Categories
Mental Health Recovery Treatment

ROOTS: A 10-Week Re-Entry Program

ROOTS is a 10-week re-entry program geared to assist adolescents with transitions. The creation of individualized treatment plans benefit all variants of treatment needs.

ROOTS, Our Los Angeles outpatient program supports teens reintegrating into the home environment after long-term treatment and/or therapeutic boarding schools. Our curriculum addresses family dynamics, renewed relationships, as well as re-established boundaries and redefined roles. The treatment modalities we apply garner the cultivation of healthy change and encourage internal growth.

If more intensive reintegration is required, we also offer our 1-year Intensive Outpatient Treatment program. This IOP track includes:

  • 1 year of clinical support;
  • Primary Care Phase (Months 1 to 2);
  • Continuing Care Phase (Months 3 to 6);
  • Aftercare Planning (Months 7 to 12);
  • Individual and Family sessions;
  • Group sessions;
  • Parent support groups, and;
  • Drug testing

We also offer the first gender-specific extended care program, where clients can live in a therapeutically supported sober living environment during their reintegration. NeXT, which is the 1st licensed adolescent extended care facility is for teens 15-18 years of age. The program requires:

  • Parental involvement
  • A 90-day minimum length of stay
  • Day staff supervision and transportation
  • 24-hour crisis intervention

Also works in synchrony with:

  • Therapists
  • Therapeutic resources, and
  • Local educational environments

The staff at extended care facilitates an environment of respect and dignity while cultivating a sense of family and emotional safety for the clients.

Regardless of which track your adolescent and family take, Visions encourages healthy change, and an ability to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. By supporting healthy peer interactions, implementing self-regulatory awareness, and nurturing one’s own ability for self-care, teens learn to thrive without perpetuation of dysregulatory and self-destructive behaviors.

Categories
Alumni Feelings Mental Health Recovery

How Can You Stay Motivated After Treatment?

It’s important to stay motivated after you leave treatment. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds

Treatment provides a protective and supportive cocoon where clients can discover, lean into and heal from their difficulties.  One discovers a broadening network of support and a plan to maintain it. Still, it isn’t always easy to stay motivated. Some clients move back to their home state, where there isn’t quite enough support or where meetings and sober options are slim.  Phone conversations are helpful, but often times, there is a need for real-time human interaction. Skype or FaceTime are viable options here.

Here are some tools to help you make a solid plan to stay motivated:

  • Know your needs. Write them down. Be specific and spare nothing.
  • Have a list of people you can call and connect with on a regular basis that not only know your goals, but also will support them wholeheartedly.
  • Understand that there will be rough days. Getting sober doesn’t mean everything becomes perfect or that you live happily ever after. This is life, after all, and that means that stuff will happen. Some days, we will handle the difficulties with grace, and some days, we may fall. It’s ok. You are human.
  • Expectations: Are they realistic? Unrealistic expectations can create more suffering then good. Thoughts like, “If I stay sober, I’ll get ____” or “If I stay sober, so and so will love me again.” Getting sober provides the opportunity for change, but positive change takes time. Addiction and untreated mental illness caused harm and restoring the good requires a commitment to affecting this positive change.
  • Remember WHY you got sober. Some experience the “pink cloud” syndrome in early recovery, where everything is all sunshine and roses, but when that pink cloud dissipates, one is left with reality, and reality sucks sometimes. Especially when everything was so “perfect” for a period of time.
  • Make an effort to remember the good. According to Rick Hanson, Ph.D., in his book Buddha’s Brain, “Your brain preferentially scans for, registers, stores, recalls, and reacts to unpleasant experiences; as we’ve said, it’s like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones.” He goes on to wisely say, “The remedy is not to suppress negative experiences; when they happen, they happen. Rather, it is to foster positive experiences – and in particular, take them in so they become a permanent part of you.”
  • Journal daily, or write as close to daily as you can muster. This can help you process what’s going on, experience the negative and revel in the positive.
  • Gratitude lists: I swear by these. Even in the darkest of times, there are things to be grateful for. Write them down. Sometimes, the things you are grateful for are simple and seemingly plain, but they are something. Yes, that means if on Tuesday, you are grateful for toast, and hot tea, and a shower, it’s ok. Nothing is too small, or too insignificant.

Staying motivated means that you have an inclination of enthusiasm for what you are doing. Note the good that is coming from your recovery, the positive things that have arisen and the negative ones that are beginning to move through. You cannot magically think your way out of your troubles. Feel them, name them, and give them emotional space to heal; The only way out is through.

