On the exterior, Melissa is quiet, calm and reserved. On the inside, she is driven by a strong passion and unwavering devotion to her work to help strengthen families and children.
A member of the leadership team, Melissa oversees some of The Village’s most therapeutically intensive programs for children and youth with serious emotional, social and mental health needs. This includes our short-term residential treatment programs: Eagle House and the Safe Home, and our Extended Day Treatment program. She provides supervision and training to staff, as well as strategic planning and development.
“I believe everyone should have an equal opportunity to receive an excellent education, develop positive long lasting relationships and be successful members of their communities,” says Melissa. “I hope that I can be part of that success, even just a little bit, on a daily basis.”
Before joining The Village, Melissa worked in a variety of programs serving children and youth. She coordinated a statewide therapeutic mentoring program, and was a clinician with youth, adolescents and families, specializing in dialectic behavioral therapy and assessment and treatment of abusive youth. She also served as director of a residential program in Massachusetts that specialized in serving children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), fire setting and self harming behaviors, and director of group homes, opening two homes for adolescents.
Melissa has served as director of foster care in Massachusetts, including a program specializing in placing sexually abusive youth with families.
She also serves on statewide committees to share her expertise and knowledge, including the Department of Children and Families’ committees on safety interventions and training.
Melissa has expertise in many areas including trauma’s effect on the brain and behavior, the impact of poverty and oppression on the healthy development of children, components of a therapeutic residential program, interventions for sexually abusive and self-harming youth, youth who present with PDD spectrum traits, and the benefits of play therapy.
A licensed clinical social worker, she received an associate’s degree in criminal justice, a bachelor’s in psychology from Bay Path College, and a master’s in social work, advanced generalist from Springfield College.
What quote best captures your personal philosophy?
Find what you are passionate about and never give up. Your passion, strength and drive are contagious, pass it on.
What is something unexpected that most people don’t know about you?
I started my career as a direct care staff in a sub-acute residential program, working third shift initially and then moving to second shift. It was there that I developed my passion and commitment to children and their success.
What do you most want clients of The Village to know about you?
I am accessible. I truly want to hear from you what works and what doesn’t. I am committed to providing the best care possible here at The Village. It is the children and families that bring me to work each day. I am in awe of the hope, strength and talent I see in you every day!