Addiction Adolescence Alcoholism Alumni Guest Posts Recovery

Alumni Voices: Alcoholics Anonymous Through the Lens of Adolescence

We are really honored to be able to share another alumni post, this one talking about Alcoholics Anonymous through the lens of a young person.  Having come to recovery as a young adult myself, her words resonate with me. It’s not easy walking in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous as a young person, but the beauty of young peoples’ meetings is the camaraderie and unspoken understanding amidst the community.  No one wants to hang out in a smokey room, drinking bad coffee on a Saturday night…unless you have to be there. And these young people get that. They get that they have to be there and they show up, week after week, day after day, learning ways in which to show up for themselves and their recovery:


Walking into a room of Alcoholics Anonymous may be the most defining moment in an alcoholic’s life. I know it was pretty life changing for me. Not necessarily in the sense that my life was being threatened by my drug use (although my behavior was), but in the sense that if I hadn’t made it to rehab and to these rooms, I would not be where I am or who I am today.

I sat in the pre-meeting the other night, waiting for it to begin, when it struck me. “Where would I be if I hadn’t gone to rehab and been introduced to these rooms? What would my life look like?” Many people in the Young People’s rooms go through Treatment, many don’t. What matters is that whoever they are, if they are alcoholic, they make it to the rooms of AA.

My beliefs vary when it comes down to an alcoholic’s diagnosis. Sometimes I believe that an alcoholic is born an alcoholic, sometimes I believe they become one. When it comes to myself, I don’t exactly know. I still struggle with identifying, even at meetings, and especially when a speaker has a gnarly story.

I believe this is a common thread in the rooms of AA. Comparing ourselves to others is pretty standard among alcoholics, particularly in the rooms with young people. I used to think that the young people’s meetings were fake and ridiculous. I thought it was like a talent show. Everyone gets all dressed up just to call attention to themselves. That’s not what the principles state and its not what the program is about.

I know now that I was just uncomfortable and insecure, and I was projecting my feelings of dislike for myself into the room. One of my favorite counselors in rehab, who was a young person in the program and who I was very close to and respected very much, challenged my dislike and asked “Where else are we going to get all dressed up to go on a Saturday night?”

When you walk into the rooms of a young peoples’ meeting, a thick smog of E-cig vapor coats the room. It’s so clouded that if the lighting is right and you are sitting far back enough, sometimes you can’t even see the speaker clearly. Everyone is uncomfortable and many people are new to the program. There are a handful of people that are “chronic relapsers,” but they keep coming back. That’s what’s so special about this program.

Altogether, there are many years of sobriety in the room. These meetings are popular; even a few from the older crowd shuffle in. We are all for having a good time, yet most people take the meeting very seriously; it’s life and death for many people. That’s what’s so special about these meetings.

Some of us are very judgmental, its honestly because we are insecure about ourselves. Many of us have been through the wringer, and we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are the only people who truly get one another. That’s what’s so special about people in recovery.



Adolescence Education Mental Health Recovery Treatment

The Benefits of Blending School and Treatment

There is tremendous value in blending school and treatment. Many clients come to us

(Photo credit: theirhistory)

having fallen off-track in their education as a result of substance abuse and mental health issues. There may also be undiagnosed learning disabilities that need to be addressed. Falling grades and school pressure can create another layer of stress and panic for a teen. When an adolescent comes to treatment, it is our responsibility to provide them with both treatment and educational support that fosters an environment of safety and encouragement around learning and healing. At the same time, providing school and treatment simultaneously allows us to notice where an adolescent needs extra support so we can provide that client with adequate educational and clinical support.


I looked to Daniel Dewey, our Residential Director of Education, and Joseph Rogers, our Educational Coordinator at our Outpatient Day School for some insight and perspective, particularly since they each see both sides of the education/treatment pendulum. Daniel sees our clients from their initial point of treatment, while Joseph spends time with our clients during their aftercare process. Both of them promote and create foundational pieces to add to the bedrock of an adolescent’s recovery; they invite curiosity about learning, provide support during times of difficulty, and provide individualized methods of teaching to facilitate and nurture a healthy outlook on education.