Categories
Adolescence Communication Mindfulness Recovery Self-Care

I’m Sorry but I’m Not Sorry

“I’m sorry.” “No, really, I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry. Can you help me?” “I’m sorry. I really appreciate it.”

Is “I’m sorry,” the unconscious mantra you use when you engage with the world? For years, I said, “I’m sorry” for some of the most banal reasons:

  • To a server who brought me the wrong order;
  • To someone who had issues pronouncing my name;
  • To a person who didn’t know an answer to my question;
  • To someone for a mistake that they made;
  • For asking a question, and better yet, for asking a “stupid” question.

The list can go on and on, but the truth is, many of us have said this or continue to say this day in and day out. It’s become a conversation filler, a verbal crutch for times when we might feel uncomfortable asking for what we need…and deserve.

Perhaps this is the real issue: fear around owning our own voices and honoring our needs. Punctuating a request for help with “I’m sorry” devalues the very thing you are asking for. Are you really sorry because you need help with your homework? Are you really sorry because you need a ride to school? Maybe there is embarrassment or concern that you are being demanding or needy. And maybe someone has hammered that negative message into your subconscious enough times that it’s become part of your internal dialogue. Time to turn that tape off: It’s time to take your power back and honor your voice.

These days, I very rarely punctuate my statements with “I’m sorry,” but this shift took time.

  • First, I had to become aware that I was saying it in the first place. In early recovery, I had several people point it out to me over and over and over again. I finally heard it.
  • Second: Once I was aware of my language, I had to shift my awareness to notice when I was about to say I’m sorry. This is the time when the real internal work begins. Because every time you may want to say “I’m sorry,” you are now aware, conscious of your words and methods of communication. This is where you can stop and pause in order to truncate your phrase and remove “I’m sorry.”

This is a habit. Sure, it’s not a habit that will cause you great physical harm, but it is a negative habit nonetheless. The positive shift that occurs once this habit is broken is one of quiet empowerment. Self-esteem perks up, self-worth perks up, self-love perks up. The need for an apology should be been remanded to a time when there is really something to be sorry for: stealing, lying, cheating, hurting someone’s feelings, et cetera. It no longer has a place as the perpetual grammatical prefix in your sentence structure.

Categories
Adolescence Family Feelings Mental Health Parenting Prevention Recovery

Why Listening to Your Adolescent is Invaluable

Do you know the difference between hearing someone and listening to what they are saying to you?

 

Hearing refers to the reception and perception of sound, whereas listening is an action: Listening refers to actively paying attention to what is being said. It also requires the listener’s full attention to the speaker, demonstrated by eye contact, and positive body language. In other words, you can’t listen fully to someone if you are also on your phone, your computer, or watching television. This is an important piece to understand as we positively shift the way we interact with adolescents.

 

One thing I often hear from teens is that they don’t feel like the adults in their lives are listening. The polarizing statement, “You never LISTEN to ME!” punctuated by a slammed door is not an unusual experience for parents of teens. In order to listen to our kids, we have to set aside our reactions and our need to direct or advise. Sometimes, kids need to vent and our best response can be something like, “It sounds frustrating when…” or maybe, “I hear how frustrated you are.” We have to remember that adolescents feel things far more intensely than we do as adults. An issue that is banal to us can FEEL like the end of times.

 

Adolescents have reduced dopamine and serotonin levels, making them more prone to high-risk activities and addiction. A child who feels listened to and heard, has a higher chance of making a healthy decision than the kid who is perpetually dismissed, talked over or ignored. When a child is saying, “I hate you,” or “This sucks!” there’s probably something else there. They don’t really hate you, but they may not be able to communicate that beyond the natural reactivity of their developing brain. What would happen if we listened instead of reacted? A statement like:  “When you are ready, I am available to listen to you” can go a long way with a teenager.

 

Our children mimic our reactions, our problem-solving methods, and our behavioral examples. If we are always nervous, they may be nervous. If we are angry all the time, they may be angry all the time. If we are overcautious, they may be overcautious. The list goes on but the outcome is the same.

 

I am prone to sarcasm. I have a sarcastic sense of humor and have my whole life. This has come back to bite me in the bum with my son, who’s 13 and…sarcastic. Instead of punishing him about the trouble this sarcasm often breeds, we looked at this and processed as a family. Our conclusion: We will curb our sarcasm as a family in an effort to shift the negative perspective others may have. My son felt listened to, we felt listened to, and in the end, a dedicated period of reflective listening proved to be an effective and positive way of dealing with a burgeoning family issue.  We have conversations like this often and as a result, we have a teenager who is willing to share his frustrations and difficulties with us more transparently than most. Conversely, I have observed some of his classmates spinning down the spiral of negative and harmful reactions: eating or starving to process their feelings, cutting themselves as a means of processing their feelings, smoking to process their feelings, et cetera. There isn’t an easy fix, silver bullet, or magic potion. Creating an environment where listening is part of an everyday process takes work and dedication. And sometimes, we may have to drop our parental need to “fix” things so we can listen.

