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Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Natalie Holman – Extended Care Assistant Manager

Natalie Holman has been with Visions since 2007. She started as an administrative assistant, NatalieHolmanFinalworking at our residential facilities, and eventually moving to our Day School and Outpatient facility. She is currently the Assistant Manager at Extended Care, where her administrative know-how is complimented by her desire to give back and be of service.  Natalie is always willing to help if you need something and is the one behind the scenes making sure the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. Natalie is part of the fabric that makes Visions tick, and for that, we are incredibly grateful for her presence, her laughter, and her ability to take care of us from behind-the-scenes.

 

Read on for some incredible kudos from the staff:

 

“Natalie is the office enforcer… she is organized and on top of the office work and everything that needs to be done before you even blink.  She is always available and open to questions and has been extremely helpful.”  – Koreema Walden

 

“Natalie is a beautiful, caring woman who is always willing to help anyone at a moments notice. Natalie is the glue that holds outpatient together with her knowledge of our program as well as her loving, nonjudgmental words to our clients.  I can’t imagine IOP without Natalie’s beautiful face!” – Cheryl Lane

 

“Natalie is so warm and authentic and FUNNY, she makes work more fun — but she works her tail off behind the scenes to keep us all looking good!  We’d be lost without her!” – Jesse Engdahl

 

I have worked with Natalie for the last three years. I appreciate that she always has a warm smile and is ready and willing to help. Sometimes she gets overlooked because she is behind the scenes working at the details that make a huge difference in all that we do. I often ask Natalie to get a task done that I don’t have time to do, or that truly needs her attention to detail, which she excels at! Thank you, Natalie, for all you do, it would not be the same here without you. – Noelle Rodriguez

 

“Natalie is a big part of the day to day here at Outpatient. She does a lot for the facility, staff, and clients. My favorite part about her is her random humor. She’s hilarious and her Jersey accent really makes the jokes that much better. I think our common love for Beyoncè and food has really added a spark to our friendship. I’m glad she’s a part of the Visions family” – Adriana Camarillo

 

“Natalie is an integral part of the Visions team.  Her attention to detail, follow through and comprehensive approach to administration is an important factor in keeping all of us on task. It helps to know you have someone you can rely on and I’m grateful she carries us through the day to day.  Natalie is an invaluable asset to the organization and frankly, she makes us look good.” – Fiona A. Ray

 

“Where there is chaos, Natalie can find order.  This woman is the quiet answer to a storm of crazy.  Our team depends on her to fill in the gaps of communication…Natalie is basically the Siri of Visions.  Where can I find this?  Did we order that?  What time are they arriving?  Can you organize my brain?  Natalie’s ability to sort us all out makes Visions a stronger team…no doubt.” — Christina Howard Micklish

 

 

As always, we sent along 10 questions. Check out Natalie’s answers: 

 

 

1: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I don’t think I would want to live anywhere outside of the US permanently, but living in the US is all I know.  I’d have to do some traveling before I could answer that question.

 

2: What motivates you?

Dreams, ambitions, a desire to become a better me tomorrow than I am today, fear

 

3:  What is your favorite season and why?

Season?  There are no seasons in LA.  On the east coast I like the fall when the leaves change colors and the air becomes cool and crisp, and you would start to smell the fireplaces being used.  I always liked dressing for the cool weather (boots, sweaters, scarves and coats).

 

4: Do you prefer reading on a device or flipping through real pages of a book?

I like books.  I’ve recently started to use kindle, but nothing beats the smell of the pages in a book.

 

5: What makes your heart sing?

My cats, Gigi and Papa.

 

6: Describe your perfect day:

There’s no such thing as perfect anything.  Each of my days are perfectly imperfect in different ways and for different reasons.  I’m grateful for each day.

 

7: If you were given three wishes, what would you wish for?

Wishes?  I don’t know.  I would wish to be debt free.  I know that!  I would wish peace of mind for everyone (it gets so loud in there sometimes), and I would wish for all of the wishes I could wish for!

 

8: What is one thing you cannot live without?

Music.

 

9: What was the last song you listened to while you were driving?

Young Folks, Peter Bjorn and John.

 

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions? 

I believe in what we do here, for entire families.  There’s nothing like being part of a team that affects teens and their families in such dramatic and positive ways.  Visions rocks!

