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For Immediate Release

Easterseals UCP All Stars

Therapists Honored For Their Work With People Living With Mental Health Challenges

Raleigh, NC, August 20, 2019

Therapists from a variety of the Easterseals UCP Mental Health Services including the Multisystemic Therapy (MST), Outpatient Therapy, and the Intensive In-Home programs received awards for their unconditional dedication to children, at-risk teens and adults living with mental illness.  The Mental Health Program at Easterseals UCP kicked off its’ first All Star Employees of the Quarter Awards. Max Shafir, MST Program Manager in Raleigh said, “The award winners all went above and beyond in their jobs addressing intense behaviors and challenges.”

Easterseals UCP is proud of the dedicated employees who serve people living with disabilities and mental health challenges.

National MST Institute Award Winner for Whatever It Takes-Amelia Lower, MST Supervisor
MST awardAmelia is a champion for our clients and families and is always willing to go above and beyond in her job. She is ready and willing to help staff both clinically and administratively and teach them so they can become strong clinicians and advocates. Amelia truly represents the “Whatever It Takes” attitude and does just that in every situation. Amelia has led the charge with Juvenile Justice and has gotten several judges to understand and support the MST model with the children they are advising and ruling on and their families and has formed numerous partnerships and collaborations with Juvenile Justice. Amelia said, “This is a difficult population but somebody has got to be in the trenches to make a change and I’m glad I can work with these families during the toughest times to effect change.”


All Star Employee of the Quarter Award Winner -Sarah Albert, Intensive In-Home Therapist
all starSarah is an All Star because she exhibits a positive and supportive attitude all the time. She is willing to take on the most difficult clients and persevere through the challenges to ensure advocacy and support for her team and clients. She goes above and beyond to make sure she is a support to her clinicians. While handing a case load of 12, she has handled numerous crises while training new staff. Sarah said, “Having the opportunity to help a child or family in some of their most vulnerable times and be able to give them hope and empowerment is such an honor. Getting to hold people’s stories and let them know that they are not alone is powerful work, which I am grateful to be a part of.”


All Star Employee of the Quarter Award Winner-Kara Collins, MST Therapist
2019-all Star karaKara is an All Star because she jumped right in her first day exhibiting the “Whatever It Takes” attitude. She started off with several very challenging cases and has persevered through engagement barriers, helping families navigate through basic needs, several crisis calls, hospitalizations, and multiple incident reports. She never hesitated to keep moving forward with these difficult cases and has accepted feedback gracefully. Even as a new therapist, she has jumped in and offered to support the newest MST therapists, providing feedback and helping with training whenever possible. Kara said, “As a catalyst for change my impact may be small or it might be grand, but either way, I wake up each day knowing I made a difference in the lives of others.”


All Star Employee of the Quarter Award Winner-Nanette Nelson, Outpatient Therapy
all starAfter years of attending and managing support groups for parents of children with special needs, Nanette felt it was time to pay it forward.  She left New York for North Carolina and started a new career as a therapist.  For seven years, she’s been dedicated to her work at Easterseals UCP as part of the Outpatient Therapy team. She feels rewarded by helping people living with mental health challenges.


All Star Employee of the Quarter Award Winner-Deborah Upchurch, Support Service
all starDeborah spent 30 years working with Wake County Human Services.  About ten years ago, she retired and took on part-time positions until Easterseals UCP expressed interest in hiring her as an Intake Coordinator.  She took the job and for eight years has been working full time.  She says this will be her last job – really.   She’s enjoying working with staff and helping families living with mental illness. 


All Star Employee of the Quarter Award Winner-Humberto “Hubie” Mercado, Outpatient Therapy
all starHubie found his niche in life at Easterseals UCP.  Originally from New York, his tour with the U.S. Marines introduced him to the south where he has made a home for himself.  Hubie  started off working in the Intensive In Home program at Easterseals UCP.  However, a supervisor saw something in Hubie that convinced him to join the Outpatient Therapy Plus team.  For two years, he’s been working on that team making a difference in the lives of people living with mental health challenges.

All Star awards

Congratulations to the All Star Employees of the Quarter and to the National MST Institute Award Winner.  Easterseals UCP provides a wide range of Mental Health Services including Multisystemic Therapy, Assertive Community Treatment, Outpatient Therapy, Hope4NC, NC START and VA REACH, and Integrated Dual Diagnosis Teams.  

Learn more about Easterseals UCP Mental Health Services.

Easterseals provides meaningful and exceptional services so that children and adults living with disabilities and mental health challenges can live, learn, work and play in their communities.

Learn more about Easterseals UCP at www.eastersealsucp.comSign up for the Easterseals UCP eNews.

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