Categories
Family Feelings Mindfulness Recovery School Service Spirituality

Well Wishes As Visions’ Joseph Rogers Moves On

Joseph Rogers has been with Visions since 2005, first as a recovery mentor at our Mulholland facility and later becoming the Director of Education at the Outpatient Day School. Joseph has run the Mindfulness Meditation/11th Step, Spirituality group since 2007, exploring how developing spiritual practice is applicable to recovery. He also co-facilitates the Outpatient DBT Skills group with Jesse Engdahl on Wednesdays. Two and a half years ago, Joseph stepped down from the Director position in order to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree and begin the process of stepping into his new role of Chaplain. This has been a long-time coming: Joseph has been in facilitator/teacher training with Against the Stream Meditation Society for the last 5 years, and has built a remarkable community of cohorts and students.

 

It with great pride and excitement, as well as a bit of a heavy heart, that we bid Joseph farewell as he steps onto a new path. Joseph will begin his residency at UCLA, earning his CPEs (Clinical Pastoral Education) at the top of September. As sad as we are to see him leave the Visions nest, we are excited to see where this takes him. Joseph offers a sense of calm assurance to the deeply suffering, and he is able to hold space for vulnerable people in a profound manner. UCLA has a priceless jewel on their hands.

 

Joseph has been a consistent members of the VTeam for almost a decade, seamlessly blending boundaries and compassion, while encouraging a love for learning. He has created a foundational resource for the kids and staff to look to for support as well as leadership. Many alumni and staff alike will joyfully reminisce about learning history through the various comedic voices Joseph uses.  He has been the rock for many, and the quiet storm of compassion for all.

 

Joseph isn’t completely leaving Visions, however. He will continue to run the Mindfulness Meditation/11th Step, Spirituality group and he will continue to co-facilitate the outpatient DBT Skills group. Despite our denial that he won’t be with us every day, we are really excited for him and grateful for his dedication and commitment to Visions. Joseph has carved out a thoughtful, compassionate path of service, dedicating his life to help others recover and find peace with their suffering. Reverend Joseph Rogers, M.Div as a nice sound to it, eh?

 

“A kind, gentle soul. I will miss seeing Joseph’s smile everyday. I always look forward to his gems and guidance. A true friend I have found. I wish him the very best as he sets out on his journey. The world is a better place for him being here. Thank you for the honor of working with you.”– Noelle Rodriguez

 

“Ahhh! JRO! We will miss you and your gentle ways. Throughout the years, you have been a driving force for our school. You provide so much more than a basic education to our kids; the love you have put into it has been so good for us and the clients. We are so proud of your hard work and making it into the UCLA program, you truly lead by example. We will miss you very much. Thank you for the years spent together!” Amanda Shumow

 

I befriended Joseph years ago while I was studying at CSUN in the credential program. I told him that I worked at a little place called Visions and he was immediately interested. Soon after being hired, he took the position at IOP as teacher. Over the years he has made his mark as a calm leader with a fierce passion for his work. Joseph is wise and knows enough to always be learning. He is an educator in the truest sense of the word and will be missed by staff and students alike. His contribution to Visions has been, and will forever be, immeasurable. Joseph embodies the words of Bruce Lee: “A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself.” – Daniel Dewey

 

“​Joseph is an amazing person, teacher and soul.  He is someone that you meet and instantly feel that you are in the presence of someone wise, calm, and fearless. I wish him all the best, in all that he does!” — Jenny Werber

“I’ve never known anyone to be more universally liked by clients and parents than Joseph. Joseph is the rare person with whom you can disagree, but still feel your view was thoughtfully considered, while not feeling imposed by his own.”  – Garth LeMaster

 

“Joseph, you are a man with great insight and gentle wisdom. I have seen you live your convictions, tenderly heal wounded children and be the doorway of understanding for lost souls. I wish you peace, joy, challenges and love. Thank you for your part in my crazy art lady journey.”  Ever faithfully yours — Susan “The Art Lady” O’Conner

 

“Joseph has not only been an amazing role model as a productive co-worker but has become an amazing friend and mentor for whom I will dearly miss. I wish nothing but the best for him and all the experiences to come. You will be missed and loved always ” — Nick Riefner