Daniel gave me some wonderful insight when he said, “School is important for treatment success; when a resident can stay on track (or in many cases gets back on track) they will have a stronger foundation for their aftercare. School can be a big stressor, so if school can work with treatment, we feel residents will be better equipped to leave Visions and follow their academic path. Additionally, doing well in school tends to be a source of self-esteem for adolescents.  We want our clients to feel good about learning. Many of our clients come into treatment hopeless. It is our goal to help them see the intrinsic value in education and to guide them toward a meaningful life.”


Joseph gave us similar insights, which also help identify the continuum that occurs with school and treatment. He said,  “The practical piece of joining treatment and education is having the benefit of rolling enrollment – clients can enroll at any time, increasing their opportunities of getting back on track. Additionally, students may not be emotionally able or prepared to go back into a normalized educational setting. Having them in a setting that is therapeutically structured for their safety gives them the chance to practice their new behaviors before they go back to their regular school, and because we have clinicians on staff, we can react to and notice a change in behavior quickly and effectively.”


We understand the importance of creating a therapeutically alive and nourishing environment for our clients and their families. Placing school in the treatment arena allows us to support our clients at optimum levels, and it provides a multi-level aspect to the healing process. Blending school and treatment from the residential and outpatient perspective is a necessary stone in the path to wellness. It is beneficial to the adolescent, building confidence and self-esteem, and it is advantageous for parents to see their children simultaneously succeed in their education and in their substance abuse and mental health treatment.

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?


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

Love, laughter, hope


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



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!

Addiction Mental Health Recovery Self-Care

Unworthiness: Feelings Aren’t Facts

The overwhelming sense of unworthiness that permeates someone’s mind when they begin their recovery can be astonishing. So often, we begin the path to recovery with this sense of not being worth anything: love, affection, respect, you name it. We show the world our feelings of unworthiness in our actions and our interactions. This is an interesting phenomenon to behold, and a challenging one to unwind and rewire. From the perspective of one who holds the position of sponsor or mentor, the way to help someone rewire often comes by way of being an example; planting seeds and watering them with knowledge, love, and support, and waiting for them to root. They eventually do, but not always in my time, or your time. They root during the natural progression of the person’s readiness to recover and do the necessary work.


Unworthiness is a state of mind, a feeling that tends to hover over those who are feeling down and out. It can be a temporary state or it can linger and lead to depression. It is not something to shrug off and ignore or to be held lightly.


In order to combat this, it’s vital we do the deep excavating work that’s required for the healing process of recovery to take effect. This work is not an opportunity to beat ourselves up but instead, a time to learn to take steps toward self-care and freedom. Unfortunately, the tendency toward self-deprecation is far too high and can often hinder one’s willingness to move forward.


How do we overcome this sense of being unworthy so we can develop feelings of being valuable or worthwhile?


1: Be of service: It can be as small as doing your dishes, or picking up the phone and calling someone to see how they are. Smiling at strangers is a nice way to bring some light to your day.


2: Ask for help. You can’t do this alone.


3: Start a gratitude practice: write down three things that you are grateful for every day and then share them with someone else.


4: Look in the mirror every morning and say, “You are magnificent.” Even if it feels weird, the positive reverberations are tangible.

5. Start a meditation practice of Lovingkindness.


Going through this process of recovery can be dark. We have to find ways in which to bring some light. Gratitude lists, being of service, and asking for help, developing a meditation practice, and practicing acts of kindness to others and ourselves: those are all flickers of light. We can and will recover, one step, one tear, and one laugh at a time. Those feelings of unworthiness will eventually fade and we will soon realize our feelings aren’t facts.



