I had a wonderful first week- thank you so much for the incredibly warm welcome.  So many of you sent messages, stopped by to say “hello”, or simply shared a smile. Although I might have felt like a kid on my first day at a new school, you quickly helped me feel at ease. Sixteen (16!!) brand new Good Shepherds joined me in orientation last week, fearlessly led by training specialist Stacey Binetti. Stacey’s boundless enthusiasm for all things Vista Maria was only surpassed by her excellent taste in snacks. The picture above shows the group- please be sure to extend the same warm welcome to all these new faces as they join our team.

During training, Vista Maria leaders from different parts of the organization presented to us “newbies”. One thing really stood out to me- something I have never seen in any of the places I’ve worked previously.  No matter who was up front, each person commented on their connection to our mission and the youth we serve, pointed out the opportunities to grow in various roles, and asked us to stay. To sum it up, each presenter invited us to belong and make a difference at Vista Maria. Belonging is a fundamental human need; it is the foundation of inclusivity. And it’s contagious in a good way- people who feel accepted pass that on to others. As Good Shepherds, how can we extend that sense of belonging and acceptance to our colleagues and our youth?

My second week has been quite busy; Angela has been graciously passing along all her knowledge about Vista Maria. You will begin to see me pop into meetings, and I will start visiting programs in the next several weeks. I’m really looking forward to meeting all of you in person! If you see me on campus- I like to take brisk walks when the sun is out- please don’t be shy.  Stop and say hello and extend that sense of belonging. 😊







New Vista Maria team members (not all pictured):

Alaunna McKeithen (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); John Golden (Team Leader, Rose Hall); Kennedy Marshall (Manager, Denis Hall); Clausell Williams (Team Leader, Rose Hall); Yvette Arrambide (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); Emma Haile (YAFS, Rose Hall); Camicka Haynes (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); Atra Younan-Raikan (IT Help Desk); April Henderson (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); Sherry Goosby (Therapist, Freedom Center); Anthony Moore (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); JaMisha Dyson (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); Jalen Graham (Youth Coach, Rose Hall); Lakeisha Lee (Youth Coach, Freedom Center); and Dominique White (Youth Coach, School).