Heartstrings Staff


Bunny Higgins

Executive Director

Claire Crowley

Claire Crowley

Director of Human Services


Anne Hull

Director of Development/Founder

Jonathan Watkins

Jonathan Watkins

Director of Operations


Deb McQuay

Office Manager/Job Coach


Heather Ferrence

Manager, Goody Delivery


Mary Uhl

Mary Uhl

Store Manager,
Sacks on Santa Fe

Tony Stark

Tony Stark

Coordinator of Transportation


Rebecca Thiele
Program Developer/Arts


Derek Crocker

Innovation Specialist/Team Leader

Amanda Henning

Amanda Henning

Retail Team Leader

Tisha Patterson

Tisha Anderson

Team Leader


Judy Ellifrits

Team Leader




Rosanne Thiry

Human Services Consultant

Katy Palmieri

Katy Palmieri
Billing Agent

Bunny Higgins

Bunny Higgins graduated from Emporia State University with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Services and Education and a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Bunny has over 35 years of experience working in the human service field. She has served in a variety of positions, providing direct care as a nursing assistant, medication aid, restorative therapy, job development, job placement, and job coaching. Bunny continued her career at the administration level developing programs along with grant writing, financial and supervisory responsibilities.  She also traveled for 5 years with CARF (Commission of Accreditation Rehabilitation Facilities) as a surveyor. Her primary objective as a surveyor was quality and results.

Bunny started with Heartstrings Community Foundation as a consultant in September 2001. In January 2002 she was hired as the Program Developer and was promoted to Executive Director in 2004.

Heartstring Community Foundation has been a dream come true for Bunny. She has been instrumental in developing a service for adults with intellectual developmental disabilities like none other in the country. 

Bunny enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, reading inspirational books, traveling, horseback riding, and fly-fishing with Dennis her best friend and husband.

Bunny’s passion is assisting in making a lasting change in peoples’ lives.

Claire Crowley

Claire Crowley graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences, along with a Multicultural Certificate.

Claire has 3 years of experience as a Direct Support Professional in the human services field. During her time at the University of Missouri, she volunteered for a variety of organizations, including The Ronald McDonald House, Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics, and local food pantries.

Claire started with Heartstrings as an intern in January of 2017, while completing her Bachelor’s Degree. In May of 2017, she filled an open position as a full time Team Leader. In December of the same year she became the Assistant Goody Delivery Manager. In February of 2019, Claire was promoted to Goody Delivery Manager.

When Claire started at Heartstrings, she quickly found that working with adults in the I/DD community was a passion of hers. She knew that working at Heartstrings would not only fill her new passion but give her the opportunity to learn from a very talented and experienced team. Claire now shares a vision of growth for Heartstrings and continues to use her knowledge and skills to assist in that journey.

Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends as much as possible. She also enjoys going to movies, listening to podcasts, and going on long walks with her husband and dog.

Claire’s goal is to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Human Services and continue growing with Heartstrings.

Anne Hull

Anne Hull graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Special Education and Elementary Education.

Anne taught in the public school system for seven years. When two of her three sons were born with Fragile X Syndrome, she retired to work full time with them. During their school years Anne worked closely with the Blue Valley school district in an advisory capacity, helping to build new programs. As the children neared graduation Anne searched for options and found little that offered interaction in the community. Heartstrings Community Foundation was founded in 1999 as a way to offer unique interactive employment opportunities for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Anne is the founder of Heartstrings Community Foundation / Past President.  In 2001 Anne became the first (volunteer) Executive Director, followed by Director of Development.  She currently volunteers as Director of Strategic Partnerships, and previously served on the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns.

Anne enjoys spending time with her husband Mack and their sons, participating in a Music Ministry at Ascension Catholic Church, talking to people about Heartstrings, meeting new friends, reading, cooking and of course, seeing the successes of the wonderful people who work at Heartstrings Community Foundation!

Anne’s passion is to connect adults with I/DD to their community and having FUN!

Jonathan Watkins

Jonathan Watkins graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with a B.A. in Business Administration, and he will complete his Master of Applied Theology degree program through Fuller Theological Seminary in September of 2020.

Jonathan spent over 10 years in the field of sales and marketing, owning his own business for 3 years and managing sales teams in multiple organizations. He felt a calling to ministry in 2017 and left the field of sales and marketing to find a position that would allow him to serve his community while attending seminary.

Jonathan started working at Heartstrings Community Foundation in 2018 as a Team Leader/Direct Support Professional. January of 2019 he was promoted to Director of Employment Services by June of 2019 his role was expanded to Director of Operations, overseeing all daily activities including Sacks on Santa Fe.

Heartstrings has shaped Jonathans calling to ministry, and is now pursuing opportunities to work with the IDD community in a pastoral capacity in conjunction with his leadership role at Heartstrings. Heartstrings’ vision for empowering individuals with IDD through successful employment has been a guiding force in Jonathan’s future career plans, and he is proud to be a member of our team!

Jonathan enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, swimming, listening to music, and spending time with his wife, Jennifer, and the rest of his family.

Deb McQuay

Deb McQuay graduated from Osawatomie High School.

Deb has over 25 years of experience working in the human service field. She has served in a variety of positions, providing direct care as a nurse’s aid, residential and day service provider, Employment specialist with the I/DD population providing:  Job Development, Job Placement and Job Coaching services. .

Deb started with Heartstrings Community Foundation as a Job Coach/Office Support in May 2010. In 2012 Deb was promoted to Store Manager, continuing to provide Office support as well as Job Coaching. Deb was promoted to Office Manager in 2015 and continued to provide Job Coaching as needed.  Deb has expanded her career as Heartstrings Office Manager to incorporate the training and knowledge of Heartstrings Database, OneCause Fundraising Platform, assisting with Development Department, fundraising and financial Goals.

Deb loves the variety of work Heartstrings Community Foundation has to offer. She has been instrumental in assisting adults with IDD in achieving employment goals for many years.

Deb loves spending time with her grandchildren and husband Brian, fishing, boating, gardening, watching the Royals, Chiefs, NASCAR and being outdoors. Attending her grandchildren’s sports and school activities are a very important part of Deb’s life.

Deb’s passion is knowing she makes people’s lives better by contributing to their success

Rosanne Thiry

Rosanne Thiry graduated from Wichita State University with a B.A. in Education and a M.A. in Communicative Disorders and Sciences.

Rosanne has over 40 years in experience working in the human services field, starting with volunteer service with IDD children while in high school then serving as a school speech pathologist, a preschool tutor, and a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional/Case Manager.

Rosanne started at Heartstrings in May 2003 as the Coordinator of Day Service/Team Leader and has acquired many different duties and titles including Day Service Manager, Director of Employment Services, Assistant Executive Director and currently Director of Human Services.

Rosanne chose to join the Heartstrings family because of the value placed on a person’s strengths and abilities, supporting staff and employees to grow and reach their innate potential. The commitment to these values has only strengthened, inspiring Rosanne to stay at Heartstrings and share in its growth.

Rosanne enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, reading, cooking, and following the Chiefs, Royals, NASCAR and the Wichita State Basketball program.

Rosanne’s passion is to be of service to others.