 

“Joseph’s energy is contagious in every way possible. Every time I see him, no matter what is happening, he seems calm and at peace… For someone as anxiety driven as I am, being around someone so serene is refreshing. I have so much respect for Joseph and aspire to one day walk with as much dignity as he does.” – Ashley Harris 

 

“Joseph will be missed.  He has a very special way of relating to our clients that involves, at times, an extraordinary amount of patience.  I often sit out here at my desk and listen in to the conversations going on between Joseph and the kids.  I am equally entertained, amazed, and grateful to have been a fly on the wall of Joseph’s classroom.” – Natalie Holman

 

“I’ll miss Joseph terribly, I think it’s been so beneficial for our teens to see strength in a man shown through kindness, non judgment and calmness.” Roxie Fuller

 

“Thank you, Joseph. Thank you for helping to create an environment for learning, healing and recovery for Visions kids and families. Thank you for your unique perspective for leading the education and meditation groups and classes. There is some thing very special about the way you gently lead the kids with confidence and class. Thank you, Joseph!” – John Lieberman

 

“Joseph has been teaching me since my first day – a friend, a mentor, and a big brother all in one.  I’ve been afforded so much of his wisdom and care from this relationship, it will be really hard not to have him here all the time.  Riding shotgun while he teaches mediation, DBT, or most importantly sober FUN, he constantly helps me take care of the kids and myself in the kindest and simplest ways.  No one can really imagine Visions without him; I’m just grateful for all the time I’ve had with him and that he will still be doing groups with me.” – Jesse Engdahl

 

“Joseph has been such a huge part of my Visions experience and I think I’m the saddest to see him go. He is my friend, my teacher, my mentor, and my right hand. He has always been so supportive and understanding of things only us Visions teachers would understand. He has a strange yet peaceful way about him that makes any day a good day. He always seems to have the right words of wisdom in any situation and it’s hard to imagine he won’t be around. After years of morning check-ins about life, love, and the pursuit of sanity I’m going to miss him dearly. I wish him the best in his new endeavors and I am forever grateful for the time, wisdom, knowledge, and random facts he’s passed on to me. I’ll continue to make you proud, Jofes… thank you for being my shoulder to whine on, my ear to vent, and my rock to keep me sane.” – Adriana Camarillo

 

“With a heavy heart, I bid farewell to an amazing man, father and colleague. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Joseph for nearly a decade and it’s hard to imagine my day-to-day without him. Joseph represents a quiet force, guiding his students with conviction and offering hope where there may be none. While he continues to be a spiritual inspiration to both staff and students, we will miss the man who, for so long, has been the core of Visions Day School.  The feeling is bittersweet. Selfishly, we want him to stay. But the truth is, he has another calling and with that, I honor his path and I am always grateful for this experience.” – Fiona Ray

 

Categories
Events Recovery Service

Highlights from Celebrating Fiona Ray

Fiona Ray has stepped into her new role as Clinical Director and we wanted to kick things off with a bang. We do love to celebrate our team and their accomplishments! Last Friday, the Recovery community had the opportunity to come and congratulate Fiona, see what we are doing as a company, and check out the digs in Brentwood.

 

It was so wonderful to see so many familiar and new faces, share great food (which included Pink Berry), and  mingle with so many wonderful members of this community. Major kudos go to Angela Carrillo, our Los Angeles Outreach Coordinator, who tirelessly make this bash the success that it was and to Christina Howard-Micklish for her fabulous celebratory aesthetic.  The VTeam showed a lot of pride and excitement, cheering on one of their own. Fiona Ray has made a memorable impact on her team at IOP/Day School and will surely do the same for the rest of the facilities as she weaves the entirety of the Visions team together.

It’s not every day you get to see one of your own take flight in this way. Fiona is really someone to celebrate: she is dedicated, kind, compassionate, determined and respectable. We are over-the-moon excited for Fiona, and for the cohesive expansion of our facilities and team.

Check out the highlights from the party! Just click on the image below to view the rest of the slideshow: [slideshow id=8]

Categories
Bipolar Disorder Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Mental Health Recovery Therapy Treatment

A Brief Overview of DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

In this brief overview of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), we are illustrating the efficacy of  DBT for the treatment of patients with suicidal behavior, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. DBT has been shown to reduce severe dysfunctional behaviors in clients. DBT uses validation has a tool to the client accept unpleasant thoughts and feelings rather than react to them in a dysfunctional way.  Simply put, dialectical means that two ideas can be true at the same time. Validation is the action of telling someone that what they see, feel, think or experience is real, logical and understandable. It’s important to remember that validation is non-judgmental and doesn’t mean you agree or even approve of the behavior you are validating.

