Progress Foundation was my first job when I immigrated to the USA 12 years ago; I was employed as an Agency Counselor before moving into a leadership role as Assistant Director at the Avenues. My background was as a Drama therapist for the National Health Service working with inner city youth in London. I received a Master’s in Drama and Movement Therapy from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 2000. My career in San Francisco has encompassed working with both children and adults. I left Progress Foundation in 2006 to run the day treatment program for adolescents at Edgewood Children and Families Center for three years before returning to work with an adult population as a Program Manager for Baker Places. In 2010 I was pleased to return to Progress Foundation as Program director for Progress House. In the last six years the Agency has supported me in developing the Transitional Age Youth program at Progress House, focusing on identifying young people aging out of children’s services and requiring adult residential care. Working with young people has always been a passion for me and the opportunity and support from the Agency to develop a new area of programing focused on an underserved population is one of the reasons I remain dedicated to the mission of the Foundation. Progress is a place where risks are taken, it’s an Agency that is always looking to develop its scope of practice and be responsive to the ever changing needs of the clients we serve in the Bay Area. It’s an encouraging environment that promotes the sharing of ideas and supports initiative from its clinicians to improve its services.
I was born and raised in the Bay Area and growing up my father owned a small corner store in the Outer Sunset. I often worked with my father and interacted with many homeless residents – many of them struggling with their mental health symptoms. As I got older, I found myself wanting to help these individuals, but not entirely sure how – until I found Progress Foundation. I started at the agency as a relief counselor after I graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. After a while, I had the opportunity to be one of the first counselors of Dorine Loso House when it opened in 2007. I loved my job as a counselor and was motivated to look for career advancement in the agency. While working as a counselor I was able to attend grad school and get a Masters in Transformative Leadership. When the opportunity came to move up in the agency, I immediately applied and became the Assistant Director of Loso and I am now the Program Director. Progress Foundation has been an integral start to my career in the social services field and has given me the opportunity and experience to be a professional in the mental health field. I value the opportunity to work with a team of passionate and incredibly kind people who work hard every day to change lives.
I’m Anthony; I’m the Assistant Director at Cortland. I’ve been in that position since I started with Progress Foundation in April of 2013. I’m originally from the East Coast. There are a few things that I’m passionate about, such as laughter, dogs, travel and sweets!
I love a good laugh and joking around, it reminds me not to take life or myself to seriously. Currently I have two rescue dogs that I answer to, a Pit and a Jack Russell, both about 4 years of age. They’ll make you laugh!
I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 30 countries, from that I’ve learned patience and that I’m just a small piece of fabric in the tapestry of mankind. Which brings me to another of my passions…helping out others. We’ve all needed help in our journey or we will before we complete our journey.
I enjoy this aspect of working at Cortland and Progress Foundation; at some moment of the day our interaction with residents may help improve someone’s life. It may not reveal itself in the moment, it may come to fruition down the line but I was there to help. I may not make a difference everyday or maybe no difference at all but I show up each day to try! It is such a thrill to work with a team of such diverse backgrounds knowing that we all share the ideal of making the journey of life a little bit easier for our residents and thus each other.
As a student of language & literature, I stepped into the working world with a simple aim: work with people. Working as a counselor allows me to do this; to work with individuals that have a diverse set of backgrounds and a diverse set of perspectives. At Progress Foundation, we work with a population of people who live at the outskirts of our culture. As with many of the clients, I moved to the Bay Area from a distance and with the aim of getting comfortable. At times I think, “It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.”
I had worked full time as a residential counselor and enjoyed seeing the gradual growth and progress clients made. Yet it wasn’t until years later after a traumatic brain injury that I learned the genuine amount of effort, discipline, and time required to truly arrive at a place of comfort in the our world, to arrive at a place of acceptance and appreciation. I had the opportunity to return to counseling with a fresh perspective. At this point, I changed my focus, approaching the job a novel sense of empathy. While TBIs and traditional mental health diagnoses differ in many ways, they both require the maintenance of an optimistic perspective, a form of positive thinking. By investing time and effort in the most routine tasks, the most basic of social interactions, it becomes easier to feel more and more self-confident, more and more capable. And with these changes I have seen empowered individuals move into lifestyles that help inform our communities and help leave stigma but a myth.
