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Stellar Recipients of Vinfen’s 2019 Board of Directors Scholarship

Vinfen is proud to award the 2019 Board of Directors Scholarship to Frances Kimball-Katz and Damita Privott! Each year, this award is presented to help employees further their education, career, and their dedication to the people Vinfen serves. The Board of Directors Scholarship is generously funded by Vinfen’s board members who firmly believe in supporting continuing education for Vinfen staff members.

Franny is Vinfen’s ACCS Lead Peer Specialist on Cambridge/Somerville Team 3 and has been working for Vinfen for over two years. Within her own journey of mental health, Franny was inspired by how much of an impact people had on her life and wanted to give back. “I thought about the mental health professionals who had helped me save my own life, and I made a decision. I wanted to help people the way I had been helped when I was falling apart – that is, I wanted to become a social worker and specialize in addictions counseling,” Franny explained. This ‘ah-hah’ moment motivated her to complete her associate’s degree in psychology.

Currently, Franny is enrolled at Lesley University and is working to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a career goal of becoming a Licensed Social Worker. Franny is excited to combine her experience as a Peer and her license to offer a unique perspective to the people she will help. “I promote hope and hold onto that hope for individuals who cannot find it,” Franny encouraged. She is eager to continue to enhance her person-centered perspective and feels honored to have support from Vinfen. “I am so grateful to receive this award. As a Peer Specialist, I frequently share my story of recovery with the people I serve, and going back to school has been a big part of my journey. When I was unwell, I never could have pictured myself going back to school, much less winning an award to help me further my education. Recovery truly is real and possible. To me, this award means hope,” Franny conveyed.

Franny was nominated by Vinfen’s ACCS Team Leader Amy Saunders, LICSW, who couldn’t be more proud of Franny and all that she is accomplishing in her life. “Franny has an ability to engage people we serve in activities and tasks that can be overwhelming, because of her helpful, natural, and warm approach. She has helped individuals make progress toward their goals simply by being present, validating, and supporting the process,” Amy explained.

Damita is Program Specialist with Vinfen CT and has been with Vinfen since March of 2011. She has worked in the human services field since 1987, and her first job was at a group home in Connecticut, where she gained invaluable experience. Nevertheless, Damita knew something was missing throughout her career advancements: she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree.

After starting at Vinfen and being supported to further her education, Damita knew it was her time to go back to school. Damita has been able to apply material she is learning into her professional life and has evolved as a Program Specialist since starting at Springfield College. “My job is to ensure the freedom and well-being that is essential because it is the core value that we as people in the human services field must follow,” Damita shared.

Damita has big plans to implement her education within her role at Vinfen. As she maintains a 4.0, she looks forward to continuing to make a difference in as many lives as she can. “I am 54 years old, and I believe I still have room to grow and learn. I am striving for greatness for myself, and everything I do, and Vinfen plays a significant role in reaching my goal,” she added.  “I am overwhelmed and appreciative that I was one of the recipients chosen. I have committed myself to working hard and to excel in school. My goal is to be the best that I can be and to play a vital role in transforming the lives of the people we serve.”

Damita was nominated by Vinfen CT Director of Quality Kelsey Collins who is inspired by her dedication and commitment to education. “When she sets a goal for herself, she achieves it, and works harder than just about anyone I know to reach that goal,” Kelsey voiced. She believes Damita is absolutely deserving of this award and is excited to see Damita graduate in June of 2020.

On behalf of Vinfen’s Board of Directors and the entire Vinfen community, we are incredibly proud of Franny and Damita and are honored to present this year’s award to such deserving individuals.


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