Heads Up Guidance Services Inc. (H.U.G.S.), a local 501(c)(3) organization

Fostering Harmony between Citizen & Community

Board of Directors

 Board of Directors


Andrea Mamalakis Epting, NCC, LPC, MAC, CPCS, ACS, CST – HUGS’ Managing Director

Andrea M. Epting, President and CEO

Andrea Mamalakis Epting is the founder of Heads Up Guidance Services (HUGS). She is a Savannah native and graduate of St. Vincent’s Academy. She attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and graduated with a double major in Psychology and Religious Studies. After receiving her Masters Degree in Psychology with a specialty in Professional Counseling from Argosy University in 2016, she began a career as a psychotherapist. Andrea has been working locally in the field of Addiction and Mental Health. She is a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor, Masters Addictions Counselor, and Certified Sex Therapist.  She has a private practice, Resolve Strategies, LLC. which addresses trauma-induced process addictions. She is HUGS’ CEO and managing director, overseeing all operations, developing programs, and supervising professional volunteers & interns.  Andrea is married and the mother of two children.  She is an active member and serves on the Vestry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Andrea was  honored as a young “Rising Star of Savannah.”  See: http://businessinsavannah.com/bis/2014-01-13/generation-next-andrea-mamalakis-epting#.UtWv 1vRDuvM

Called to give HUGS
After years of working in the field of Addiction and Mental Health, Andrea began to take inventory of the systemic problems plaguing our local community and the “helping field” as a whole. She realized that while Savannah is blessed to have missions providing a “Hand-Out” in order to meet the physical needs of homeless and disadvantaged individuals, our city lacks the true and applicable “Hand-Up” needed in order to stop the cycle of dependence…in order to give these individuals a firm foundation for emotional growth and independence. Andrea witnessed the “helping field,” fueled by Managed Care/Medicaid, putting the almighty dollar before the basic care and compassion for the individuals served.  In a broken system, more sick than the people it treats, professional counselors are often frustrated with trying to provide quality care. As a result of Andrea’s frustration with the system’s shortcomings, her idea for Heads-Up Guidance Services (HUGS) was born.   HUGS offers the community a TRUE hand-up with necessary emotional/behavioral supports to foster long-term success.  Partnering with existing organizations who do not offer a counseling component,  HUGS bridges the gap for at-risk individuals. By serving those without insurance or limited financial means, HUGS makes counseling services available and affordable to ALL.  Without the insurance requirements of diagnosing and labeling individuals, HUGS’  professional volunteers can devote more time to quality care and follow-up services. Because no federal funds are accepted, HUGS’ services are regulated only by certified counselors who truly understand the therapeutic process.  HUGS is supported by generous citizens who want to make their city a better place to live.


2018 Board of Directors  

Executive Board 

John M. Mamalakis, CPCU      Chairman of the Board,  Insurance Consultant

Matthew Toler                        Board Vice-Chair,   Attorney, McManamy Jackson

Ellen Mathews Bradley           Board Secretary, HUGS’ Fundraising Chair,  Retired, Special Education

Meg M. Hollis                        Board Treasurer,  CPA

Debbie B. Giordan                 Assistant Treasurer,   Licensed Professional Counselor

Kevin Halligan                       Board Accountant,    The Halligan Group LLC

Board of Directors

John Birkheimer                   Retired, Pharmaceutical Sales

Sandra Bohnstengel, MD.    First Choice Wellness

Kelly L. Epting, LCSW          Program Manager,   Behavioral Health Division, Fort Stewart

Pastor Kenny Grant             Calvary Baptist Temple  

Pastor Herbert Hubbard     YMCA of the Coastal Empire, Chaplain

Ruel Joyner                         Owner of 24e Designs

Joseph C. Mathews, Jr.        Retired Juvenile Court;   Executive Director of Stream Energy

Melody Norwood                Executive Assistant, Chelsea Phillips Group

Carolyn Smalls,                   J.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Human Resources Director, Chatham County

Jennifer Welch, LCSW         Clinical Social Worker,  Hospice Savannah