Lunch Break With The Village

Lunch Break With The Village is a monthly Facebook Live event series that features Village staff and community guests who provide expert tips and advice on navigating challenging life situations and other relevant topics.

Upcoming Episode

Past Episodes

This Lunch Break episode will be streamed below. Please refresh your browser after 12pm today to watch the live video.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

This special Lunch Break episode featured the important roles that fathers play in the lives of their children in honor of Father’s Day.

Our guests were Patterson “Don” Crocker, Village Fatherhood Engagement Services Supervisor, and Norman, a father and Village client who received support from The Village to strengthen his bond and connect with his child.

This Lunch Break episode will be streamed below. Please refresh your browser after 12pm today to watch the live video.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

This Lunch Break at The Village episode focused on the ongoing children’s mental health crisis and how The Village is working to address it.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, our guests discussed how the pandemic has caused and compounded depression, anxiety and other challenges in children, the impact on mental health services for children in residential treatment and outpatient settings and guidance to help parents and caregivers.

Our guests were Jennifer Timreck, senior program director for Eagle House, The Village’s psychiatric residential treatment facility and Joelle Figueroa, clinical manager for The Village’s outpatient behavioral therapy services.

This Lunch Break episode will be streamed below. Please refresh your browser after 12pm today to watch the live video.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Our guests discussed the importance of promoting self-worth, self-love and empowerment as well as connections between mental health and eating disorders.

About our guests:

Tanisha Akinloye, the founder of Empowering Through Beauty, Inc. in Fairfield County, Connecticut, empowers people, especially women and girls of all backgrounds. After overcoming many setbacks, Tanisha realized that power and self-worth are not defined by circumstance, material possessions, or the opinions of others. Led by this knowledge and strong faith, she created a non-profit organization that combined her skills in the beauty industry as a salon owner with her education in psychology. As a result, Empowering Through Beauty was born in 2010. Empowering Through Beauty’s mission is to make the world more beautiful, to be love, and to alleviate and prevent inner suffering. Through her organization, she has created partnerships near and far with women organizations, community organizations, churches, beauty salons, barbershops, and beauty professionals forming pathways for charitable contributions to the local community, including survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and addiction, homeless people, and inner-city schools. They offer leadership training and development, makeovers, and valuable resources to prepare men and women to resume their positions in the workforce, obtain housing, attend educational programs, and better their lives.

Tanisha has presented at numerous East Coast conferences, including two TEDx Conferences. As a result, what began as an idea to help women, has developed into a powerful movement. Tanisha is dedicated to the empowerment of all women and girls. Her most recent endeavor is LOVE CAN Project, where she provided care packages to women and children in the USA, Africa, and Haiti. Also, she created Identity Leadership Summit, which provides inner city school students leadership and character building skills. Another way that she empowers is through her Beauty Queens Conference which teaches pre-teens and teenage girls confidence and self-worth by focusing on leadership and peer mentoring.

Tanisha Akinloye, is a TEDx speaker changing the face of beauty by evoking humanity, not vanity. She prides herself on being the source of hope, dignity, and self confidence to women and girls.
As a result, she has received nationwide recognition, among others by the National Black Professional Women Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has been featured by TEDX Tryon, TEDx UCONN, NBC Universal, CBN 700 Club, KLove National Radio Broadcast, Fox Business Network, Modern Salon, Essence, Madame Noire, Connecticut Magazine, Bold Life Magazine, and several other media outlets.

Dr. Melissa Santos is the Division Chief of Pediatric Psychology and Clinical Director for the Pediatric Obesity Center at Connecticut Children’s and is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. In her role within obesity, Dr. Santos oversees the treatment of youth and their families in the Center’s nationally accredited bariatric surgery program and its behaviorally based non-surgical weight management programs. She is the pillar lead for Connecticut Children’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives focused on patient healthcare inequities. Her research is focused on the improvement of obesity treatment outcomes by examining methods to better tailor treatment to presenting comorbidities. She is currently NIH funded to examine a psychological treatment for youth with comorbid obesity and chronic pain.  Dr. Santos is President-Elect for the Society of Pediatric Psychology.