 

Over the last year, Visions has effectively trained the staff to be DBT informed. We hold regular DBT skills groups at our residential and outpatient facilities. We have adopted and incorporated DBT skills into our day-to-day interactions with clients and are finding it to be incredibly beneficial.

 

I took some time to speak to Jesse Engdahl, MA, RRW, about his observations and experience with running the DBT skills group. He said, “We are happily surprised that it’s (DBT) become a community within a community. It’s set itself apart through the kids’ commitment to not only use the skills but in their support of each other. There is a high level of trust. We have kids coming into IOP who’ve felt marginalized and who hadn’t felt a broader amount of support, but find their place in DBT.”

 

The emphasis on validation in DBT is profound. Someone suffering from borderline personality disorder often has a movie playing in their heads and when the validity of that “movie” is denied, it can create a waterfall of dysregulation which can include anxiety, depression, anger, and fear. Taking a counter-intuitive stance and validating one’s reality is has been shown to be particularly efficacious. It deescalates the anxiety, and it teaches the client to self-regulate.

 

Joseph Rogers, MDiv-Candidate and DBT skills group facilitator and mindfulness teacher succinctly illustrates the value of our DBT groups, “Our DBT skills group gives our clients the confidence that they have the ability to meet their difficulties with skills that can be found within themselves and their capabilities.  By utilizing daily skills diary cards and reporting on their results, clients are able to see where they are being effective and can acknowledge the positive outcomes they are responsible for through their actions.  DBT has the ability to move clients out of their diagnosis toward a confidence in their personhood.”

 

Categories
Alumni Events Recovery

Alumni Family Weekend 2014: A Success!

The Alumni Family Weekend has been a celebrated piece of the Visions puzzle for several years. It has grown and evolved into a widely celebrated event involving parents, alumni, and staff. We always start out the weekend with an alumni-family dinner. It’s so nice to see families from years’ past as well as recent and current families. The dinner is a nice way to launch a weekend of recovery fun, service projects, and the inimitable Alumni vs. Staff softball game.

 

Roxie Fuller, our Alumni Coordinator did a phenomenal job planning this event with the help of her amazing support team, Chloe Huerta and Nick Riefner.  We had an incredibly diverse array of alumni in attendance along with their families. There were even a few alumni who brought their babies to introduce to the Visions family. What a beautiful thing to witness: our alumni’s transformation into parenthood and beyond.

 

This year, the service project included a pet adoption that the kids and their families could participate in. We have been proud partners with Free Love Animal Rescue in Brentwood since April and it was a pleasure to include alumni and current families in this service work. Working with animals can be a wonderful salve for the heart. Many of our teens volunteer with Free Love Animal Rescue during their time in outpatient, Launch, NeXT and at the Day School.

 

Our softball game was off the hook this year! It was Fiesta themed! Our bellies were full and happy thanks to the taco truck on site. We had a solid scorekeeper this year: Bill Hoban! And staff finally got our title back. We won fair and square. It was an amazing game and no one lost an eye! All in all, it was a perfect end to this year’s Alumni Family Weekend.

 

“What another fun and successful Alumni Weekend! It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and catch up on what our alumni have going on in their lives. Thank you so much to Chloe, Nick, and of course Miss Roxie! These three worked so hard and clocked in many man hours to put this event together.” – Lianne Domingo

 

“The weekend was awesome! Between the unity of the clients both current and past and the hardworking spirit of all the staff alumni weekend was again possible and exciting!” – Nick Riefner

 

“As a fellow alumni being a part of the team that plans the big alumni weekend was an honor. I had a great time seeing so many teens and families doing well. It was really cool to catch up with some alumni that I went to Visions with. I’m so happy so many people came out this weekend! I couldn’t have done it without Roxie, Nick, and Christina.” –Chloe Huerta

 

“This past weekend had me reflecting on how Visions continues to evolve.  We have become so much more than just a treatment center…Visions is a community proudly claimed by so many coast-to-coast and even world wide.  From Staff to Alumni Parents, Teens and now Young Adults…we all have a common thread…we are all Visions Family.” – Christina Howard-Micklish

 

We are grateful for the turnout and diverse array of alumni and their families that joined us this year. We know that no matter what happens in the lives of our alumni, they will always have a community ready to support them. Thank you to all who attended this year,  and a special shoutout to Roxie, Chloe and Nick for their hard work and dedication to making this year’s Alumni Family Weekend such a success. Until next year!

Categories
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, working 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!