 

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Mental Health Recovery Service Treatment

Morgan Parker — Educator

Morgan Parker is one of our remarkable educators in our Residential program. She spends her time teaching the clients at our Latigo facility, providing them with a well-crafted through-line to their education in a supportive, clinical environment. Morgan determines the relevant educational needs for the clients, provides the appropriate support for those working with learning disabilities, and  she maintains a high standard of education.  Morgan Parker is a bright light in the Visions family: she is colorful, wise, kind, and dedicated. She is highly intelligent and not afraid to share her wisdom through humor and play. Morgan carries herself with confidence and compassion, adeptly caring for the clients and melding with the staff with grace. Morgan Parker is a true gift to Visions and we are honored that she’s been with us since 2009.

 

Read on for some kudos from the staff!

“Morgan is the Rock of Gibraltar. She is the backbone of Visions Latigo. When Morgan decided to take the job as teacher, she was a perfect fit. She had worked with our challenging population of kids as a Program Aide, and brought her experience and calm demeanor with her. Morgan’s attention to detail is impeccable. She notices glitches in the machine that help to prevent major hick-ups later on. She cares about the kids and her job, silently facing everyday frustrations with grace and dignity. I am proud to be her supervisor.” – Daniel Dewey

 

“One of the most reliable, insightful ladies out there.” —  Roxie Fuller

 

Morgan is so multi talented I don’t even know where to begin. She effortlessly blends her educational expertise with a loving and fun demeanor and tackles anything that comes her way.  Morgan insists on encouraging our kids to rise to the occasion academically, we couldn’t ask for a better teacher!  — Patrick Schettler

 

“Working with Morgan has been a great experience. Not only is she super helpful and efficient with our students but she is also fun to be around. She has a great sense of humor and says some of the funniest and most random things. She is a great addition to the Visions family.” — Adriana Camarillo

 

“I’ve always thought of Morgan as the Rainbow Bright of Visions.  The Visions family is always battling dark and complex issues, and its people like Morgan who show up with pink hair and the brightest clothing that remind us to never take life too seriously.  No doubt the work she does with the VTeam is seriously exceptional!”   — Christina Howard-Micklish

 

I love Morgan’s answers to our 10 questions — she has real wisdom and wit. Read on:

 

1: What do you miss from the 80s?

My childhood! And MTV when it actually played music videos.

 

2: If you could go anywhere in the world for free, where would you go, who would you take and what would you do?

This is an overwhelming question! My brain floods with possibilities and fantasies: Sweden, Scotland, Japan, Fiji, Iceland, Bali, New Zealand, the Isle of Man…but because I’d take my 3 kids, I may choose Italy to help make some historical sites of Western civilization come alive for them, and then still have access to the beach. Travel provides the best education, and we love the beach!

 

3: What is your favorite subject to teach?

I am a bibliophile and logophile, but surprisingly I have enjoyed working with students on algebra. It is reassuringly procedural to teach, but it’s also like solving puzzles, which is fun and interactive. I like to see students figure problems out, recognize patterns, and become less intimidated by math.

 

4: Which character in To Kill a Mockingbird are you?

My only solid response to this is that I think we can all aspire to be Atticus Finch: fair, decent, resilient, accountable, courageous, and truthful.

 

5: Coffee, Tea, Soda or Water?

I am notorious for my Diet Coke consumption. I am still trying to find an acceptable, healthier replacement beverage.

 

6: What was your most embarrassing hairstyle?

Bangs were never the most flattering look for me.

 

7: What is your grammatical pet peeve?

Dangling modifiers are never OK! I also find irksome the improper use or omission of the apostrophe. And I am always willing to explain the difference between “effect” and “affect.”

 

8: Would you rather be a wizard or a ninja? Explain…

Wizard! I gravitate toward the cerebral choice. I am not known for physical prowess. I’d rather be a magician than a fighter! A ninja needs smarts but a wizard has wisdom.

 

9: Favorite time of day?

After midnight, when the world gets quiet and my brain gets alert and creative. I have always been nocturnal.

 

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions?

Everyone needs community and purpose, and it is rare to find both in a workplace, but at Visions I have found where I belong and can contribute. There is a lot of love, support, humor, good work, and good deeds happening here, and I am proud to be a part. I have truly met some of the most incredible people at Visions, both clients and staff!

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Ashley Harris — Recovery Mentor

Ashley Harris, Recovery Mentor, has been with Visions since 2011. She is one of the bright lights that graces our facilities and touches the lives of our clients and staff alike.  Ashley Harris is one of those people who make me smile at the mere thought of her. She motivates and inspires those around her to embrace life and its challenges with verve, honesty and presence. She skillfully uses humor to break the ice and to make people feel at ease and she has the ability to soften the hardest heart. Ashley retains a sense of youthful joie de vivre while maintaining firm boundaries, earning a deep sense of respect from those who get to work with her.

