Leadership Team

Maria Metzler

Executive Director


(206) 842.7621  

Maria Metzler is the current director of Helpline House.  She most recently served as a senior manager at Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center, where her portfolio consisted of overseeing 4 emergency shelter programs providing over 450 beds of shelter each night, 2 scattered sites housing programs providing nearly 300 units of permanent supportive housing, and DESC's Rapid Rehousing program.  Metzler holds a Master's degree in counseling from Seattle University.  She has lived and worked internationally (Italy and Belize), has 3 kids that she and her husband are raising on Bainbridge Island, and she loves the Seattle Sounders and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Tanya Bierlein

Intake Coordinator


(206) 842.7621

Tanya has always enjoyed working with the public and helping people. In 2009, she attended Interface College in Spokane, WA for medical office administration. She started out her career as a surgery coordinator at an oral surgery center and then transferred to a pediatric dental and orthodontic coordinator for four years. She then had the opportunity to move to Kingston, WA in 2014 and was employed as office administrator at a medical office. She was happy with that position but felt she would be able to make more of a difference if she could connect with the right opportunity.

She started her position as Intake Coordinator at Helpline House in May of 2017. Since then, she has learned so much about social work and also about herself which has helped her to understand the work at Helpline House. She is excited to grow with Helpline House and thankful to be part of such a wonderful and giving community here on Bainbridge Island.

Cami Holtmeier

Food Bank Manager


(206) 842.7621

Cami’s relationship with Helpline House started in 2014 when she took over the community service program at a local middle school bringing groups of teenagers to Helpline House weekly.  In addition she has volunteered at Helpline House helping with grocery recuse and most recently staffed the curbside delivery program during the 2020 pandemic.  Cami has been an educator for 20 years working with adults, college students, middle school as well as preschoolers. Most recently she taught science and community service electives, as well as managed some school programs at Hyla Middle School.  She lives on Bainbridge with her husband and two kids.  A Midwestern at heart, she has acclimated to the trees and rain of the Pacific Northwest becoming an avid gardener.  Cami has a deep appreciation for growing and sharing food, and is excited to join the food bank team at Helpline House.


Kerry Lavigne

Volunteer & Program Manager


(206) 842.7621

Kerry Lavigne has professional experience in both nonprofit and the private sector, including fundraising for an organization serving foster youth, and positions in marketing and business development for online curriculum and technology firms. She also worked with the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, Boys & Girls Club, and KiDiMu. Kerry has spent many years volunteering for the island’s public schools, and is very active as Board Secretary for the Troy and Baden Biddle Foundation—in memory of family friends (father and 13 yr-old son).


After growing up and attending college in Seattle, she met and married her husband in California, and since 2003 they have worked and lived on Bainbridge together with their daughter and son. Kerry is honored to follow in the footsteps of current and former Helpline House staff members as Volunteer & Program Manager.

Myra Howrey

Business Manager


(206) 842.7621

Myra has been the Business Manager at Helpline House since 1998.  She has a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and moved to Bainbridge Island in 1979.  She now lives in Suquamish.  Myra has served in positions of leadership in the League of Women Voters for many years – was on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters of Washington for 16 years and is the current President of the League of Women Voters of Kitsap.

Debbie Stearns

Communications Manager


(206) 842.7621


Debbie's connection began as the Helpline House's Volunteer Services Coordinator in 2013 combined with her background in the printing & design industry she has formed her new role as the Communications Manager at Helpline House. She has an AA degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and 25 years of project management and graphic design.  She and her husband have been active in the Bainbridge community while raising their 4 children since 1996. Debbie informs and shares with community members through Helpline House's print, social and digital media on how to volunteer or get support from the food bank, social workers, case managers, seasonal programs and many more resources.


Social Work Team

Gina Kapel  MSW, LICSW

Gina has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in Developmental Child Psychology, with an emphasis in child abuse and neglect. She also has a Master of Social Work from Augsburg College, in Minneapolis, MN. The majority of her work experience has been working as a social worker, on inpatient mental health units in psychiatric hospitals, in Minnesota and Washington. She originally came to Helpline House as a Fishline volunteer, then worked in volunteer management and as an on call social worker. She left for several years and came back to work as a clinical social worker in 2017.

Marilyn Gremse  BA

Marilyn has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in Anthropology. After a short career as an archaeologist and researcher, she studied Counseling at the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked with victims of violent crimes in a California district attorney’s office. Combining her counseling and research skills, Marilyn worked as a Litigation Paralegal in Seattle for many years after obtaining a Certification in Paralegal Studies from University of Washington. In 1989, Marilyn joined Helpline House where she has served for 20 years as the Food Bank Operations Manager. Marilyn is currently a member of the Social Work team.   She is a certified Medicare specialist (SHIBA) and is obtaining credentials related to Social Security benefits application process (SOAR).   Marilyn enjoys assisting people navigate bureaucracies and untangle a wide range of issues as a case manager.

Erika Dorsey   MA, LMHC


Erika has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years in a variety of settings, from community mental health, school-based counseling to private practice. She is from Detroit Michigan and moved to Bainbridge Island in 2002. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and her Master’s degree in Counseling from Antioch University in Seattle.


She has experience and training working with individuals and facilitating groups in mindfulness, DBT, and mind-body relational trauma healing and recovery. She enjoys working with clients of all ages from children through older adults and their families to overcome obstacles that may be in the way of achieving their full potential and realizing a sense of well-being, stability and life satisfaction. She has four children and in her spare time enjoys running, reading, camping and traveling.

Shawn Nigh   BASW


Shawn was raised in Gulfport, Mississippi from the time she was 3 and moved to Kitsap County in February of 2014. She started her academic journey in Social Work in 2018, graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Union Institute & University in August of 2021. In March of 2021 she joined the Helpline House team as a Case Management Intern, excited to move forward in her social work journey here at Helpline House, gaining experience in case management and overall community-building while earning her Master in Social Work. Shawn enjoys working with clients of all ages but hopes to further her career working with children and families. She has 2 children and in her spare time enjoys reading, being at the beach and spending time with her family.