About us


Connecting for Purpose is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is to assist individuals with personal recovery, substance abuse, mental health, crisis intervention, training, and employment, legal, and housing challenges that block or prevent them from acquiring the resources to become self-sufficient. We realize that in order to be effective, it is vital to address these challenges particularly for underserved populations, men, women, and veterans; incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals offering options by connecting them to vital resources.


As a community based organization we realize our mission and goals by providing education, empowerment, prevention and raising public awareness through advocacy and consultation. We realize the benefits of building strong enough relationships between people so they can support each other through long and sometimes demanding personal growth, healing and change. 


It requires a "craft" to build an enduring network of individuals, who identify with common ideals, and who can engage in social and community action on the basis of those ideals.  Our goal is to connect individuals and families to the care and assistance they need within the community in the short term, but more important to prepare them for future self-sufficiency and economic independence. 


We endeavor to build strong relationships and partnerships between individuals and existing entities on the front line of serving underserved populations so that our collective resources are as effective and as efficient as possible.  


Our mission surrounding training is to create an environment for quality training opportunities for individuals and agencies in order to equip educated and seasoned professionals; our aim is to provide an environment for students to acquire the necessary skills to be an asset in their chosen profession.     




Michelle Raysor

Executive Director

Michelle Raysor is the founder and CEO of Connecting for Purpose, Inc.  Michelle has worked in the behavioral health field for approximately 20 years and also works extensively with individuals incarcerated in county and state correctional facilities, as well as those released, and other individuals who seek services to attain self-sufficiency.  Michelle has worked with individuals through mentoring, personal recovery, substance abuse, mental health, crisis intervention, training, employment, educational goals family court and legal issues, as well as housing challenges that block or prevent them from acquiring the resources to become self-sufficient.  Michelle is a certified trainer with several credentialing agencies and has persisted in ongoing professional and personal development.  Michelle earned her Master’s Degree at Hofstra University in Education with a specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling.  She is a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC), a certified recovery coach (CARC), and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.  She has completed all of the doctoral course work in Leadership and Curriculum Development at the University of Phoenix; Michelle embraces the fact that her work with individuals in the criminal justice system is her life calling.   


Michelle has worked as a substance abuse counselor, clinical supervisor, and clinical director and has been instrumental in acquiring full ongoing certification for the clinical department of several OASAS outpatient agencies.  She has supervised and trained many counselors in substance abuse counseling and clinical skill development within OASAS certified agencies as a part of her job functions as clinical director. She possesses a wide range of knowledge regarding OASAS, OMH, and CRC regulations, policies and procedures, as well as expertise for internal and external agency auditing for regulatory compliance. 

Michelle is a thriving success story after having lived through significant adverse childhood experiences, inclusive of tremendous unresolved grief and loss issues, on to becoming addicted to drugs, and eventually spending time in Hudson State Training School for Girls and on to being incarcerated in county and state facilities.

Michelle is committed to ensuring quality services and resources are made available so all individuals have the opportunity to attain self-sufficiency and improved self-efficacy.  Access to quality services is premier to successful outcomes.

Jahnice Strange

LPN, Recovery Coach and MSC, Re-Entry Specialist 


Jahnice is a Licensed Practical Nurse and has practiced nursing for over 20 yrs.   She has worked in several addiction treatment/detox centers.  Assisting people towards recovery and helping them to reach their goals is her passion. She also has worked in the capacity of case manager/ mentor in a not for profit agency targeted to help those who have been previously incarcerated.  Having an interest in addiction counseling she has begun course work (CASAC) Training, and has currently completed CCAR Recovery Coach Training.  She is an active member of NAPNES (National Association for Nurse Education and Service).

Having her own experience with substance abuse, she knows that recovery is possible. Her approach is genuine, caring, accepting, and non-judgmental. She is devoted to advocating, mentoring and providing needed resources to help the individual reach their full potential. Jahnice also serves in the capacity of Mentoring Service Coordinator (MSC) and co-facilitator/trainer.  


*Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.

