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Jan
31 2024

Congratulations to our Seven Hills Foundation Employees of the Year!

Congratulations to our Seven Hills Foundation Employees of the Year!

Posted by Seven Hills Foundation
Jan 31, 2024
Posted by Seven Hills Foundation

On Thursday, January 11, at Polar Park, the 2023 Seven Hills Employees of the Year awards were proudly celebrated. Each recipient was unveiled by highlighting their extraordinary work and passion for living the mission and values of Seven Hills. These staff members proudly exemplify our CORE VALUES: Respect & Kindness, Integrity, Teamwork, Innovation, and Service to Others. Congratulations and thank you to the following Employees of the Year for your dedication and commitment.

Professional Support Functions and President’s Award

Seven Hills Foundation Julius Bonner

julius-BonnerJulius has been instrumental in what has been, to date, an extremely successful E-Hana electronic health record implementation and go-live. He has been the lead interface with the vendor, the leadership team, and the IT team.  He has also been invaluable counsel to Robert Leonard, Vice President of IT and Data Governance in navigating the needs and realities to implement successfully. He has been accomplishing this added full-time job while also administering and orchestrating an upgrade to the prior electronic health record. He also is leading the effort and evaluation of the electronic health replacement for our Rhode Island affiliate. He has managed an incredible workload during the past year with patience, professionalism, skill, and an unwavering can-do spirit and calm. Congratulations, Julius, for being named the Employee of the Year for Professional Services and as the recipient of the President’s Award!


Clinicians of the YEAR

Seven Hills Community Services - Taryn Palmieri, Clinician of the Year

Taryn-palmieriTaryn has been a significant asset not only to the Northeast region of SHCS, but to Seven Hills Foundation as a whole. She truly embodies our core values of respect & kindness, integrity, teamwork, innovation, and service to others.

Taryn has worked hard to ensure that each person is supported in the most effective and least restrictive manner. She ensures that their viewpoint is part of the process and valued by others. She has helped to advocate for AT assessments to ensure that individuals have effective communication devices, making significant improvements in the quality of people's lives. 

Taryn has shown great innovation in the areas of healthy relationships, community integration and membership, and quality of life goals. She has been taking great time and care to create resources of community activities for the people we support. She has created educational opportunities and social groups for people to meet others, including a fall dance, bingo night, and a snack social. 

In the face of staffing shortages, she has continued to display an enthusiastic mindset and an attitude of “Together, we can do more.” Taryn has also supported a number of people through the end of their lives. During this difficult time, she has not only supported the person, but also the staff teams to ensure that each person had good quality of care through the end of their lives.

To say that we are happy that Taryn joined our team is an understatement.  We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated clinician and teammate in SHCS.


Seven Hills Behavioral Health - Josue Rosario, Clinician of the Year

Josue Rosario joined Seven Hills Behavioral Health in November 2022, emerging quickly as a leader.  As a bilingual and bicultural clinician who is trained in PSB-CBT, Josue brings culturally curious, evidence-based practice to children and families in our community. Josue demonstrates an extraordinary ability to connect and develop strong relationships with clients and goes above and beyond to ensure the families he works with get the care and support they need.

Not only does Josue support clients and families, but he is also a respected and appreciated member of the SHBH community. He values being part of a team and prides himself on supporting his coworkers and colleagues. His warm and cheerful demeanor, combined with his passion for clinical work, embodies the SHF core values of teamwork and service to others.

This fall, after many years as an in-home therapist, Josue made the commitment to continue his career at SHBH by transitioning to the outpatient program and is challenging himself to broaden his clinical skills at the outpatient level of care. In addition to his job as a clinician, Josue participates in the weekly Multidisciplinary Risk and Complex Case Committee at SHBH, and outside of work, he is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Josue is an excellent clinician and a valued team member, and we are so proud to have him on our team!


Seven Hills Rhode Island - Jessica Davis, Clinician of the Year

jessica-davisJessica Davis has been an employee of SHRI for the last 12 years, professionally growing into her role as ABA Clinical Supervisor. Jess has consistently demonstrated exceptional dedication to the clients on her caseload, an exemplary work ethic, and a willingness to assist other team members, regardless of the challenges related to her own caseload. Jess often goes above and beyond by managing HBTS and PASS cases, both of which fall outside her regular duties and can present significant challenges.  Jess is thoughtful and empathetic when managing challenging situations and often goes above and beyond to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. 

Jess is an asset to the Child and Family Services clinical team and an amazing clinical supervisor. Although she often completes her work quietly and without much attentionshe deserves this recognition and honor! 


