Our mission is to encourage and unite children and their families affected by skin disease and birthmarks by providing opportunities for social, emotional and spiritual support.
One study compared the health-related quality of life for children with chronic skin conditions to other chronic diseases of childhood including diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, kidney disease and cystic fibrosis. Chronic skin disease was ranked second compared to cerebral palsy in regards to impairment of quality of life.
We at A Children’s House for the Soul want to help re-write this story by bringing together individuals with similar struggles around facilitated activities and discussions that will help them feel connected, validated and understood. We hope to encourage and inspire our program participants with the knowledge and confidence to face these challenges with acceptance, positive awareness and coping strategies that will lead to empowerment and advocacy.
What are the roots of A Children’s House for the Soul?
In 2010, Dr. Alanna Bree was a successful pediatric dermatologist when she heard four unmistakable words from God. Stunned, and with only a mustard seed of faith, she listened as God’s plans began to unfold in her life while fulfilling His mission of hope and healing.
A Children’s House is the miraculous true journey of how one doctor risked everything to follow a calling—with a passion to positively impact the lives of children and teens around the world who are affected by skin disease and birthmarks.
Alanna F. Bree, M.D. is the Founder and Executive Director of A Children’s House for the Soul, Inc, as well as serving as the President for our Board of Directors. She is also a Pediatric Dermatologist at A Children’s House for Pediatric Dermatology, and she considers caring for her patients both an immense privilege and a tremendous blessing.
Professionally, Dr. Bree has been actively involved in the American Academy of Dermatology and Society for Pediatric Dermatology where she has participated in several leadership roles & given many nationally invited lectures. She has been involved in national and international pediatric dermatology research, has several scientific publications and is co-author of The Illustrated Manual of Pediatric Dermatology. She has been a long-time volunteer of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Camp Discovery, held each summer at Camp For All in Burton, TX. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias and was co-chair for the Dermatology Advisory Group for the World Health Organization. She has also authored her own book, A Children’s House: A Little Story About A God-sized Dream, that is a personal testimony of all God has done in and through her life.
Personally, she is actively involved in her community, both locally and globally. She is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church Downtown where she has been involved with the Missions Ministry Action Team and is a member of the Health Cabinet. She has participated in several short-term mission trips to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Kenya and Tanzania, and her heart is with the orphans affected by albinism in Africa. She is also the wife to her medical school sweetheart, who is an interventional cardiologist, and mom to two adult children who she loves dearly. Most importantly, she desires to live out her faith each and every day by sharing the love and compassion of Jesus through helping others with her God-given gifts.
Amber Haygood is new to our team. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to combine her love for patient care and advocacy each day she comes to work. Almost 4 years ago, she came to our office as a parent of a child with a skin condition. She was looking desperately for a doctor to help them. The orange door to our office holds a special place in her heart. It’s been a place of hope and healing for her daughter and herself. She hopes that with her personal experience with a child who has a skin condition and knows the hardships and struggles of daily life, she can share that same hope with the parents she meets at A Children’s House. When not at the office, you can usually find her using her love of photography to advocate for others through That Orange Door, spending time with her family, shopping, and loving on her 2 sweet dogs.
Lindsay is a Certified Child Life Specialist with a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Prior to her work with A Children’s House for the Soul Lindsay worked at Texas Children’s Hospital for 5 years where she provided coping support and education for children and teenagers in over 10 different medical specialties, dermatology being one! Lindsay also taught child life and child development courses at San Jacinto College and serves as program director for Camp Discovery Texas. Most importantly she is a wife to Shane and a mama to Vincent (4 mos) and Margaret (3 years.)
V is a medical student at McGovern Medical School and is our inaugural Masterpiece Fellow. She is pursuing a gap year to further explore her interest in pediatric dermatology at A Children’s House and in dermatologic research at MD Anderson. V is drawn to A Children’s House for the Soul because of their commitment to providing exceptional social, emotional, and spiritual support for children with skin conditions and their families, which is paramount to coping and healing as a community. V has a bachelor’s in social work and experience working with different communities from adolescent girls who’ve experienced neglect and trauma to adults who are differently abled. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, cooking, and traveling. Above all, V believes everyone is uniquely gifted and beautiful—she looks forward to a wonderful year (and many more) with A Children’s House for the Soul!