Mental Health Recovery Therapy Treatment

Mental Health Care: The Only Way Out is Through

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mental health is not something to be meddled with. It’s not something that can be fixed by prayer or meditation or going to yoga or by thinking positively. It requires legitimate clinically supported psychological care.  For some that may require a long-term in-patient program, for some, that may require an intensive outpatient program, and for some that may require weekly meetings with a therapist. The spiritual practices of prayer, meditation and yoga can and ought to be integrated into any therapeutic work but they are not the end all be all.


Stepping onto the path of recovery is about change. It’s about shifting one’s perspective and learning how to redefine and shift old paradigms so we can create new ones. We must first begin with our old thought patterns and old ideals, which are heavily ingrained in us. The older we are, the deeper the planting, and often the more difficult the change, though not impossible.


It is imperative that we seek help for our mental health needs when we need it. If we are confronted with clinical depression, anxiety, OCD, panic disorders, or PTSD, this is where a skilled psychologist or therapist or possibly a psychiatrist should come in.  Bypassing it is dangerous and causes us more harm than it does good. Often times, we seek that magic bullet that will make everything just go away, but it doesn’t. We have to walk through it, or stumble through it, whatever the case may be.


I am reminded of my newcomer years: I was a mess. And when I say mess, I mean, a real mess. I was angry, resistant, but I was full of fire. I was ultimately convinced that I was going to be killed by my feelings (clearly, that didn’t happen!), and I would wax poetic dramatically that it was so.  If it weren’t for people pulling me out of myself and into reality, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Part of that process was also learning to walk through my issues not around them, because wherever I went, they were right there with me, like a trusted companion, ready and willing to make my life miserable.


You don’t have to do this alone. In fact, you can’t. There is a network of mental health care that avails you and a network of support groups at the ready. One step at a time, one breath at time, one minute at time, recovery is possible. Mental health care is possible but one thing is for sure, the only way out is through.


Addiction Adolescence Mental Health Recovery Service Treatment

Visions: We Have Your Back

I go through the news endlessly, looking for things of interest for the Visions community, looking for things that act as a springboard for the Visions’ blogs, or simply reading to stay on top of the myriad things going on in the environment in which we live and breathe. I sniff out science and psychology articles the way some people seek pop culture references. Keeping you informed and in the loop is my priority. At Visions, we see and experience all walks of life and treat a varied population of teens struggling with everything from mental health issues, substance abuse, and psychological trauma, and for that reason, it’s imperative we address a multitude of subjects.


We are currently knee deep in the heat of summertime, and for some, that might signify a sense of freedom. For some, it’s a time of leisure, and dealing with “issues” feels like it’s putting a crimp in their style. For others, it’s just a shift in barometric pressure and a change in their work attire. Because we maintain a structured schedule year round, Visions maintains a level of consistency that adds a real sense of grounding for teens while they are learning to navigate the newness of recovery. This provides consistency and structure for our treatment population, which is highly beneficial to their recovery process whether they are at one of our inpatient facilities, outpatient, our Day School,  or NeXT. The goal is to create a safe, therapeutic container for our adolescents and their families.


Visions has an incredible knack for providing different psychological layers of support for teens to pass through in order for them to get back onto their feet. What I mean by this is, we don’t just toss them back into the unchartered world with old friends and into old stomping grounds without proper coping skills and tools to manage new feelings and challenges. In fact, we encourage the development of new friends, with healthier habits more in line with a lifestyle in recovery. We provide teens with different levels to walk through and gain success and confidence before moving onto something new. If that means backing up a step or two, then we encourage that and provide sufficient support until the client is established and grounded enough in their recovery to move forward.


I marvel at the resiliency in so many of our families. Substance and mental health aren’t easy seas to navigate, but they are not impossible and the Visions team is one that is full of many skilled sailors. Many of us are walking the path of recovery ourselves. It’s imperative that we do stay on top of what’s going on both inside of our facilities and out in the world. If we have our blinders on in any of these places, we become limited in our ability to do what we do best, and that is help those who cross our path. We cannot leave any stone unturned because we never know who might need our help.

Mental Health Parenting

Splitting: Mom Said I Could!

