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, CS – 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 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, Addictions Interventions, PC, and she works with HUGS to provide collaborative services in the Savannah community. 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 recently 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.

          2017-18 Board of Directors    

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

Matthew Toler
Board Vice-Chair
Attorney, McManamy Jackson, P.C.

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

Meg M. Hollis
Board Treasurer

Debbie B. Giordan
Assistant Treasurer
Licensed Professional Counselor

Kevin Halligan
Board Accountant
The Halligan Group LLC

Diane Saturday
Career Projects Chairman
Doctor of Education,
Curriculum & Research

Andrea Mamalakis Epting,
Masters Addiction Counselor
Licensed Professional Counselor
Founder & Director of HUGS

John Birkheimer
Retired, Pharmaceutical Sales

Sandra Bohnstengel, MD
First Choice Wellness

Amanda M. Cannon
MEd in Speech Pathology
Owner of Feather My Nest

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

Pastor Kenny Grant
Calvary Baptist Temple  

Ronnie Hall
Project Manager
Choate Construction Co.

Kalima Harris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Clinical Mental Health Masters

Linda Lynes
Licensed Professional Counselor

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

Martha B. Mathews
Retired Teacher,

Melody Norwood                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Executive Assistant                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chelsea Phillips Group

Chris Player                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Regions Insurance Group                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Independent Agent

Sherri Schumacher LMSW, CMM                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rehabilitation Specialist                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Taylor & Associates

Jennifer Welch, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Hospice Savannah