Cornerstone residential recovery program assists women with successful sober living

Ware, Mass.—The Gándara Center’s new Cornerstone residential recovery program, designed to assist women ages 18 to 25 with overcoming substance abuse issues, is slated to open in the former home of the St. Mary’s convent next month.

This 15-bed, highly structured voluntary program will be open to women who already have completed a detox program and are ready to take the next step in their recovery process. Offering a wide range of tools to help individuals be successful, the program will offer 24-hour supervision and on-site classes and groups facilitated by counselors and recovery specialists every day.

heather murphy, cornerstone program director

Cornerstone Program Director Heather Murphy, LICSW

“There was a need to build the bridge between detox and going back to the community where these individuals live in order to increase their chances of successful sober living,” said Cornerstone Program Director Heather Murphy, LICSW. “So many times we see individuals come out of detox and are sent right back into the same situations they came from with no coping skills; no tool box to help them be successful. That’s exactly what this program aims to do–give them a chance to move forward and lead a healthy, productive life.”

Murphy said the goal for a program like Cornerstone is to help decrease the number of overdoses and create stable environments for those coming out of detox.

“By producing these types of services, we hope that when the clients leave our program, they have all the skills necessary for them to remain in recovery,” said Murphy.

Cornerstone participants will have access to General Education Development (GED) prep classes; learn budgeting; basic math; writing; life skills; health and nutrition; learn interviewing and independent living skills; problem-solving; participate in non-denominational bible study; as well as yoga and art therapy programs.

Last year, the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services reported 150 referrals from Ware alone; noting a significant need in the community for substantial treatment programs. When the Massachusetts Department of Public Health approached the Gándara Center to fulfill the need for a program like Cornerstone, the former St. Mary’s convent fit the needs of the program perfectly.

“The building really suits this type of program since it was set-up as the convent for the church and was already a residential setting,” said Murphy. “The building was designed with second-floor bedrooms and first-floor shared living space; so residents will sleep on the second floor and participate in group activities, meals, and family visits on the first floor. It’s a really nice set-up to allow all these things to happen.”

Participation in the program is completely voluntary and clients are expected to stay between 3-to-6 months to complete the program.

Sara (whose last name has been withheld to protect the client’s privacy), was a participant in another Gándara program, Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services (TSS)—a short-term residential recovery support program similar to Cornerstone. Sara struggled with addiction for nearly 20 years. After going through the detox process and attempting to maintain recovery on her own, she felt her best chance at success was to seek additional support. Recovery coaches, people with lived experience who build a partnership with individuals in recovery, act as allies and mentors and help program participants to develop a recovery plan and work through their goals—something  Sara found as a key to helping with her recovery.

“If I can’t get ahold of anyone else in the world, I can get ahold of her,” said Sara of her recovery coach. “She knows what I’m going through. She knows what it’s like, not because she read it in a textbook. She knows what it’s like to be me. There’s no judgement.”

Sara has now successfully completed the TSS program and is participating in Gándara’s Residential Services for Women program, helping her to continue her journey toward independent living.

Cornerstone’s host agency, The Gándara Center, based in West Springfield, has been providing culturally sensitive behavioral health, substance abuse, prevention and educational services to the region since 1977. The agency was founded to advocate and provide for equal services in the Hispanic community. Today, the Gándara Center serves a diverse multicultural clientele in more than 40 locations across Massachusetts and its family-centered and community-based approach reaches more than 13,000 children, families, and adults every year through residential, mental health, substance abuse, and preventative services.

Those interested in learning more about the Cornerstone program are encouraged to contact Heather Murphy at (413) 237-5296.


By |February 23rd, 2017|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Cornerstone residential recovery program assists women with successful sober living


The Gandara Center is actively seeking an experienced Recruiter to join our HR team.  The job duties include:

  • Recruiting employees for  locations statewide
  • Interviewing, background checking and credentialing of applicants
  • Scheduling and attending job fairs
  • Establishing relationships with colleges, universities and recruiting sources
  • Assisting with agency social media initiatives
  • Establishing and augmenting existing retention efforts
  • Working independently and as part of the HR team
  • Bilingual Spanish / English necessary

The successful candidate will have experience in recruiting, human resources or marketing as well as general HR functions.

