Director of Organizational Development and Central Mass Programs
Brenda Vezina has served as Director of the Central MA Recovery Learning Community for the past seven years, following her 10 years as Director of the Tradewinds Clubhouse in Southbridge, MA. Her work in creating a system for the Peer movement has seen the RLC grow and thrive under her guidance. Her strengths include focus on relationships that help heal the effects of trauma and extreme experiences, changing the course of a person’s wellbeing. Under her leadership, the CMRLC offers a variety of professional trainings that are well respected and sought after in Central MA and beyond, including Trauma Informed Services, Health and Social Equity, and Professionalism in the Peer Workforce. A licensed social worker with 25 plus years in the field and a trauma survivor, she is Executive Producer of the “Voice Award” honorable mention documentary “What Happened to You?” which speaks to the causes and effects of childhood trauma and their relationship to public health issues.
Director of Operations
A Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP), Certified Peer Specialist (CPS), and person with lived experience with mental health and trauma issues, Donna has worked in the mental health recovery field for 24 years. Donna was a 2008 Eli Lilly Reintegration Award recipient for Mentorship. She is currently the Director of Operations at the Central Mass RLC and Kiva Center, and is a trained WRAP facilitator, Hearing Voices Network facilitator, and Human Rights Advocate. Donna is a firm believer in “nothing about us without us.”
Donna’s favorite author is Jane Austen, and she likes to spend time with her grandsons, read, cook, figure out crossword puzzles, and watch really bad monster movies (such as Tremors, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, and Sharktopus).
Senior Training & Development Coordinator
Aroldo coordinates our meetings and facilitators and brings Peer Support to different communities, such as the Latino, Brazilian, Young Adult, GLBTQ and others. He loves people’s cultures, and has as a priority to understand different cultures, beliefs and habits, to help diversify groups with mutual support.
He is happy and outgoing. He strives to keep up the quality of our groups in the center and throughout the community, and believes that everybody can achieve a fulfilling and meaningful life. Peer Support is an essential part of this process, and Aroldo is proud to be a Peer Support Participant, Peer Facilitator, WRAP teacher, a Certified Peer Specialist and Parenting Journey instructor.
Office Manager, Peer Facilitator & Certified Alternative Health Practitioner/Teacher
Joyce has been working at Central Mass Recovery Learning for close to 8 years. Besides making sure that all runs smoothly within the office, she facilitates a number of groups promoting healthy options. Prior to working here, she was employed at an Herbal Apothecary/Holistic Center where numerous alternative health certifications were obtained and used toward her own recovery. She loves people and especially seeing people working toward a better life and happiness. She looks forward to nice weather as free time often means being outside with her hands in the dirt or playing golf.
Peer Support Worker
Andrei is a community Bridger and has been a Peer Support Worker at the Recovery Learning Community Learning community for a few years, helping with the center’s daily maintenance as well as with Peer Support in different settings through the community including long and short term hospitals, group homes and libraries. Andrei is from Brazil and has been in different schools bettering his English and has used this process to engage with other Peers, who like him, are comfortable with Peer Support in their native language.
Peer Support Worker
Stephanie is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and is new to the CMRLC. She has lived experience with dual diagnosis (mental health and substance use disorder) and trauma. Stephanie is a recovery advocate and is a participant in Governor Baker’s “#StateWithoutStigma” campaign and as such, advocates to end the stigma of addiction in every aspect of her life! Stephanie loves working with people and seeing people flourish in their recovery. She absolutely adores music, creating art, writing, and any other form of creative expression!
A Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and a person with lived experience, Vesper has worked as an advocate in the field of mental health recovery in several capacities: he was a featured speaker at the legislative breakfast “Mental Health Matters” as well as a speaker at several panels concerning the stigma on mental health, substance abuse, trauma and self-harm, LGBTQIA community. Vesper has also advocated and supported Latinos through “Latinos in action”. Vesper is a peer support worker who has worked in several mental health hospitals as a means of support and advocacy and continues to. Vesper as a group facilitator has facilitated groups concerning resiliency health, emotional health, physical health and creative expression. Vesper aims to not only create a means of quality Support/Advocacy but to help create the means for people to be able to dream and accomplish those dreams.
Training & Education Specialist:
Lindsey offers guidance and trauma informed trainings for the CMRLC for the past five years. She was formally was the Coordinator at the Framingham Recovery Learning Community satellite office. Lindsey teams up with Aroldo to train our community how to run Peer Support Meetings in and around the Kiva Center. They also co-train a 12 week series calling Parenting Journey. Lindsey loves to travel, go for long walks with her dog, Alice, and teach yoga. All are welcome to join here at the Kiva Center on Monday afternoons for a class!