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Natalie has been a member of the Family Support Program staff for several years now. She brings an extensive background of clinical and education experience to her role as Clinical Coordinator, a position that was recently expanded to full-time. We are thankful to Natalie for sharing her passion, intelligence, and hard work with SCAN!
How did you first get involved with SCAN? What is your current role?
I first heard about SCAN from a colleague who was running a Family Support Program group. I started as a parenting group facilitator about 3 years ago.
Currently, I am the Family Support Program Clinical Supervisor. I provide supervision and support to SCAN parenting group facilitators, conduct initial intake appointments, observe group meetings, and run groups as well. It’s rewarding to see the whole continuum of the parenting group process that our parents go through. I often am the first person at SCAN that parents meet, then I hear about and observe their progress throughout the group and up until the completion of the group.
What past experience brought you to SCAN?
I have a combination of education and mental health background. I have a Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood and Developmental Risk and was an Elementary School teacher at a Title 1 school in Henrico County for 4 years. Then, I went back to school to earn a second Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. My experience includes working in residential substance abuse treatment, providing direct community-based clinical services, providing outpatient therapy in private practice, and most recently working in crisis intervention. My role at SCAN allows me to pull all of this experience together to now help children by helping their parents.
What inspires you to stay involved with your work at SCAN?
Where do I start? The people, the process, and the work we do all inspire me. SCAN provides a very fulfilling environment to work in and it’s a place I feel like we make a difference. SCAN already meets many needs but we are constantly changing and expanding to meet more needs.
Is there anything you wish other people knew about SCAN?
I wish more people knew all that we offer. SCAN is a big organization in that we offer so much through our 5 programs. There are so many people involved from staff, volunteers, supporters that make all of our work possible.
What has been the best experience with SCAN so far?
Seeing the growth that parents go through in a 20-week group has been inspiring. They often come to SCAN with anger and resentment about having to attend group, but leave the group wanting to learn more. I’ve also enjoyed getting to wear many hats at SCAN through parenting groups, leading trainings (like Stewards of Children Sexual Abuse Prevention and Mandated Reporter training), and learning and working through a trauma-informed and macro lens.
What are any challenges you have faced in your work with SCAN?
One of the challenges we face in the Family Support Program is initial resistance. People come to us with a lot of distrust of the system, animosity, and anger, which is understandable. It is our job to help them see SCAN as an ally and let them know we are here to help.
Do you have any goals or hopes for the next year with SCAN?
Personally, I look forward to deepening my understanding of the impact of trauma and using that knowledge to better help our clients. We also hope to continue to grow and strengthen the Family Support Program. Most of our parenting groups operate on the tertiary level, reaching families who have experienced or are at high risk of abuse and neglect, but we would like to continue to strengthen the prevention side of the program to promote positive parenting and provide support.
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I am the youngest of 3 children and have always been active and enjoyed having fun. I played basketball in high school and was part of a flag football league here in Richmond a few years ago. Most recently I went zip lining! I also enjoy books, movies, plays, exploring new restaurants and am a cat lover.