First Strides Mentors

2019 Mentors

We are welcoming back 18 returning mentors for the 2019 season! We are so honored to have the volunteer time of these inspirational leaders/coaches/role-models. Many mentors were past participants and have taken the next step (or should we say their “second strides”). 

If you are a past participant who would like to take the next step and become and volunteer for First Strides as a mentor, or know of someone who would make an inspiring leader, we’d love to hear from you!  Contact Kasie at

Mariann (Mare) Tilton – Co-Director

Occupation: Firm Administrator at a CPA firm
Family: Tyler is my husband, Paige is my mini-me and we have two cats (Jeffy and Peppy) and a dog named Wilson
Current Hometown: From Philly but live in Underhill
Year you started mentoring: 2018
How many years walking or running: Running since 2015 when I injured my left arm and couldn’t do anything else.
Something funny or unexpected about me: I am an introvert (Big Time) but you would never know it… Ran a half marathon in 2017 on a whim, registered 2 days before and didn’t train. My advice to you, train before the 1/2.

Anne Treadwell

Occupation: Freelance editor (with EatingWell magazine as my main client for the last 23 years)
Family: 4 “big kids” with one still at home: Charlotte (24), Jack (21), Bobby (19) and Ethan (17)
Current Hometown: Burlington
Year you started mentoring: 2018
How many years walking or running: I’m grateful that I’ve been able to run for probably going on 49 years now (I recently turned 50). It’s come full circle over the years from something I just did gleefully as a kid (as many of us did!), through many years where I was struggling with my weight and felt I “had” to run, and now back to a daily activity that just brings me joy as well as physical and mental health, friends and new scenery, as I enjoy traveling for races. I look forward to sharing the joy of (outdoor!) movement (no matter what speed) with this supportive group!
Something funny or unexpected about me: I keep myself motivated by streak running and belong to a streakers group. My kids like to say “Mom’s a streaker” but it’s actually not clothing-optional but just running at least a mile every day. I’ve enjoyed counting up several streaks (most recently interrupted by foot surgery) and my current streak will reach 1,000 days right at the end of this program.

Martha Keenan *photo & bio coming soon*


Amber Thibeault 

Occupation: Attorney
Family: My two four-legged kids, Bear and Eddie Van Halen
Current Hometown: Essex Junction
Year you started mentoring: 2017
How many years walking or running: I was never really a runner and started running/walking with my neighbor about a year and a half ago and like Forrest, I just keep running.
Something funny or unexpected about me: I love to talk the entire time I’m running. I think it makes the time fly by.
Why I’m volunteering for First Strides Vermont: To meet new people.

Lela McCaffrey 

I’m a CPA by day, living in Bolton. This is my first year mentoring after three years as a participant in First Strides. I’ve been running off and on since college, but consistently for about four years now. I started running again because my (now 10 year old) daughter was doing Ready, Set, Run in first grade, and I couldn’t just send her out to run on her own. Since then, we have both continued running, and have run some fun races together like a Run Disney race. I’ve also run a half marathon and a Ragnar which was like a giant sleepover with running too. My daughter is hoping to run a Ragnar race with me when she is old enough. I am volunteering [as a First Strides mentor] because the running community give so much, and I want to give back. The sense of community I have found has really made a difference in my life.

Janel Roberge 
Yo Yiggity Yo, my name is Janel Roberge and I’m coming to you live from Huntington! By day I’m a professional nerd (Senior Research Technician) and by night I’m… well, in bed by 10! My family includes my wonderful boyfriend of seven years, Matt, and a teddy bear named Rutherford. I started my endeavor to get healthy in 2013 and joined First Strides in 2014. This will be my first year mentoring and I am BEYOND excited to celebrate the success of the wonderful women of First Strides J I’ve become a mentor in part because I myself have had spectacular mentors in this program and because I think a good day consists of making others smile. Something you might not know about me is that I often take books for walks. You read that correctly – simultaneous walking and reading isn’t actually that hard! Maybe the group I’m lucky enough to mentor will double as a book club!?…


Eileen McCoy 

Occupation: Preschool Special Educator
Family: Husband, Tim. 2 daughters, Lucy and Ruby
Current Hometown: Williston
Year you started mentoring: 2016
How many years walking or running: Since 2012
Something funny or unexpected about me: I lived in New York City for 7 years.
Why I’m volunteering for First Strides Vermont: I used to think the slogan “Never run” applied to me but now I love running. I hope to help other women find ways to change their slogan.


