One of the unique aspects about The Chase Home is length of employment of some staff, especially in leadership roles, a fact that Executive Director Meme Wheeler said helps produce “stronger therapeutic and clinical outcomes.”
“The workforce shortage is real, so there are challenges for us, but we have been fortunate that some staff members have been with us for years,” she said.
Lindsey Ellis, program director at The Chase Home, is one such long standing staff member, as she has worked in various roles throughout her 14 years. “I began as an intern while I was a student at UNH,” she said. “I then worked as a Residential Counselor, Education Coordinator, and ultimately have been in the Program Director position for the past 6 years.”
As for why she has stayed at The Chase Home for so many years, she cited the opportunity to support youth and families. “Being part of special moments in youths’ lives, such as graduating high school, getting their first job, and obtaining their driver’s license, is extremely fulfilling,” she said. “Watching youth reunify with their families makes the difficult days worth it.”
One of her most memorable success stories involves a female youth who transitioned to The Chase Home from an out of state intensive level treatment center. “She had a significant history of inpatient hospitalizations, suicidal ideation, and self harming behaviors,” explained Ellis.
The goal, she said, was for the youth to step down to Chase Home in order to successfully reunify with their guardian. “Chase Home was able to provide access to mental health services immediately upon admission to support the mental health needs of this youth and secure an appropriate alternative education setting with increased emotional support,” she said.
The result was that the youth reported feeling “safe and heard” at the Chase Home, which allowed her to work through her triggers throughout her treatment. “Our Clinical Coordinator was able to challenge her thought processes,” said Ellis. “The youth was able to see things from a different perspective when challenged as well as able to improve and organize her thoughts to be able to succeed across settings.”
The youth was reunified with her family in approximately 3 months. “Our staff listened to her, validated her feelings, and supported her with her goals,” she said. “We had the community wrapping around this youth and her family with services.”
According to Wheeler, Ellis’s work exemplifies the intent behind The Chase Home. “We are talking about transforming the lives of youth who have struggled for a variety of reasons, many of them complex and grounded in trauma,” she explained. “I’m grateful for not just Lindsey’s work, but that of our entire staff and the community support that helps make all this happen…It really does take a village.”