HCRS recognizes NEYT program as community partner

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SPRINGFIELD — Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, southeastern Vermont's community mental-health agency, recognized two community partners at its annual meeting on November 6.

Each year, the non-profit agency honors community partners who exemplify the spirit of effective collaboration in order to support the mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability needs of the community. This year, HCRS awarded the Theatre Adventure Program of New England Youth Theatre and Sara Kobylenski, strategic consultant for the Couch Family Foundation, with the James Bartley Community Partnership Award.

The Theatre Adventure Program of New England Youth Theatre began in 2004 as an inclusive theater arts program for youth and adults with developmental challenges. The program has helped people tap into their creative, artistic, and educational needs, and their inspired work has been outstanding. Under the leadership of Laura Lawson Tucker and Darlene Jennings, the Theatre Adventure Program has provided individuals with transformative opportunities to strengthen their social skills, community, teamwork, and empathy.

Karabakakis said, "Our collaboration with the Theatre Adventure Program has taught critical peer mentorship and leadership skills and exemplifies the power and impact of our partnership," said HCRS CEO George Karabakakis, Ph.D.

Kobylenski is an advocate for children, families, and individuals in need. Over the last 30-plus years, her career has included being director of Casey Family Services, Springfield Family Services' supervisor, AHS Hartford field services director, director of the Upper Valley Haven, and is currently a strategic Consultant for the Couch Family Foundation, leading efforts to develop a model collaboration.

HCRS' Community Partner Award was named in memory of James Bartley in 2018. Bartley joined HCRS in the 1990s and was a valued employee for many years. Through his work as a Case Manager II, he epitomized collaboration and partnership.

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