I started my professional journey with Progress Foundation in June 2001 as a relief counselor. One of Progress Foundation’s Assistant Directors, Kevin Hervey, recruited me from an outdoor event where the both of us were invited as guests. At the time I worked as a file clerk for the City of Oakland and didn’t like it one bit. I was new to the Bay Area, having moved here from Mississippi in December 2000 as a single mother of three. My being myself at the event, I was socializing and making sure everyone else was comfortable (you would’ve thought I was hosting it). Mr. Hervey, without much introduction, informed me Progress Foundation needed me and my energy. I am sure you can only imagine my thoughts: Who is he? What is Progress Foundation? Did someone share with him how much I struggled with working from my cubical and that I required more socialization? What do they do? Does he know I don’t have a college degree? I bet this is some telemarketer, and he should know that I’m horrible at selling anything.
Mr. Hervey, with the biggest smile on his face, said “all I need is your resume.” He provided me his business card and asked for my contact information. Of course I did not contact him. However within a week he was calling me. I researched the agency and prayed about the situation (I struggle with leaving jobs) and proceeded on with the hiring process. When I came to the agency, I knew nothing about residential treatment, mental health, dual-diagnosis and had a limited knowledge to the many different illegal drugs people were using during that time. I trained under some of Progress Foundation’s best trainers, Bernadette Navarro-Simeon being one of them. Within a short period of time (4 months to be exact), I had the skills needed to apply for a full time counselor position. Please be mindful – this was without a degree. I received multiple offers from almost all locations that I had worked at as a relief counselor.
While working for this agency, my supervisors at the time supported my decision to work full time and return to school to obtain my degree (please remember the fact that I was a single mother of 3 school-aged children). In 2007 I graduated from Alameda Community College with three AA’s and 2009 from Cal State East Bay wit BA in Psychology. In 2010 my supervisors informed me it was time I gave back to my peers and the agency by applying for a leadership position. In April 2010 I became the Assistant Director of Avenues. After working only 9 months as an Assistant Director and due to my extensive training and support from the agency I was promoted up to the Program Director. If Progress Foundation found the good in me and trusted me with working out the agency mission alongside other motivated, hardworking, caring and compassionate people without any experience, knowledge or education background… WHY wouldn’t they do it for YOU?
After four years of working as a licensed social worker in the Midwest, I made the decision to relocate to California. There were many reasons the Bay Area stood out to me, but the career opportunities were the most appealing. I had been working in the managed care insurance field but as a social worker with a specialization in clinical work, and I missed working in the mental health field. Progress Foundation stood out to me as an innovative agency that provided services I hadn’t seen before, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I am fortunate to have dedicated colleagues, a supportive leadership team, and strong clients. I’m proud to be a part of the Progress Foundation family.
I am a Program Director for Progress Foundation. I run a 10-unit Residential Acute Diversion Unit, “La Posada”. We work together with clients in running a safe therapeutic environment, providing the best service within our abilities. Helping others is something I love to do and I get to do it at a place where I love to work.
I started working at Progress Foundation in April of 2001, as a relief counselor. With past work experience in different fields (Accounting, Graphic Design, and Welding), I wasn’t sure I would get hired. It wasn’t the work experience they were looking at, it was my life experience. The service provided here at Progress Foundation is that you treat individuals (clients) as you would family members. This came easy for me at first, but the thing I least expected was how much I began to learn about myself. With the many challenges in this world humans have gone through, we don’t get many opportunities to actually work at a place where we also get to work on ourselves. The wealth of knowledge I gained working here surpasses anything I have learned before. I believe I am a better person today thanks to Progress Foundation. I have seen co-workers go through the same experiences as we all enjoy and love what we do, making sure we pass it on to our Family (the clients).
I started at Progress Foundation as a relief counselor and was promoted to a full-time counselor at Avenues. Progress Foundation has given me the tools I need to be the best counselor possible. The administration is supportive of each of my coworkers individual style when helping clients. The leadership understands that burnout is very common in the mental health field and give us plenty of benefit time to get the rest we need. It is clear that every level of the corporation from the clinical director to the relief counselors care about the Client and their needs. It has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience to work among those who are so strongly dedicated to helping Clients in need.
Employment at the Progress Foundation these past two years has been an exceptional experience for me in several key ways. Firstly, I’ve found the work environment to be both supportive and positive – in general my co-workers seem to be happy to work here. As a counselor, while the field itself can be challenging, it has also been an enriching and rewarding experience for me – particularly in my daily interactions – watching our clients learn, grow and progress. As a Relief Counselor specifically, I’ve enjoyed maximum flexibility in my work schedule which allows me adequate time to devote to important areas of my life when necessary. These are just a few reasons why I hold my experience at Progress Foundation in such high esteem and recommend the job to qualified candidates enthusiastically.
368 Fell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
1100 Lincoln Ave. Suite 206
Napa, CA 94558