Meet Mary Curlew, Community Education and Training Specialist
Posted by JF&CS
JF&CS is pleased to introduce Mary Curlew, LICSW, our new Community Education and Training Specialist. In this role, Mary develops and delivers compelling presentations and trainings on mental health issues that impact older adults. Ranging in topics from social bullying, suicide prevention, brain health, and aging with optimism, these workshops are delivered in the community to older adults and professionals who work with older adults.
Mary is excited to join the JF&CS team, sharing that she has long admired the agency’s work and reputation. “When I was in my early 20s, I met an outreach worker from JF&CS through my work at a homeless shelter,” said Mary. “I remember being impressed by both her depth of knowledge and compassion.” Mary later worked with Peggy Kaufman, the director of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support®, through Postpartum Support International and was “again, amazed by her depth of compassion and knowledge.” Mary went on to say, “Working with Kathy Burnes and the rest of the team in Services for Older Adults confirms the wonderful impression I had of JF&CS.”
Two Decades in Behavioral Health
Prior to joining JF&CS, Mary spent 20 years working in the behavioral health field, primarily in outpatient care. Her clinical experience has “progressed through the lifespan,” as she initially worked with preschool and elementary-aged children before focusing on adolescents, then adults, and finally, older adults. Mary especially enjoyed working with groups through behavioral therapies that had a teaching component and providing training, consultation, and supervision to her interdisciplinary colleagues, such as primary care physicians, doulas, nurses, and other direct care workers.
“I loved providing group therapy, education, and training not only to clients but to service providers as well,” said Mary. “So, the position of Community Education and Training Specialist at JF&CS seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that full time.”
A Great Start at JF&CS
Only a little more than four months into her new job, Mary is out in the community, leading workshops on subject matter that is important to her, both personally and professionally. “I am finding that service providers are very appreciative of the knowledge and insight that our program provides,” said Mary. “Each training is informed by my clinical experience and the wealth of information here at JF&CS.”
Mary is also developing new workshops that draw on her background in trauma and behavioral health. “I am looking to provide training for service providers in assisting trauma survivors with emotional regulation and recovery,” explained Mary. “I feel very strongly that lived experience, and the current internal and external resources people have to deal with distress, need to be more of a focus in behavioral healthcare.” Additionally, Mary sees a need for more general health and wellness training to improve the overall behavioral health of older adults.
As she plans ambitious new education initiatives, Mary feels fortunate to have support from her colleagues at JF&CS. “Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful,” said Mary. “It is wonderful to be part of such a caring and effective team.”
If you are interested in learning more about organizing a workshop with Mary, visit our Aging and Mental Health Training page.