Our Staff

Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer

Executive Director ED@hr.bridgeofhopeinc.org

Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer began as Executive Director of Bridge of Hope Harrisonburg/Rockingham in January 2024. Deirdre’s journey with Bridge of Hope began in 2020 when she was part of a Neighboring Volunteer group, and further evolved when she joined the board of directors governing the local affiliate in 2022. As Executive Director, Deirdre is able to bring her experience as an administrator and educator to furthering the work and mission of Bridge of Hope.

A mathematician by training, Deirdre worked for 20 years at Eastern Mennonite University as a faculty member, department chair, and academic dean. In 2019 and again in 2023, Deirdre spent six months as a visiting professor at the Oregon Extension in southern Oregon. Between those stints in Oregon, Deirdre served for three years as the Senior Director for Programs at the Mathematical Association of America, a professional association focused primarily on undergraduate mathematics education.

Deirdre loves living in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. When not working, Deirdre enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and engaging deeply with family, friends, and neighbors.

 

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Carolyn Nutter

Program Director carolyn@hr.bridgeofhopeinc.org
Carolyn Nutter comes to Bridge of Hope with 10 years of experience. Helping people navigate complex situations such as how to navigate benefits and disability at a time when there are many other factors such as a family or health crisis.  Carolyn has specialized in finding solutions and support for those in need. Coming from the UK Carolyn worked with a non-profit that supported statutory bodies such as the health services and social services. Giving people that needed it most a robust model of care and solutions that kept them independent and in their own home. Carolyn also implemented a model in local hospitals that has now been adopted nationally that helps to get people home in a timely manner.
Being passionate against poverty Carolyn also launched and ran a food program throughout the pandemic when many could not get out to stores.
Since moving to Harrisonburg Carolyn has been working with homeless individuals across a large part of Virginia.
Having settled in Harrisonburg Carolyn enjoys her family and pets, often walking the dog especially in the beautiful scenery around Harrisonburg. When time allows Carolyn likes to craft and bake.

Sandra Reisinger

Case Manager and Compliance Specialist sandra@hr.bridgeofhopeinc.org

Sandra Reisinger comes to Bridge of Hope with a variety of experiences in non-profit work. She served with Mennonite Central Committee in Bangladesh, Botswana and Myanmar and their head office in Lancaster, PA, as a Case Manager in Harrisonburg with individuals with brain injuries, and an Executive Director of a Family Promise affiliate in Modesto, California where she worked with families experiencing homelessness. In all of her work, Sandra has been committed to facilitating clients, partners and volunteers to attain their goals, be that independence and sustainability, peaceful solutions to community conflicts, or to providing support for community members to gain new life skills. Some of her accomplishments include the development of volunteer training and improvements in case management practices and the coordination of shelter for families experiencing homelessness with thirteen congregations and over 600 volunteers in the Family Promise affiliate in Modesto, CA, initiation of new projects in Myanmar, and organizing women in Bangladesh towards financial sustainability.

She has returned to Harrisonburg after participating in a two-year seminary program with Bethany Seminary and Earlham School of Religion, in Richmond, Indiana. Sandra is delighted to be back near her daughter and son, with her friends and faith community, and in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

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Jeana Simmons

Administrative Assistant office@hr.bridgeofhopeinc.org

Jeana Simmons began working at Bridge of Hope in August of 2023. She and her husband, Jeff, both grew up in Rockingham County and they have enjoyed raising their three children in the valley. With two daughters in college now and a middle schooler, Jeana was ready to get more involved with community outreach. She is very excited to support Bridge of Hope in their quest to end homelessness.

Watching the community come together to help those in need is one of the things she loves most about her hometown. Jeana also loves working with children and families in her role as a preschool teacher. When she’s not making messy crafts and cooking with her students, she enjoys doing home improvement projects and snuggling with her pets.

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