Who We Are
At 3rdchair, we pride ourselves on finding beautifully flawed people to help keep the dream going.
Life isn’t always easy. The answers to our problems are elusive and blurry at best and only with the calming and encouraging voices of our wisest friends can we move forward. Life is messy, difficult and confusing and we too have known struggle, pain, depression and shame. The only reason we can support others is because, we ourselves, are being supported. Without our friends, relatives, teachers, professors, mentors and donors cheering us on, we couldn’t do this. Therefore, with this support in place, we’ve devoted our lives to helping those who might not have the support. So let this model of being blessed and blessing others ring true for you as well. We’ve been served, so in turn, let us serve you as well. This is our charge and mission and we embrace it. We wouldn’t have it any other way. The youth of West Michigan deserve it.
Meet Our Staff
Scott McKnight, Founding Director LMSW Clinical Practice, MBA
Scott founded 3rdchair to meet the needs of young adults of Grand Rapids.
He has made it a full-time endeavor to counsel, mentor, and speak to schools, colleges, churches, seminaries and other groups regarding the challenges and mental health concerns facing today’s youth.
Scott works in groups or one on one and is gifted in dealing with sexual abuse, addictions, self-injury (cutting), eating disorders, anxiety, depression, grief and relationship struggles. He makes it easy for young people to communicate how they really feel and gives them the tools to articulate their thoughts. He works with people so they can build constructive relationships with others by being aware of the needs around them.
Scott received his Masters of Social Work in Clinical Practice from Western Michigan University as well as further training through Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He also received a Masters in Business Administration in International Finance from Old Dominion University.
Outside of 3rdchair, Scott has coached soccer for the past 8 years; worked summer camps for Harbor Hospice and Ele's Place, walking along side youth who experienced death of a family member; facilitated groups for high school students who are experiencing anticipatory grief; volunteered for Junior Achievement – Project Business teaching students about building a business; and has volunteered with with Binder Park Zoo and the Humane Society.
Kristen Rogers, LPC, Counselor
Kristen Rogers is a graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary where she earned a Master of Arts in Counseling. While pursuing interdisciplinary studies, she was able to focus her coursework on women’s issues as well as child and adolescent development. Kristen’s studies increased her desire to walk with women through issues such as abuse, anxiety, depression, and self-worth and to assist them towards goals of healing and healthy living.
While studying at Cornerstone University, Kristen was a resident assistant and had the privilege of helping young women through the personal, social, and transitional challenges of college life. After graduating, she received the Faculty Counseling Award for excellence in counseling. Her invaluable service at 3rdchair also includes working with young adults and couples. In her spare time, she enjoys the company of her husband and energetic son as well as reading, traveling, music, art projects, and serving at her church.
Sarah Benton, LMSW, Counselor
Sarah Benton is a graduate of Grand Valley State University where she received her Master of Social Work degree. Sarah also earned her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Grand Valley State University. In addition to working at the 3rd chair, Sarah also works at Family Outreach Center where she provides counseling to children, teens, and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Sarah also spent time working in the adolescent residential unit at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. Through these experiences, she has seen first-hand how traumatic experiences and difficult times affect a person’s life. Sarah has enjoying helping young people overcome their pain, grief, sadness, and worries.
Sarah understands that transitioning into adulthood can be an extremely challenging time filled with worry, pain, and confusion. Her hope is to walk with you on the journey to let you know that you are not alone. Sarah has experience working with those who are struggling with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationship issues, and grief. Her passion is to help teens and young adults find joy and peace in their life.
In her free time, Sarah can be found going for bike rides and walks with her husband and dog, a basset hound named Beatrice. Sarah particularly delights in sunny days spent at the beach and nights spend by a bonfire during the summer time. Sarah also enjoys cooking (and eating!) and crafting.
Stephanie Bergman, LLPC, Counselor
Stephanie is a graduate from Spring Arbor University with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling. Prior, she graduated from Kuyper College with a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Youth Ministry and Bible/Theology, and minors in Worship Studies and Communication Arts.
Stephanie’s unique background and experiences, combined with her education, have prepared her well to work with young adults and college-aged students. She has spent the past seven years working on college campuses in Career & Counseling, Student Life and Admissions departments. Outside of the college campus environment, Stephanie has also been a middle and high school student youth leader in her church for over 10 years. These combined experiences have afforded her the opportunity to walk with young adults as they experience all of the joys and sorrows that are involved in growing up and discovering the person they are meant to be. She has experience working with those who are struggling with anxiety, depression, grief, life transitions, relationship issues, and self-worth. Her passion for walking with young adults comes out of her own personal experiences and her belief that with time and effort, joy and healing are possible.