Board of Directors
Stephanie A. Bedford was born In San Dimas, California and raised in Houston, Texas. Receiving a degree in Business Administration and Management from Azusa Pacific University, followed by second-hand experience of the drilling and workover industry, she founded Vanguard Safety Systems in 2017. Guided on the sole purpose of protecting the industry’s most important assets, she envisioned an opportunity to ensure that only the highest quality American made safety products would be distributed to workers both onshore and off. Stephanie is part of the 1% of the world’s population that has vitiligo. She is passionate about spreading awareness and offering support and encouragement by those affected by vitiligo and other skin diseases. Stephanie is married to Lewis and is expecting their first child this August. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys going to live music events, spending time with family and friends, and reading.
Dr. Chad Brandt
Dr. Chad Brandt is a provisionally licensed psychologist with expertise in treating anxiety based disorders. He received his BS in Psychology from Florida State University, his MS in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Brandt completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Brandt works at The Houston OCD Program and specializes in assessing and treating anxiety disorders, and has additional expertise treating anxiety and depression among persons living with health complications. He truly understands the needs of the children we serve and is excited to help make a positive impact in their lives.
Dr. John Cangelosi
Dr. John Cangelosi is a board-certified Dermatopathologist and Founder of Sagis Diagnostics. He trained at the University of Texas. He has performed research in such topics as cutaneous adnexal tumors, histiocytic tumors, cutaneous t-cell lymphomas, and non-melanoma skin cancers, and has published in various pathology journals including The American Journal of Dermatopathology, Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, and Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
Susan M. Hamm was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and spent her formative years as a US Naval dependent moving throughout the United States. She has a B.A. in Marketing from The University of South Florida. She currently resides in Spring, Texas, and is the Vice President of Operations for Oz Gas Corporation. She is also actively involved in her community as a volunteer. She serves as the Family to Family Network Liaison for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) and was the National Family Conference Chairperson in 2013. She has also spearheaded the Zach Hamm’s Don’t Sweat It Golf Classic as the Co-Chair from 2008-2012 which has raised over $150,000 benefitting the NFED. She is additionally a committee member for the Klein ISD Collaborative Action Network with Lone Star College and was the PTO President for Doerre Intermediate School. She has received the Klein ISD Friend of Freedom Award and was recognized as the Volunteer of the Month. She is married to Paul and is a dedicated mother to her son, Zach, who is affected with ectodermal dysplasia, as well as being an honor student at St. Thomas High School and a nationally recognized golfer. She enjoys painting and traveling in her spare time.
Margaret T. Hirsch, RN, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and currently resides in Houston with her husband, Kevin. She is the proud mother of her two grown children- a daughter, Haley, who is a cosmetologist and resides in California and a son, Jimmy, who followed in her footsteps and is a nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital. Margaret obtained her B.S. in Nursing at the University of Houston and serves as the Nurse Coordinator for the Dermatology Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH). She has served as the President of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Dermatology Nurses Association (DNA). She has given many nationally invited lectures, has several peer-reviewed publications and has participated in several national studies as a study coordinator. She is a course instructor for the Phototherapy Fundamentals Workshop through the DNA and has been a member of the Amgen Speakers Bureau. She has received many awards for her work including Nurse of the Year from Texas Children’s Hospital, the Anthony J Jannetti Dermatology Nurse Practice Award from the DNA and was a finalist in the Houston Chronicle’s Salute to Nurses. She is an active volunteer in her community and has assisted at the American Red Cross and has also served as a Blood Drive Committee member at Unity Church. She has also helped organize TCH’s Don’t Fry Day event from 2010-2015. She enjoys serving on the Leadership Team and directing the medical team for Camp Dermadillo, which is a national camp program for children and teens with life-altering skin conditions supported by the American Academy of Dermatology and Texas Children’s Hospital. Seeing the positive impact of the Camp on the campers is a highlight for her each year. Her hobbies include gardening, reading and spending time with her large extended family.
