Every August, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) sponsors National Health Center Week (NHCW) to celebrate and increase awareness of America’s 1,400 Community Health Centers. National Health Center Week is an opportunity to highlight the commitment and passion of Community Health Center staff, board members, and supporters who make it possible to provide quality healthcare services to more than 30 million patients across 14,500 communities annually.
We are proud to join in the celebration with our Safety Net Clinic Coalition partners this week in a coordinated effort to build awareness for the meaningful services we provide to our Santa Cruz community. This week we honor the dedication and talent of our dedicated Encompass employees, who work tirelessly to provide high quality, trauma-informed health and human services to those who need it most. We’d like to take the opportunity to highlight a few of our Encompass staff members and their impressive accomplishments. Thank you to everyone at Encompass for working hard to support our mission of health equity for all.
SARA ANDERSON, LCSW | Director of Integrated Behavioral Health, Adult Services
Tell us a little about your job: At Encompass, I have the fortunate opportunity to work with a brilliant group of dedicated outpatient and residential staff who are truly committed to providing excellent client care. As a service area director, my primary role is to make sure that we have the systems and resources in place to provide quality client services.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? When I think of what I’m most proud of, I think of how resilient our teams were during the pandemic and that we all went the extra mile to ensure that services remained accessible during such a difficult time for all of us. Regardless of our own personal challenges, we all rose to the occasion and implemented 22 new policies & procedures and worked tirelessly to help keep staff and clients safe, while preserving critical access to services. Secondly, I think about how much our adult Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) programs have changed and grown over the past five years. I recall inheriting programs that were tremendously underfunded, not adequately staffed, and in need of some serious TLC! Over the past five years, I’ve been a part of creating a whole-person care model and embedding medical services throughout our programs. I’ve prioritized ensuring programs are able to pay staff living wages and have successfully advocated for additional staffing in residential and outpatient programs. Since 2018, staff wages have increased by an average of 50% and in some residential programs, we’ve increased staffing by over 60%! I strongly believe that providing quality client care, begins with staff who feel valued, supported, and prepared to do their jobs well and I’m very proud of the changes I’ve been able to influence in the IBH service area.
What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is working collaboratively with the teams who support their staff in creating the changes people seek in their lives. We have an incredible staff who pour their heart and soul into what they do, and I am honored to be a part of their team. I grew up in Watsonville so I feel especially passionate about our community.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? Encompass is the place to be if you value health equity and ensuring that all people have access to quality mental and physical health care.
“Sara is an all-around team player and exemplary leader at Encompass. She coordinates two of our three largest programs, ensuring services delivery for our Integrated Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder programs. Her tireless service, organization, and intellect help ensure service quality and program sustainability, and keep our much-needed healthcare services flowing throughout Santa Cruz County, and San Benito County as well.”
- Doug Bragdon, Encompass Senior Finance Manager
KRISTIE BRENDA | Senior Manager of Health and Housing
Tell us a little about your job: I manage all Encompass programs serving individuals who are experiencing homelessness, and are being challenged by loss, poverty, a mental illness, and/or Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? From my first role with the Housing Support team over 14 years ago, I took the lead to streamline workflows and procedures. I worked hard to create strong working relationships and collaboration with the County Housing Support team in order to provide high quality support services to the individuals living in Encompass housing. After a few years, my hard work paid off and I had the opportunity to move into a leadership role managing multiple programs, eventually landing me in the role of Senior Manager. Over the years, I have helped launch new programs, supported program design and redesign, and have worked to implement teacher training for both Mindfulness Meditation and CRM. I am most proud of creating cohesive teams, where staff feel seen, heard and supported. When our team is cohesive, our clients benefit too -- and that's so important in the work we do.