Two proud zebras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Psychology, Splitting refers to black and white thinking and is according to Wikipedia “the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole.” According to Dr. George Simon, PhD., it is “an unconscious ego defense mechanism by which a fairly complex entity cannot be accepted into consciousness in its entirety because it contains aspects that are both acceptable to a person as well as unacceptable.” It is a common defense mechanism in people suffering from personality disorders, whose modus operandi is endless patterns of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships.


For the purpose of this particular blog, however, I am addressing the behavioral issue of splitting we most commonly see amongst kids in relation to authority figures. I’m referring to the common use of the phrase, which is used loosely in reference to kids and teens attempting to separate their parents with the intention of getting what they want. The behavior is similar in that it is an attempt to create a “good guy/bad guy” scenario. Splitting is an often misused term, and even I am misusing it in this blog as I am not referring to its true psychological meaning. This divisionary behavior is what we refer to as “staff splitting” and is loosely used by parents and staff members in the culture of treatment environments.

“No” is difficult to hear for most of us. It evokes a sense of disappointment and perhaps even a sense of loss. If we’re being honest with ourselves, none of us really likes a “no.” It’s difficult to accept such an answer to a request, as it tends to be attached to the outcome. When we can’t accept an answer we’ve been given, then our request is, in fact, a demand. Driven by the cravings of selfishness, our perspective can become skewed and we will often search out the justification we need for indulgent and often unhealthy behavior. Here is where we begin the search for the answer or answers we want, intent on defying the one we have been given. Kids tend to do this all the time, which is what we refer to as “splitting.” It typically looks like this: “But Mom lets me,” or “Dad said it was OK.” It’s a way for kids to find control in a situation that feels unacceptable to them, or to avoid feelings of dissatisfaction.


Not all kids behave in this way, however. The more aggressive personality types are more prone to this behavior, and they lean toward bullying one parent or staff member as they attempt to get what they want. Some key things to remember are:

  • Firm boundaries
  • Clear communication
  • Clear set of rules and expectations
  • No is a complete sentence.
  • Maybe isn’t an option.
    • Remember, backing out of a “No” is far easier than backing out of a “Yes.

No one said raising kids was easy. Remember, it didn’t come with a manual! The individuation process is smelly and rude and full of adventures and testing of limits. As the adults in this scenario, we have to try and remember what it was like. We also pushed boundaries (some of us pushed harder than others –ahem), but, once we lose it, the scale tips in the wrong direction. It is our responsibility to stay grounded.


If you are dealing with a legitimate psychological situation where the truest form of splitting is an issue, I encourage you to seek the appropriate care. You can find more information on splitting here and here. If you need help with mental health issues, please contact us; we are here to help.

Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Sarit Rogers, New Media Manager

Sarit Rogers is Visions’ very own Woman of Words – Our Billowing Blogger, Lady of Language and Sorceress of Social Media.  She officially joined the V-Team in 2010 and found her stride as our new Media Manager.  We had an idea of what we wanted her to structure, but could not dream of the ways she would use her innovation to build upon the face of Visions in today’s digital world.

With her permission, I’d like to give her a big shout out on 20 years of sobriety today!!!  Every Blog, Tweet and Post is driven from an innate desire to help others find a life of health and happiness.  Sarit’s raw, candid and unbiased way of writing continues to inspire our team and many more readers across the world.

She is a passionate mother to one very cool kid, is wife to Visions’ Mr. Rogers and is the loving owner of her pup, LuLu.  Sarit is a creative activist at heart.  Inspiring others with her writings, photography and yoga practice, she is constantly looking to help others find the authentic beauty of the inner self.