ASPiRE!

ASPiRE – Kathleen (Katie) Kozlowski, director of the 799 Day Hab, as the Employee of the Year for ASPiRE!

kathleen-kozlowskiKatie Kozlowski began her journey with Seven Hills 24 years ago. She joined Seven Hills as aDirect Support Professional, and she now leads the largest Day Habilitation program at Seven Hills ASPiRE!. Over the years with Seven Hills, through continued professional development and advancement, she has served in seven different roles.

Katie always seeks new opportunities to improve processes, take on new challenges, solve problems, and support participants and peers alike. She is relentless in the pursuit of continued improvement, which is evident in the success and growth of her program.

Katie is an established mentor with the Human Services Career Supports program, and she is a natural mentor to the teammates she leads at ASPiRE!. She leads with integrity, respect, kindness, and sincere commitment to what I see as a desire to make all lives better by making each life better.

We cannot say enough how much we appreciate all that she do for the people we support and the employees she leads.


Children's Aid & Family Service/Child Care Resources

Wilmam (Wilma) Vargas

wilma-vargasWilmam (Wilma) Vargas is the site manager in our very busy West Springfield office.  Wilma has worked hard to lead the staff during a year full of change including a complete revamping of policies and procedures.  Wilma is a steady presence and is someone staff can bring concerns around client or provider issues.  Wilma knows when to elevate issues to her managers and when she can handle situations on her own.  Her staff has grown over the three years that our program has managed Western Massachusetts child care subsidy and Wilma has been adept at working with the newer staff.  Wilma is a hard worker and is always professional and respectful in her interactions with others.  She is an excellent role model to staff.


Children's Aid & Family Service/Family Child Care

Norieliz Rivera

Norieliz-riveraNorieliz Rivera is the Billing Specialist for Children’s Aid and Family Service Family Child Care program and the Center for Child Enrichment. Nori is committed, dependable, and resourceful.  She is an exceptional problem solver and prides herself on being able to figure things out no matter what the task is at hand. She is well-liked and supportive of her peers and coworkers and is completely dedicated to the children and families she serves.

 

 


Family Services of Central Massachusetts

Victoria Mahoney

victoria-mahoneyVictoria Mahoney is a Home Care Supervisor in the Family Services of Central MA Home Careprogram. For over 30 years, Vicky’s steady hand, knowledge, and experience has provided continuity, stability, and leadership for both staff and the people we support.  She is totally committed to the elders she serves, constantly going the extra mile and providing a personal touch to everyone.  Vicky sets a great example for staff and provides unparalleled support and guidance for her team.

 

 


Seven Hills NeuroCare

Sonya Bouchard 

sonya-bouchardSonya Bouchard has been a long-time Seven Hills employee and a clinician with NeuroCarealmost since the beginning in 2014. In every role she’s held, she brings positive energy, colleague support, and strong clinical skills.  Sonya has been one of the most consistent teammates in the Southeast. She has worked tirelessly to overcome organizational challenges,including COVID and staff shortages, and many teammates look to her for support and guidance.  Sonya balances the needs of staff while always maintaining a person-centered approach for the clients she serves. Her expertise in both brain injury rehabilitation and organizational psychology is clear in her day-to-day work.  In addition to her role as a clinician, Sonya has been an instrumental member of the Seven Hills research team, and she has recently taken on the role of chair of the Seven Hills Institutional Review Board.  Sonya is truly a great clinician and colleague.  


Seven Hills Community Services - Northeastern MA

Nora Messier Area Director

nora-messierNora Messier has worked for Seven Hills Community Services for nearly 20 years.  She started as a Direct Support Professional in Individual Supports and held many positions before becoming an Area Director.  Nora has always been committed to the values of Seven Hills and the people she supports. In 2023, Nora took on the additional responsibility of leading our Electronic Health Record for our residential services.  She attended multiple implementation meetings, reviewed forms, provided feedback, wrote curriculum, and trained staff, all while carrying out the responsibilities of an Area Director.  Now that we are actively using the new EHR in all Adult Long Term Residential homes, Nora will continue to be involved with training and tweaking.  Her contributions in this area are unparalleled.    


Seven Hills Community Services - Southeastern MA

Anthony Acevedo DSP

Anthony-AcevadoAnthony Acevedo’s commitment to his work as a Direct Support Professional is truly commendable. He has repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty, especially during times when we faced staffing shortages. Anthony not only willingly picked up additional shifts but also executed his responsibilities with a level of professionalism and efficiency that sets a high standard for his peers.

