate New York but fell in love with the coast of Maine while studying Biology at the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island. After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Biology and Environmental Science at SUNY Cortland, she moved to Maine permanently. She has two daughters, Emma and Abby, who keep her busy and entertained! She is the Executive Director of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, a small non-profit organization that works with the local fishing industry on several different research and outreach projects. Her passion lies in bringing awareness to the marine debris issue that is facing our planet and how we, as individuals and citizens, can make positive changes.  Erin is happy to volunteer her knowledge of grant writing and non-profit finances to A Place to Start and bring any support she can to the staff and other volunteers.
Amy grew up in Reading, Massachusetts. Her parents are native Mainers, thus attending the University of Maine was the natural choice. Amy graduated from University of Maine-Orono in 1992 with a B.A. in History. She married her college sweetheart, David, and now has three children.  After graduating and a summer of working on a dude ranch in Colorado, Amy enjoyed a customer service career in finance and healthcare. She worked for many years in both Boston and the greater Portland area.


Amy has spent the last decade advocating for the students in our local school district. She has worn many hats such as PTA President, volunteer, School Board member, Building Committee member, and substitute teacher. Currently, you can find her happily working among the books in the local school libraries.  While advocating for our students, Amy has also been simultaneously fundraising for additional programming, field trips and classroom extras. It is her creative outlet and is something she truly enjoys.  When not selling fundraising raffle tickets, Amy is most likely watching the Red Sox, reading a good book or chatting with a friend in the aisles of Hannaford.

Susan is a board certified Occupational Therapist and a resident of Kennebunk, ME. She currently works as a program manager for a 3-day per week dementia outpatient program as well as operating her own private practice. She has worked with the geriatric community over the last 20 years and is passionate about educating families and local communities about dementia care.  After completing her Masters of Occupational Therapy, Susan has also received several certifications for dementia care and education including PAC Trainer in the Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP).

Joan Brunnick Dawson is a graduate of Boston College and Regis College. She is a former teacher of special needs students in Grades 4-12, a special education chairman in Acton Boxboro and Falmouth, Massachusetts, and a practicum supervisor for Boston College. She was an assistant professor at Simmons College in Boston and taught in the graduate school until she retired. After retiring, Joan moved to Kennebunkport where she was on the board of the Graves Library, the Child Abuse Prevention Council, Food Rescue, the SMHC Auxiliary, and, most recently, working with incarcerated women at the Women’s Re-entry Center in Sanford. She comes to A Place to Start with the knowledge of how difficult it was to understand her husband’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and recognizes how necessary it is to have a place to share with other caregivers and professionals. Joan looks forward to welcoming and supporting families and their loved ones going through this difficult period of their lives.