 

The staff echoes my sentiments about Ashley. Read on. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Ashley cares deeply about our kids and is a great role model.  She is reliable, dedicated, and passionate about her work.  She has a great sense of humor, and never takes herself too seriously.  What an asset to the Visions family.  High five Ashley! – Patrick Schettler
Ashley Harris is truly the gem of Visions. Her unconventional style truly reaches all Visions clients because she openly acknowledges her journey through recovery and celebrates everyday of it. Ashley holds no punches, and says the things we all wish we had the gall to say! – Corrin McWhinnie

 

The “everything” girl. She’s got it all.  – Mie Kaneda

 

You can trust her with your darkest secret then share your dirtiest joke right after. – Roxie Fuller

 

I first met Ashley on her first night shift and immediately I knew she was going to be part of the family.  I’ve seen Ashely grow into a strong, positive example of what we look for the clients to aspire to.  She is a great role model for women in recovery and always brings a smile and laughter into the room where ever she is! It’s truly a blessing being able to work alongside her! – Nick Riefner

 

Ashley Harris is Visions’ face of social media!  Her photos are worth a thousand words…Ashley’s excitement for our team and the families we help is so easily captured in photos.  Harris and Hoban selfies are without a doubt some of my favorite posts! — Christina Howard Micklish 

 

Read on for Ashley’s answers to our 10 questions. Her wise wit is well-played!

 

1: What makes you laugh with complete abandon?  

I laugh a lot every day- usually at inappropriate humor. I love a good “That’s What She Said,” and potty humor is a weakness. My cats make me laugh a lot too. Lately, I’ve been finding myself laughing at my own ridiculous thoughts–the things I get mad about and daily frustrations now tend to make me smile and realize it’s not that serious.

 

2: Are you a landlubber or seafaring lass?   

I’m comfortable with both. There’s something incredibly calming about the ocean though. For the first 6 months of my recovery it was my higher power.

 

3: Do you sing in the shower?

Yes! Who doesn’t? My neighbors probably don’t appreciate it but it happens. I turn into Whitney and Adele as soon as the water starts. On rare occasions I think I’m Biggie.

 

4: SuperMan or Lex Luther at 6 Flags? 

 Lex Luther, hands down.

 

5: Funniest April Fool’s day stunt? 

People are always shocked by my lack of participation in April Fool’s day. I guess I just assume that people are too paranoid that day to really fall for anything so I do it throughout the year to keep people on their toes! I usually just try to scare people as much as possible.

 

6: Top three things on your bucket list are:

Oh man. This one is tough.

1. I want to travel. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland.

2. When I was 12, I promised myself I would live in Australia for at least a year.

3. Have as many people say “You’ve changed my life” to me as I’ve said to people in my life.

 

7: If you could say anything to your teen self, what would you say?

I would tell myself it gets better. Everything always does. I struggled with a lot of various issues as a teen and I wish I could give myself the kindness and compassion that I now have for myself. I would tell myself to slow down and take time for me. But knowing me, I wouldn’t have listened.

 

8: Would you rather sing karaoke or do stand-up comedy?

Karaoke for sure–But not alone. No one wants to hear that, unless it’s a Pearl Jam song. I can do a killer Eddie Vedder impression.

 

9: What superhero are you?

DA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAAAAAAAN

 

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions? 

I love Visions. I love the clients and the opportunity I get to help them. It’s amazing seeing them come in wounded and scared and watching the light come on. They get their fire back. Being a part of that process blows me away on a daily basis. Some of the best people in the world work with Visions and they’ve taught me a lot about the industry, relationships, and myself. Visions really is a family–we fight and bicker sometimes but at the end of the day we all have each other’s backs and it’s incredible.

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Mollie Mylar, BS, Director of Professional Relations

Mollie Mylar, BS, Director of Professional Relations, is one of the most engaging ladies I know. She is a bright spot on the marketing team, always lighting up a room when she walks in and is capable of making anyone feel at ease. She has a light in her heart, joy in her eyes, and a wicked sense of humor. She is truly humble and kind, and both of these qualities make Mollie a true gem. Mollie lives in Utah with her family, but she travels all over the United States to engage and educate people about seamless transitions in treatment.  Frankly, I lament the fact that we don’t see more of her, but I am extraordinarily grateful and humbled by the work she does; she is an invaluable player on the Visions team.  Quite honestly, the world needs more Mollies.

