Carlos Villatoro is a Substance Use Disorder Recovery Therapist in Commerce. He is a rock-solid employee as he goes above and beyond to ensure clients are provided with the best care. Throughout Covid, he ensured clients were engaged in treatment and returned to “in-person” individual and group sessions as soon as restrictions were lifted. His Saturday groups are thriving due to his consistency and dedication. Carlos hit his 3-year anniversary at Penny Lane this past January, and most recently he passed his licensure exam and now is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)! He is supportive of the department and Penny Lane events. The work he has done and will do is amazing!
SUD is the place to be! Substance Use Disorder (SUD) has flourished thanks to our amazing leadership team and dedicated staff. In the last 3 years SUD is averaging over 200 admissions per year. Regardless of what the world has experienced in the last few years our staff continue to show up day in and day out. Thank you to the entire SUD team for all your love and commitment.
Our CalWORKs program in the Antelope Valley helps adults work towards employment. Trying to get a job can be a very daunting and intimidating process. The CalWORKs team uses a collaborative treatment team approach to support clients in removing any barriers towards employment: therapists address mental health issues, case managers help link clients to community resources, and employment specialists help with all aspects of employment. We are very excited that 17 clients in the past 6 months have gained employment with our program. We wanted to highlight one of our client’s success stories.
Estefania obtained a position as a GAIN Service Worker. She was anxious about getting back into the work force because she worried about leaving her children. According to Estefania, “I was stuck in my shell afraid to venture out in the world”. She states that her therapist, Martha Joma, and her Employment Specialist, Cristina Solis, were pillars in helping her find her strengths and putting them in action. She is grateful that her Penny Lane team kept her motivated and gave her so much encouragement through the process. Although there was a lot to learn in her new job, Estefania feels accomplished as she found a purpose in helping others on welfare with employment support. Her advice to others is, “Don’t be scared and leave the worries behind”.
We have an upcoming workshop on February 22nd from 11am-12pm called “Hiring With A Little Help From Our Friends”. This workshop is virtual and open to the anyone in the community. We have invited hiring managers in the community to share tips on what they look for when reviewing resumes, presentation tips for interviews, and what makes a successful employee.
On Friday February 3rd, Penny Lane Centers, in collaboration with Rosa Parks Learning Center (RPLC) will conduct the very first Erase Hate assembly for the 5th graders. We are super excited to bring the message of inclusivity to these 5th grade students. We know the importance of imparting this message at a young age so these young people will grow up respecting and embracing differences! In addition to the assembly, RPLC invited PLC to meet with parents during Coffee with the Principal and faculty during their professional development session.
Coffee with the Principal was held on (1/26). With a Spanish translator present, we discussed the effects of prejudice and racism. Parents were both engaged and curious, asking questions as to how they can help their children understand and accept differences they see in others. On (2/7), we will be meeting with the faculty to discuss how they can foster inclusivity in the classroom.
Penny Lane is so grateful to RPLC for joining us as we address these social and racial justice issues. It is our hope that this is just the beginning. We look forward to meeting with more schools to help spread the message of inclusivity throughout the community.