This Lunch Break episode will be streamed below. Please refresh your browser after 12pm today to watch the live video.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Join us on Thursday, March 24 at noon for our Lunch Break episode focused on trauma, resiliency and equity. Our guest, Nelba Márquez-Greene, will discuss the importance of allowing grief, trauma and loss in the room and how tools, language, skills, resources and acceptance should be available to live a full, grieving life.

Nelba Márquez-Greene is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in grief, loss, trauma and their impact on individuals and systems. Márquez-Greene is the founder of The Ana Grace Project, founded in 2013 as a response to the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut in 2012, which took the life of her daughter, Ana Grace Márquez-Greene.

Márquez-Greene was a founding member of the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Diversity Committee and has served on their board of directors. Additionally, she has testified and advocated at the state and federal levels for mental health initiatives and has hosted TEDx talks.

Márquez-Greene was featured in the 2019 release of The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton and in People magazine’s October 2019 issue as one of ten “Women Changing the World.” In 2018, she was selected as one of the “100 Women of Color” and as a Young Women’s Christian Association Women’s Leadership Award recipient. Márquez-Greene was also the recipient of the Distinguished Professional Service Award in 2004 and the Service to Families Award in 2013 from the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Nelba Márquez-Greene, LMFT runs her daughter’s non-profit foundation, The Ana Grace Project and works as a professional speaker, therapist and consultant. She can be reached at

This Lunch Break episode will be streamed below. Please refresh your browser after 12pm today to watch the live video.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Join us on Wednesday, February 23 at noon for our Lunch Break episode focused on Black health and wellness in honor of Black History Month. Our guests will discuss health disparities, how health is impacted by our environment and the importance of a holistic approach to wellness.

Our guests will be: Dr. Robert Rock, postdoctoral researcher at the Yale University National Clinician Scholars Program and Dr. Garth Graham, Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer at CVS Health.

Dr. Robert Rock is a child of the humanities, passionate about building community, fighting for health justice, and reforming health professional training. 

Dr. Rock received his BA in Art History from New York University and went on to obtain his MD from the Yale School of Medicine. As a medical student, he co-developed US Health Justice (USHJ), an elective course for medical, nursing, and physician associate students dedicated to social medicine, domestic health equity, and health advocacy. He went on to train in Family medicine in the Bronx, NY. 

Dr. Rock has had a student activism award named after him and a colleague at the Yale School of Medicine, he’s also been named a top 40 under 40 Leader in Health in 2020 by the National Minority Quality Forum, and the 2020 Rising Star for Excellence for Social Mission in Health Professions Education by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.

Dr. Graham is a cardiologist, professor of medicine and a leading authority on social determinants of health and health equity. He is passionate about the opportunity to improve local health through collaboration.
Dr. Graham works closely with CVS Health’s many businesses to lead the enterprise-wide social determinants of health strategy and ensure specialized, measurable approaches to helping communities across the country. He also leads public health partnerships and cardiovascular initiatives for CVS Health. 
Dr. Graham holds a medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, an MPH from Yale School of Public Health and a bachelor of science in biology from Florida International University.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

We discussed how Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and other resources through The Village’s Financial Opportunity Center can help this tax season and beyond.

Offered in partnership with United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and 2-1-1 Connecticut, VITA helps with access to asset-building opportunities, financial education and more.


  • About free tax preparation, including virtual/online options
  • How to access valuable credits and referrals to resources
  • and more!

Our guests were Laura O’Keefe, Village Financial Opportunity Center Director and Maura Cook, Sr. Director of Marketing and Engagement at United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.

Holiday Giving, Helping Families

Thursday, December 16, 2021

We discussed the importance of supporting families in need, especially around the holiday season. Learn more about the impact of giving and different ways to support Village families.