Kim Ellsworth 

Occupation: Physical Therapist x 19 years, currently taking some time away from it and looking for new adventures! Spending a little more time as a Pilates Instructor these days at Essex Physical Therapy and Momentum PT.
Family: Husband, Dan and one furry feline, Scully
Current Hometown: Jericho Center
Year you started mentoring: 2016, was a participant for 7+ years before that!
How many years walking or running: Thankfully walking nearly all of my 42 years and running sporadically for almost 10 years, once my knees didn’t appreciate me playing soccer.
Something funny or unexpected about me: The placement of my only tattoo, so far, apparently means I am a princess.  So says the internet therefore, it must be true 🙂 Also, I love to cook, create and eat food (very unprincess-like)!
Why I’m volunteering for First Strides Vermont: It is the least I can do for the many years of tremendous mentoring I have received and the great friendships I have been lucky enough to develop through this program.


Katherine Long 

Occupation: Caseworker for Senator Leahy
Family: Husband Bill, daughter Ella (15), son Ronan (14), Rossi (the meanest cat alive), and Daisy (our new rescue dog)
Current Hometown: Richmond
Year you started mentoring: 2016, was a participant for 11 years before that!
How many years walking or running: I ran my first 5K in 1991, a year after spending 9 weeks in a full length plaster cast for a broken leg.  It was the Leonardo’s Pizza 5K and I came in last after the kids in street shoes who had joined the race for the free pizza.  I ran 5K races on and off after that for years on my own until I happened on First Strides in 2005 after my second child was born.  I have participated in the program every year since then, earning the t-shirt all but one of the years.  I enjoy running 5K and occasionally 10K races: I am never the fastest, but I am proud to say that I’ve always done better than my first race.
Something funny or unexpected about me: I broke my leg while riding a motorcycle in Africa.
Why I’m volunteering for First Strides Vermont: This program inspires me and it’s time to give back!


Cari Causey

Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Family: Husband Andy, son Levi
Current hometown: Jericho
Year you started Mentoring: 2015
How many years walking or running: 24
Something funny or unexpected about me: I started running because of a crush in high school.
Why I’m volunteering: I love any opportunity to spread the joy and the co
Years Running: I love pulling new people into the running community.


Rebekah Thomas

Occupation: ELL Teacher
Current hometown
: West Bolton
Year you started Mentoring for First Strides
: 2004
How many years running or walking: 18
Something funny or unexpected about me: I, as of 4/2/14, have donated 85 gallons of platelets & plasma at the Red Cross and counting…
Why I’m volunteering: I love the confidence & sense of accomplishment that this program inspires.


Hillary Holmes

Occupation: Social Worker
Family: Spouse
Current hometown: Essex Junction
Year you started Mentoring for First Strides: 2013
Were you a participant before you were a mentor?: Yes; 2012
How many years running or walking: 14
Something funny or unexpected about me:  I’m very punny. In fact, I’m hilarious (har har).
Why I’m volunteering: I want to help spread the love and benefits of running.

Sylvie Frisbie *bio coming soon*

Casey Baczewski *photo & bio coming soon*

Occupation: Physical Therapist at South Burlington Physical Therapy
Family: Henry Mercier, my (very!) soon Husband-To-Be
Current Hometown: South Burlington
Year you started mentoring: 2019
How many years walking or running: I started running back in high school to train for soccer and basketball. Then, I ran for fun in college before switching over to CrossFit. Now, I run more for pleasure and mental clarity rather than for pure exercise. It is my form of meditation!
Something funny or unexpected about me: For as active as I am, I have never been skiing or snowboarding and have a slight phobia of riding a bike. I like my feet on the ground!! Even piggyback rides make me feel uneasy!
Why I am volunteering for First Strides Vermont: My passion is to help get people moving and feel in control of their health and fitness. Amber recommended First Strides, and I couldn’t agree with the mission more!

Kasie Enman – Co-Director

Occupation: It’s complicated
Family: Husband Eli, daughter Acadia, son Ansel, cat Roamer
Current hometown: Huntington
Year you started Mentoring for First Strides: 2014
How many years running or walking: 20+
Something funny or unexpected about me:  I have run in 15 different countries and 5 continents.
Why I’m volunteering: I thrive on the energy from people breaking through their personal barriers.  And because I can!

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