One notable aspect of Anthony's performance is his ability to excel in a leadership role His self-motivation, leadership skills, and capacity to take charge of situations. Anthony's dedication to his role is evident in the positive impact he has had at his program’s overall performance and the quality of care to the individuals he supports.

Recently, Anthony performed CPR on an individual who was choking, and his quick and decisive actions undoubtedly saved that Individual's life. Anthony's ability to remain calm under pressure and act swiftly in an emergency showcases not only his competence but also his genuine concern for the well-being of others.

Anthony embodies the qualities we value in an exemplary employee—dedication, initiative, and a strong sense of responsibility—and recognizing his exceptional contributions with the Employee of the Year award is well deserved.


Seven Hills Community Services - Central MA

Sheryl Cardin

sheryl-cardinSheryl Cardin truly possesses all the traits of an Employee of the Year. She is the true definition of a team player and role model and values teamwork and collaboration by the way she interacts with her staff, DDS personnel, and the families she serves. Along with her ongoing dedication to the individuals she supports as the Residence Director of an emergency respite program, Sheryl is always willing to take on the most difficult challenges with the expectation that she and her staff will provide the best support and environment necessary for everyone to enjoy the quality of life they deserve. Her low staff turnover is a direct result of her willingness to assist her colleagues in any way possible and provide support and encouragement as needed. She also continues to reach out to newly hired Residence Directors in the Central region to provide mentoring and support as well. Sheryl is a well-respected Director who fully embraces the Core Values of Seven Hills Foundation, and we are very lucky to have her on our team!


Seven Hills Family Services

Jayne Bowler

jayne-bowlerJayne Bowler has worked with the Seven Hills Family Support Center in South Valley for the past eight years as a Family Support Specialist. DDS Family Support Centers are a fun and recreational place for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Many of the families supported have complex, muti-generational needs. Specialists work with a client but also must understand the whole family. They must build rapport and trust with families, provide education, and understand family dynamics and social determinants of health. They support not only the client referred to us but the whole household.

Jayne has always been a reliable resource and a go-to person. As a Family Support Specialist, has taken on many other responsibilities that have enhanced the support center. When the pandemic started, Jayne immediately started an outreach to families through Zoom activities while continuing her regular in-person support events such as Coffee in the Community, art classes, and line dancing.

Jayne supports our Agency with Choice families and has created a new recreation group that meets each Wednesday. Jayne exemplifies Seven Hills Values of innovation, teamwork and service to others. Her passion is service to others, and we are so fortunate to have such a dynamic and dedicated staff at our Family Support Center.


Massachusetts Care Coordination Network (MCCN)

MCCN, Beth Ann Fleming 

Beth began her career with MCCN during the height of the COVID pandemic, jumping right into MCCN work with a smile and a patient attitude.  MCCN’s work is complex, and Beth’s position supports all aspects and all staff in the program.  

Beth’s colleagues share that she is dedicated, respectful, and leads by example. Beth is someone who works hard and is always willing to learn about other roles so she can help with tasks that are not her responsibility. She is a true team player; her work ethic helps turn goals into reality.

She always has kindness in her voice and heart. She will go out of her way to never make anyone feel left out and goes the extra mile to make them feel appreciated. Beth is a pleasure to work with. She's always willing to help and is a great support. MCCN and Seven Hills Foundation are very lucky to have Beth leading on our team!


Open Door Arts

Silvina Mizrahi

silvina-mizrahiSilvina Mizrahi joined the Open Door Arts family last year as a teaching artist, bringing joyful, accessible, and engaging visual arts classes to high school students in two of our partner Boston Public Schools. She came very highly recommended, and we fell in love with her immediately for how she goes above and beyond. For example, last year, Silvina brought her students' work outside of the school walls and into the community through a public art installation, and this year, she is co-leading the development of a new curriculum for our pilot career development program, Career CREATE

Silvina is a brilliant artist and incredibly skilled teacher, but most importantly, she creates a space where each of her students can recognize and step into their light. We are so grateful to have her on our team and can't wait to continue learning from and building with her! 


Seven Hills Behavioral Health

Colleen Kennedy-Mello

colleen-kennedy-melloColleen Mello has been a member of the SHBH team for 11 years, most recently as the Program Manager of the Tobacco program. Colleen’s ability to work independently while also managing the ever-changing direction of the program model.  Colleen has made many community connections and now serves on several boards in the local communities in Southeastern Massachusetts.

