Shared by Karen Garber

Tell us about your work at JF&CS.

I am a clinician at the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS). As such, my role allows me to wear a variety of hats. One of them is providing counseling and support to young families impacted by a variety of issues including mental illness, substance use, poverty, and immigration. I spend most of my time working for Project BRIGHT, a grant-funded project seeking to provide therapeutic treatment to families recovering from opiate addiction. Project BRIGHT treatment is provided out in the community or at the clients' outpatient treatment programs where they already receive a number of other services.

Another one of my roles within CERS is of a trainer, offering support and educational opportunities to other organizations in the community. CERS offers me the opportunity to contribute to the community both at a micro and macro level while allowing me to continue to grow as a professional. During my free time, I also enjoy volunteering for our own Welcome Baby! program, a wonderful support for new parents and their infants. CERS is full of new and exciting projects and I really enjoy taking part in many of those initiatives.

What are some of your favorite places to travel?
Our favorite place to travel used to be Venezuela, my hometown. Unfortunately the political unrest there does not allow us to do that anymore. On the other hand, we try to go to Israel to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

More locally we love to visit Cape Cod every summer, a tradition that started many years ago when our oldest son started going to overnight camp there.

You have a free Saturday – what do you and your family do together in Greater Boston?
Riding a bike to the local ice cream shop or, if the weather allows, driving to Walden Pond, to swim, walk, or simply have a picnic.

Recommend a book.
Winter Bone. This book fell into my hands after one of my kids got it as an assignment in school. The writer, Daniel Woodrell, tells the story of an almost forgotten part of this country, the Ozarks. Not everything in the book is poverty and hopelessness. The main character reminds me of so many young women I meet in my work -- strong and incredibly resilient -- despite a past that offered very little in terms of nurturing and love.

What is your favorite food?
Thai! Followed by good Venezuelan food. If you haven't had an arepa, please do. They are delicious!