Dr. Meena Julapalli
Dr. Meena Julapalli is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist who recently moved back to her hometown of Houston, TX. Prior to moving back to Houston, Dr. Julapalli was an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Colorado in Denver and Dell Medical School in Austin. She has a passion for providing comprehensive care that acknowledges and supports more than just the physical aspects of her patients’ skin disease but also the social and emotional needs of her patients as well. She believes that when children and families affected by skin disease have a space and community where they feel loved and supported, it empowers and transforms them in profound and life-changing ways. Over the last 15 years, Dr. Julapalli has served on the leadership teams of Camp Dermadillo, Camp Spirit, and Roundup River Ranch, through which she has been blessed to facilitate and witness these transformations, but what she finds extra special about A Children’s House For The Soul is its commitment to sustain that community and support throughout the year and provide a platform for these children and their families to advocate for themselves and for others. She is excited to help build that impact even more as a board member.
In her spare time, Dr. Julapalli loves making memories with her friends and family, especially her beautiful nephews. You will often find her fanatically supporting her beloved Houston Astros and Rockets, New Orleans Saints, and Crimson Tide football teams, hiking up 14,000+ ft mountains, traveling the world and being invigorated by all the beauty that surrounds us, enjoying and playing music in all its forms, spreading love and kindness, and being the quintessential kid at heart who always finds the joy in even the smallest of things.
Dr. Alana A. Kennedy-Nasser, MD
Alana Kennedy-Nasser, MD, well known as Dr. Alana, is the founder of purePEDIATRICS. Her goal is to change the way children, adolescents and young adults receive medical care through personalized medicine, integrative wellness and a healthy dose of prevention. She has vast experience in all aspects of pediatric care, from healthy newborns to the most complicated and chronically ill children.
Dr. Alana holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from SMU and earned her MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. She completed her Pediatrics residency at Tulane University and completed her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital. While she is, double board certified in Pediatrics & Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, her primary passion is the prevention and early recognition of disease.
Prior to private practice, Dr. Alana was an Assistant Professor on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital for five years. This experience gave her tremendous insight into the care of chronically ill and immunocompromised children, as well as acknowledging the importance of prevention.
In her spare time, she has completed the Boston Marathon and multiple Ironman triathlons, including the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Dr. Alana is a mother to four amazing children, from elementary age through college. She and her husband, Dr. Dean Nasser, a pulmonologist, have called Houston home for over 12 years. In addition to authoring or co-authoring over 15 publications, Dr. Alana has been named a Texas Rising Star in 2012 and 2014 and a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Kathy Krueger grew up and lived in Colorado Springs before marrying her husband, Dan Krueger. They spent almost 30 years moving and traveling around the USA and world, while he served in the US Army, before finally settling in Houston in 2010. She has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Memphis in public relations, with an emphasis in non-profit communications and fundraising, and she brings to our organization a wealth of knowledge and experience. While at the University of Memphis, she won a National PRSA Award for Ethics Writing. As owner of KKrueger Communications, she prepared communication plans based on broad strategic goals.
Clint Reiff is a fourth generation Houstonian. After graduating Spring Woods Senior High, he received a BBA in finance from the University of Texas – Austin and worked as a banker in Houston and in Florida. He left his position as a Senior Vice President at Community Bank of Charlotte County to enter Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned a Masters in Divinity. He has served as Senior Pastor at Rice Temple Baptist Church since 2000. He has served on the board of Habitat for Humanity -Southwest Florida and Christian Community Service Center in Houston. He and his beautiful wife, Donna grew up in the same neighborhood and have been married for 32 years.
Karen Schescke, RN, is the Secretary of our Board of Directors. She was born in Nebraska and lived in Colorado and Missouri as a child. She attended college in Springfield, Missouri, and obtained her RN from the Burge School of Nursing at Drury College. She moved to Houston in 1981 to work in the Texas Medical Center. She started working for Medical Center Endoscopy in 2001 and serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Nursing. She is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church Downtown and is involved in the Stephen’s Ministry and the Missions Ministry Action Team. She also serves on the Temple Terrace Property Owners Association Board of Directors. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.
Mark Troth was born in Denver, CO. He moved to Houston over 50 years ago and is a resident of Richmond in Fort Bend County. He obtained his degree from University of Arkansas and has a long career in the Houston Banking industry. He is President of The Bank of River Oaks and has held this position since 2006. He has served on numerous governing and advisory Boards over the years, as well as led and participated in countless volunteer and community outreach efforts. His primary charitable interests include advocating for health, education and children’s initiatives. He has been married to his lovely wife, Mary Loria, for 35 years and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.