Our guest were Jessica Starr, CEO of Starr Realty Group and Dana Misorski, a Village ambassador and donor who since 2015 has raised more than $20,000 in toys and gifts to benefit children and families we serve around the holidays.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

We discussed The Village’s specialized services for veterans in honor of Veterans Day.

Our guests were Cresse Morrell, Village Project Director, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) and Pat Devendorf, Village Clinical Supervisor, Adult Outpatient Behavioral Therapy.

This Lunch Break episode will be streamed below. Please refresh your browser after 12pm today to watch the live video.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

We explored the power of bringing together sports and therapeutic care and how The Village, Doc Wayne Youth Services and ESPN are partnering to bring trauma-informed sports curriculum to children at The Village with social, emotional and behavioral disorders to develop healthier coping skills, feel more confident to engage in sport and fitness, and become leaders in their school or community.


  • About the unique approach of trauma-informed sports curriculum
  • How this curriculum will powerfully impact the well-being of Village children
  • and much more!

Our guests were David Cohen, CEO of Doc Wayne Youth Services, Inc.; Donald Brooks, ESPN Manager, Corporate Citizenship; and Catherine Corto-Mergins, LCSW, Director, Training/Collaborative Trauma Center.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Village’s Second Chance Shops—located in Glastonbury, Simsbury, Suffield and West Hartford, are filled with incredible bargains on great clothing and household items. Each shop is 100% volunteer run, with all proceeds benefitting The Village. As a result, more than $6 million in proceeds has been donated to The Village over the last 50 years.

We talked about exciting upcoming events, bargains and volunteer opportunities at our Second Chance Shops!

We learned:

  • How you can shop, donate or volunteer at one of the Shops
  • About our upcoming Cozy Coats for Kids Drive on October 2 at the West Hartford Shop and how you can help provide warm coats for the children and families we serve!

Our guests were Jill Scully, West Hartford Auxiliary Co-Chair and Lynn Webber, Village Spring Street Family Center Program Manager.

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, LPC, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy.

When: Thursday, 8/19, 12-12:30pm

Thursday, August 19, 2021

We celebrated the 40th anniversary of KIDSAFE CT, an affiliate of The Village. KIDSAFE CT is dedicated to the early intervention, prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect with a mission to partner with the community to educate and empower families and promote the well-being of young people.
We learned:

  • What parenting education and early childhood programs are available
  • How you can enroll in or support these programs
  • About the KIDSAFE Car Show

Our guests were Robin Kohler, KIDSAFE CT site director and Sandy Kyriakopoulos, PsyD, Village Associate Vice President, Clinical and Community Integration.

Topic: Get Financially Fit This Summer!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Get in shape this summer by flexing your financial muscles! We learned how The Village provides free financial coaching and how you can take steps to achieving financial wellness. Our guest was Laura O’Keefe, The Village’s Director of Family Financial Stability.

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, LPC, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy.

Laura O’Keefe has more than 17 years in the nonprofit industry, supporting low- and moderate-income working families through financial education, asset-building programs, and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). She joined The Village for Families & Children — which works to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children — in 2013 as the VITA Program Coordinator. Today she directs the work of the Financial Center, overseeing the agency’s VITA, Housing Mobility, Career, and Financial Coaching programs. In this role, she strives to bring about real and meaningful change for families through increased financial stability. She is a certified trainer through the American Society for Training and Development, and has been a lead trainer for the Greater Hartford Regional VITA Campaign for over 10 years.

Laura O’Keefe is a member of the Hartford Workforce Leaders Academy, Class of 2017-18, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Topic: Helping Fathers Become Dads

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

We looked at the important roles that fathers play in the lives of their children and why it is important for fathers to stay involved in every aspect of their child’s life. We learned how The Village helps strengthen father-child bonds and how Village client Devon Kempson journeyed from receiving help from The Village’s Fatherhood Engagement Services to now mentoring other dads.