Collaborating on our Staff Blogs has been one of my favorite jobs to create with Sarit.  We have had a ton of fun letting our readers know who the masterminds are that make Visions what it is.  Sarit has allowed us to see how much we are valued amongst our peers…now it is time for her to feel the same:

Christina Howard

“Like her on Facebook, retweet her, snapchat about it, #JustSarit is anything but ‘just’ our New Media Manager.  She has a great artistic eye and has been instrumental in transforming our web content.  This recognition is long overdue!” –Patrick Schettler

“What comes across so clearly to me in Sarit’s writing is that she genuinely cares.  She is passionate in her desire to help others, the embodiment of compassion in action.  Visions is blessed to have such a talented writer who can produce well-researched, thoughtful, and timely articles.  But what really comes across in her writing is a lifetime of personal transformation that has brought her to a place of deep understanding and hope.” – Joseph Rogers

“Besides Sarit being the realest & funniest person at Visions, she’s the most sincere & caring.  Whenever I have the chance to be around her, I make sure I get my daily dose of Sarit.”  – Janette Duran

“Sarit is one of the smartest, kindest ladies I know!  Not only has she helped me post photos from 6,000 miles away on facebook when I was Paris and I couldn’t figure it out, but she was able to get me back on icloud after my kids signed on incorrectly so many times that we were locked out, for life it seemed.  Apple tech support couldn’t understand why we were not able to get back with their help at the Genius Bar!…but Sarit fixed it via a few texts.  She is just awesome.” – Colleen Kelly, PhD

“Sarit is amazing, special, talented, loving, strong, fearless, kind and so much more!  She possesses a positive and loving spirit/energy.  It’s felt the moment you meet her!  All that cross her path are blessed and feel inspired by her greatness!”  – Jennifer Werber

“Sarit is our beautiful wordsmith who makes someone like me, who is known for potty language and poor punctuation, sound like a poet! Sarit is awesome, always thinking of ways to put our Vision out to words, pictures, facebook posts and blogs. She is willing to show up to events to “live tweet” and is always active when there are shows on that discuss issues we deal with in treatment.  She brings Visions’ ideas out into the world of social media. Sarit is not only our social media manager, but also an amazing photographer and….wait for it….married to JRO another one of the Visions family members! She is a wonderful mother and we are always grateful for Sarit’s take on our business planning meetings! Thanks for all you do!” – Amanda Shumow

Let’s Break into this creative mind with our pondering 10 questions:

1.Favorite Song of all time and why?

“Sympathy For the Devil,” Rolling Stones. Musically, it’s multi-layered and interesting.  Lyrically,  it remains one of those songs that is simply timeless. It’s feisty, political, and it illuminates the fact that we all have a dark side within each of us. I’ve loved it every since I was a tot.

2.  Frog pose or tree pose?

Definitely tree pose. It’s nice to be able to find balance and strength physically and mentally.

3.  What would you like to find at the end of a rainbow?

Aside from the elusive pot of gold? A nice cup of tea and warm, stripey socks.

4.  Best thing about being a MOM?

Watching my son experience the world. It’s incredible to see how he loves others without judgment, shows compassion with ease, thinks outside of the box, and is comfortable being who is is. Now if I could just get him to come back to his senses and stop listening to Nicki Minaj…

5.  Who’s a stronger woman…Wonder Woman, Shera or Oprah?

Wonder Woman, hands down. She’s a warrior fighting for justice, equality, love, peace–with sass!  Oh, and I’ve always liked DC comics.

6.  Cookies or Cake?

Sigh. These days, I’d have to say cookies. Gluten Free cake usually tastes like a sweet rock.

7.  Best thing about being married to Mr.Rogers?

One thing? Really? Okay: He’s FunnyIntelligentKindGentleImaginativeMybestfriend

8.  What paints a better picture…Writing or Photography?

Hm. A good writer can paint a picture tantamount to a good photograph if they have  a thesaurus and one hell of an imagination. They are both equal to me but for different reasons. My pen and my camera are extensions of myself.

As my favorite photographer, Ruth Bernhard once said, “Light is my inspiration, my paint and brush.”

9.  What do you want to be when you grow up?


10.  Why do you work for Visions?

Many, many reasons. We offer something that was barely in existence when I was getting sober. To work for a company that has made helping teens and their families through one of their darkest times is a blessing for which I am truly grateful. Every word I write, every tweet, and every FB post is an act of being of service and extending the familial arm of the Visions’ family. And I get to do it in my yoga pants.