 

Read on for some staff accolades about this lovely lady:

 

Mollie is absolutely one of the most upbeat and positive souls you will encounter in this world; her energy is contagious. The minute she walks into a room, or you hear her voice on the phone, you cannot help but smile.  Anytime I get a chance to speak with her or see her is a pleasure and a joy. – Jenny Werber

 

I wish Mollie were around all the time!  — Jesse Engdahl

 

I like Molly.  In fact, how can you not like Molly? She is a business woman doing business in a way that doesn’t feel like business.  She is a Mom.  She is personable, humble, creative and hard working. Molly is one of the people in life that I look forward to seeing. She makes the room lighter and brighter when she walks through the door.  Good egg = Molly. And, I never use that term. In fact, I may call her and tell her she’s a good egg just so we can laugh.  – Angela Carrillo

 

Mollie is spunky, full of life and has the ability to light up any room she walks into within seconds! She has an uncanny talent for just meeting someone and making them feel like they have been friends with her for years.  – Ashley Shortridge

 

It is a pleasure to work side-by-side with Molly. Molly always finds the bright spot in the darkest situations. Molly fights for the best interest of the families and kids she works with. – John Lieberman

 

Mollie defines being authentic with every cell of her being.  This is how I see her:  Trustworthy, Tenacious, Persistent, Tall, Adventurous, Silly, Open, Hilarious, Loving and Kind.  Mollie oozes with love for her son and husband.  She is a woman I look up to.  Her balance of being mom, wife and business woman is always transparent and remarkable to be in the presence of.  I am grateful to know Mollie Mylar. – Christina Howard

 

Read on for Mollie’s answers to our 10 questions:

 

1: What inspires you to work in education?

Being able to watch families and students heal and reach their potential.  I do not like to see people suffer.

 

2: You live in Utah but you work all over the country, what do you do to stay connected with your loved ones?

Call and face time.

 

3: Would you rather be able to fly or read people’s minds?

Definitely read people’s minds.

 

4. Would you rather speak in public or work at the Los Angeles Waste pumping station for one week?

Work at Los Angeles Waste pumping station for one week.  I would do just about anything to avoid public speaking…

 

5: What is your favorite season and why?

Fall, love seeing the leaves change, temperatures drop and most of all SWEATSHIRT weather!!!

 

6: What is your Starbucks order?

 Grande Soy Latte.

 

7: If you could have been told one thing that you weren’t told when you were a teenager, what would you like to have heard?

I had an amazing mother, that I miss everyday, and I feel like she prepared me well for life!!

 

8: Funniest Visions memory?

Wearing a Christmas sweater to my first company Christmas party, (I hate Christmas sweaters)  when nobody else was wearing anything having to do with Christmas…awkward.

 

9: What do you keep in the trunk of your car?

 My own grocery bags.

 

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions?

I love the team and what we provide for our students and families.

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Nick Riefner: Recovery Mentor

Nick Riefner is one of our beloved Recovery Mentors. He has been with Visions since 2011. Nick spends his time at our Residential and Outpatient facilities, carrying with him a sincere, honest dedication to working with teens. Coupled with his passion for being of service, his genuine kindness and a commitment to quality care, Nick  is someone to celebrate.  He’s playful when he needs to be; he’s serious when he needs to be, and he has a keen ability to relate to the clients in a way that they can genuinely relate to. Working with teens is an adventure; Nick is skillful at navigating the terrain with a sense of humor and relatability. Nick not only cares for the teens he works with, he shows the same level of compassion for those he works with every day. For Nick Riefner, helping others is more than a job; it’s lifestyle.

 

Check out what some of the staff had to say when I asked them about Nick:

 

“It is an absolute honor working with Nick. I met him when I walked into Latigo for my first night shift and he immediately made me feel comfortable. There’s just something about him- everyone loves him. I’ve learned a lot from Nick and so have the clients. He’s a prime example of what recovery looks like.” Ashley Harris 

Nick is an amazing recovery mentor because of his passion for his work and ability to relate to clients. He openly acknowledges that recovery is a day by day process, which helps clients see the silver lining of their storm cloud. – Corinn McWhinnie

 

The moment I met Nick I knew he was special. He is a calming, kind, and supportive soul. One of Nick’s best qualities is his ability to level a room with his passion and sincerity. Nick truly has what it takes to work with teens. Every day when I get to work, Nick is right there checking in to see if I need any help. I feel honored to work with such a great guy whom I trust and depend on.  – Noelle Rodriguez, Psy.D

“Dude… that’s gnarly bro”!!  When talking to the kids about an issue that they are having a rough time with in their lives. And that language the kids get, they 100% relate to what Nick is saying and he is being genuine and real. – Koreema J. Walden, MA., MFTI

 

And last, but certainly not least are Nick’s answers to Visions 10 questions:

 

1: Sand, Sea, or Surf?

