RISE is proud to work with a with a staff that come from a wide range of experience and skills.  As part of our staff highlight for the month of June, we’d love to introduce you to one of our Care Coordinators, Melanie Botti. Melanie comes from our Children Come First (CCF) program and is based out of our Dewey Office.  We love to get insights from our mental health wrap-around programs and highlight the staff that do such great work within the community. We sat down with her to learn more about what drives her to do the work that she does with RISE, and how important practicing self-care can be.

Today we’re here with Melanie, and she works with Children Come First! Can you briefly describe what you do for our readers?

Well my primary role is building report and working with kiddos who have mental health needs. Aside from that, my primary job is to keep those participants in the community and provide them with services to help them function within the community rather than, say, a foster home, residential placement, or juvenile detention.

Can you define what those services would be to keep them in the community?

That can range from in-home therapy, family therapy, we even provide horse therapy, I will be looking into a form of art therapy for one of my participants soon.  We have helped with transportation to help participants go to their psychiatrist appointment, I support those as well.

Is the whole point of wrap-around is to dive into the different aspects of a participant’s life?

Not just with their mental health…I mean the best way for me to build a rapport is usually take a kid out to eat, or do something fun. Or ice cream, taking them to the zoo.  Things that are free and low cost that’s a fun activity for them.  We don’t have to always just talk about what’s going on mental health wise, but we just get to know them a little bit better, we talk about family life because that can play a huge role from a mental health aspect.

So how long have you been at RISE?

I have been with RISE and the CCF program for 8 months!

What is something that you find that is a strength that you bring to the meetings with participants?

I do bring empathy to meetings, and I like to think that I’m open-minded to other ideas and ways of working with kids.  One of the things I think is most important is having those really difficult conversations, some can be how we should be doing things in a different way if something is not working.  With my background I feel very comfortable having tough conversations and I think it helps build that rapport with, not just the kid, but the family!

What do you find most fulfilling about the work you do?

Because I am working in Madison! [she laughs]

Of course, because it’s the best city on earth, but continue!

Yes!  All jokes aside, I have a passion for learning more about mental health, the affects it has on people, and why people do the things they do.  Being someone who has been through mental health of my own, wanting to explore other diagnoses and what that looks like for my participants. And being an advocate for them!  Probably the biggest reason I do what I do is to be an advocate.  I like to bring a different perspective to the table.

What do you do to practice self-care?

I do take care of myself, and practice self-care. It’s important for me to take care of myself. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go get a manicure or pedicure after I leave work today! Because why not?

Why do you think people are reluctant to take care of themselves?

I think for some people, it can be easy to get lost in that, you know ‘oh I can’t stop because I have a report due, or I have homework due, or I have a hearing tomorrow’. Especially when people have children, their needs come first, they feel like they need to take care of the house, dog…it’s very easy to put all of that before yourself than saying ‘I need a break’ and switch their mindset.

What do you think the readers don’t know about RISE that you wish they did?

Coming here, I was working somewhere out of town, and they didn’t have a program or organization such as RISE.  I wish people knew about the name and what we do overall.  I wish people knew about all of our services and the true need for it in the community.

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