Working to end violence

MEET OUR EDUCATORS

The Women’s Center’s educators are certified domestic violence and sexual assault counselors in accordance with CGS 52-146k. This gives our programs the added benefits, when necessary, of responding immediately to individual participants who are victims and facilitating a smooth transition for continuing services at our agency.

Matt Austin

Director of Education, Training & Outreach

Matt is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University with a B.A. in English with a minor in Theater Arts. He is certified in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counseling. Matt has been heavily involved in the Fairfield County arts community over the last 15 years, working with many local theaters in a variety of capacities; including organizing various education programs. Before joining the Women’s Center full time as a prevention educator and then the Education Coordinator, he was an actor in our Act Out theater program.

As the Director of Education, Training, and Outreach, Matt provides strategic direction for all department activities, and represents the Center on various community initiatives and collaborations. Matt schedules and facilitates trainings for professionals within the community, and all adult education programs.

Contact Information: 203.731.5200 x226/matthew.a@wcogd.org

Courtney Lauria
Prevention Educator

Courtney is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a B.F.A in Theater Arts. She is certified in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counseling as well as being certified under the Safe Dates program from CCADV. Courtney recently moved to the Danbury area after spending several years working as a playwright and actress in New York City. Courtney joins us after leaving a position with Broadway.com running the Broadway Classroom Program. While with Broadway Classroom, Courtney developed and produced theatrical and educational workshops for students ages 8 to 88.

Contact Information: 203.731.5200 x250/courtney.l@wcogd.org

Beck Cyr
Prevention Educator

Beck is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a B.A. in Social Work. They are certified in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counseling. Previously, Beck worked for Eastern’s Pride Center, doing programming and advocacy work for LGBTQ+ students. At the Pride Center, they also created an original program that addressed healthy relationships through an intersectional lens, which attracted over 300 attendees and was adopted as an ongoing program at Eastern. In addition, Beck interned at the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and has worked with at-risk youth in several different settings. Beck has eight years of public speaking experience and has facilitated trainings and forums on a variety of topics, including gender, sexuality, health and wellness, trauma-informed practice, and creating safe/brave spaces. 

Contact Information: 203.731.5200 x249 / beck.c@wcogd.org

Michele Cousens
Prevention Educator

Michele comes to the Women’s Center after ten years of managing a small mental health practice.  She previously had a long career in the music business, both as an executive assistant in performing rights and as a radio personality on local Fairfield County stations. Michele was a board member and served as a support group facilitator for the Rowan Center (formerly The Sexual Assault Crisis Center) in Stamford, CT.  She is a level one Reiki and level two EFT/Tapping practitioner, and she teaches a sexuality education program (“Our Whole Lives”) for K-6 children in her congregation.  Michele is a life-long Connecticut resident, and she is currently working towards her MSW at the University of Bridgeport.

Contact Information: 203.731.5200 x251 /michele.c@wcogd.org

Cara Mackler

Manager of Campus Education, Training & Outreach/Human Trafficking Specialist/Legislative Liaison

Cara is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she earned her B.A. in both Sociology and Gender Studies. She is certified as a domestic violence and sexual assault counselor. Previously, Cara worked as a Peer Advocate at the Violence Prevention & Advocacy Services at the University of Rhode Island where she provided advocacy to clients and helped conduct over 150 presentations a year to incoming freshmen, Greek life, athletes, and various clubs on campus.

Cara worked at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a Prevention and Communications Intern before moving to Florida where she worked as the Coordinator of Volunteer Programs for Community Youth Development. Cara also worked at Selah Freedom with survivors of sex trafficking in a residential facility and as a facilitator for the My Life My Choice prevention education program for at risk youth. Cara holds the role of Human Trafficking Specialist at the Women’s Center as a result of her experience and knowledge in this sector.

Currently, Cara is the Manager of Campus Education, Training & Outreach at the Women’s Center as well as the Women’s Center’s Legislative Liaison. She oversees all education programs, staff and faculty trainings, and outreach initiatives at our satellite office at Western Connecticut State University and the Danbury campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College. As the Legislative Liaison, Cara communicates with our local legislators to advocate for the legislative priorities from both the Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence that work to further support survivors of interpersonal violence.

Contact Information: 203.837.3939/cara.m@wcogd.org

Cameron Wilhelm

Trainer/Educator

Cameron is a graduate of Pace University and holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies. He is certified in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault counseling. Cameron recently returned from living in Brazil where he  taught English to students of all ages as a certified ESL instructor. During his time there, he also studied Portuguese and is now fluent in the language. Previously, he worked at MCCNY Charities in New York City where he did development work for the organization’s LGBTQ homeless youth shelter and food pantry.

Contact Information: 203-731-5200 x.233 / cameron.w@wcogd.org