What's the best part of your job? The best part of my job is my ability to shake things up. Breakdowns to breakthroughs! A problem-solver at heart, I love a good challenge! More than that, providing quality services is my number one priority. The people we serve deserve the best we can do. When I see a gap, when I see a barrier, that becomes my main driver to take a deep dive into what is not working and then dig even deeper to see what needs to be done, who needs to be involved and what strategy we need to execute the solution. To be able to zoom out and zoom in is a gift I will not take for granted. Second to this, supporting staff in their everyday work with our Clients brings me immense joy. Our staff work so hard, bring so much heart to their jobs, and really put their all into the individuals we serve. I am a big promoter of self-care and anytime I can support staff in the practice and learning of self-care, I am ALL IN!
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? There is so much opportunity and room for growth here at Encompass. We are an agency with equity, health, and wellness at the forefront. We don't just talk the talk; we walk the walk. Even during the toughest times, both globally and locally, we band together to ensure that our Clients, staff and our community are all considered in every decision we make. I have always been very proud to be a part of Encompass and hope to continue to serve this community for years to come!
“Kristie is a go-getter. She has grown our homelessness support infrastructure, and facilitates our services with the Central California Aliance for Health and Medi-Cal support. She is a charismatic leader and problem-solver. We are so lucky to have her as one of our Encompass managers.”
- Doug Bragdon, Senior Finance Manager
LORENA GONZALEZ | Education Manager, Head Start Child and Family Development Program
Tell us a little about your job: I am a proud Encompass employee of 32 years! I started as a Teacher-Director, then Curriculum Trainer, then Education Specialist, and now Education Manager. Encompass offers both an Early Head Start program, which offers a home visit program for pregnant women and children 0-3, and a center-based option for children 6 months - 36 months, and a Head Start program with part-day (3 1/2 hours) and extended day (6 hours) preschool programs for children ages 3 to 5. Our early education programs focus on supporting children and families to be ready for elementary school by providing opportunities for social and emotional learning, partnering closely with parents and families. Classes are offered at 11 locations (20 centers in total) located throughout Santa Cruz and Watsonville.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I have been at Encompass Community Services for 32 years and I continue to be amazed at the level of commitment and support our staff have for our clients. When I came to Head Start, I was happily surprised to see how families were given resources, encouragement, training, and the confidence to empower themselves to be advocates for their success. This empowerment has also been modeled to me as an employee. I have been given many opportunities to provide input into decision-making and procedures and have grown within the organization. There are so many amazing opportunities at Encompass, you just have to take advantage of them and continue to be passionate about learning and growing.
What's the best part of your job? I really enjoy working with people. My most rewarding experience is visiting centers or socializations and seeing our staff in action, engaging with children and families.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? Encompass stays true to their mission and ensures equity is tied to actions. Encompass is a great program for people that want to help themselves and others to reach their full potential.
“Lorena is a shining example of compassion and growth. She has worked hard for over 30 years supporting our bilingual education efforts through Early Head Start and Head Start. She has made a tremendous impact on our programs and the families we serve across Santa Cruz County.”
- Doug Bragdon, Senior Finance Manager
KAITLYN GONZALEZ | Clinical Lead, Transition Age Youth (TAY) Program
Tell us a little about your job: I provide support to the TAY team including clinical supervision, training, debriefs, reporting, and managing the clinical internship program and Avatar contract. I also provide individual therapy to a small caseload of youth in our Victim of Crime Advocacy program. I have been working with Encompass since November 2015 and with the TAY Team for the past 7 years. Encompass has supported me through my graduate program, two pregnancies and maternity leaves, getting licensed, as well as all of the other professional growth I have experienced.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? It is difficult to choose one thing that I am most proud of during my time here, but I would say it is seeing the successes and accomplishments of the youth we serve and getting to witness their journeys towards adulthood. There have been clients I have worked with since they were 16 who are now exiting our program into school, the workforce, families, and giving back to our community. I am also proud of how we have expanded our program over time to be able to serve youth experiencing houselessness and youth who have been a victim of a crime, as well as our larger drop-in resource center designed to more fully ‘encompass’ the marginalized and at-promise youth of Santa Cruz County. Lastly, I take pride personally in getting licensed and moving into a supervisory role here at TAY. This felt like a natural trajectory for me and I am so grateful to TAY and Encompass for supporting me in this journey.
