...Doing Good Work
Clinician Lorraine Fontes Wins New Leadership School Award
Our mental health clinician Lorraine Fortes was recently presented with an award from the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield. Lorraine spent time twice a week at the school seeing clients as well as facilitating groups in life skills and anger management. Her work included attending meetings for students, teaching them about bulling and coping skills, and working with teachers and parents to resolve student issues. Additionally, she created the Semi-formal Committee there raising $2,000 to hold the event for the 8th grade students.
Lorraine has been part of our Pine Street Clinic in Springfield for over three years, first as an intern and now as a clinician. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with concurrent certification in Information Technology and worked as an Information Technology Liaison at Springfield College for seven years. While there, she got involved doing college mentoring, group facilitation, fundraising, and training at the New Leadership Charter School. Lorraine then earned a double Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family and Mental Health Therapy and attended substance abuse courses. She is now also trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and is a Certified Parent Group Facilitator through Head Start.
Lorraine enjoys working at CHD because it provides her the freedom to continue to develop her ideas as a therapsit. She has created opportunities to see not only regular clients in the clinic but also to facilitate ongoing life skills groups in schools that focus on loss and grief, anger management, social and relationship skills, peer pressure, “girl pressure,” bullying, and academics. She likes working with disadvantages people of all ages.
Dr. Nate Somers, Medical Director, Wins BusinessWest "40 Under Forty" Award
On June 21, 2012, during a lavish dinner party at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Dr. Nate Somers, CHD's Medical Director, was presented with a "40 Under Forty" award by BusinessWest, our second in one year! Designed to acknowledge the accomplishments of young professionals in business, nonprofit management, and community service, the award also enlightens the region to the good work going on in our community and inspires others to join the ranks.
This symbol of excellence was presented to Nate for taking on the challenge of not only managing the physicians within CHD and working directly as a psychiatrist with clients, but also for his administrative oversight role, in which he is helping improve communication internally "so we can coordinate services and serve people more effectively."
"What I find gratifying about this work is that we're able to help people who have significant needs find a way to get through their lives in the face of serious challenges," he said. "People leave my office feeling they can get through the next day, the next two days, the next week... they leave with some hope that things will get better for them over time."
Outside of work, Nate stays busy with his wife and four kids, teaching Sunday school at his church, and coaching first- and second-grade basketball and teeball teams in West Springfield.
Scott Conrad, Assistant Director of Information Technology, Wins BusinessWest "40 Under Forty" Award
On June 21, 2012, amidst a bustling crowd at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Scott Conrad, CHD's Assistant Director of Information Technology, was presented with a "40 Under Forty" award by BusinessWest. Designed to acknowledge the accomplishments of young professionals in business, nonprofit management, and community service, the award also enlightens the region to the good work going on in our community and inspires others to join the ranks.
This symbol of excellence was presented to Scott for his willingness to take on more responsibilities and his ability to successfully oversee CHD's data and network systems for more than 90 sites as well as strategic planning for the agency's future technology needs. "We're kind of the architects of what our computer infrastructure is going to look like, and we also do a lot of troubleshooting," Scott says. He takes pride in providing that support for CHD: "We help people who are at their worst or have no place to go."
Scott's background with the Boy Scouts helped him learn the flexibility and creative thinking necessary to succeed in his work. Still an active Eagle Scout, he also loves to scuba dive when he's not hard at work ensuring CHD's technology systems are working smoothly.
Nancy Bazanchuk, Program Director for Disability Resources, Receives Distinguished Service Award
On May 26, 2012, Nancy Bazanchuk, program director for Disability Resources, received a Distinguished Service Award from Holyoke Community College (HCC), where she is an alumna. This distinction is awarded to those who have enhanced the value of the undergraduate experience and improved the quality of life for all on campus at HCC.
Nancy does outreach to schools, businesses, and community groups, helping to educate audiences about the ways disabled people can participate in mainstream activities. Disability Resources, which she has headed for 15 years, provides opportunities for clients to play adaptive sports such as wheelchair soccer as well as enjoy social outings and educational events. Her work focuses on enhancing the self-confidence, interactive skills, and physical abilities of her program participants. Nancy says "It's not about what they can't do. It's about what they can do."
One client relayed the importance of her work by telling her, "When I come here, I don't feel like I'm disabled. You treat me like an athlete, like someone who is on a team, playing hard." Many Disability Resources clients have gone on to HCC where Nancy's frequent visits provide a safe and friendly transition.
Nancy was also named "Woman of Distinction" by the Western Mass Girl Scouts (2005), received a "40 Under 40" award from BusinessWest (2009), and was included in the New England Wheelchair Athletic Association Hall of Fame (2011).
photo credit: Grynn & Barrett Studios
Gianna Nguyen, Clinician, Receives Jim Quinn Human Service Award
Gianna Nguyen, a clinician with Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, received the 16th Annual Jim Quinn Human Service Award at the 30th Annual Regional Social Work Conference, which took place at Western New England University on May 21, 2012. Gianna was recognized for her commitment to social betterment and justice through her dedication to the highest principles of social work practice recognizing the strengths of diverse cultures and populations.
Gianna has been part of CHD's Pine Street clinic since July 2008, working primarily with Vietnamese clients in Springfield and the surrounding areas. Gianna holds a BS in Psychology from Bath Path College and an MA in Clinical Psychology from American International University. In addition to her work with CHD, she serves as a full-time clinician at the Carson Center for Human Services working with intellectual disabilities clients.
Gianna reports she is very happy to receive the Jim Quinn Human Services Award because it makes her feel all her hard work with her clients is being acknowledged. She is deeply committed to them, often helping with matters beyond her role as a clinician. She assists with day-to-day needs like translating their mail and calling various assistance program to ask about eligibility. Gianna says, "The most rewarding thing is to see them with less stress and with a smile on their face. My ultimate goal is to see my clients adapting and making a better life in this country."