Our Team

Wendy Adler

Wendy is our Director of Homeless Prevention Programs.  She works with clients facing financial crises to assist them with overdue rent or utility bills.  In this work, she coordinates with state agencies and other nonprofit groups.  Wendy has worked on poverty issues and issues effecting homeless people on the national, state and local levels.  She ran a House Committee on Government Operations that initiated groundbreaking hearings and legislation on public housing, homelessness and community development.  She has also worked with several governors, advising them on issues facing low-income residents.  Wendy authored  Working to End Homelessness: A Manual for States.  She has also worked with many local programs, including soup kitchens and mobile outreach vans.

Mark Babiak

Our Critical Time Intervention Specialist, Mark was born and raised in Washington.  He attended Montgomery College and was enrolled in the Mental Health Program there; he subsequently transferred to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and received a B.A. from there in 2014, in Social Work and Psychology.  Having interned with Bethesda Cares for a year during his studies, Mark has joined staff to work closely with our newly-housed clients, ensuring that this enormously positive, but very challenging transition is a smooth one.

Lawrence Blake

“Blake” is our Lunch Program/Clothing Closet/Shower Coordinator. He is the face of the lunch program and receiver of the food donations; he coordinates meals and oversees our volunteers. Blake also picks and delivers clothing to the closet and supervises a once a week shower program.  To read more about Blake, click here for a profile on his work with us in the New York Times.

Oumou Cisse

Oumou received her B.A. from Lawrence University in Cultural Anthropology and Studio Art.  She comes to Bethesda Cares from a stint in the Peace Corps Fiji program, serving as a youth empowerment and development volunteer who worked with at risk youth.

Amy Freeman

A former litigator, Amy left the law to raise her children. When she returned to work it was in the nonprofit world, focusing on international issues. Over time Amy realized she wanted to concentrate on improving her own community; after a brief stint with Montgomery County’s Office of Community Partnerships, she consulted with some of Montgomery County’s leading social service providers before hanging her hat at Bethesda Cares.  Her occasional blog, exploring our own humanity through the prism of homelessness, is on the Huffington Post, here.

Melissa McKnight

Melissa is a licensed clinical social worker with 18 years of post-graduate social work experience in greater DC.  She most recently worked as a clinical director at Family Preservation Services in Fairfax, Virginia, and as a clinical social worker on the inpatient psychiatry unit at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

John Mendez

Formerly Bethesda Cares’ Director of Outreach and Special Projects, John is Bethesda Cares’ Executive Director. John’s objective is to coordinate an “exit strategy” for individuals experiencing homelessness. John has multiple levels of experience in “best practice” programs and policy development, including activities associated with CoC systems, State Interagency Councils, and Federal policy initiatives. John has also served as Coordinator for the Bethesda Chapter of 100,000 HOMES Campaign since joining the campaign in 2011. John has received multiple awards for his work to end homelessness, including recognition from U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC for his work through HUD-VASH and being named the recipient of the 2012 Dr. Wayne Fenton Memorial Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for Montgomery County. In addition, John had the distinct honor of being Senator Chris van Hollen’s at President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address to Congress.

Katalin Vladar

Dr. Katalin Vladar is a psychiatrist in Washington DC. She received her medical degree from Semmelweis University and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Elizabeth Snape

Eager to talk with those wanting to volunteer at Bethesda Cares, Elizabeth, a volunteer herself, coordinates our Saturday lunch programs. A dedicated member of our team, she also regularly volunteers in our main office.



7728 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: 301.907.9244
Fax: 301.652.1781

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