Please submit resumes to

By |February 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Recruiter

Shift Supervisor Adolescent and Family Services (AFS)

Position Purpose and Objectives:

The Shift Supervisor is an evolution of the Direct Care II staff and is expected to continue to fulfill all expectations of a DCII. In addition to those expectations, the Shift Supervisor will take a leadership role. To maintain a therapeutic environment within the residence, this includes meeting the needs of the client in the following areas: safety, medical, emotional, food, clothing and shelter. To supervise Direct Care/Relief Workers in those areas and provide support and training as needed.  Maintain consistent manner in implementing reasonable limits and structure for each client on a daily basis in the residence and in the community.  Maintain contact with families and collaterals as needed.


Duties and Responsibilities


Client Services Responsibilities

  • To assure that applicable rules, policies and procedures are being followed on their shifts.
  • To provide leadership to their shift.
  • To implement each client’s individual Level Plan objectives under the direction of the Clinical Supervisor and Program Supervisor.
  • Ensure all necessary documentation for shift is completed accurately and submitted for review.
  • To act as a client advocate.
  • To provide appropriate, safe responses to emergency situations when necessary.
  • To develop strong, supportive relationships with the clients and employees.
  • To provide for client care and safety, and observe all safety measures.
  • To recognize that ethnic and cultural diversity of each individual must be valued and respected.
  • Access, plan and implement crisis interventions with clients.
  • To notify Program Director immediately in the event of a client crisis, suspected illegal activity or any behavior constituting an incident in the program.
  • Implement and organize a variety of appropriate recreational and social activities.
  • To ensure routine housekeeping tasks are completed during shift.
  • To assist clients with activities of daily living, including but not limited to food shopping & preparation, housekeeping, banking, appointments, etc.
  • To perform other duties as assigned by the Assistant Director and/or Program Director.


 Administrative Responsibilities/Record Keeping

  • Knows and understands all pertinent aspects of Agency policies and procedures
      • Knows and understands EEC licensing requirements as they apply to their shifts.
      • Attends and participates in all required staff meetings and training sessions.



      1. Job Requirements


      • Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required
      • Good communication skills both verbal and in writing.
      • Ability to deal with conflict in an appropriate manner.
      • Ability to master First Aid, CPR, Defensive Driving, Fire Safety and Administering Medication.
      • Ability to maintain proper attendance.
      • Displays sound judgment.
      • Works well as a team member, provide direction for direct care workers during assigned shifts
      • Seeks and uses management staff for training and supervision.
      • Attends Agency and Department required meetings and trainings
      • Displays excellent supervisory and delegation skills
      • Ability to deal with diverse population at varied levels of management
      • Exceptional interpersonal skills
      • Assist Assistant Director in providing supervision to Direct Care Workers as necessary



    • Minimum Qualifications
    • Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences or 2 yrs related field preferred.
    • Demonstrates excellent leadership skills.
    • At least two years of experience in Human Services working with adolescents.
    • Prior supervisory experience.
    • Must have valid driver’s license
    • Must meet Agency requirements for driving history records.
    • Must have availability of an automobile to transport clients or perform other supportive services as necessary.

Please submit  resumes  for consideration to

By |February 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Shift Supervisor Adolescent and Family Services (AFS)

Gándara Job Fair slated for Feb. 28

We’re hiring!

Visit us on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 at 2155 Main Street in Springfield from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

We are currently seeking full-time intake clinicians, outpatient clinicians & case managers and a part-time group facilitator for our intimate partner abuse program.

Please share with your friends & colleagues who might be interested in joining our team!

By |February 3rd, 2017|Events|Comments Off on Gándara Job Fair slated for Feb. 28