Our Team

Frank Bellanger, III

Frank R Bellanger, III

Founder & CEO

Frank founded Starfish Recovery & Wellness after multiple attempts at sustained recovery using multiple pathways. After receiving treatment using the "whole person approach" model, he was determined to introduce holistic wellness practices to the residential recovery setting. Frank developed the evidence based 5-pronged approach, represented by the five arms of a starfish, to address the emotional, social, mental, physical, and educational needs of our residents. This model is appropriate for a full spectrum of individuals, including those seeking recovery for the first time, those seeking step down from treatment, as well as the recently incarcerated.

As both a person in sustained recovery from Substance Use Disorder and a formerly incarcerated individual, Frank understands the challenges facing those attempting to recover from SUD while also attempting to re-enter society. He previously served one of our most vulnerable populations in the recovery community, the incarcerated, as the Director of Recovery Programs for a tri-county regional jail. He also served as Director of the Medication and Drug Screening Program at an 80+ bed Recovery Community Organization in Richmond, VA. He holds multiple certifications in the Substance Use Disorder/Recovery profession, including NADAAC-approved Certified Recovery Coach Trainer, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, and Forensic Peer Support Specialist. Prior to working in the recovery space, his educational and professional background was in meeting Federal and local quality assurance standards for the provision of Heavy Highway Construction.

Stephanie Bellanger

Stephanie Bellanger

Chief Wellness Officer

As the Chief Wellness Officer, Stephanie is responsible for the development and implementation of Starfish's programming. Stephanie is committed to ensuring that Starfish's programs, education, and activities support the overall wellness of each participant. Prior to co-founding Starfish, Stephanie found peace through practicing CRAFT and continues to use a variety of spiritual, therapeutic and wellness practices. Stephanie's has had a 20+ year distinguished career, earning recognition from multiple Federal agencies for her innovation and leadership. Stephanie’s own wellness journey combined with her family legacy of service led to her desire to open residences for persons seeking recovery.


Evelyn Swift

Education and Curriculum Officer

Evelyn is a nationally recognized, award winning educator. Evelyn's nearly 30 year career has been dedicated to the service of students, teachers and her community. She has taught in Central Virginia, including Chesterfield and Richmond City Public Schools, but has spent the majority of her career as an educator in New Jersey, where she has served as a teacher, vice principal, principal, and educational presenter. Ms. Swift's accomplishments include being named NJ Governor’s Educator of the Year, leading her school to being named a Sustainable NJ school, and pioneering the "outdoor classroom". Her innovative approach to childhood development has been featured in national publications including USA Today. Ms. Swift holds a Baccalaureate degree in Communications from Monmouth University and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Kean University. She is the proud mom of two adult children.

Penny Jones

Penny Jones

Quality Assurance & Assessment Manager

Penny graduated magna cum laude from Radford University with a Bachelor’s in Art. After 10 years of working in corporate America, Penny sought a more rewarding and meaningful career. As a person in long-term recovery, she decided to become a Peer Recovery Support Specialist. Penny also holds certifications in Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and in Diversity and Inclusion in recovery housing. Penny is also a SMART recovery facilitator.

Penny began working for Frank at another recovery organization, holding recovery meetings for inmates at a regional jail. When Frank opened Starfish, she followed him there because she knew it was going to be something special and vastly different from other recovery housing. In addition to leading the Quality Assurance Department, Penny is responsible for full oversight of Starfish Recovery & Wellness’ iteration of the Recovery Capital (RecCap) platform.