Our guest Patterson “Don” Crocker, Village Fatherhood Engagement Services Supervisor, was joined by Devon Kempson, Village client, father and mentor.

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, LPC, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy.

Special Two-Part Edition – Surviving the Opioid Epidemic, Resiliency in a Post-COVID World

Tuesday, May 20, 2021

May was Mental Health Awareness Month!

PART ONE: Surviving the Opioid Epidemic

Guests: Sarah Messier-Smith, Village Program Director, Adult Services and Sara Piatti, Village Recovery Navigator, Women’s REACH program.

  • What overdose trends are we seeing in our community?
  • What can people do to prevent overdose?
  • What does The Village offer for clinical services for clients that are struggling with substance use?

PART TWO: Bouncing Back: Resiliency in a Post-COVID World

Guests: Cresse Morrell, Village Project Director and Mayra Reyes, Village Targeted Case Manager

  • What challenges have increased in the Hartford community over the past year due to the pandemic?
  • How can people prepare as we come into post-COVID times?
  • Why is resiliency important?
  • How can people build resiliency?


Never Use Alone provides a life saving point of contact for people who use drugs. Call the hotline for help: 800 484 3731.

Special Two-Part Edition – Parenting During COVID and Integrated Care for Your Family

Tuesday, May 6, 2021

Part one: Parenting During COVID: Tips to Keep Calm at Home with guests Lesa Lovelace, Village Child First Clinician and Mackenzie Christopherson, Village Child First Care Coordinator.

Part two: The Benefits of Integrated Care for Your Family with guests Amy Signore, Village/CCMC Psychologist and Dr. Robert Keder, M.D.

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, LPC, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy.


Dr. Signore is a pediatric health psychologist from The Village for Families & Children who is currently embedded in primary care at Connecticut Children’s. She works as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, and staff to provide brief evidence-based interventions to patients. Common presenting problems include ADHD management, toileting, anxiety, feeding, and behavioral aspects of managing chronic illness. Dr. Signore received specialized training as an intern and post-doctoral fellow in the development and delivery of integrated care at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA. She earned a doctorate of Psychology from the University of Rhode Island, a Master of Public Health Degree from Brown University and Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with honors, from Tufts University.

Rob Keder grew up in Connecticut, attended the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and then completed his residency in pediatrics through the University of Connecticut. He completed a three year fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center / Boston University and a one year LEND (Leadership Education for Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) fellowship through the University of Massachusetts Shriver Center. He returned home to Connecticut Children’s in 2016 where he is involved in several aspects of medical education working with students, residents, and colleagues. His clinical interests relate to autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and bullying. He is currently a co-chair of the Advocacy Committee for the Society for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics and services on the UConn Pediatric Residency Program’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as well as the UConn GME Diversity Oversight Committee.

Topic: Essential Equity: Women, Covid-19 and Rebuilding Connecticut

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Our guest Jennifer Steadman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Aurora Women and Girls Foundation, Inc. joined host Yvette Young to discuss Aurora’s newly released called Essential Equity: Women, Covid-19 and Rebuilding Connecticut, indicates that the pandemic has only made challenges more acute. The report “documents the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on women and girls, and particularly on women and girls of color, across areas of health, economic security, child care, housing, mental health, safety and hunger.”

  • Why did Aurora and the other partners think it was important to gather data on the impact of Covid-19 on women?
  • What were some of the key findings of the report?
  • How has Aurora as a foundation responded to offer help to the community during Covid-19?
  • And more…

Topic: Youth Suicide Prevention and Support

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Our guests Faith Vos Winkel, MSW and Caytlin Woodtke, LCSW joined host Yvette Young to discuss youth suicide prevention and support.

  • Is saying the word suicide going to give my child ideas about suicide?
  • Are there only certain kids at risk of suicide? 
  • Why are we so afraid to talk about suicide and mental health? Or conversely, why is it important for everyone to talk about mental health?