Sand.

2: What made you decide to work with adolescents?

I decided to work with adolescents because my journey and experience began when I was an adolescent.

3: Would you rather be Gonzo or the Cookie Monster?

Cookie Monster all the way.

4: What is your favorite way to give back?

My favorite way to give back is listening to someone who needs to be heard or who wants to be heard.

5: Who inspires you and how are you like them?

Who I am inspired by would definitely be my co-workers.  I strive to carry out the same love and compassion given to both myself and the residents in my personal life on a daily basis.

6: Would you rather have Morgan Freeman narrate your life or have Chuck Norris narrate your life?

Morgan Freeman.

7: A nice cuppa tea or a locally sourced pour-over?

Locally sourced coffee for sure.

8: What superhero power do you have?

My secret super power is I can instantly make roller skates appear on whomever I want.

9: What piece of advice would you offer someone scared and newly sober?

I would suggest they embrace the possibility that change might be a good thing and to learn how to start embracing love.  Especially for themselves.

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions?

I choose to work at Visions because I feel the care given to clients and the dedication to seeing they are set up for a successful life are amazing. Most of all, the care for given to each other not only as coworkers but as family can’t be found anywhere else.

 

 

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery

We Are Celebrating Chris Shumow

Twelve years ago, Chris Shumow set out to create a treatment culture that cared deeply for both staff and clients.  The Visions Family is lead with Chris as Dad.  Day to day, he is dedicated to making sure Visions is providing treatment at its fullest potential.

 

Chris constantly pushes for what’s best for the kids and their families.  He is still on the frontlines after all these years taking intake calls and welcoming families on campus in their deepest times of struggle.  Chris is dedicated to working hand in hand with his clinical team, always pushing his team to think outside the box.

 

Shumow maintains a strong focus to keep Visions as a strong company, but he never forgets to care for each staff member as an individual.  It is clear to all who surround him that Chris’ top priority in life is to be the best father to his herd of 4 children. Chris often reminds all of us, “In order to provide the best treatment for teens and families, we must first take great care of our staff.”  This is evidenced in Chris’ every action.

 

The staff echoes this sentiment. Please read on!

 

Chris may be one of the most passionate and committed individuals for helping teens and families. Chris skillfully handles challenging situations with a gentle approach and determination to provide the best service to each family. I cannot think of a better person to have in my corner.  – John Lieberman

 

He scared me in my interview 8 years ago.  I’m pretty sure he only took a chance on me because I mentioned something about surfing to which he replied, “Surfers are good people.”  Chris is truly that…a good person.  I am forever in gratitude for the opportunities he has trusted me with.  I still have a lot to learn from him.  – Christina Howard

 

I can’t imagine a cooler boss.  He’s just ridiculously kind, humble, down to earth, and hilarious.  Understanding, generous, smart, the list goes on and on. – Jesse Engdahl

 

I met Chris Shumow some 12 years ago and took a chance with him on a company called Visions. He took a chance on me and I am still here. So, after 12 years I am still thrilled to come to work and I owe an infinite debt of gratitude to Chris (and of course his wife Amanda). Now we are both a bit older and much grayer, but all the more wiser and prosperous. – Daniel Dewey

 

He has always been a caring, interested and thoughtful boss. I feel fortunate. – Noelle Rodriguez

 

You can always count on Chris to tell it like it is, he’s such a great, loyal, humble man. — Roxie Fuller

 

I have learned so much from Chris about the work we do, but nothing resonates more than his insistence on always staying focused on the solution.  The culture we have at Visions starts with him, this whole thing was his idea after all. – Patrick Schettler

 

It has been clear to me from day one that Chris cares about his “kids” more than anything else.  I remember sitting in an office with him and tearing up about one of the clients who had gone off to college. “This is why we do this,” he said.  His commitment to the health and well-being of the clients is why I’m still here after 9 years. – Joseph Rogers

 

I have worked with Chris for twelve years and he always operates with the best interests of our kids and parents in mind. – Bill Hoban

 