Anniversary Blogs Service Treatment

Jennifer Werber, Business Manager

Jennifer Werber is our wonderful Business Manager who joined us after Stan retired. Those were a pretty large pair of shoes to step into, but it was evident Jennifer, who we love to call Jenny, was going to do it in her own style. What I really admire about her is the fact that she didn’t really step into old shoes; she came in wearing her own and did so without upsetting the equilibrium of the staff. It takes great skill and compassion to do such a thing. The first time I met Jenny, it felt like I’d known her my whole life. Everything she does, whether it’s answering a question about insurance or a question about payroll, or simply looking into something for someone, she does it with a sense of calm, understanding, professionalism, and kindness. She’s an amazing woman and one whom I’m glad to know and work with. We have an extraordinary team at Visions, and Jenny is a perfect addition and wonderful part of the Visions family. Think I’m kidding? Read on. The staff completely agrees with me. Oh, and Jenny, I want those caramel, Oreo thingamabobs!


“Incredibly intelligent and personable! She adds a fun dimension to the Visions team. Jenny also makes the most incredible desserts such as caramel, Oreo fudge brownies!!!!!”– Mie Keneda


“This is one of those moments where I don’t even know where to begin. Jenny has a kind heart, and a wise soul. This woman is extraordinary in every single way. She brightens up the office with her smile and great sense of humor. It’s rare to find someone so giving and selfless in this world. She is a rare gem and honestly whatever else I say about her, words don’t her justice.” – Janette Duran


“Where do I even start?! Jenny is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She’s such a great addition to the Visions’ family. Her drive and dedication is almost scary sometimes- I’m convinced she’s a superwoman. Jenny keeps us sane. I’m so happy to be able to call her a coworker and most of all a friend. Love you, Jenny!”  — Ashley Harris


“Jenny stepped into some big shoes. We are fortunate to have her. She is kind, considerate, and has a maternal quality. She always brings in delicious food and genuinely cares about the employees at Visions. I’m not sure how we made it this far without her. The shoes fit.” – Daniel Dewey


“Jenny!  We are so happy to have Jenny’s experience and patience (not to mention her amazing desert-making skills) on the team.  We had considered ourselves a small-time operation for so many years that we had no idea the amount of work Jenny was walking into.  She has spent 6 days a week trying to straighten us out; we truly appreciate her for that and so many other reasons.  She is so funny and tries not to laugh when we are really pushing the limits on “proper” office etiquette. We (ok maybe not Chris) are sure that when Jenny has a year with us, she will finally jump on the Friday afternoon dance parties held at Mulholland :).  Thank you for all you do, Jenny.  We look forward to the next stage of Visions with you as one of the anchors!”  — Amanda Shumow


And the quintessential piece to these blogs: those pesky 10 questions! Keep reading!


1: Are you a coffee or tea kind of gal?

Neither.  I don’t like coffee or tea.  I drink mostly water and diet soda.

2: What’s the one thing guaranteed to make you laugh with utter abandon?

My nephews off the wall antics or comments … OR Amanda and Ashley Harris’ acts of random silliness!

3: How would you describe your perfect day?  

Start it off with relaxation, tranquility, somewhere tropical … continue and end it with loved ones, lots of fun, lots of laughs, good music, good food…

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

Initially, I wanted to be and Astronaut.  Definitely did not come close to that!  By the age of 9-10, I wanted to be a Sr. VP in Marketing for the NBA.  I guess I did get somewhat closer to this, as I spent 6 years working within the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers!  However, it was not in Marketing.  I never throught I would end up in Finance and Human Resources.

5: Are you more right or left brained?

That is tough!  Honestly, I think I have characteristics of both.  But I think I definitely have more left brain traits and characteristics.

6: Clippers or Lakers?

