After graduating college in 2011 Kristen knew that she wanted to work with children. Kristen’s path collided with Little Flower’s through her job search, despite growing up ten miles from the Wading River campus!
From day one, Kristen has worked in the Bridges to Health Program (B2H) in our Hauppauge office. She started as a Waiver Service Provider Coordinator then transitioned to an administrative position and currently she provides Social Work Support to the overall program. Kristen’s day-to-day involves organizing information to support staff, tracking training compliance, facilitating peer support opportunities and identifying resources for clients, among other tasks. “Every day is different which keeps it interesting and makes the time fly by!” Kristen’s also a member of the Sanctuary Core Team and has been instrumental in helping it become a way of life in the Hauppauge office.
She continues her work in B2H because of the children and youth she works with and because of her coworkers. “I’m very passionate about the work that we do and the families we serve. I also think we’ve got some really talented people across our agency and I’m grateful to have them to keep learning from.”
B2H is a voluntary support service for kids placed in foster care or involved with the juvenile justice system. If a family still wants support after a child is returned home or adopted, services can continue up to age 21 so long as they meet eligibility requirements. “We work directly in the community with our families, from Inwood to East Hampton, to provide services such as employment, skill building, and crisis avoidance support. Our staff work very hard to ensure that every child receives all the hours of services they are entitled to!”
Kristen has many memorable moments of the kids and families she’s worked with, but one that will always stick with her involves a young adult who had a brief history with Little Flower as a foster child. The client struggled with drug use, but towards the end of his time in the program, his perseverance to do better shone through – he took it upon himself to seek out outpatient and inpatient treatment. “I know that without the support of B2H that never would have happened. Upon aging out, he and his family had more resources to pull from than they ever knew of before.” During this case, Kristen’s team was always there for her. “I always had someone to turn to for help whether it was for resources or just someone to listen; the support of my coworkers during that time is something I will never forget.”
When not working to find youth and their families access to resources they need, Kristen’s favorite thing to do is spend time with family and friends. A fun tidbit about Kristen: she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences (farming) but spent much of her undergraduate years coordinating volunteer opportunities for students at nonprofit agencies across the east coast – she was unable to deny the need to help others!