Fair, trustworthy, hardworking, loyal, and consistent are just a few words to describe Chris in the workplace.  Who knew when we started 12 years ago with 6 beds and about as many staff that our “vision” would come to life the way it has?  Chris has been on call for 12 of those years answering thousands of calls from desperate families 24 hours a day.  He has become such an amazing leader and really has grown from the “operations guy” to the true CEO he is.  (Although we hate titles!)  He is well respected in the field of addictions and mental health. He is my partner in every way and I am so proud of his hard work. – Amanda Shumow

Categories
Adolescence Anniversary Blogs Recovery

Angela Carrillo, Los Angeles Outreach Coordinator

We’d like to welcome Angela Carrillo to the Visions Family as our Los Angeles Outreach Coordinator. Angela brings over five years of clinical outreach experience with her, having successfully extended her reach to the fields of substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health within the treatment industry.  She is an active member of the Women’s Association for Addiction Treatment (WAAT) and the Los Angeles International Association of Eating Disorders (IAEDP LA). We feel fortunate to have someone so passionate and dedicated to recovery as part of our treatment family. She wears her passion for recovery on her sleeve, peppered in joy and enthusiasm for life.

 

Angela was in the US Army for four years, stationed in West Germany. She joined with the desire to change her life, which ended up being part of her path to recovery. She went on to win an award for soldier of the year in her division and was awarded an army commendation medal. Angela eventually came back to the States where she worked as a paralegal for several years. We are grateful she evolved into the recovery maven she is!

 

As Visions’ Los Angeles Outreach Coordinator, you will see her at local industry events; she will represent Visions’ continuum of care in Brentwood and Santa Monica. Please contact her to tour our Adolescent Extended Care—NeXT, Outpatient Counseling Center, Day School, or Young Adult—LAUNCH programs.

 

When asked why she chose to work for Visions, Angela said,

 

“The work that Visions does and the way they do it supports everything I believe about recovery. Everybody gets to be exactly who they are, from the clients to the staff.  Structure without conformity enhances an individual’s path in recovery.  When authenticity in an individual is supported, creativity and individuation occurs which is empowering for clients and staff.”

 

She’s definitely our kind of lady. Welcome to the VTeam, Angela! We are thrilled to have you here.

 

Angela Carrillo: acarrillo@visionsteen.com, cell phone TBD.

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Bradley Allenstein, MA, MFT-I

Bradley Allenstein joined the Visions family in 2012 as an MFT Intern. He recently completed his MFT hours under the supervision of the wonderful Heather Colligan. Brad brings incredible passion and enthusiasm to his work with families, adeptly applying a family systems approach to treatment, facilitating the processes of reconnection and healing. He is kind, approachable and earnest in his desire to help others. Brad is able to relate to the clients on a visceral level, sharing his love and excitement about sobriety and recovery, inviting others to embrace the full life that sobriety provides. He fits in perfectly with the Visions family, seamlessly balancing the need for brevity and jocularity. I forgot to mention his remarkable sweet tooth and penchant for hats. Thanks for everything you do, Brad, we are grateful to have you in our midst.

 

More love from the staff:

 

“Brad is an amazingly passionate and inspirational person. He loves helping others and using his personal growth experiences as a springboard. He also happens to be most entertaining as well and is able to laugh at himself, which is an important attribute in our line of work. And don’t even get him started on the topic of cupcakes…!” – Heather Colligan

 

“From day one Bradley jumped in with both feet.  He’s a true Vision’s team player, with a good mixture of humor, passion, and therapeutic skills.  He’s a great role-model for recovery, and a good listener (yes, you read that right, he can listen too!).” – Katie Mason

 

“Brad is an abundance of energy and great at verbally wearing kids down when needed.” Bill Hoban

 

“I really think Visions should pay for genetic testing…Brad has to have lineage to the Keebler Elves…I’m not sure anyone loves sweets more than him.  Brad’s passion for the work he does at Visions oozes out of him without any effort.  His enthusiasm for recovery is linked to every thought he shares.  He is a perfect fit in the Visions family.” – Christina Howard-Micklish

 

“Bradley joined us last year and seamlessly worked his way into our hearts…and stomachs! (His sweet tooth matches my own)  His compassion, dedication to our families and good humor makes him an integral part of our Visions family.  Brad can reach clients and share not only his experience, strength and hope, but his professional point of view as well.  Our families, and our program are better with Brad on the team!” – Amanda and Chris Shumow

 

And what would a staff blog be without 10 questions? Read on:

 

1: Three words to describe yourself, go:

Talkative, verbose, and chatty.

