Meet Kylie Wright

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Kylie Wright loves to travel.

New experiences.

Different cultures.

She says it helps her to stay empathetic and open.

She brings that same mentality to her work.

Originally from New Zealand, Kylie moved to Virginia about two decades ago. She’s
been in mental health for most of her career since then. This month, she joined Good
Neighbor as a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).

But working in this field wasn’t her original plan. While in college, she did a student
rotation in psychiatry. The experience transformed her. “I fell in love,” she says with a
smile, "sitting down and speaking to people and understanding them and putting
myself in their shoes.” She had found a place where she could make a difference.

When it comes to treatment, Kylie takes a wholistic approach. She incorporates
meditation, mindfulness, and yoga into her sessions and recommendations to clients.
“It’s imperative to include mindfulness in mental wellness,” according to Kylie. “It’s
about treating the whole person.” She practices those values in her own life too—
incorporating yoga and meditation into her regular routine. But she also emphasizes
the science of her work. “I like to stay up-to-date on the latest research.” She reads
journals and reports on the latest advancements in mental health and psychiatry. “The
brain is fascinating,” she says. “Theres so much we still have to learn about it.” Kylie’s
emphasis on wholistic treatment made her a perfect fit for Good Neighbor.

In her first week, Kylie has settled in nicely. “Good Neighbor feels like family,” she says.
“You walk through that door and you feel relaxed. Good Neighbor treats you like an
individual, not just another number.” She’s looking forward to seeing her first clients
soon. She’s committed to bringing her values of non-judgement and empathy to her
clients.

When she’s not at work, Kylie loves to visit art museums, do hot yoga, and travel to
places with beautiful beaches. She’s visited many places—including Australia, Ireland,
and of course, her home country of New Zealand. But she never goes too far from her
two beloved Australian Shepherds—Cupid and Bella.

Kylie always sees the best in people. Throughout her career, she’s focused on creating
an environment of positive affirmation and wellness with clients. We’re excited for her
to bring those values to her work at Good Neighbor.

Meet Theresa Picone

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Theresa Picone believes that people aren’t their diagnosis. 

This principle has been at heart of everything Theresa’s done in her career. Now she brings that belief to her work at Good Neighbor. “The labels bother me,” she shares. “It makes people think their identity is their illness.” Last year, she joined Good Neighbor as Director of Outpatient Services. Every day, she empowers our providers to help people create new ways of life. It’s a job that requires a special kind of person. Someone full of passion and drive. It only takes one conversation with her to realize that she’s the type of person who sees the good, and the potential, in everyone.

But she hadn’t always planned on working in mental health. 

Theresa grew up in New England and studied at the University of Vermont—double majoring in business administration and economics. Shortly after college, she got a job doing administrative work at a mental health agency. She immediately fell in love.

Theresa went on to earn a Master’s in counseling and psychology from Norwich University. She also got certified in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and provided mental health services to Virginia Tech students and staff after the tragic 2007 shooting. 

Throughout her career, Theresa has helped companies provide mental health services to their employees through employee assistance programs. Eventually, her work brought her to Virginia—where she noticed Good Neighbor.

“It felt more like a culture, not a company.”

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There was an opening for a Director of Outpatient Services, and Theresa’s passion and experience in mental health administration made her the perfect fit. 

Now she works every day to help Good Neighbor provide the best care possible for anyone looking to create a better way of life.

“I love my job,” she says. “It feels like home.”

When she’s not at work, Theresa loves to stay active. Indoor soccer, kickboxing, and running are only a few of her hobbies. She’s even a member of a local indoor soccer league. She keeps her mind active too. She’s rarely found without her kindle—reading the latest on her book list. 

We’re thrilled that Theresa chooses to bring her passion and skill to Good Neighbor.

Good Neighbor visits the Big Apple

 Smiling, standing on the stress of New York City.

Jasmine, one of our Residential Supervisors, took individuals from our Ramblewood home to the Big Apple this month. They explored the sights and sounds of NYC, chilled at Coney Island, and stayed in a lovely Brooklyn hotel. 

Jasmine loves to think outside of the box in providing her individuals with unique and fulfilling experiences. Thank you Jasmine for your hard work!

