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,  LPC, MAC, CPCS, ACS, CST 

HUGS’ Founder & 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 has been  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  individuals, our city lacks the true and applicable “Hand-Up” needed to provide affordable support for those whose lives are crippled by emotional problems and addictions.  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.


2019 Board of Directors  

Executive Board 

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

Matthew Toler                          Board Vice-Chair,   Attorney at Lee, Black & Hollis PC

Carolyn Smalls                         Board Secretary, Chatham County Human Resources Director

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

William Capitan                     Staff Liaison, President Emeritus of Georgia Southwestern State University

Rushe Hudsinski                   Savannah Technical College Faculty, Business Management Department

Ginny McCuen                       Certified Health Education Specialist 

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

Garlana Mathews                SelectOne Network and Workplace Health, Director of Georgia Workers’ Compensation Assoc.

Miranda Marchant              Owner, March Marketing

Melody Norwood                 Owner, Two Waves Transactions, Real Estate Transactions

Emily Polonus                       Licensed Massage Therapist

Jennifer Welch, LCSW        Clinical Social Worker