What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is that I get to show up to smiling faces every day and am provided with the opportunity to continue to learn and grow through the staff I work with and the youth we serve.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? The staff here at Encompass are some of the most dedicated and caring people I have ever met in my life. From HR who has helped me personally through benefits and leave options, to our program assistants who are the ‘brains of the operation’, to the direct-service staff who show up with their whole hearts – I am truly grateful to get to work with every one of them.
“Kaitlyn always comes to work with a positive attitude. She makes herself available to all staff and clients, and treats everyone with warmth, compassion, and kindness. As a Clinical Supervisor, she is deeply invested in providing the highest quality services and staff development. She listens to the needs of the staff, and designs training that specifically addresses their areas of growth and development. She demonstrates integrity by always doing what she says that she will do. She has outstanding interpersonal skills, and connects easily with clients and staff by meeting them where they are and using a trauma-informed approach.”
- Johanna Molnar, Senior Manager Transition Age Youth
TIFFINY NEWPORT, RN | Nurse, Santa Cruz Residential Recovery Center
Tell us a little about your job: I am the Residential RN for one of our substance use disorder (SUD) residential treatment facilities, Santa Cruz Residential Recovery (SCRR). I have a range of responsibilities supporting our client's recovery, including conducting intake assessments, monitoring their health, and assisting with medication management. I'm also involved in critical assessments and interventions, ensuring that clients receive necessary care. I communicate and share important information with medical professionals and clinical practitioners and provide audits and maintain our clients’ health data. In addition, I provide health and wellness education to both clients and staff, promoting overall well-being. Lastly, I facilitate Harm Reduction groups to help guide our MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) clients toward a healthier lifestyle.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I take great pride in my ability to effectively fulfill two nursing roles at Encompass for an extended period. As the MAT outpatient program underwent a transition, I demonstrated my capacity to simultaneously provide care to both our Encompass MAT clients, and our Santa Cruz Residential Recovery clients.
What's the best part of your job? The most rewarding aspect of my job is the immense joy and satisfaction I experience when I am truly able to make a difference in the lives of our clients. Witnessing their growth and progress in their journey of recovery is incredibly meaningful to me, as it not only benefits them but also allows me to evolve both personally and professionally.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? I want to emphasize that the staff and individuals at Encompass truly embody a sense of family more than any other place I have ever worked. The level of kindness, care, support and compassion they consistently demonstrate is remarkable. The strong bond and camaraderie I feel among the team make this the most fulfilling and rewarding workplace I have experienced.
“Tiffiny possesses unwavering compassion, patience and dedication. She plays a key role supporting our clients experiencing SUD with access to quality medical services. She is very detail-oriented and organized and has also played a key role in supporting all six of our residential programs throughout the pandemic. She is dedicated to doing whatever she can in her role to help our clients live healthy and happy lives. Thanks to her commitment to sustaining our MAT program throughout the pandemic, many individuals in our community were able to access life-saving low-barrier care. She is a shining example of integrity and dedication.”
- Tristan Mayo, Director of Nursing & Health Services
MARIBEL HARO, LVN | Nurse, Si Se Puede (SSP) Residential Center
Tell us a little about your job: I am the nurse for one of Encompass’ Substance Use Disorder (SUD) residential facilities, Si Se Puede (SSP). I’ve been with Encompass for about 1.5 years. It is my first time working with SUD and I feel that I have started a new and exciting career and I love it. After working so many years in the hospital setting and through a major pandemic, I was ready to quit nursing altogether. But then Encompass gave me the opportunity to discover new opportunities, see a new side of nursing and provided me with a new avenue to help my community.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I am most proud of my ability to aid in the recovery of SSP clients. I have strong relationships with Watsonville community health providers from my past roles in the hospital system, so I help our clients with access to both primary and specialty medical care when they need it, including psychiatric care. I also played a key role in supporting SSP clients and staff throughout the pandemic.