In her free time, Stephanie enjoys reading, being outdoors, exploring Grand Rapids, drinking coffee, crafting, digging through thrift stores, and spending time with her awesome husband, 2 super cute kids, and crazy dog.
Tennyson DeWitt, LLPC, Counselor
Tennyson is a graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, where she received a Master of Arts in Counseling. She has chosen trauma as her focus of study, and is passionate about walking with others through life’s most challenging situations. Tennyson earned her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Health Communication, and after a couple years working in the field left the country to pursue international missions in Eastern Europe, Asia and Southern Africa.
International mission work opened Tennyson’s eyes to the depth of her own brokenness and her passion to facilitate growth and healing in those around her. Tennyson is passionate about relationship, redemption and listening to the unique heart and story of others within a safe and caring environment. She believes every life is a journey worth sharing, and every person is meant to live known, seen, and loved. Tennyson has extensive experience working with middle school, high school and young adults, and has served as a Youth Leader at her church for over 10 years. She has experience working with anxiety, depression, grief, self-worth, relationship struggles and life transitions.
When not working or studying, Tennyson can be found hanging out with friends, attending local coffee shops and breweries, reading, writing, or hiking and exploring wherever her schedule allows. She loves to travel and will jump at any opportunity to experience new people and places.
Hillary Marker, LLPC, Counselor
Hillary is a graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary where she received a Master of Arts in Counseling with an interdisciplinary focus. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Family Studies at Cornerstone University.
Hillary’s passion for counseling resulted from hard experiences in her own life. During those difficult moments, she began to understand the value of intentional community and mentorship in the healing process. Hillary is passionate about walking alongside teens and college-aged students in the counseling process, acting as an aide and a guide in the self-discovery and healing process.
Through her experience in child and adolescent residential treatment programs, Hillary has worked with children and teens that have experienced abuse and trauma, as well as those who have struggled with behavioral problems, suicidal ideation and self-injury, and substance abuse.
In her spare time, Hillary enjoys traveling to different countries and learning about new cultures, hanging out with friends, and watching Star Wars and Marvel movies.
Elizabeth Ghekiere , Intern Counselor, Grace College
Elizabeth is a graduate student at North Carolina Central University where she is working toward a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is also a graduate of Spring Arbor University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Elizabeth has a passion for people and strives to share her interest in people through her school work and her hobbies.
Elizabeth is particularly drawn to young people and issues such as depression and anxiety. Having spent 3 weeks learning and experiencing Cambodia during her undergraduate work, she has become passionate about and finds herself constantly learning about societal issues such as poverty, inequality, and human trafficking.
In addition to her internship with 3rd chair and schoolwork, she creates custom, hand-drawn, planners and cares for her 150+ houseplants. Running two online businesses keeps Elizabeth busy; however, you can also find her walking around downtown, hanging out at parks, and relaxing near a beach."
Melissa Phebus, LPC, Counselor
Melissa is a graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Counseling. Her focus was interdisciplinary studies, which allowed her to take classes focusing on the struggles and triumphs of women as well as a general overview of the philosophy of addiction counseling. Upon graduating Melissa received the Faculty Counseling Award for excellence in counseling.
Prior to getting her MA, Melissa attended Cedarville University where she majored in Philosophy and had two minors, one in History and one in Bible. She also played for Cedarville’s Volleyball team where she learned much about discipline, teamwork, and setting and achieving goals. Though she enjoyed her study in Philosophy, it is not an area that opens up a lot of one-on-one contact with others. Desiring to spend meaningful time with people, Melissa shifted her focus to counseling where she could help others enjoy who they were and take charge in shaping who they wanted to become.
In addition to working at 3rdchair, Melissa also volunteers as a youth leader in her local church where she walks alongside high school women as they journey through school and learn about life. Melissa also enjoys reading, painting, camping and hiking and is always up for a good conversations in a local coffee shop.
Karla Kantola, LPC, Counselor
Karla is a graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary where she received a Master of Arts in Counseling. There she chose to pursue an interdisciplinary study in counseling to best equip herself to help people in many different circumstances. Karla particularly has a passion for helping teens and young adults, which was sparked by her time volunteering in youth group, working in residence life, and from her own journey through adolescence and college.
As a counselor, Karla understands that life sometimes feels overwhelming and out of control. She also understands that it can be intimidating talking to others about these feelings. It’s for this reason that Karla strives to create a warm and welcoming environment when you come to counseling. She works to help you feel comfortable sharing and she right beside you as you begin your process of healing
In addition to counseling, Karla enjoys the arts and she can often be found practicing graphic design, taking photographs, and even occasionally painting. She also enjoys biking and spending time with her energetic black lab in the great outdoors.
Stephanie Bennett, LLPC, Counselor
Stephanie is a graduate from Spring Arbor University, with a Master of Arts in Counseling Degree. She has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Calvin College.