In the past year, Colleen successfully completed the 10-month Leadership Southcoast training program.  In addition, Colleen has been working on a case study around racial and health equity and social determinants of health.  The Department of Public Health requested this as they try to determine the direction they wish to take for the next grant cycle.

Colleen is very aware of the dynamics and challenges of the community, is sensitive to the population's needs, and continues to work hard to provide tobacco cessation services.


Seven Hills Behavioral Health/YOU, Inc.

Emily Swalec

emily-swalecEmily Swalec, LICSW, has been a member of the SHBH/YOU, Inc. Team since July 2014, and in her tenure, she has held numerous positions and is now the Director of Clinical Systems and Access. The breadth of services in which she has worked has resulted in Emily being “the glue” that holds us together, knowing how almost every system and service works. Emily unfailingly brings a kind, respectful and helpful presence to bear in every setting.

This past year Emily took on the overwhelmingly large project of addressing the waitlist for behavioral health services. In this past year, she has revised the referral form and launched an online version of the form, developed a team of clinicians who would complete “open access” intakes, become trained herself in two different evidence-based treatment models, created a curriculum for a group therapy intervention to speed access to services, and launched the new open access model to reduce waiting times. In just one year, the waitlist is approximately 150, and people and wait times are reduced to just two to three weeks for care. Emily has achieved this while also maintaining her other responsibilities, including overseeing Central Referral for all behavioral health services, managing the HER team, and overseeing the clinical record-keeping.


Seven Hills New Hampshire

Jeremy Hall, Facilities Director

jeremy-hallOver the past year, Jeremy Hall has been one of our very best employees at Seven Hills, New Hampshire. As soon as we met Jeremy, we knew that we were in good hands. In Facilities, our patience and sanity are continuously tested. Even in times of turmoil, Jeremy remains level-headed and calm. He is at his best when things seem to be at their worst. His love of the Crotched Mountain campus is second only to Jeremy’s care and compassion for the students of Crotched Mountain.

The past year has been filled with a plethora of facility issues at Crotched Mountain.  From leaky roofs to broken water pipes and an ambitious reconstruction project, Jeremy has worked tirelessly and with a smile on his face to address these and so many other issues.  And no matter how chaotic Jeremy’s day might be, he will always take time to talk to students and show genuine care for their wellbeing. Jeremy’s positivity is infectious, and the Crotched Mountain Community is a better place because of him.


Seven Hills Pediatric Center

Sarah Attridge, Physical Therapist

sarah-attridgeIt is with great pleasure and admiration that I announce Sarah Attridge, PT,  Employee of the Year for Seven Hills Pediatric Center. This recognition is a testament to her expertise as a physical therapist as well as her dedication to the residents and staff at the pediatric center. 

She not only delivers outstanding physical therapy treatment to the children improving their gross motor abilities, but she has also improved their quality of life. Sarah developed and brought to fruition the “Barn Experience.” This program enables many medically fragile children the incredible opportunity to ride on the back of a horse.  The residents who cannot ride can still enjoy the experience by interacting with the animals by petting, feeding, and grooming them. The alertness and the smiles on the residents’ faces have proven the positive impact this experience has had on all who have been able to participate. 

In addition to enhancing the lives of the residents, Sarah has proven to be a valued member of the clinical team. She is always willing to help where needed, and her energy and enthusiasm build morale throughout the facility. 


Seven Hills Rhode Island

Lorie Levesque 

lorie-levesqueWe are pleased to nominate Lorie Levesque for Employee of the Year.  Lorie is a Speech Pathologist who has been working with SHRI since 2017.  During that time, she has continuously demonstrated her commitment to the children and families we serve.   

Lorie goes above and beyond to deliver high quality services to each family, working tirelessly to give them the information they need to support their child’s language development. She uses family friendly wording to break down the complexities of language development into individual skills that can be built upon. The strategies used to build these skills are designed to give families and other caregivers an active role in each child’s development.   

Lorie is not only dedicated to the children, families and EI team, but also to her craft as a speech pathologist.  She seeks out professional development opportunities, sharing new information with families and the EI team. She applies her knowledge to advocate for necessary services as children age out of EI, providing support through detailed written summaries and as an active participant throughout the transition process.   

Lorie communicates with family members, childcare providers, outpatient therapists and fellow EI team members. She works with the professionals supporting each child and family, not only sharing strategies and advice for language development but seeking to learn from them. She values the expertise of others, recognizing the positive impact collaboration has on service delivery and progress.    

