Henry East-Trou is stepping down as Executive Director of the Gándara Center after 36 years on the job, 29 of which have been in his current leadership role, shepherding the agency through an era of unprecedented growth. East-Trou joined the center in 1982 as a clinical supervisor for the agency’s psychiatric day treatment program. At the time, the organization had one location in Springfield’s North End neighborhood, its outpatient mental health clinic, and employed approximately 30 staff.

Today, the Gándara Center is home to behavioral health, substance use, prevention and educational services at more than 45 locations throughout the state, employs close to 900 staff, and serves over 12,000 adults, children, and families from the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations.

The agency’s mission is to serve diverse populations with its roots planted respectively in the Latino community. “I felt like the Hispanic community really gave me a job to do,” said East-Trou. “My hope has always been to leave this organization better than it was when I began. Although it has been challenging at times, we have always been able to deliver quality services to the people who needed us most.”

His decision to retire has not been an easy one, but “the time has come,” said East-Trou. “I look forward to spending more time with my family and friends and getting to watch my two beautiful granddaughters grow up. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. It has been a true pleasure.”

East-Trou’s departure will take place in May, 2019. The organization is planning an event to be held that month that will be open to the public in honor of his career and commitment to the community. Proceeds raised will benefit the agency’s Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship program, which provides youth from low-income Springfield families the opportunity to attend city-wide summer camp programs.

The agency will begin the search for its new leadership immediately. An official job posting will be available in early December. Qualified candidates are encouraged to reach out directly to Pam Thornton at the Employers Association of the Northeast at pthornton@eane.org.