Part of HYPE’s mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities, and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region. HYPE encourages cross-collaboration among agencies and organizations that offer opportunities to volunteer in the community. The Community Conversations series focuses on interviewing professionals in a local nonprofit to bring awareness to their mission, highlight their impact in the community, and provide information on how to get more involved with the organization. For the May edition, HYPEster and Community Involvement Committee Member Christina Lumbreras interviewed Dr. Ashley Dorin, M.D.. Medical Director of The Village.
What is the mission of your organization?
The mission of The Village for Families and Children is to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children. The organization was founded in 1809 as the first agency in the US to provide homes to neglected children. In 1925, the ‘Children’s Village’ was constructed on Albany Avenue. The Village has transformed over the years, merged & partnered with other entities and is ever evolving to address the needs of the community. The Village now provides comprehensive social and community based services that extend to children, adults and their families. These services include counseling, trauma centers, psychiatric services, therapy, residential treatment, substance abuse support, adoption, foster care, family reunification programs, human anti-trafficking response teams, health support services within Hartford community schools, and after-school & early childhood development programs.
What is your role within the organization?
Dr. Ashley Dorin, M.D. is the Medical Director of The Village. She specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry, but her role encompasses much more. In addition to meeting with children individually, she oversees the Psychiatric Department which is comprised of APRNs, MDs, medical assistants, and fully-staffed nursing departments. With her leadership, the clinical teams collaborate to diagnose and determine treatment plans.
How do you implement your services or programs?
The Village provides a continuum of services that address prevention to crisis intervention for children, adults and families, addressing emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues. The most intensive treatment is provided through two residential programs in Hartford and one group home for teens in Manchester. The Village also provides mental health and addiction services to help adults overcome issues that prevent them from being healthy, stable and productive This includes Medication Assisted Treatment (or MAT) , which provides medical assistance to overcome opioid addiction, for example, and provides prescriptions, therapy, and employment services to help with withdrawal & recovery.
The Village also works closely with DCF to provide family reunification and other support services, and facilitates adoptions and foster care. The Village also strives at prevention and early intervention to support at-risk children by providing nationally accredited preschooling & early childhood consultation services. It provides youth development and truancy & pregnancy prevention within community schools. There are also clinicians serving several Hartford community schools from elementary to high school.
In what ways has your organization been impactful to your cause?
The work being done has given back tremendously to the Greater Hartford community. It has helped those in poverty, the chronically mentally ill, those coping with trauma and even prevented suicide. The Village has proud success stories as children from the program have graduated high school and even progressed to college. At the annual ‘Girl Within’ Luncheon, several people have shared their impact stories. One student pursued graduate study and came back to teach in the inner city. The transformation stories are abound. The Aspire-Connect-Thrive (ACT) program strengthens the social-emotional competence of students, promotes healthy lifestyles, and ensures students have strong, healthy relationships with adults in school. As a result, 100% of surveyed parents responded that their child had a relationship with a caring adult in school. 90% of children participating in The Village’s after-school programs attended school 90% or more and 83% of children in the Therapeutic Foster Care program remained in just one home over the past 12 months. In 2017, The Village for Families & Children served 16,974 clients!
How does someone get more involved?
Check out The Village on Facebook and Twitter for events. Check out their website for volunteer opportunities or other ways to get involved. You can be a mentor and role model after certification and a background check. You can adopt a child or provide foster care. You can help with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), volunteer with Burr Community School or numerous special event projects. You can provide guidance to the Hartford Juvenile Board by reviewing cases for minor offenses and providing recommendations. There are so many ways to get involved with The Village and make a difference!