Vinfen is pleased to announce that the 2020 Board of Directors Scholarship winner is Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS) Lead Peer Specialist Alicia Anzaldi! Each year, this award is presented in recognition of outstanding achievement of a staff member and to help employees further their skills, education, and career enhancement at Vinfen. The Board of Directors Scholarship is generously funded by Vinfen’s board members who firmly believe in supporting continuing education and professional development opportunities for Vinfen staff members.
Alicia joined Vinfen in 2017 as a Recovery Coordinator and transitioned to a Lead Peer Specialist for the Plymouth ACCS Team in July 2018. Around the time she joined the Vinfen team, she was also accepted into Boston University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and has been working full-time while going to school for the past three years. Her educational journey came full circle when she graduated this past spring and learned she was the recipient of the 2020 Board of Directors Scholarship. “It’s great, I am honored!” Alicia expressed.
With her MSW, Alicia implements clinical interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and motivational interviewing through a peer lens. Through this, she can connect with people on a deeper level, remain approachable, and offer welcomed support, which is truly meaningful to Alicia. “It’s rewarding – being a peer allows me to be the support that I always wanted in my life and that’s how I approach my job,” Alicia voiced. “I try to go above and beyond to support, empower, learn, advocate, inform, validate, problem solve, and grow as a team member, supervisor, and service provider,” she added.
During her time at Vinfen, Alicia has made a significant impact on Vinfen service provision and utilization of peer support through person-centered advocacy, training, and collaboration. To combat mental health stigma, she co-created the Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Training for Vinfen staff. “A lot of people run away from those who self-harm – I run toward them,” she explained. With the integration of peer specialists in the ACCS model, Alicia instituted best practice standards that support individuals to identify needs and determine their goals. She believes wholeheartedly in the importance of providing recovery-focused, person driven services and strives to remain a constant and approachable presence of support.
As a future goal, Alicia looks forward to obtaining additional licensure as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). She truly appreciates her experience thus far at Vinfen and is grateful to be surrounded by such supportive colleagues. ACCS Team Leader Lauri Leeds, who nominated Alicia for the scholarship, couldn’t be more thrilled that she won. “I nominated her because she is one of the hardest working team players that I’ve had the privilege of supervising. Despite her demanding school deadlines, she continued giving it her all in the workplace. She never complained, rather she often volunteered to do extra tasks on top of her already heavy workload,” Lauri explained. “She is intelligent, creative, and continues to learn and grow as a supervisor. She is a mentor and a true leader!”
By sharing her story of lived experience with others, Alicia hopes to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and continue to transform lives at Vinfen. “We don’t have to have a mental illness, we can have a mental health diagnosis and thrive in life,” she proclaimed.
On behalf of Vinfen’s Board of Directors and the entire Vinfen community, we are incredibly proud of Alicia and are honored to present this year’s award to such a deserving person.