Steve Brong, MS – Founding Partner, President & CEO, Family Worker


Steve began his venture in social services while attending graduate school at Shippensburg State College pursuing his Master’s degree in counseling. He holds more than 40 years of experience working in the areas of drug and alcohol, mental health, as well as providing directorship of several children and youth organizations. Steve has dedicated his career to helping adults, children and families in managing stress and crisis by guiding them to stability.

As a founding partner of Lehigh Valley Families Together, Inc., Steve continues his commitment to children and families through his everyday work. “Just as the original concept of helping parents build a family that will be stable, emotionally and physically safe continues to guide my efforts, my direct involvement with clients as a family worker and team leader shapes my decisions as the chief administrator of LVFT. There is no question in my mind that continuing to provide direct services helps me stay in touch with the needs of our families and the counties we serve, and has made me a more effective administrator.”

Allyn Benech, M.Ed. – Founding Partner, Vice President, Program Director

Starting out to be a business manager, Allyn decided towards the end of her undergraduate work that the counseling field was the direction she was headed. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and subsequently a Master’s of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling from Penn State, she now sees her life took her down the perfect path because she uses both of her degrees in her current position. 

Allyn has held several positions in the area of social services from mental health and intellectual disabilities services to working with children in foster care and seniors in a nursing home setting. Her experiences brought her together with President Steve Brong to create Lehigh Valley Families Together.

Throughout her work, Allyn has learned that every person has a story that deserves to be heard and honored, and there is hope even in the direst of circumstances. Allyn holds true to a saying her father would tell her, “Everything happens for a reason.” She works to help clients see beyond their immediate struggles to what may lie ahead.

In addition to holding the positions of Vice President and Program Director, Allyn is also certified in Family Group Decision Making and Family Development Credentialing. She enjoys spending time with her sons, dog and cat and when she’s not reading a good book you may be able to talk her into taking a sky dive!

Laura Gross – Office Manager

Laura has been working 15 years as Lehigh Valley Families Together’s office manager. Laura holds substantial management experience prior to joining LVFT and holds a degree in Computer Programming. Throughout her years with LVFT, Laura is inspired to see families who have so much going against them become success stories.

She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Loves to laugh!

She believes you need to “enjoy the little things because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things!”

Laura is a longtime volunteer and loves to be outdoors especially on a beach somewhere.

Stephanie Dressler - Foster Care Recruiter/Trainer

Stephanie has wanted to work in the foster care field since attending college. This is her first job in the social services. Previously before LVFT, she worked at KidsPeace as a Mental Health Technician II.  Stephanie also worked as an Associate Teacher in a Life Skills Classroom at an elementary school for about 2 years.

Stephanie received her Associate's degree in Social Work from Northampton Community College, and a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Kutztown University. 

Since starting at LVFT, Stephanie has been inspired by all her co-workers who have come from all types of backgrounds and work experiences. She feels her prior experience has prepared her the this new career opportunity. 

Stephanie had a Community Learning/Service paper published during her time at NCCC. She also presented at a research conference on The Importance of Program Evaluation for a Healthy Relationship workshop during her senior year at Kutztown. 

She enjoys hosting parties. When she wants to unwind, she cleans. Stephanie is inspired by great people who believe in making a difference, have each other's best interest in mind, and who use humor as a stress relief and a way to connect with others. 

Her quote to live by: In order to get on the road to success you have to get in the car and start the engine!

Macy Rizzolino - Family Worker

Although Macy did not major in Social work, it has been a path that has intrigued her. She has always had a passion for helping others and providing some happiness in their lives. Feeling lost and confused about the next chapter of her life, Macy found clarity on her family vacation. A week after her vacation, she received a call from LVFT. Over the phone, she could immediately feel the warm and welcoming environment at LVFT from her conversation with Allyn. Macy felt an overwhelmingly positive "at home" environment in the office. Feeling at peace with her decision to pursue social work, she left her interview knowing LVFT was going to be an essential first experience. She graduated from DeSales University with a B.S. in Sport Management.

What she enjoys most about her work is how different every day is. Some days are spent doing paperwork, some the majority is spent in the field, and some a combination. Macy feels being able to be in the field and working with the clients face-to-face is a huge blessing. During this time, you can build a relationship with your client.

During Macy’s short time working in this field, it has helped her understand others and even herself better. It has made her look at the world differently, which most of the time is an enjoyable difference.

In her spare time, she loves to hang out with her family and friends. Macy likes to travel, spend time outdoors hiking, walking, and swimming in the ocean. By the water is her favorite place to be. Loves getting lost in an addicting novel and watch beautiful sunsets.

If Macy could be any cartoon character she would be Piglet. She loved how he was friends with the other characters and always tried to be brave and conquer his fears.

During college, she volunteered for the Eastern PA Special Olympics, Lehigh Valley Girls on the Run 5K, Philadelphia Union FC, Lehigh University Athletics and Bethlehem Steel FC.


