Staff Announcements


From left to right: Michelle Larned, Danielle “Danni” Blauner, Faith Burch, and Adam Whitney

We are thrilled to announce Vinfen’s 2022 Peer Leadership Award winners: Program Director Danielle “Danni” Blauner and Lead Peer Specialist Faith Burch! Pictured with Danni and Faith are Director of Clinical Services Michelle Larned and Senior Director of Recovery Services Adam Whitney, who presented the awards to both recipients earlier in January.

Vinfen’s Peer Leadership Award is given out annually to recognize the outstanding achievements of staff with lived experience of a mental health and/or substance use challenges who have made significant contributions to the organization and peer movement. Staff are nominated for outstanding job performance and leadership by their colleagues and/or supervisors, and winners are selected by a committee of Vinfen leaders. Criteria for selection includes:

  • Promoting constructive change on issues regarding persons with lived experience
  • Influencing the success of persons with lived experience
  • Helping to bridge the gap between persons with lived experience and non-peers
  • Supporting a greater understanding of the values of hope and resiliency as related to peers

This year’s Peer Leadership Award was generously funded by the LaPlume Family. Vinfen Program Director David LaPlume will also ensure this award is sustained over the next ten years in honor of his late mother and father, Pauline and Ronald LaPlume. David, a former lead peer specialist, holds this award close to his heart. He shared, “Funding this award will help sustain the commitment my parents had to supporting people in the community who need and deserve services like those Vinfen offers.”

Danni and Faith have demonstrated extraordinary peer support at Vinfen, which is a critical component of our community-based services. Peer support allows the people we serve to make connections with staff who can relate to and understand the journey to finding recovery through their own lived experience with mental health and/or substance use challenges.

In the recent weeks, Faith has been facilitating a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) group for members of the Hyannis Recovery Connection Center (RCC) where Danni is program director. Danni and Faith reflected together on the impact of peer support for both the people we serve and our peer workforce:

“Supporting our peers wherever they are in their recovery journey inspires us to continue to advocate, share, and develop trusting relationships. This allows us to better serve the community and see others gain independence and hope in their own lives. In each of our recoveries, we have learned that there is a mutuality in what we do. We get as much from the community we serve as we hope they receive from us.”

Congratulations, Danni and Faith! Thank you for modeling excellent leadership within the peer workforce and for sharing your lived experience through peer support with the people we serve and across Vinfen.

To learn more about Vinfen’s peer support services, visit
To learn more about Vinfen’s Recovery Learning Centers, visit
Interested in becoming a peer specialist? Apply today at

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