Another tough one … I grew up a Laker fan, but working with the Clippers for six years definitely created a Clipper fan.

7: What inspires you?

Love, kindness, creativity, art, culture, people …

8: What three things do you look for on others? What three things do you strive for in yourself?

In others:  respect, honesty, loyalty  I strive for:  Probably the same, but more than anything I strive to be better every day and learn from my successes and failures.

9: What flower describes your personality?

Maybe a Sunflower?  But, I also love lilies (Casablanca and Calla).  The sunflower reflects warmth and openness to me, but the Lily represents sophistication, strength and perhaps some mystery to me …

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions?

The opportunity for professional growth within an organization that believed in me, and supported me, was definitely one of my top reasons for joining the Visions Team.   However, to be a part of an organization that believes in what they do with all of their heart and soul, touches so many people’s lives, believes in their team, are proud of their team’s accomplishments, and supports / recognizes the people who make it happen every day is what sold me!

Anniversary Blogs Recovery Service Treatment

Mie Kaneda, Counselor, CADC

Mie Kaneda is one of our magnificent CD counselors and licensed CADCs  who also happens to be a California native. Mie is a remarkable ball of energy and service: she has a background in gymnastics as well as personal training. She currently spends her time at our residential facility but can also be found at our outpatient facility working with clients  or training folks at Burn 60. Mie is facilitates groups in addition to meeting with individual clients and also helped start the Teen Love group aimed to support teens struggling with love addiction.  Mie loves to use movement with the clients to get them back into their bodies and show them how much fun they can have in recovery. In her youthful, spunky way, Mie imbibes her recovery and the recovery of others with joyful fire.


As always, the Visions family has wonderful things to say about Mie, so please read on: 


“Mie is the most upbeat spirited counselor I know. She is always willing to help out in all areas! She’s taught me so much as a counseling intern. Thank you!” – Chloe Huerta

“Mie has a great energy about her! It’s that same positive energy that glows in her work when it comes to our kids in treatment.” – Janette Duran

“Mie is a fireball of energy and enthusiasm.” – Heather Colligan

“It is great to have Mie on the Visions team. Mie’s energy is contagious and she is always ready to pitch in wherever needed. Mie believes that recovery is more than just not using or not doing negative actions. Mie believes that recovery is about positive action. Mie shows the kids how movement and exercise tie into recovery.” – John Lieberman

“Mie is one person with the energy of 10!  She is always looking at the bright side and trying to do everything she can to help reach the kids who need extra attention.  Mie has added so much to our team.  She is an amazing physical trainer, and helped start our Teen Love group that was so needed by our clients who tend to focus on the members of the opposite sex as opposed to their personal recovery plan.  Mie is someone who will show up, no matter what, with a smile on her face, ready to help.  We are so grateful for her dedication to not only the clients, but to Visions as well.” – Chris and Amanda Shumow


 You know Mie had to answer 10 questions, so here are her answers! 


1: Where is your favorite place to run?

Anywhere and everywhere

2: If you were to select a food that best describes your character, what food would it be?

Sushi (duh!) because it is small, colorful, tasteful and HOT when you add wasabi! 

3: Do you play any instruments?


4: What’s your favorite song to sing along to?

Drops of Jupiter by Train and anything Adele

5: Yoga or Pilates?


6: Are you the queen of the kitchen or master of take-out?

Princess of kitchen and queen of take out.

7: What is your Starbuck’s order?

Double short soy latte ( for real!)

8: Favorite way to motivate adolescents.

Help them love and believe in themselves, focus on their strengths and talents and teach them to have sober fun!!!

9: How do you start your day?

Pg. 86 in BB, women’s meditation, coffee and a smile!

10: Why do you choose to work for Visions?

Because my employers are the bomb, therefore everyone that works for and with them shine brightly. I had a challenging time as a teenager and young adult. If I can help them through their rough patches OR help then to not go through what I did, help them have a healthier life filled with joy and promise, I have fulfilled my dreams and possibly my destiny.


Exit mobile version