Meet the Mitchell’s House Team

Ellen S. Hefner, M.A., LCMHCA, NCC

Ellen S. Hefner is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Associate in the State of North Carolina and is a National Certified Counselor through the National Board for Certified Counselors. Ellen brings extensive play therapy and pediatric counseling experience with a specialization in grief and loss to Mitchell’s House.

Ellen earned a B.A. in Interpersonal Communications with minors in both Ethics & the Public Interest and Psychology from Meredith College.  She has a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Certificate in Play Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Ellen’s experience includes work as a grief counselor and play therapist at Kindermourn and as a pediatric counselor in the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health.  She is a leader in her field and has made professional presentations on grieving children and play therapy at both the North Carolina Counseling Association and the American Counseling Association Conferences.

Kenia M. Jung, M.A., LCMHCA

Kenia Jung is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Associate in the State of North Carolina who is bilingual in Spanish and English.  Kenia is a life-long Charlotte resident, a graduate of Garinger High School, Central Piedmont Community College, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she completed a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling. 

Kenia is a former Police Officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, where she was assigned to the Crisis Response Team to respond to incidents where individuals were experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis.  Additionally, she has experience in school-based counseling and working in private practice.   

Kenia is certified in child-centered play therapy and child-parent relationship training.  She provides support and developmentally appropriate interventions to children and their families facing medical trauma.

Kimberly Lucier, Special Events

Kimberly Lucier brings over 25 years of experience in child and family development to Mitchell’s House.  She is a graduate with honors of the child and family development program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She began her career as a child life specialist at Carolina’s Medical Center.

Kimberly moved on to establish and build new child life teams and programs at both Atrium Northeast Medical Center and Novant Hemby Children’s Hospital.  She brings fundraising and program development experience with an entrepreneurial spirit that will benefit the work of Mitchell’s House.

Sarah McDonald, Clinic Manager

Sarah McDonald is Mitchell’s House Clinic Manager.  Sarah manages the daily operations of the clinic and relationships with medical providers and other non-profits that refer families to Mitchell’s House.  Prior to joining our team in 2022, she worked for a Big Four Accounting firm for almost 15 years. Sarah graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance.

She lost her son, Nash, to a rare genetic disease (Adrenoleukodystrophy) seven months after his diagnosis. Sarah was introduced to Mitchell’s Fund as a result of her son’s diagnosis and received therapy services to brace her for Nash’s end of life. Sarah has a young daughter and supportive husband who continue to motivate her to improve the mental well-being of children, siblings and parents within our community.

Emily Reiner, LPC, LCMHC, RPT

Emily Reiner is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the State of North Carolina and Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies; Psychology and Criminal Justice from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Brenau University.

Emily’s experience includes school-based counseling, expressive arts therapy and counseling in private practice for adults and children. Emily is a registered play therapist.  She provides support and developmentally appropriate interventions to children and their families facing medical trauma.

Kiley Thiel, MA, LCMHCs, CCTP

Kiley Thiel is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.  She maintains a private practice and is an adjunct professor of psychology at Queens University of Charlotte.  Past experience includes working as director of children teen services at Kindermourn (2014-2020) and providing inpatient and outpatient psychotherapy school-based service for CMC Atrium Behavioral Health (2003-2006)

B.S. in Psychology, May 2000, M.A. in Health Psychology, May 2002, Appalachian State University

  • Licensed Professional Counselor 2004 – 2018
  • Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor 2018 – present
  • Certified Clinical Trauma Professional 2017 – present
  • Member, National Alliance of Grieving Children 2014 – 2021