  (Chinese Proverb)

Kim Jones

CASAC-T, Recovery Coach, and MSC,

Administrative Assistant


Kim has a genuine passion for encouraging and motivating people of all ages in all aspects of life. Because she believes that life was meant to live not just merely exist. Kim has been a long time resident of the east end of Long Island.  Kim is a living survivor of Domestic Violence and Abuse and has overcome issues associated with the abuse.  She has done volunteer work with domestic violence agencies for several years. For the past four years she has been a returning speaker at Stony Brook Medical University to discuss her personal experiences with domestic violence, and advocacy of domestic violence. She has also had the pleasure of speaking at the Touro Law University Symposium for law officials, officers of the court, teachers and mental health workers.  She is an active Parenting Certified Leader, works as a Prevention Specialist utilizing evidence based programs in classrooms with Kindergarten to High School students.


Kim also educates the adult community on issues regarding Prescription Drug Abuse, Gambling, and Bullying Prevention to enhance the quality of life for adolescents.  She creates and executes community assessments to identify community risk factors in order to locate or create programs that will increase their protective factors.  Kim also serves in the capacity of Mentoring Service Coordinator (MSC) and co-facilitator/trainer.

Latoya Chandler

Administrative Assistant


Marie Masters

CASAC, Teacher/Trainer and Recovery Coach


Marie has worked in the Behavioral Health field for 18 years.  She is a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse professional (CASAC), and holds an Associate’s Degree in Communication; she has worked as counselor and as a clinical supervisor.  Marie worked at Family Counseling Services, Catholic Charities, and Lake Grove Treatment Agency.  Marie has developed numerous programs at various agencies inclusive of programs for mandated populations, dual focus tracks, family education series with focus on the entire family system; significant others, grief & loss.  Marie has facilitated the following specialty groups:  Codependency, family issues, relapse prevention, anger management, quitting tobacco, dealing with mental health issues, women's issues in treatment, healthy relationships.  Marie has been a trainer/teacher for Possibilities Unlimited for 4 years and is currently a trainer/teacher at The Center for Rapid Recovery and Connecting for Purpose.  She has a strong desire to equip and mentor those new to the field or desiring to learn.

Jose Vargas

LCSW, CASAC, Teacher/Trainer


Jose holds a graduate degree in Social Work with a sub specialty in substance abuse counseling from the University of Stony Brook, School of social welfare.  He completed his internship in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) at Stony Brook conducting diagnostic assessments of emergency room cases for appropriate intervention with supervision.  Jose is certified in motivational interviewing, suicide prevention by OMH, cognitive behavioral therapy, clinical supervision by the Dale Carnegie School, and case management through the Aids Institute.  He teaches transference and counter transference, group theory and practicum, understanding cultural difference in the Hispanic population, understanding co -morbidity and how it affects the client, and stress management and burn out in the professional. Jose has provided in-service trainings at agencies such as LIMAC, Suffolk perinatal coalition, Lake Grove Treatment Centers Suffolk County Department of Health, and The Center for Growth and Development.  Jose has been an instructor with Possibilities Unlimited and Connecting for Purpose for 5 years and is currently a trainer/teacher at The Center for Rapid Recovery. 

Deborah Wittekind

CASAC, Trainer/Teacher and Recovery Coach


Deborah has worked in the Behavioral Health Field for 21 years.  She has worked as counselor, clinical supervisor, clinical director, and marketing director.  Deborah has worked at Passages, Crossings, Lake Grove Treatment Center,Family Counseling Services, and Alternatives Counseling Services.  Deborah has developed a comprehensive woman’s program for women with co-occurring disorders and contributed to Lake Grove Treatment Center's treatment modules.  Deborah has facilitated the following specialty groups:  Codependency, family issues, relapse prevention, anger management, tobacco recovery, dealing with mental health issues and medication management for the co-occurring client, women's issues in treatment, (specifically abuse)  relaxation and spirituality and healthy relationship skills.  Deborah has been a trainer/teacher for Possibilities Unlimited for 4 years and is currently a trainer/teacher at The Center for Rapid Recovery and Connecting for Purpose.  She has a strong desire to equip and mentor those new to the field or desiring to learn.  Deborah's student advisement and group training facilitation has proven very beneficial 
to the CASAC program.


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