Connecting Deaf survivors with the community of support they need to build lives free from domestic violence.

BRIDGES serves Georgia’s Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-deafened, DeafBlind community, as well as children of Deaf adults (CODA), who have experienced domestic violence.

As a program of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, BRIDGES provides free and confidential services for survivors of domestic violence including emotional support, safety planning, systems advocacy to access community resources, education about the dynamics of domestic violence and collaboration with community partners.

We strive to offer inclusive and welcoming services for survivors of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

BRIDGES also breaks the isolation of abuse by connecting Deaf survivors to services provided by our partners in Georgia, including domestic violence program shelters, community-based domestic violence programs and the Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. For more information on the full set of services we offer directly or through our partners, click here.


MeLisa Dennis
Program Director

Ms. Dennis was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She holds a NCC (National Certified Counselor) from the National Board for Certified Counselors, INC. As well as being licensed as a LCMHCA (Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate) by the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors. Ms. Dennis holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Gallaudet University, BS in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Ms. Dennis has twelve years of experience providing mental health and domestic violence services in community mental health settings, university, and K-12 school settings. She provides individual, family, couples therapy, groups, psychoeducation, addiction recovery & awareness, domestic violence reduction & awareness.  

Ms. Dennis is well-known for her presentations and public speaking engagement within the deaf community. She enjoys empowering the deaf community and being a mom to her deaf/hard of hearing 7-year-old son, Noah. 

Advisory Committee

The BRIDGES Advisory Committee provides valuable guidance and support for BRIDGES’ work and strengthens our connection to the Deaf community.  As members of the Deaf, DeafBlind, or hard of hearing communities, these individuals are committed to sharing their talents, feedback and support to the BRIDGES mission.

Dawn Duran

Dawn Duran is a RID NIC Advanced, RID SC:L interpreter. She has been interpreting since Jan. 1990. She has worked diligently with multiple Deaf agencies supporting survivors of abuse for over 10 years. She currently works full-time as the Chief Marketing Officer for ASL Communication, and absolutely loves it!

Makoto Ikegami

Makoto Ikegami is a licensed clinical social worker for the states of Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia. Currently, Makoto works as an ASL Therapist for one of CaringWorks’ residential programs, Hope House, which is for men who are seeking recovery from addiction. Makoto’s responsibilities at Hope House include assessment, psycho-education and individual and family psychotherapy for Deaf and hard of hearing members. Makoto received a MSW from Gallaudet University in 2009 and a DSW from Walden University in 2019.

Penny F. Hollis

Penny Hollis is a Georgia native and University of North Georgia alumni with a degree in social work. She is working toward a second degree in human services. She is a mother/grandmother of two adult children and two grandchildren. She loves to do crafting and sewing in her free time.

June Alsobrook

June Alsobrook is a doting mother of three children and grandmother of two pre-teen granddaughters. June is a strong community advocate at heart, loves to help others thrive by sharing wisdom and is excited to see BRIDGES flourishing!

Stacey L. Anderson

Stacey Anderson is a disability employment specialist with many years of experience. Stacey enjoys assisting Deaf and hard of hearing individuals with choosing career paths that lead to independence and self-sufficiency. Employment is the beginning of financial freedom.

Andrea Alston

Andrea Alston was born and raised in Norfolk, VA. Andrea received Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Gallaudet University.  Andrea has a big loving husband, Matthew and daughter, Aundrea. Andrea works as a community coordinator at Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GCDHH). Andrea is grateful to be part of an advisory committee that has strongly advocated for people with hearing loss providing various resources. 

LaQuanda Jackson

LaQuanda Jackson’s passion for the Deaf community has been an abiding presence in her everyday life and has influenced LaQuanda’s goal to be a mental health counselor. LaQuanda joined the committee after witnessing the struggles of fellow Deaf community members with domestic violence and believes in BRIDGES and its mission to assist the Deaf community. LaQuanda’s children have been her biggest supporters and motivation to do bigger things, and they encourage LaQuanda to commit to achieving goals.