What’s the best part of your job? I am so thankful for my wonderful coworkers at Si Se Puede. I love being a part of such an engaged, fabulous team.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? The Encompass culture encourages you to be constantly learning and growing. I recently started a certification in Alcohol and Drugs Counseling in order to deliver better service to our clients. There are so many wonderful opportunities here.
“Maribel is passionate, patient, and dedicated. She plays a key role supporting our clients experiencing SUD with access to quality medical services. Her deep passion to support our clients experiencing SUDs has inspired her to return to school with a goal to obtain official certification as a drug and alcohol counselor. Maribel provides ongoing group information sessions at SSP so our clients have access to important health and wellness information. She provides educational opportunities for staff to enhance their skills responding to medical emergencies such as overdoses. She is a wonderful team member and collaborator and SSP is so lucky to have her.”
- Tristan Mayo, Director of Nursing & Health Services
J’ANN RAINS, LMFT | Clinical Supervisor, Licensed Clinician
Tell us a little about your job: I have worked at Encompass for 26 years. I have served in many positions during my time here and have much gratitude for the support I received from Encompass to return to graduate school and attain my license as a marriage and family therapist. I continue to provide direct SUD services to our adult population, and have the joy of providing clinical supervision to our amazing staff. I continue to be drawn to this hands-on work and maintain a passion to be present in serving our staff, the individuals we serve, and our community.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I am most proud of being the treatment provider on the Drug Court Team program for 8 years. I loved developing a sense of family for clients. I am also proud of my clinical work managing the federal contract providing SUD and mental health services to pre-trial and probation clients. At one point in my career, I was on the administrative track, but chose to change course and remain true to myself by working to become a licensed clinician. Completing the Mindfulness Teacher Training is something I really appreciate, as I love integrating specific practices into the workplace and acknowledging the importance of self-care our staff so genuinely deserves. I really appreciate Encompass for recognizing and taking action to support staff in this way. As service providers; are own self-care is essential for us to provide safe, trauma informed services to those serve.
What’s the best part of your job? My current role as a Clinical Supervisor is one the most rewarding roles right now. I enjoy supporting the growth of staff. I receive so much inspiration from the wisdom and enthusiasm of the staff I enjoy supervising. I also really enjoy my continued direct clinical services as I love being able to provide a safe place for individuals to share their stories and emotions and feel valued and cared for. It is so rewarding to witness their increased self-awareness and growth.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? The Encompass staff work so hard and are truly committed to increasing the quality of individual lives and the health of the community. The team at Encompass takes an authentic approach and is relentlessly dedicated to navigating the challenging systemic issues that can often serve as barriers to an individual’s care. I witness and appreciate the enthusiasm, determination, and skills of my coworkers every day.
“J’Ann always aims to make the lives of others better. She is a skillful Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor. What makes her special is her ability to adapt to different roles within the agency and to not only listen but provide valuable feedback to staff and management. She promotes and embodies Encompass’ core values and mission and is loyal and dedicated to this organization and to the community she serves. She is authentic, committed to staff development, and a wonderful example of how to treat everyone with dignity and respect.”
- William Norteye, Senior Manager, Integrated Behavioral Health
ALI GARCIA | Manager, Encompass DUI Programs
Tell us a little about your job: I manage the DUI programs for the north and south county Encompass sites.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I am very proud of the entire DUI Team, including the Admin Manager, the Admin Staff and the Counselors who work so hard every day supporting each other to overcome daily challenges and provide high quality services to our clients. I am proud of how fast and willing the team was to transition our services from in-person to 100% virtual when the pandemic started. I am also proud of how the team continues to move forward despite the rigorous demands.
What's the best part of your job? One of the best parts of the job is knowing we are helping clients and receiving a meaningful thank you when they complete their program.
