#GandaraAtWork Episode 10: Eddie Rodriguez, Recovery Coach Supervisor

This week on #GandaraAtWork, we sit down with Eddie Rodriguez, Recovery Coach Supervisor

Eddie Rodriguez was a client at our Gándara Addiction Recovery Program (GARP) before he was able to achieve recovery. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, Eddie moved to Springfield to get away from a lifestyle that swept up many of his close friends, some of whom suffered from fatal overdoses. While at GARP, the program director suggested Eddie enroll in the Recovery Coach Academy, where he could use his lived-experience to teach the lessons he’s learned to recovery-seekers in need guidance and support.

For Eddie, it’s important for everyone to understand that addicts can change their behavior. It’s his goal to eliminate the stigma around substance use, to show that people who suffer from addiction have a disease and not a moral failure. For a long time, Eddie himself thought he was doomed to be an addict; “once an addict, always an addict,” he hold himself. But that is the biggest misconception people have. Recovery is a realistic and attainable goal.

When Eddie’s not managing his recovery coaches in Springfield, he enjoys relaxing with music, watching movies, cheering for his beloved New York Yankees, and spending time at his home in Puerto Rico. He’s traveled to Puerto Rico since he was a kid, when his dad used to take him. His family on the island has always revolved around horses, and he continues that tradition today, riding as often as he can — when he’s not surfing.

 

Gándara Addiction Recovery Program (GARP)

Gándara Addiction Recovery Program (GARP) is a 42-bed residential program that provides long-term recovery treatment to Spanish-speaking men who have a history of drug and alcohol use, but are not currently using drugs or alcohol. Average length of stay is 6-12 months.

Springfield
Contact: (413) 781-2234, ex. 300

Eligibility: Must be at least 18 years-old and be a resident of Massachusetts. Must pass a self-preservation test and be responsible for participating in the program.

Referral: Open

Insurance: Funded by the Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services

By |May 3rd, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 10: Eddie Rodriguez, Recovery Coach Supervisor

#GandaraAtWork Episode 9: Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director

This week on #GandaraAtWork, episode 9, we sit down with Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director, at our 80 Commercial St. facility in Holyoke.

Liannette joined Gándara Center about five years ago as a behavior management monitor. It was in this role that she found her calling for human behavior, understanding how and why people behave the way they do. As she continued to grow in her role, Gándara and Lianette teamed up; Lianette pursued her Master’s degree and Gándara was generously flexible, allowing her to work while she was in school and fund her licensing and exam fees.

Her job allows her to bring her outside-work passions into the workplace. Lianette is an avid reader, traveler, and practitioner of yoga. She reads for fun but her choice in books also stands as a testament to supporting positive mental health and behavior. Yoga, too, offers her a chance for meditation, reflection, and of course a good stretch, and she loves rallying the folks at 80 Commercial to join her as she teaches classes.

Related: #GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

 

About: In-Home Behavioral Services

Our in-home behavioral services are delivered by one or more professional and paraprofessional staff who offer a combination of medically necessary behavior management therapy and behavior management monitoring. This program is used when less intensive behavioral interventions do not reduce or eliminate a youth’s problem behavior(s) or do not increase/maintain desirable behavior(s).

Eligibility: When clinical evaluation suggests that the youth’s clinical condition, level of functioning, and intensity of need require a specific structure and positive behavioral supports to successfully support a youth in the home and community.

Holyoke
80 Commercial Street
Holyoke, MA  01040
Intake: (413) 846-0445 x483

Boston
440 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA  02128
Intake: (857) 366-7040 x514

Brockton
142 Crescent Street
Brockton, MA  02302
Intake: (508) 232-6670 x525

New Bedford
376 Nash Road
New Bedford, MA  02746
Intake: (774) 406-4620

By |April 23rd, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 9: Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director

#GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

For #GandaraAtWork episode 8, we sat down with Director of Family Support and Training Abrah Orth at our Community Service Agency/Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CSA/CBHI) office at 80 Commercial Street in Holyoke.

Abrah joined Gándara Center almost 10 years ago. She started out as a staffer as part of our residential programs and has since worked her way up the ladder. A dedicated worker who enjoys collaborating with her fellow co-workers, Abrah credits her personal growth opportunities to the fact that her supervisors recognized her talents and how hard she worked, and provided her the support to move into leadership positions. She thoroughly enjoys giving her staff the same show of support she received throughout the years, encouraging them to come up with new ideas to see what works for any given issue.

When she’s not working, Abrah enjoys being active. Whether she’s with friends or family, you might find her running, kickboxing, or going out in the community.

About the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) – Specialized Community Service Agency (S-CSA)

Gándara is the only Specialized Hispanic Community Service Agency in the state. The CSA division provides flexible, family-driven, wraparound services for children and teens experiencing serious emotional disturbances and their families. A qualified bilingual care-planning team works with the family unit in the home as best to support the child while respecting the family’s values, beliefs and socio-economic status.

