Well, here it is almost the end of 2016 and the end of my first year as executive director for Mind Matters. For me, it has been a year of transition from board member to staff member, a year of learning, and a year of rewarding experiences with staff, board, community, and clients.
Two major changes for the Clinic were the departure of long-time MFT and Clinical Director Susan Deax-Keirns and the addition of Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. David Simons.
- Susan had been with Mind Matters since its inception, 9 years ago! She started as a MFT Intern and. once fully licensed, became our primary therapist. She also served as a most compassionate and professional Clinical Director for many years. Susan now has her own private practice in Murphys and although we miss her feisty enthusiasm as well as her knowledge, we applaud her and her new venture.
- Dr. David Simons is the very first Clinical Psychologist to work at Mind Matters. He has brought over 30 years of experience in counseling and is quickly becoming our expert in Autism Assessment and Evaluation. His addition has allowed Mind Matters to offer more in-depth services to our clients and he is a welcome addition to our team.
This year we have also been able to bring back our popular and successful Social Skills Groups. Social Skills focuses on teaching positive social behaviors and providing social coping tools to those children most at-risk. Studies show a significant decrease in violent and negative behaviors, as well as increases in emotional well-being, academic success, and social harmony when this social skills program is implemented early especially for marginalized youth and individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADD/ADHD.
Another highlight for Mind Matters was holding our 5th Annual Off the Beaten Path Walk/Run. It didn't rain! and it was a fun time for all, with the event bringing in $6,000 for the good of our clients and programs. We were chosen for a fundraising reception night at Sonora Repertory Theatre's production of A Christmas Story. Again the weather was great and with a fun play for viewing, yummy hors d'ouevres and drinks to enjoy, and a super theme-based basket of goodies for the raffle, new and continuing friends of Mind Matters enjoyed a wonderful evening out and raised $6,000 for a good cause.
The Board of Directors has been busy developing a fund development plan, a scorecard/strategic plan, and expanding their numbers to better round out their skill set. As always, the Board remains dedicated and active in making Mind Matters the best it can be.
Last, but, certainly not least, we have been able to serve over 350 clients with comprehensive treatments and services. Definitely the most rewarding memories of 2016.
Hope your year was a good one, and from all of us at Mind Matters, we wish you a most happy and loving holiday season!