Meet the Consultants

Brenda Lee, LPC MAC

Brenda Lee is a licensed psychotherapist who has been working in mental health for over 30 years. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Mary Baldwin College, a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from South University and a Master of Addiction Counseling (MAC). She specializes in substance abuse and dual diagnosis counseling. She has years of experiences developing and supervising programs for community service boards, jails and other institutions in addition to years of case management and individual counseling experience. She uses many therapeutic approaches in her work, but when she utilizes bibliotherapy in her programming, she often uses Kiara’s children’s book “Be A Man Tyrone: What Happens When Daddy Goes to Prison” to evoke work and reflection for participants surrounding the issues of fatherhood, parental incarceration and more.

Kiara Lee-Heart, PhD

Dr. Kiara Lee-Heart currently teaches writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. Kiara is also a writer herself, with 2 children’s books surrounding social issues: “Light-Skinned, Dark-Skinned or In-Between?” and “Be a Man Tyrone: What Happens When Daddy Goes to Prison.” She holds a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish from University of Richmond, a Master of Education from the University of Virginia and a PhD in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Kiara’s work centers education equity, identity and social justice. Specifically, her dissertation examined colorism (discrimination within an ethnic group based on complexion) in higher education and the experiences and challenges of dark-skinned Black college students. Her work has been featured on CNN, BET.com, Teaching Tolerance Magazine and other local news and entertainment outlets. She has a great deal of experience using writing as therapy to help children and adults alike process trauma, turning struggle stories into empowerment in the classroom as an academic and in other community spaces. Kiara received the distinguished honor of being chosen as one of Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 for her work in education and the community at-large in Richmond, VA.