Services re aavailable in:

Holyoke
80 Commercial Street
Holyoke, MA  01040
Intake: (413) 322-7380 Ext. 440

Fitchburg
100 Franklin Road
Fitchburg, MA  01420
Intake: (978) 503-7520 Ext. 296

Boston
440 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA  02128
Intake: (857) 366-7040 Ext. 514

Brockton
142 Crescent Street
Brockton, MA  02302
Intake: (508) 232-6670 Ext. 525

Taunton/New Bedford/Fall River
376 Nash Road
New Bedford, MA  02780
Intake: (774) 406-4620

 

Related: Interested in a mental health job at Gándara Center? Visit our website to learn about our open positions and about our mission as a nonprofit. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments about our vacant jobs.

By |April 12th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

#GandaraAtWork Episode 7: Sara, In-Home Therapy Supervisor

It’s our pleasure to present to you a new look and feel for #GandaraAtWork Episode 7. Sara was the guinea pig for our new approach to these video profiles of our staff and we hope to continue with this style and format for future episodes. The essence of #GandaraAtWork will remain the same: introducing you to the people who work hard to improve our health and our communities.

Sara is the in-home therapy supervisor our CSA & CBHI program in Holyoke. A native of Connecticut and former Worcester-area resident, Sara moved to Western Mass. and was looking for a job similar to the one she had prior; for her, it was important to find an organization that prioritizes inclusion, community, and culturally sensitive care. When she came across Gándara, she felt right at home.

When Sara’s not working, you may find her studying (she’s pursuing a Master’s at Westfield State) or spending time with her dog Guinness. A young Great Dane/Lab mix, Guinness is in the early stages of becoming a therapy dog. He also happens to be Insta-famous.

A big thanks to Sara and Guinness for participating in #GandaraAtWork!

Our in-home therapy programs are designed to increase a family’s ability to support the healthy functioning of youth within the family, home, and community. The in-Home Therapy team is made up of practitioner(s), family, and youth.

Together they develop a treatment plan to address issues specific to the youth and family. Intervention techniques are designed to help in the following ways: solve problems, set limits, manage risk, communicate, build skills to strengthen the family, and improve ways of interacting with others. In addition, the practitioner helps the family identify and use community resources and develop a support system to maintain progress. Services are provided in the youth’s natural settings.

For admission to this program, a CANS assessment to determine the service is needed; outpatient services alone will not meet the youth’s or family’s clinical needs; caregivers’ voluntarily agree to participate and guardian gives consent.

Holyoke
80 Commercial Street
Holyoke, MA  01040
Intake: (413) 322-7380 Ext. 440

Fitchburg
100 Franklin Road
Fitchburg, MA  01420
Intake: (978) 503-7520 Ext. 296

Boston
440 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA  02128
Intake: (857) 366-7040 Ext. 514

Brockton
142 Crescent Street
Brockton, MA  02302
Intake: (508) 232-6670 Ext. 525

Taunton/New Bedford/Fall River
376 Nash Road
New Bedford, MA  02780
Intake: (774) 406-4620

 

By |April 3rd, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 7: Sara, In-Home Therapy Supervisor

#GandaraAtWork Episode 6: Edgardo and Natalie, Health & Wellness at the Outpatient Clinic

It’s fitting that the interview for #GandaraAtWork Episode 6 was conducted in our Outpatient Clinic’s activity room. Mats and exercise balls were set neatly against the wall. The space is open with almost panorama windows for plenty of light. In this domain, Edgardo and Natalie do some of their health and wellness work.

At first the duo seems an unlikely pair: straight up, Natalie admits to once being a couch potato; Edgardo mentions his affinity for working out and training others at his gym nearby. Together, though, they provide enthusiasm and energy for clients in Springfield, in revel in the joy it brings them.

Health and wellness is about more than just fitness. It’s about community engagement, too. Edgardo and Natalie enjoy bringing clients outdoors or to the YMCA, and the clients enjoy it all the more.

Meet Edgardo and Natalie, and stay tuned for more Gándara staff profiles as part of the #GandaraAtWork series.

 

By |March 20th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 6: Edgardo and Natalie, Health & Wellness at the Outpatient Clinic

#GandaraAtWork Episode 5: Mark Huntington, Director of Training

We’re joined for #GandaraAtWork Episode 5 by Mark Huntington, the director of training at the Gándara Center.

Mark brings enthusiasm, energy, and good humor to his role. As the director of training, he’s tasked with ensuring the safety and security of both staff and clients alike. This includes hosting activities like sessions on how to administer CPR, approaches to de-escalation, and general crisis management.

With almost 30-years of experience in the field, Mark is accustomed to working in high-stress situations. He’s spent time working with inner-city youth gangs, Green Berets, State Police, and corrections officers; suffice it to say, Mark  is used to intensity.

