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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!

 

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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
Recovery Service Treatment

Koreema Walden, MA, MFTi, CATC IV

Koreema Walden is an MA, MFTi, CATC IV and has been part of the Visions treatment team since 2013. She is an active member of the treatment community and served as a therapist in the drug rehabilitation/homeless program at the Veteran’s Administration prior to coming to Visions. Additionally, Koreema is an education advisor at her alma mater, Antioch University. She runs groups and Visions and also sees clients individually using her honest and compassionate approach.

 

Koreema is seriously funny. She brings a sense of adventure, honesty, and joy into her work. She is relatable and compassionate toward the adolescents she works with and she is a wonderful addition to the outpatient team. Koreema she fits right in at Visions. She is a pleasure to work with and is someone who is respectable and forthright in her work. Koreema is a hard one NOT to adore.

 

The staff thinks highly of Koreema; check out what they had to say:

 

Koreema continuously has a high level of positive energy, and is fantastic at motivating just about anyone!  – Ashley Shortridge

 

That girl is so funny!  And smart.  – Jesse Engdahl

 

In the time I’ve know Koreema, I have felt nothing but love and support from her. She has an amazing energetic spirit that everyone can pull from and always brings strong, honest advice to the table. It has been a pleasure working alongside such an amazing person. – Nick Riefner

 

Koreema, our baby of the bunch.  She has been a wonderful asset to our outpatient team. Koreema’s strengths lie not only in her ability to assimilate into a new, fast-paced environment but also a keen sense of how to connect with an adolescent milieu. We are lucky to have her and look forward to her continued growth at Visions.  – Fiona Ray

 

Of course we asked Koreema 10 questions. Read on!

 

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

There wasn’t a job that I wanted, but I had role models. My maternal grandmother was a business owner and a fierce one! She had her real-estate license and was trained to do income taxes. She owned a clothing store, was raising some of her daughter’s children and was fiercely independent. She was also kind and supportive (financially and emotionally) of others. I think I wanted to be like her:  a woman who was independent, self reliant, self-assured, strong, and brave. I thought that’s what women did and how they were. Have I come close?  I think I’ve learned over time that there was no reason for me to do everything on my own.

 

2: What are you most proud of?

I was the first person in my family to graduate with a BA and a Masters Degree. My mom drilled in my head that the way to a better life was through education. She always told me education would be bring me freedom and would be something that nobody could take from me. This is something a lot of women still don’t have in this day and age: The opportunity to attend school and be free.

 

3: Cats or dogs? 

Neither. I’m not a pet person at all. I have a child and changing his diaper was bad enough!

 

4. Would you rather watch Sherlock or Doctor Who?  

Who is Doctor Who anyway? Honestly, neither.  Now if you ask me about music, I’m so in. Music cleanses my soul, my mind, and my heart and it tells me a story.

 

5: What is the best part of being a parent? The most challenging?

Best part of being a parent is seeing my son’s brain and his mind take off. Every day, something that is old to me is taken as new to him: Words, places, books, history, people, etc. I find such delight in seeing him experience the world.  What is most challenging is that every day isn’t awesome; some days are better than others and some days we disagree on things.  I have to remember he has a mind of his own, I can’t control it or him 24 hours a day.

 

6: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Both!! I get up around 6:30/7am, or I can stay awake till 12/1am.

 

7: What Muppet are you?

I’m a mixture of Scooter (he was behind the scenes conducting everything) and Animal (he was loud, crazy, out of control needs to be tamed). Good thing I’ve gotten a little older.

 

8: What makes you laugh?

Friends, Family and Comedy movies. I love to laugh.

 

9: If you could go back in time for a day, what and where would you go?

I would be a little girl at my grandmother’s house running around on her property and hanging out with no cares or worries in the world!

 

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions?   

Because I like Visions’ philosophy and the work that we do.  Working with teens is not easy (I was one). I get to come to work and be inspired, learn from fresh eyes, and be a part of an amazing integral hardworking team. I feel that Visions and its team work extremely hard at what they do. It’s enjoyable because everyone is supportive of one another and we work as a team.

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.

Categories
Mental Health Prevention Recovery Self-Care

Visions Team Building

Visions has always recognized the need for staff team building. They understand from personal experience how intense it is to work in this field. Working in treatment, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our jobs and our purpose as treatment professionals. We strive to be the best, but in order for us to do that effectively, we must also care for ourselves. Visions fosters this self-care state by creating and encouraging team building activities for the staff, understanding that we are not going to be any good at caring for anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves first.  Airline attendants tell parents to use the oxygen before they administer to their children in an emergency. The same thing applies to us: we need to feed our minds, bodies, and spirits before we pass it on to others. Otherwise we risk working with a dry well, and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

Recently, Visions gave the staff a respite from the day-to-day rigmarole and took us on a team building  “Glamping” trip. I had no idea what Glamping entailed but I have to say, it was a welcome surprise. It’s camping with the comforts of home: beds, heat, running water, and a spa for those interested in a more luxurious stay. We stayed in gorgeous cabins nestled in a canyon by the beach where there was no shortage of wild animal sightings: owls, bats, deer, llamas, goats, skunks. There was even a camp cat that hung around and nuzzled up to a few of us! It was pretty amazing. Most importantly, it was a rejuvenating trip, and a perfect outlet for team building.  I only wish more of us attended.

For two days, we got to hang out in a non-professional setting and let our hair down. We were given a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other on a different level, which helped foster trusting, open relationships within the staff population.  Some folks hung out on the beach or in the water, some played bocce ball, a spontaneous football even broke out at dusk at one point which was pretty insane to watch.  Most of all, there was a lot of laughter and good-spirited jabs floating around. It was clear that this diverse group of people care deeply about each other and about those they care for. Our differences are viewed as strengths and most importantly, we are encouraged to be just as we are. What an amazing gift! We are a family at Visions, that much is clear. And what a wonderful family to be a part of.