Faith Vos Winkel began her work with the Office of the Child Advocate July 2001 and assists the Child Advocate to fulfill her statutory mandates including overseeing the systems of care and protection for children in Connecticut and advocating for their well-being.

 Ms. Vos Winkel’s primary responsibilities focus on the review of all unexpected and unexplained child deaths in Connecticut. She is responsible for preparing child fatality cases and conducting comprehensive investigations.

Ms. Vos Winkel represents the Child Advocate on a variety of committees including the Suicide Advisory Board, CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee, Maternal Morbidity Review Panel, and the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children.

Ms. Vos Winkel has an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and a Masters of Social Work from the University Of Connecticut.

Caytlin Woodtke began her work with children and families in the Hartford community in 2012 and transitioned to her position as a clinical supervisor of the IICAPS program in 2016. The IICAPS program is an intensive in-home therapy model that services children ages 3-18 with severe psychiatric symptoms putting them at risk for hospitalization. The IICAPS program works towards stabilizing the child and their family in their own environment by incorporating individual therapy sessions, parent focused psychotherapy sessions, family therapy sessions, and case management on a weekly basis for a period of 6 months.  

Ms. Woodtke’s primary responsibilities are providing clinical supervision for IICAPS clinicians and mental health counselors, completing comprehensive biopsychosocial assessments, risk assessments, and trauma screening directly with clients, and reviewing clinical documentation such as treatment progress and safety planning on a regular basis. Ms. Woodtke is also trained in EMDR specific therapy and utilizes this trauma focused intervention with clients in the community. 

Ms. Woodtke has a Bachelor of Social Work from Our Lady of the Elms College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She is currently licensed as a clinical social worker in the State of Connecticut. 

Topic: Human Trafficking in Connecticut

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Erin Williamson, Vice President of Global Programs and Annmarie Boulay, Founder and CEO of The Underground NE joined host Yvette Young to discuss human trafficking in Connecticut:

  • What does child trafficking look like in Connecticut?
  • Who is most impacted by trafficking?
  • What efforts has Connecticut taken to address the issue?
  • What services do these children need and who are the key service providers?

Topic: Effective Stress

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette was joined by Amy Romano, Village Clinical Supervisor for the Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS) program and Nicole Cyr, Village Clinical Supervisor for the Enhanced Care Clinic (ECC).

Topic: Voter Registration

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette was joined by Tanya Rhodes Smith and Angela Bellas from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.

Lunch Break with The Village

Topic: Domestic Violence

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette was joined by Mary-Jane Foster, President and CEO of Interval House CT!

Lunch Break With The Village

Topic: Navigating The Return to School During COVID

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette was joined by Aldwin Allen, The Village’s Senior Director of Community Programs.

  • What are the options available for educating children in the fall?
  • How can parents prepare their children to return to school?
  • How can parents support their children if they will be doing distance learning?
  • What services/supports are needed for students during COVID?

Topic: Allyship & Antiracism

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The topic of this special episode is allyship and antiracism. Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette will be joined by Dr. Maysa Akbar.

Topic: Racial Trauma
Part Two

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The topic of this special two-part series racial trauma. Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette was joined by Yanique Grant, LCSW, Clinician for Adult Services at The Village.

  • Where does healing begin?
  • How can people heal from racial trauma?
  • What work needs to be done to begin healing? (BIPOC specifically)
  • How can an Ally “stand in the gap” to promote healing and not further impact their loved ones, colleagues, etc.?

Topic: Racial Trauma
Part One

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The topic of this special two-part series racial trauma. Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy. Yvette was joined by Yanique Grant, LCSW, Clinician for Adult Services at The Village.

  • What is racial trauma?
  • Who is affected?
  • Why are they affected?

Topic: Anxiety & Depression

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Lunch Break With The Village is hosted by Yvette Young, LPC, The Village’s AVP of Programs and Advocacy.

On this episode, Yvette was joined by Dr. Scott MacGregor, Psy D, Clinical Psychologist at The Village.


Lunch Break With The Village Podcast

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