The FORT is a community space where teens connect and grow stronger together through a holistic and integrative experience that nourishes the mind and body. Delivered through 5 channels using different modalities, teens are empowered both internally and externally through the power of connection:

  • Expressive Arts – connecting with your inner self through art, music, writing, photography

  • Mindfulness – calming and connecting the mind and body through meditation, yoga 

  • Nature & Animals – healing through the connective force of equine & canine therapy 

  • Social Emotional – building trust and healthy connections through group games and discussion 

  • Relationships – fostering positive peer and adult connections through shared experiences

It's been created as an all-inclusive place for teens to de-stress, connect with peers and learn new skills that enable them to cope better with the pressures of life. In addition to fun ice-breaker games, group sharing and discussions, teens participate in workshops and activities that strengthen and enrich their lives.

We meet once a month for three hours, rotating between western, central and eastern Loudoun so we can be within easy reach for as many teens as possible. 



Registration coming soon for

October 24 at Fusion Academy in Leesburg

November 14 at Trillium Farm in Purcellville

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Elaine Johnson & Parker

Elaine Johnson is a Special Education Teacher, with 15 years’ experience working with students of all ages in both the school and residential treatment setting. She has been studying Applied Behavior Analysis for 8 years and is due to take the Board-Certified Certification next month. She has provided animal therapy as a full-time job in the past and as a volunteer through several different organizations and has been with FORT from its inception. Her expertise is in providing K9 experiential sessions where students are encouraged to problem solve and accept other’s perspectives while building relationships. Elaine has also worked as a human resources manager in the past and has a strong calling to help and care for others, a legacy left by her mother Florence Banham. Elaine is very active with her dogs partnering with them in training, exercise, play, tricks and mutual love. Her dogs have performed with her in K9 Freestyle dancing having earned high scoring accolades, but most importantly they have fun.

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Project Horse

The Project Horse workshop will be co-facilitated by Certified Equine Specialists, Darcy Woessner and Maria Kimble. Both facilitators have several years’ experience delivering equine-assisted wellness, experiential learning and therapy programs. They have extensive combined experience working with clients of all ages, with emotional, behavioral, cognitive or developmental challenges, utilizing a strengths-based and client-centered approach. At Project Horse, the focus is always on partnership with our rescued horses, where both participants and horses can benefit from mutual healing and support!

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A Place To Be

Music Therapy Experience 
Music opens and lights up the soul! Join the experienced music staff from A Place to Be and come together to make music and connect with new friends as you express yourself through music. 

Brandi Hanson, A Place To Be Intern

Brandi Hanson is a music therapy intern at A Place To Be. From a small town in southern Illinois called Breese, she is currently finishing up her undergrad at Drury University to receive her Bachelor's in Music Therapy. At Drury, she was a part of a sorority, Kappa Delta, along with being a part of the Student Music Therapy Association (SMTA). In SMTA, she held two different positions, Parlimentarian and Vice President. While on the board, she developed different fundraising events and prepared individuals for the AMTA national and regional conference. She is excited to learn and grow not only through musicianship, but also as a person throughout at A Place To Be.

Tori Klier

Tori Klier has been working with students for 13 years in a variety of settings. Currently she teaches 2nd grade and is one of our FORTitude Teen Workshop leaders. Tori has managed her own anxiety and depression since high school using mindfulness and lifestyle practices. She wants to share her story and pursuit of mindfulness with others to inspire them to take positive steps in their life.

Allison Gong

Allison received her B.F.A. in Drawing from George Mason University and is currently working toward her master’s in Art Education. She teaches art K-12 at private schools in Northern Virginia and leads projects and studio activities in public schools through her master’s program. On weekends, she teaches art classes at an assisted living facility. All of her art teaching is done to increase students’ understanding of resiliency, self-understanding, and connections in their lives. Her goal as a teacher is to deepen students’ understanding of art practices and, in the process, encourage self-discovery.