At our 2017 annual gala, Positive Paths recognized two outstanding individuals in the East Valley. Congratulations to the 2017 East Valley Man and Woman of the Year, Michael Chalberg and Torrie Taj, honored at our Night of Heroes Gala on April 18, 2017.
Torrie A. Taj
Torrie is a passionate and dedicated professional with more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy. Driven by meaningful work, Torrie has dedicated her professional life to bettering the community through strategic partnerships and connecting resources to those in need.
As CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, Torrie provides support and leadership to talented staff to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, creating strong families and safe kids. Torrie started her career in the non-profit sector as a volunteer in 1992 and worked her way up, overseeing a variety of human-service programs. During her 24-year tenure at A New Leaf, she established a comprehensive development program including implementation of 100 percent board giving, a Legacy Society and an endowment fund.
She is a Certified Fund Raising Professional (CFRE) and past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Arizona Chapter, where she has held membership for 20 years. In 2015, she was honored by the organization as the Outstanding Fundraising Executive.
Torrie supports and is involved with numerous nonprofits throughout the community and is a current volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. She also has served the Mesa Rotary Club, Mesa Community College Service-Learning Advisory Board and the nonprofit board of A&A Cottages, which provides a home for foster girls aged 14-18.
Torrie holds two certificates from the Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, where she has served as faculty since 2010. She also teaches courses in nonprofit leadership and management at ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from ASU.
Torrie Taj has spent years making a difference in East Valley communities, improving the lives of women and children. We are proud to honor her as the 2017 East Valley Woman of the Year.
Michael E. Chalberg is President of the Starbright Foundation, as well as a pastor and co-founder of Shepherds Care Counseling Ministries. He has served in Christian ministries for the last 38 years.
For the past 24 years Michael has offered specialized pastoral counseling to survivors of severe trauma and abuse. Many of these individuals have survived sexual abuse, incest, sex trafficking, clergy abuse, and most of these individuals live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other ongoing mental & social challenges. Starbright Foundation Inc., which he created with friends in 2010, provides for healing in a safe environment, with the goal of overcoming the long-term effects on survivors, their families and the community. Starbright provides a safe and protective living environment to receive specialized counseling in a family home setting. Starbright provides intervention/prevention education on child abuse and trafficking in training seminars at churches, schools and child welfare agencies, as well as for law enforcement and first responders in our East Valley communities. They provide services to runaways and endangered youth, support for foster parents, and trauma counseling. Through numerous partnerships with organizations such as Sunshine Acres, Apache Junction Women’s Shelter, Thrive, and Dream Center, they work to better the lives of children.
As one of his supporters says, “If there is a family hurting, he asks “how can we help?” If there is a mother in crisis, he asks, ‘what can we do to support you? He is always walking the walk.” Pastor Chalberg is a member of the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. (ICISF), the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) and Titus Task Force International (TTFI).
For his many years of service helping young women and children, Michael has been selected as the 2017 East Valley Man of the Year.