staff & board

Sam Nickels

Sam Nickels

Executive Director

Contact: [email protected]

Passions:  Friends; biking through the countryside west of Harrisonburg; hiking High Knob with my wife Cindy (who teaches social work at JMU) and kids Heather, Alex and Ana; advocacy to improve the situation of immigrants and persons with mental illnesses; cultural diversity activities like the Court Square Theater Latino Film Fest; reading SciFi; cooking for others; making new things, whether it’s a table in my kitchen or a Friendly City Food Coop (where I served on the founding team). Heather does community organizing with Renew Rocktown to create greater local climate resilience and she work with The Natural Garden; Alex is currently roaming Mexico and Central America and generally is involved in solidarity work with indigenous groups from Mexico to Canada; Ana is studying social work at EMU.

Story: I grew up mostly in Tallahassee Florida and studied music composition, horn, and piano at Florida State University. Later I spent 10 years in Washington DC working in hunger advocacy, shelters, and low-income service organizations. Before coming to Harrisonburg in 2001, my family spent 5 years in El Salvador with the Mennonite Central Committee. In Harrisonburg, I’ve worked in the school system, mental health services, and NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center. My brother’s journey with schizophrenia greatly impacted my life. I brought together that interest with my international experience to help create family education and support programs in El Salvador since 2002. That volunteer work merged with my growing interest in research to push me to obtain my PhD in Nonprofit and Community Leadership from JMU’s School for Strategic Leadership Studies in 2016.

Our Community Place is an exciting opportunity for me to lead an organization dedicated to helping those in great need in our community, to work with a fantastic team of staff and board and volunteers, and to help move the organization to the next step in its important development. I want to thank all those who have come before and built OCP into what it is today.

 

Corey Chandler

Corey Chandler

Director of Administration and Development

Contact: [email protected]

Things I love: My family is my strength and my power are my friends; I love the beach; laughter; my cat; my furry niece and nephew; hot tea; sleep; and a good meal with good people. 

My Story: Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, I graduated from Mary Baldwin University (2019) with a bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in political science. I am a master’s student in restorative justice at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. I am passionate about equity, justice and lifting up marginalized voices. My work in the community centers around dismantling oppressive social, economic and political structures. I am an active member of the Harrisonburg chapter of Virginia Organizing. When I have any spare time between work and school, I enjoy reading, hot tea, family, friends, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, car rides, and good food (which I get at OCP). I live in downtown Harrisonburg with my very smart, very spoiled, cat Max. I am so grateful and thrilled to be part of Our Community Place. 

Annie Pangle

Annie Pangle

Case Manager & Care Coordinator

‘Contact: [email protected]

Things I Love: I love spending time with my family, especially my grandson!  I love the ocean, reading, music, knitting and crocheting, and hiking.

Story: I am a native of Rockingham County . Through the years I have had many types of jobs, including massage therapy, silversmith’s apprentice, and bookseller but the longest was managing several retail stores.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the OCP community as a Case Manager and Care Coordinator.  When I’m not at OCP I am usually with my family or spending as much time out of doors as possible.

Timothy Jopling

Timothy Jopling

Kitchen Coordinator

Contact: [email protected]

Things I Love: Food, Food, and more Food, gardening, 4H, board games, teaching others how to cook

Story: Native to West Virginia, I grew up in a small town with my parents and sibling. Son to an Extension Agent and Land Surveyor, a lot of my time was spent in the woods, on the farm, and being very active in 4H at both local and state levels. At fifteen I got my first job in a restaurant and had an amazing mentor that started me on the path of becoming a culinarian.
I moved to Harrisonburg in 2005 and graduated with a degree in Media Arts & Design at James Madison University. There I was active in the Fencing Club, acting as club’s armorer, as well as WXJM, where a friend and I hosted a weekly talk show.
After college I found myself back in the restaurant industry providing food for JMU Students via Aramark and later assisting with the opening of a new downtown restaurant – Ruby’s Arcade.
I am very excited and blessed to be welcomed into the OCP team and look forward to servicing the community in new and engaging ways.
Allison Powell

Allison Powell

Case Manager

 

Contact: [email protected]

Things I like: spending time with my friends and family as much as possible. Eating is my number one hobby, so restaurants are my jam! My husband and I enjoy binge watching tv shows on Netflix and Hulu a little too much.
My Story: I was born and raised in Rockingham County. I have lived in the Harrisonburg area most of my life. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and I travelled with a group from my church to volunteer my time to clean up and fix damaged houses. It was during this time (a Sophomore in high school) that I felt my calling as a Social Worker come to light.
I attended Eastern Mennonite University for my Undergraduate degree and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. Since then I have spent my time mostly working with children and adolescents from difficult backgrounds. For the last 5 years I’ve worked with students in the school-setting providing intensive in-school behavioral therapy.
With all of this experience and knowledge I have gained I am excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work with another vulnerable population in our community. I look forward to using my support and advocacy skills in this new position.
Tim Cummings

Tim Cummings

Housing Specialist

 

Tim Cummings is a native of Richmond who moved to Harrisonburg in 1979 to attend JMU. Tim began his own import business in 1988, specializing in handcrafts from Latin America. He has been a self-employed sole proprietor ever since, but came to work at OCP in the spring of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced his business into dormancy. Tim began as a volunteer, but was hired to focus on assisting our homeless community members in finding permanent housing. His 20 years’ experience as a landlord has been useful in helping negotiate with landlords in the local housing market. Tim is married to Tricia, a registered nurse who now teaches nursing and medical topics at Harrisonburg High School. They have 3 adult daughters and 2 precious grandchildren. Tim enjoys skiing, biking, and carving amazing pumpkins for Halloween.

Board of Directors

Lawrence Miller (Chair)

Winnie Dickerson (Vice Chair)

Phillip Braverman (Treasurer)

Randi Hagi (Secretary)

Gene Bowlen

Tony Brown

Rachel Flynn

Larry Jones

Amy Knorr

Jacob Lester

Monica Robinson

Lisa Schick