“Ali has been a strong and supportive employee and Encompass leader for over 23 years. What makes Ali special is her willingness to learn, improve, and contribute to her program and the agency’s success. She is dedicated and loyal to this organization and to the community she serves. Ali consistently champions a growth mindset and cultivates human potential with her clients and staff. She is compassionate, dedicated, and an extremely valued employee at Encompass.”
- William Norteye, Senior Manager, Integrated Behavioral Health
LILY PERRY | Health & Housing Manager
Tell us a little about your job: I am the Health and Housing Program Manger here at Encompass, which means that I get to manage the Sober Living Environments as well as the Housing Support Team.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I have been with Encompass for a little over nine months and I am most proud of building our Housing Support Team. The team is comprised of two wonderful counselors (Rachel Andrade and Courtney Richardson) who work diligently to support our clients. It is an honor to be a part of such a strong and empathetic team.
What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is the people. In this field I get to work with the most interesting individuals, both as clients and coworkers. I love hearing people’s stories of joy, triumph, trials and resiliency.
What do you want people to know about Encompass and the culture/staff here? My experience with the staff and culture at Encompass is comprised of a lot of really good people, with massive hearts, doing their best to support those in need. In such a broken world it is really beautiful to get to be a part of the solution and I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the Santa Cruz community.
“Lily is rather new to Encompass, but she was just the person we needed on our team. She literally hit the ground running from day one and has not stopped. She is a go-getter, a problem solver, a quick learner, a deep thinker, and brings a level of integrity to her work that is second to none. When Lily first took over, we were experiencing some struggles with productivity, poor staff morale, and a lack of clear workflows. In the short time she has been here, she has managed to turn these programs around, resulting in increased productivity and an overall increase in quality service. Lily is an incredibly down to earth person who loves a challenge. She strives to ensure that our Clients are getting the best support and care possible, they are at the center of everything she brings to her work. Lily is dependable, approachable, collaborative and most importantly she brings her all to everything she does. We are incredibly lucky that Lily decided to join the Encompass Team! Thanks Lily!”
- Kristie Brenda, Senior Manager, Health & Housing
SHANNON NUNEZ | Program Coordinator, Links2Health
Tell us a little about your job: At Encompass, I work on the operations side. I'm responsible for the "back of the house" things including data collection, invoicing, etc. My main goal is to make sure the Links2Health program is running well and that we are meeting our objectives.
What are you most proud of during your time at Encompass? I feel very proud to be part of a team bringing a new program to the community. It’s been a great experience bringing a program from an idea to reality. In just one year, we are helping hundreds of clients get support with finding housing and connecting to medical services. Starting a new program comes with its own trials and challenges and I feel proud that we have been so successful in the rolling out and implementation of this new program for Encompass.
"Shannon brings a lightness to the team that shines during the hardest times. She comes with a growth mindset, is solution-oriented, and is always willing to provide a helping hand. She always has a smile on her face, a joke to tell, a funny story about her lovely family, or is just showering us with treats. She is a fantastic baker! Shannon has been with our agency for about 4 years, starting at SCRR, then moving to the Properties teams, before I had the chance to snag her to work for the Links2Health team, one of Encompass’ newest programs. As Program Coordinator, Shannon is the backbone of the team, ensuring all of our operations are running smoothly, creating workflows, completing invoicing, managing referrals, note taking, agenda setting, and most of all keeping us all on track. Shannon is my right hand on this team and I could not do this without her! We are so very lucky to have Shannon on this team and appreciate everything she has brought and continues to bring!"
- Kristie Brenda, Senior Manager, Health & Housing
Are you looking to start a career in healthcare? Or just looking for new opportunities? Encompass Community Services is a wonderful place to work. We currently have several openings for positions and we also offer an internship program. Please visit this link to view our job opportunities. And check out this link for internship information. You can also contact us at 831-469-1700. We have immediate openings for teachers and assistant teachers in our Head Start program, and offer competitive pay, great benefits, and summer, winter, and spring breaks off. Use the job opportunities link to apply today.