About the Prevention & Education Program

Capri Smith, BS, CNA, CSPI

Capri Smith returns to the Prevention and Education team as the Program Manager after 5 years in Rehabilitation Counseling & Case Management department of Ben Gordon Center. She is responsible for the Youth Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Program and management of the DCP/SAFE community coalition. Capri has over 6 years of experience in the public health sector to include experience in health education, providing patient care, disaster preparedness and crisis management.

Capri graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Administration from Northern Illinois University in 2006. She is currently anticipating her Masters of Public Health with a specialty of Public Health Management and Policy for Fall of 2014.

Capri has been in the DeKalb area since 2001 working with youth, disadvantage families, and mentally ill populations. She enjoys helping others and mentoring. “There is a joy from making a positive change in people’s lives”. When she is free she enjoys time with her family and friends; especially spending time with her nieces and nephews.

Mary Hess, MS

Mary Hess is employed as the asset specialist for the Ben Gordon Center Prevention and Education Program. As the asset specialist, Mary provides leadership for and coordination of the Developmental Asset Initiative for DeKalb County with expected outcomes of increasing the number of developmental assets reported by youth and building a community that demonstrates caring for its youth.

Previous to this position, Mary has worked as a parent educator and service coordinator for Child and Family Connections, Illinois’ Early Intervention program, and as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for Swedish American Hospital Child and Adolescent Behavior Health Unit. Mary holds a Master of Science degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Administration, both from Illinois State University.

Mary lives in DeKalb with her husband Jeff and their three sons, Kyle, Hayden and Seth. Mary has been an active volunteer in different community organizations in DeKalb, including; DeKalb Cooperative Preschool, DeKalb School District, Cub Scouts, AYSO, ReNew Our Schools, DYFL, DeKalb Area junior Leadership Academy, and the DeKalb Education Foundation.

Agnes Dus, BS

Agnes Dus joined the Prevention and Education Team in 2011 as a program evaluator. She is responsible for collecting and analyzing data to identify areas of community programs that need improvement and determine whether these programs are achieving their intended goals and objectives.

Agnes has graduated from Northern Illinois University with her Bachelor of Science in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion and a Medical Assistant Diploma from Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota.

Prior to joining the Ben Gordon Center, Agnes worked for 14 years as a medical assistant in different ambulatory settings including internal medicine, cardiology, dermatology, and orthopedics. During that time, she was able to assist diverse patients who struggled with many different chronic diseases and having opportunity to educate patients and their families how to attain a better and healthier lifestyles. In her spare time, Agnes enjoys spending time with her family and is very active with her church.

Laura Miller, BS

Laura Miller joins Ben Gordon Center as a Prevention Specialist with the Prevention & Education team. Laura’s main priority is conducting a community needs assessment for DeKalb County focusing on alcohol and substance abuse in the youth population of ages 11-20. This task includes a Strategic Prevention Framework model which includes a county needs assessment, system planning, capacity building, strategic planning, implementation of a program and evaluation of a program in DeKalb County.

A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Laura currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion. She plans to further her education by becoming a Nationally Certified Health Education Specialist and to complete her Masters in Public Health (MPH) with an emphasis in Health Administration.

In the past, Laura has volunteered more than 400 hours to Adopt-A-Pet Inc. by fostering multiple animals and more than 500 hours at Kishwaukee Community Hospital Wellness Center. In her free time, Laura enjoys watching ‘Da Bears’ and spending time with her family and friends.