Despite the challenges, Lorie approaches each child and family with optimism, kindness and respect.  She works to give families the tools they need to support their child’s development and empowers them with the knowledge that they can use those tools effectively. It is for these reasons that we nominate her for Employee of the Year. 


Maria Elizabeth Araujo

Maria-araujoWe are pleased to nominate Maria Elizabeth Araujo as a Bilingual Treatment Coordinator and Billing Liaison in the child and family services program. She has been with the program at SHRI for the past 4 years. During this tenure, she has excelled in her role and has consistently provided exceptional case management support to the families and staff assigned to her caseload. Additionally, Elizabeth handles all billing authorizations and any billing issues as they arise. Elizabeth works incredibly hard and is extremely self-motivated. In the past year, our program has been in the position to open to referrals, and Elizabeth has handled collecting all the information required for each family before the clinical team’s intake. Elizabeth deserves to be recognized for her diverse role and responsibilities and the way in which she handles these responsibilities so professionally and gracefully. 


Stetson School

Debora Contois, Senior Child Care Specialist

Although Debora Contois has been at Stetson School as a Senior Child Care Specialist for arelatively short time, she has had a significant impact on our community. She realized that the policies were created and formulated to ensure the heart and soul of stellar treatment. Deb was able to transform the information into a template for action, that place where words, advice, and theory come alive. Deb has been able to create an environment for healing. She rules her unit with determination, and she supports and guides her staff while making it clear that what is paramount is knowing the youth and giving them each the tools to heal.  Recently, a young man in her unit tested every known policy to its core. Because Deb knows – really knows the boyshe read the signs and took action. She called the Supervisor to give the “heads up” that this young man was struggling and alerted her staff to keep an eye on him. She didn’t hover, she didn’t sound the alarms, and she quietly kept the milieu safe and organized as she managed what turned out to be a serious situation. It didn’t turn into a crisis because Deb hadn’t hesitated. She responded to the cues with precision, and she saved that young man from inadvertently causing harm.

This is one of many moments that Deb has made it clear she is a gift. She changes lives, helps our boys heal, and guides her team to ensure the very best is created every day.


YOU, Inc. (Children’s Congregate Care)

Amy Pagan, Assistant Director Teen Parent

amy-paganYou Inc is thrilled to nominate Amy Pagan, Assistant Program Director for the Young Parent Living Program, for Employee of the Year. Over the past year Amy has demonstrated unparalleled dedication and leadership in her role. When the current Program Director had to go on leave, Amy seamlessly stepped into the role of interim Program Director. During her interim tenure, Amy skillfully facilitated the program's licensure renewal, achieving one of the smoothest processes in years. Amy's continued commitment to client advocacy has not only enhanced the program's ability to make a lasting impact on the lives of our residents but has also nurtured a sense of true community within the program. In both her roles as the Interim Program Director and her current role as Assistant Program Director, Amy’s commitment to Young Parent has led to an increase in both client and staff engagement, setting a positive tone for the entire team. Her attention to detail has further enhanced training and supervision initiatives, elevating the skill set of the staff and promoting a more cohesive and efficient work environment. Amy is an invaluable asset to our team, a true leader, and well deserving of this accolade.


Scott Berozi – Program Director, Dynamy Internship Year

scott-beroziScott has been the Program Director at Dynamy Internship Year since March 2022. Scott came to us with extensive Higher Education background but taking on a Gap Year was a very different experience. Coming out of the pandemic, Dynamy was in a very challenging situation. Many of the things we had done in the past were paused and we were coming up with new processes daily, but this did not scare Scott away! He welcomed the challenge and has successfully allowed the program to carry on and improve. Scott jumped into an already-established community and made his presence and support known to the staff, students, families, and the Worcester community. He, along with the other staff, sat down and reflected on the year, what worked, and what didn’t work. From that moment, Scott has worked tirelessly to make improvements while maintaining the mission and values of the program. Scott had to take all that information and improve the program with a whole new staff, hiring two new residential staff and three new advisors.

Working with families all over the country and internationally can be a challenge. He is able to think outside the box in order to meet and support each individual student. He is a leader by example, taking on each task that comes his way. Thanks to Scott’s abilities, leadership, and commitment to the program, students, families, staff, and the larger Worcester community benefit from a strong and vibrant Dynamy Internship Year.


 


 

Media Inquiries

Bill Stock
Vice President for Government and Community Relations 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1305
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: bstock@sevenhills.org
Kathleen A. Myshrall
Vice President of Advancement 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1302
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: kmyshrall@sevenhills.org
Jennifer Wentworth
Director of Communications 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1304
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: jwentworth@sevenhills.org