 

2: If you had to lose one of your 5 senses, which would you give up?

Hearing. See #1

 

3: If you could spend the day with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

Katie Mason, because she is constantly reminding me of what I need to work on as a therapist /human being/man.

 

4: What inspired you to work with teens?

When I was 17 years old, a substance abuse counselor helped me turn my life around. He became my hero and inspiration ever since.

 

5: Sand or Snow? 

Sand.

 

6: What is your favorite hat style?

Guess.

 

7: Favorite restaurant in Los Angeles? 

My mother’s house. Her cooking can’t be beat.

 

8: One thing you can’t live without?

The sound of my own voice.

 

9: What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you come close?

A mime, but I couldn’t stay quiet long enough so I decided to become a therapist.

 

10: Why do you choose to work at Visions?

To carry the message and help kids realize that sobriety is not a death sentence. Being sober is not the end of the party. It’s just the beginning.

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Mental Health Recovery Service Treatment

Celebrating Amanda Shumow!

It’s hard not to get excited about Visions when you talk to Amanda Shumow. She is passionate, dedicated and inspired by the Visions’ staff, the clients, and the work as a whole. Amanda Shumow is the co-founder of Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers. She holds a Master’s Degree in psychology, a CDAAC, and she is currently working toward her Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD).  Her dedication to furthering her own education is matched with her encouragement of others to do the same. Everything Amanda does is in the best interest of helping teens.

 

Amanda initially worked with adults in treatment at Promises, but she quickly realized she wanted to direct her energies toward working with kids. It became clear to her that what she had to offer adults was much different than what she could offer kids. Amanda said, “When I was a teen, if someone had asked me ‘Do you have a problem with drugs,’ I would have said, ‘yes.’ I wish there was something like Visions when I was young.” It was this realization and awareness that drew her to work with teens and start building Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers with her husband, Chris Shumow.

 

She is the mother of four amazing children, wife to Chris Shumow, and deeply involved with all aspects of what makes Visions tick. When I asked Amanda about the Visions culture, she said, “We are humble about a lot of things we do, but we are not humble about the staff. We have the best team. The Visions culture is like nothing else. If people love what they do, they do whatever it takes to make things work. Everyone here has deep dedication.”

 

When I interviewed Amanda for this piece, the conversation we had was rich with passion and love for what everyone on this team does. She said, “We provide a high level of mental health care: for example, we’ve recently integrated DBT training for all staff. Don’t underestimate someone’s magic.” She’s right. Yes, we encourage fun, and revel in team building activities, but we are deeply serious about the level of care we provide our clients. We understand the need for jocularity, because nothing opens the heart like a healthy belly laugh, but our foundation is built on recognizing the intrinsic value and need for deep work.

 

I asked Amanda to name some of the things she really loves about the Visions culture and the team she’s help build. She said, “Having things like Glamping – that’s bonding. I have found a place where people fall in love with the work they do. It’s also where the ‘least likely to succeed’ come back to work, and that’s inspiring!” She shared this quote from a client, and frankly, I think it sums up the magic that Visions holds, “This is the first group of people who loved me because they want to, not because they have to.”  Amanda, you are the matriarch of a magnificent program, providing a gift of hope, healing, and love.

 

Read on for some quotes for the staff.

 

“It’s hard to be in a bad mood around Amanda. Her energy is contagious in every way. She’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I can only hope to a little bit like her. She’s taught me so much about working in this industry and more importantly how to maintain a sense of humor and not lose yourself. She’s our fearless leader and we wouldn’t change it for anything!” – Ashley Harris

 

“There are so many great things to say about Amanda but I guess to keep it short and sweet and not go on and on and on I would have to go with this…. From what I have been blessed to experience with Amanda is that she is a very kind and generous soul. Always willing to help out and do what she can for others even with a full plate of her own. She is truly the best boss I have had the pleasure of working for. She’s always there to support all the staff in crises mode or silly mode. She keeps the work environment safe but most importantly fun!! She is an inspiration and a role model.”  Jennifer Garrett

 

“Amanda is a rockstar!! She has such a wonderful personality that draws you in.  She knows how to talk to the residents in a relaxed manner while still holding boundaries and keeping them in line. She has been a wonderful and understanding employer and to me that is so important!! How she balances running Visions and raising her 4 children I will never know.” Amy Lawhorn

 

“I think Amanda’s greatest gift to Visions families and staff is her realness.  She has the unique ability to turn a serious work related question into a “your mom” joke, and it never gets old.” Patrick Schettler

 