And many thanks to The Brooklyn A Hotel for giving us a discount!

Check out some photos from their trip below!

 Good Neighbor crew getting a cab.
 Good Neighbor individuals hanging out on Coney Island.
 Hanging out on Coney Island part 2
 Busy streets of New York City.

Helen Keller on beauty

 

In this series, Good Neighbor is highlighting notable individuals who overcame their disability or mental illness in ways that changed the people around them.


 

The 19th century was not a hospitable era for women or adults with disabilities. Helen Keller was both.

Born in 1880, Helen Keller spent the first year of her life being able to hear and see. Then she caught an illness. Keller lived, but she would spend the rest of her life in silence and darkness.

Constrained by her disability, Keller was forced to learn new ways of communicating with the world around her. The task felt impossible. But she didn’t have to do it alone. Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, was essential to teaching Keller to conquer her isolation and live a fulfilling life despite her setbacks. 

Keller thrived.

Eventually, Helen Keller became the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She also went on to become heavily active in politics—campaigning for the rights of women and adults with disabilities. 

Keller’s childhood home is now a museum, and her birthday—June 27th—is now an international holiday. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.

 “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

At a time when adults with disabilities were mostly written off from society, Keller proved that people like her were just as capable as anyone to contribute to society and make the world a better place.

In 1904, she wrote The Story of My Life, an autobiography about her experiences growing up. In the book, she chronicles her struggles, but also her triumphs. Despite her darkness, she saw and appreciated the beauty of the world around her better than most. Her view of life is represented through one of the book’s most famous quotes: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

Keller knew what it meant to be cut off from the rest of the world. But that didn’t stop her from loving humanity and dedicating her life to helping others.

She continues to encourage and inspire all of us many years after her death.

Eating cheeseburgers at Max's Positive Vibe Cafe

It’s easy to take something as simple as eating a good cheeseburger at a restaurant for granted. But for many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, going out to eat isn’t so easy. These individuals often lack the resources and support required to travel to a good restaurant and pay for a tasty meal. It can also be stressful for individuals with disabilities to go out in an environment where others might stare at or mistreat them.

At Good Neighbor, we help empower individuals by providing the resources and support they need to live fulfilled lives. Recently, individuals and staff from our Day Support program enjoyed a great lunch out at a nearby restaurant—Max’s Positive Vibe Cafe in Richmond.

Kate Short, Day Support Supervisor, chose Positive Vibe Cafe because of their commitment to empowering adults with disabilities. Starting in 2004, Positive Vibe Cafe trains and employs adults with disabilities to provide skills and careers in the restaurant industry. They have graduated over 1300 individuals.

Our individuals loved the delicious food they had at Positive Vibe Cafe; but most importantly, they were happy to be in a place where they felt accepted. “A man like me walked me to my table,” one individual remarked. “I like this place cause nobody stared a me.”

We’re thankful for businesses like Max's Positive Vibe Cafe and the wonderful work they do. We can’t wait to go back!

Good Neighbor offers therapy to family who shared their traumatic story on The Doctors

Healing and sharing go hand in hand. That’s why the Sullivan family recently went on the TV show The Doctors to tell the story of their own family trauma and how they’ve healed since. Last summer, Sean and Melissa Sullivan’s three year old son Roan was accidentally caught underneath a lawn mower his father was driving.

"I didn't prepare myself for what I was about to see," Melissa recounted.

Sean and Melissa immediately rushed him to the emergency room and waited as doctors worked to save Roan. Sean feared that his son would lose his arm, or worse. Doctors were eventually able to save his arm and heel, but Roan had lost his toes.

After months of physical therapy, Roan is doing incredibly well. But recovering from a trauma like this is never easy. "One thing that's helped me is talking about it and being open about it," Sean shared.

After The Doctors told us about the Sullivans’ story, we jumped at the opportunity to help. 

We’re happy to provide therapy to the Sullivan family for the next six months as they continue to grow and heal from this trauma. Their courage to share their story on TV will undoubtedly help keep others safe and encourage us all to share our own stories.

We’re thankful to the Sullivan family for continuing to share their story and for letting us be a part of their healing.

You can watch more of the Sullivans’ appearance on The Doctors below.