Amanda Deppa - Family Worker

Hello all!

My name is Amanda Deppa, I am new to LVFT but I have had the pleasure of working in the human services field for 4 years now. In the past, I have worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, young adults struggling with mental health, children of mental health and autistic. I have my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a double minor in criminal justice and sociology, I am currently working towards going back to school to pursue my masters in mental health clinical counseling.

I am born and raised as a Jersey girl so when I made the transition to Pennsylvania, it was quite scary, figuring out where to live, where to go but most importantly my work. When on my job search, LVFT stuck out to me. The mission and goal of this agency is what I was looking for, to me, if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life and LVFT sounded like that to me. I take pride in my work every day, I love the work I do because I know when I walk into that office, home, courtroom, etc. I will change someone’s life. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but one day, it will make an impact and that’s my work aspiration. My life has changed tremendously since I began this work, this work makes you empathetic, kind and strong; if one didn’t have these qualities, they will now.

During my undergrad career, I was able to get certified as a sexual assault/domestic violence advocate as well as after my undergrad career, I was CPR certified as well as became a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). When I am not working, I love to binge watch tv shows with my boyfriend, explore new restaurants as well as playing outside with our 4 dogs. I like to live by the quote that, “you are not what happened to you, you are what you choose to become”. I am looking forward to my future at LVFT!

Mary Frasier - Family Worker

Mary recently started working at LVFT after graduating from Gettysburg College in May of 2021 with bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and History and minors in Peace & Justices studies and Women, Gender, & Sexuality studies. In college, Mary participated as a tutor in a non-profit afterschool tutoring program for children K-5 that worked with the local migrant community. That experience made her realize she wanted to choose a different career path than where her majors were leading her and work at a nonprofit that helps children after graduation. LVFT stood out to her as the right fit because of their mission to help families succeed and children thrive.  

Mary’s favorite part about the work at LVFT is the people! She loves meeting new people, listening to families’ stories, and working to help them succeed in their day to day lives. She feels closer to the local community and especially loves working with the children. Their bountiful energy and curiosity make the work so much fun for her.

In her spare time, Mary loves to garden, read, and walk her dog, Katie. Her favorite thing to do is walk on the beach in the fall with a hot cup of coffee. Mary’s biggest quirk is that she does not like chocolate of any kind.

Her favorite quote to live by is from Glennon Doyle’s Untamed: “We can do hard things.”

Abigail James - Family Worker and Resource Family Care Caseworker

Abbey graduated from East Stroudsburg University in May of 2021 with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. In her senior year of college, she interned with Northampton County’s District Attorney’s Office and one day hopes to continue down the road to becoming a lawyer. This is her first time working within the field of Social Services. Abbey discovered LVFT when she was on the hunt for a job related to her field of study. She wanted to help make a difference in someone’s life and LVFT was just the place for that. While only being here for a short while, Abbey has been very inspired by her coworkers and watching the impact they make in their clients lives on a daily basis.

 Prior to becoming part of LVFT, Abbey was an assistant manager at a gym and also working as a server. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, spending time with her family and friends, and going on adventures. Her favorite quote to live by is, “grow through what you go through.”

Amelia Garraway - Family Worker

Amelia graduated in 2019 from Lock Haven University with a Bachelors in Psychology. While at Lock Haven she was co-captain of the cheerleading squad. She is currently pursing a Masters in Social Work at Kutztown University with a projected graduation date of May 2021. 

Last year was her first year working in social services during an internship and she fell in love with the overall profession. Amelia loves working with children and families, so naturally LVFT was a perfect fit for her. She came to work at LVFT because she believes that she will be able to grow and flourish in her journey of helping as many families succeed as she possibly can. She believes she can offer the tools that will help others succeed in their life. Since entering this field, Amelia has learned true selflessness and how to roll with whatever the day throws at you. 

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, friends and her cat LuLu. Amelia is inspired by seeing people's lives truly change before her eyes and it keeps her motivated to keep going. 

Something she keeps close to her heart is to be grateful for the good and graceful in the bad.

Mariah Colon - Family Worker

For the past 4 years, I have worked as a lab technician at Spark Orthodontics. This is my first job in the social service field. Being a family worker at LVFT allows me to use my own personal experiences to help other families. Every person deserves to be treated as one. People deserve to know that someone out there cares for them and is looking out for their best interest. LVFT allows me to use my energy towards my passion for helping others. It allows me to share with families the love I have to care for them, and to help them grow firmly.

Since starting in this field, my life is more enriched and exciting, this field constantly encourages me to utilize and apply the knowledge and skills I have learned from my studies to come up with different ways to solve problems.

During my spare time, I love enjoying time with my family and friends. My son and I always find different things to do to keep ourselves busy. 

"The mind is everything. What you thing you become."

My past and present experiences, lessons I have learned, and things I continue to face and go through in everyday life inspires me.