“I love this woman for so many different reasons.  She is a genius to start.  Her brilliant ideas start out as giant dreams that come true because of who she is a human being.  Amanda’s core beliefs in hard work, family and fun are just a few building blocks she has implemented into Visions’ moral code.  As a woman who gets to work for a spectacular woman I am grateful for her leadership inside and outside the office.  Her passion for impromptu dance parties reminds me of the meaning of life.  Amanda is all business with a gigantic heart that will never grow up!” Christina Howard

 

Amanda may be the most intelligent person I know. Being around her quick wit, incredible memory, sincerity, fun and compassion makes everyone want to be the best they can.  A constant reminder that there are authentic, good people in the world. – Mie Kaneda

 

It has been my pleasure to have worked with Amanda for almost twelve years. She is always an abundance of energy and highly unpredictable but consistently keeps the best interest of our kids in mind. – Bill Hoban

 

1: Roller skates or blades?

Skates!

2: In three words, describe your passion for kids:

Love, laughter, hope

 

3: If you were in the circus, what would your specialty be?

Napping

 

4: Favorite song…ever.

Could not even begin to list them, I have one for every genre in every decade…seriously.

 

5: What do you do for self-care?

Watch really, really bad reality TV and go to Vegas as much as possible.

 

6: What is your greatest accomplishment thus far?

My family and my relationship with my husband.

 

7: What makes your heart sing?

My kids, slot machines.

 

8: If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

Nelson Mandela

9:  What makes you laugh?

My kids, and everyone at work. I have a pretty adolescent sense of humor and so does everyone we work with, so it gets loud and crazy sometimes.

10: How does Visions Inspire you?

Everyday in every way. From kids to staff, we have daily moments that connect us and drive me to do better and do more. Almost every decision we (I) have made in the past 11 years has been inspired by Visions!

Categories
Anniversary Blogs Recovery

Visions Says Goodbye to JuliAnn Crommelin: Alum and Staff Extraordinaire

JuliAnn Crommelin has always been an incredible light at Visions. She came to us at 17, and during her time as an adolescent in treatment, JuliAnn grounded herself in her recovery and was inspired to give back. She went from alumni to staff as soon as she could. Since March, 2006, JuliAnn availed herself to the staff, clients, and families, drinking up knowledge and developing skills, which enabled her to become an incredible source of inspiration and recovery.

 

Over the last 7 years, JuliAnn has personified the face of Visions in everything she does, be it working as a program aide, a counselor, an outreach coordinator, or most recently, the alumni coordinator. Everything JuliAnn does, she does with willingness and heart. Recently, an opportunity arose for the Outreach Coordinator position at Promises and Visions encouraged JuliAnn to pursue it. We are proud to announce: She got the job!

 

Our greatest desire is to encourage those that come through our doors to pursue that which celebrates their greatest assets and encourages them to reach higher than they could imagine. This, in essence, is what it means to inspire the growth of one’s roots and wings. We are tremendously excited for JuliAnn’s next adventure. What she brings to the table is wholeheartedly kind, helpful, and seeped in recovery with a remarkable willingness to learn.

 

I took the time to talk to JuliAnn and get a gist of her experience at Visions. She couldn’t say enough about the endless encouragement and support she’s received from Amanda and Chris Shumow, along with the rest of Visions’ family. She said,

“Amanda encouraged me to become a counselor and supported my growth. The Shumows always saw my potential and encouraged it. Visions has always been an advocate for me, motivating me to be my best, and encouraging me to go further than I could imagine.”

 

How would you sum up your time at Visions?

“I grew up there. I learned how to become a responsible adult, with dreams and aspirations. My experience at Visions was truly familial.”

 

How do you feel about your transition?

After years and years of Visions believing in me and training me, and seeing something in me that I couldn’t see myself, I am finally ready to expand. I’m excited!

  

What will you miss?

I’ll miss everybody. The camaraderie–all of my friends work there. Honestly, the thing that’s scariest about this adventure is not seeing my friends every day!

I’ll definitely miss the Shumows. They are so relatable!  They always wanted to know about me, and how they could help me enjoy my time at Visions and help me grow. This was the case from the very beginning.”

 

After many years of encouragement and dedication to hard work, JuliAnn is ready to spread her wings! While we are sad to see her go, we are elated that she is living and following her dream.  This is her last week with us.  We celebrate her time here, encourage her future, and revel in her enthusiasm. She will always be a part of the Visions family and we wish remarkable success and freedom to continue to expand her wings and deepen her roots.