Stephanie has chosen to focus her time and energy working with teens and young adults because she understands that these years are filled with difficult transitions and knows that everyone needs a little help figuring out who they are and where they want to go.
Stephanie has prior experience in working and providing home-based family intervention, life skills education, and supportive services. Working with home based family systems has provided Stephanie with a specific insight on how mental health issues affect more than just the individual.
In her free time, Stephanie can be found spending time with family and friends. She likes to maintain a healthy lifestyle and has found social dancing—particularly swing and salsa dancing—to be a great way to stay active.
Mindy Worley, LLPC, Counselor
Mindy is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Counseling. While earning her counseling degree, Mindy also pursued an emphasis in school counseling, giving her a special insight into the social, emotional, developmental and academic challenges of middle and high school students. Additionally, Mindy holds a bachelor's degree from Cornerstone University where she majored in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies.
Mindy has extensive experience working with teens in both camp ministry and youth ministry with her local church. It was there that she developed a love and a passion for working with adolescents. Mindy has also spent time investing in college age students as both an adjunct professor and academic counselor, and has also done one on one mentoring within this population. Mindy has a strong desire to walk with adolescents and young adults through the valleys of life, helping them to navigate their way to a successful and fulfilling future.
Along with counseling, Mindy is passionate about natural health and whole food nutrition. She values sourcing food locally and preparing healthy meals for her family. Mindy also treasures her roles as wife to an incredible husband and mom to three beautiful children. She loves spending time with her family and watching her children learn and grow. She especially likes being outside with her family, doing things like playing, swimming, biking, walking, and camping! Mindy also enjoys sharing meals with old and new friends, reading, and hobby photography.
Amanda Stowitts, LLPC, Counselor
Amanda is graduate of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, where she received a Master’s in Counseling with an interdisciplinary focus She has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Worship with a vocal emphasis at Cornerstone University and leads worship at her church.
After watching family members and friends wrestle through grief and anxiety, Amanda chose to become a counselor to companion and care for those who are hurting. In addition to sharing her time with 3rdchair, she also works at Ele’s Place, working with children who are struggling with the bereavement of a special person. Amanda feels that every person should have the opportunity to feel heard and appreciated as the unique individual they are. She believes the first step to healing and becoming the best version of yourself is realizing you are worth the time and effort it takes to push forward.
Outside of counseling and schoolwork, Amanda loves spending time with her family, going for walks in nature with friends, singing, reading, horseback riding, snuggling with her dogs, and discussing movies and tv, especially anything to do with Star Wars, superheroes, and musicals.
Tyler Mink, LLPC, Counselor
Tyler hails from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary where he received a Master of Arts in Counseling degree. His focus was on interdisciplinary studies with a cognate in addictions. This has equipped him to provide insightful as well as practical skills in dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship stress, behavioral addictions, as well as other mental and behavioral health obstacles. Walking with others in their paths towards wholeness and integrity is one of his passions.
Tyler has experience working with a wide range of young adults and teens. He completed his internship with the Third Chair during his time in graduate school where his skills in working with young adults grew immensely. He also served in multiple leadership roles in undergraduate school and volunteers with Kids Hope USA. He has also worked as a crisis counselor which has enabled him to provide immediate support for individuals with a broad range of struggles. Tyler is also experienced in and driven to provide a biopsychosocial emphasis of well-being with those he serves. He is adamant about strong mental health as he is a believer in healing, growth, and achieving one's goals in all areas of life. He considers it a privilege to be a witness to those elements in those he serves and believes those strengths are with everyone.
When not in the office, Tyler finds joy in being an avid trail-hiker, an athlete of many sports, a book-worm, and lover of music. He is currently learning Spanish and speaks Chinese, loves to make beats on his computer, and can be found spending time with his friends or girlfriend at any local restaurant (Mexican preferred) or in a local West Michigan park.
Kelli Hoffman, Intern Counselor, Grace College
Kelli is a graduate student at Grace College, where she is working towards a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Grace College in Counseling and Criminal Justice. Kelli discovered my passion for working with adolescents and young adults. She is drawn to working with those who have struggled with suicidal ideation and self-injury, substance abuse, anxiety, self-worth and walking alongside those who are trying to find their appropriate place in this confusing world.
Having walked through several difficulties of her own, she has a strong desire to help others through the tough transitions of life and rediscover the qualities and interests that make them unique. Kelli strongly believes that people need other people, and being a helping hand to those in need is a calling.
You will find Kelli spending most of her spare time in coffee shops with friends or homework. She also enjoys spending time outside and on walks with my dog, a Dachshund named Olly. Trips to the dog park are a regular occurrence for us in any season.