Over the years, he’s developed techniques to help identify problematic situations and best approaches for response. It’s not an exact science but science does come into play: when an issue occurs, Mark calculates how an individual neurologically processes a situation and then he uses a bit of intuition to cool everyone and everything down.

Outside of Gándara, Mark is passionate about arts and culture. But don’t take my word for it. We’ll let Mark take it from here:

 

By |March 18th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 5: Mark Huntington, Director of Training

#GandaraAtWork Episode 4: Rahiza, Chelsea, and Audra of our Outpatient Clinic

This week, #GandaraAtWork episode 4 features Rahiza, Chelsea, and Audra from our Outpatient Clinic in Springfield.

Rahiza is a mental health clinician and serves children and adults alike; people who suffer mental health disorders, substance use issues, or both. Between her work at our outpatient clinic, Rahiza volunteers at the Brightwood Elementary School. Here she tends to kindergartners through sixth-graders. She also volunteers at the nearby Brightwood clinic where she assists suboxone clients. In her spare time, Rahiza enjoys being outdoors where she can hike, bike, and camp. When she’s not kicking butt as a stellar clinician, she’s doing it with martial arts as an avid student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Chelsea is the outpatient clinic’s director of quality assurance. Her workday is a mix of hands-on and administrative tasks to keep the clinic running smoothly. She supports front office staff, clinicians, and reviews everyone’s various needs and documentation. Chelsea puts her creativity on full display at the clinic. One of her hobbies is doing arts and crafts projects; she uses every opportunity she can to bring this to work, including our holiday door decorating contest, employee appreciation day, and all sorts of other celebrations.

Audra is the director of clinical services. Like Chelsea, her responsibilities often vary from day to day. She organizes group and individual therapy sessions, supports staff, and sets up clinical work in the community such as at schools or even courts. For Audra, making treatment services accessible to clients is among her top priorities. At home, her priority is her 10-month old daughter. The two do everything together, not the least of which is baby yoga.

By |March 6th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 4: Rahiza, Chelsea, and Audra of our Outpatient Clinic

#GandaraAtWork Episode 3: Lavagn Claudio, Senior Family Partner

Welcome #GandaraAtWork episode 3! This week meet Lavagn Claudio, senior family partner at our Community Service Agency (CSA) division.

Lavagn was born and raised in Springfield. A hard worker and dedicated to giving back to his community, Lavagn worked through school and up the Gándara ladder to get where he is today.

He enjoys infusing street art and urban art with his day-to-day responsibilities. Take a look around his office and you’ll find no shortage of comics, hip hop, paintings, and sketches. One of his favorite aspects of Gándara is that the organization lets him express himself the way he chooses.

His passion for arts and culture helps him connect with Gándara clients, especially youths. Lavagn is always looking for ways to improve his community, his neighbors, his peers, and himself.

By |February 27th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 3: Lavagn Claudio, Senior Family Partner

#GandaraAtWork Episode 2: Kristen Owens, Quality Assurance Specialist

Episode 2 of #GandaraAtWork has dropped!

Meet Kristen, the quality assurance specialist for our Adolescent & Family Services (AFS) division.

A native of Enfield, CT, Kristen has been with the Gándara Center since 2008. She started her career as a preschool teacher and never expected to end up at a mental health and addiction services nonprofit. But when Kristen’s friend Tami Davis, now director of the AFS division, knew that Kristen was looking for a new experience, she saw that Kristen’s skills matched the demands of the job.

Now, 10 years later, Kristen ensures the quality of Gándara staff and the care for those who rely on its services. From internal investigations to system checks to licensing and renewal, Kristen’s work is vital to the success of the organization.

When she’s not making life better for Gandara staff and clients, you may find her spending quality family time with nieces and nephews at home or traveling with them the world.

By |February 27th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 2: Kristen Owens, Quality Assurance Specialist

#GandaraAtWork Episode 1: Dianna Rodriguez, HR Receptionist

The Gándara Center is dedicated to providing mental health and substance use treatment services to the most vulnerable populations in Massachusetts. We know that without hundreds of employees who work for Gándara across the state, we wouldn’t achieve the long lasting recovery and community engagement that have been the hallmark of us and our clientele. So we came up with #GandaraAtWork.

We want to introduce you to our staff. They’re the ones who work tirelessly to promote the Gándara mission. In these short videos, you’ll meet staffers from our facilities statewide to get a sense of who they are, what they do, and why they do it.

In our inaugural episode, say hello to Dianna. Dianna joined Gándara last year and is the HR receptionist at our administrative office in West Springfield. If you ever visit the admin office, Dianna is always the first to welcome you in with her warm and vibrant personality.

Take a moment to get to know Dianna. We’ll be back every week with more employees for you to meet and stories to share

#GandaraAtWork

By |February 20th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 1: Dianna Rodriguez, HR Receptionist