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Get to Know Us 2017

Alyssa Ciarlante, M.A., Research Associate

I am very new to the Devereux team and my favorite part of being on this team is having the opportunity to work with people who are so passionate about the work that they do!

Professionally I am most passionate about using data-driven techniques to support robust research, specifically in the field of Social-Emotional Learning.

Personally I love enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book in front of the fireplace!

My wish for children in 2017 is for all children to have a safe, loving network to provide them with unconditional support.

Here is a picture of me enjoying three things I love: cookies, Central Park, and quality time with my Mom!

Caroll Berridge, Office Manager

Hello, I’m Caroll Berridge and I have been the Office Manager for the Center for Resilient Children for over 9 years.

I have been with Devereux for over 28 years and my favorite part of being on this team is the importance that is placed on each and every member and that we truly work as a “TEAM”. I am very proud to be part of one of the finest group of people with a true passion for the social emotional well-being of all children and people who care for them as well as each other.

Professionally I am most passionate about speaking with customers who contact us to purchase items from our wonderful suite of resources. I also take great pride in preparing all the materials needed so that our National and Certified Trainers can spread the word of our mission.

Personally I love to craft, from polymer clay projects to creating jewelry. I especially like doing projects that repurpose items from nature and recycle.

My wish for children in 2017 is that they learn to love themselves.

Here is a picture of me and son in New York City during the holidays.

 

Debbie Alleyne, M.S., National Trainer & Early Childhood Specialist

Hello, I’m Debbie Alleyne, National Trainer and Early Childhood Specialist.

I have been with Devereux for 9 years and my favorite part of being on this team is being surrounded on a daily basis with the most creative, intelligent, supportive people I have ever met…and I’ve been in this field for over 30 years!

Professionally I am most passionate about supporting young children and families who experience significant risk and trauma.

Personally I love spending time with my 2 grandchildren doing anything from watching a movie, reading a book together or traveling to new places.

My wish for children in 2017 is for every child to be accepted and valued for the unique and amazing person they are.  Yes, EVERY child is amazing!

Here is a picture of me and Linda Likins, our beloved DCRC founder and an awesome friend, in Del Rey Beach, CA. We’re enjoying good food and a beautiful sunset together.

Debi Mahler, LICSW, Director of Professional Development

Hello, I’m Debi Mahler, Director of Professional Development

I have been with Devereux for 14 years and my favorite part of being on this team is working with fabulously talented individuals who are very committed to the same mission, and working with people from across the country (and internationally) to support their work with children and families.

Professionally I am most passionate about thinking about ways to provide the highest quality professional development experiences for adult learners, with professionals taking away motivation, inspiration, and skills to support the social-emotional health and well-being of children.

Personally I love yoga, running, skiing, seeing live music and spending time with my family!

My wish for children in 2017 is they spend time in environments that are loving, supportive, creative, enriching and exciting!

Here is a picture of myself, my daughter Sophie (10) and son Adam (11).  Fall in the Northeast is my favorite as I love the changing of the leaves.  As someone who grew up in Miami, FL, I continue to be intrigued by the change of seasons!

Jennifer Robitaille, M.S., Research Associate

Hello, I’m Jennifer (Fleming) Robitaille, Research Associate

I have been with Devereux for 6 years and my favorite part of being on this team is working with so many passionate, focused, and positive people.

Professionally I am most passionate about using data to answer questions that will ultimately benefit children and their families.

Personally I love spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors.

My wish for children in 2017 is to feel safe, happy, and loved.

Here is a picture of me hiking in a state park here in PA.

Dr. Nefertiti Bruce Poyner, Ed.D., National Trainer & Early Childhood Specialist

Hello, I’m Nefertiti B. Poyner and I am an Early Childhood Specialist and National Trainer.

I have been with Devereux for 15 years and my favorite part of being on this team is working with individuals who all share a common goal of promoting resilience for children, families and communities.

Professionally I am most passionate about adult resilience, particularly teachers and parents.

Personally I love life and all that it brings.  I also love being a wife and mom.

My wish for children in 2017 is happy and healthy spirits, with caring adults who love and care for them unconditionally both in and out of the home.

Here is a picture of me and my almost 2 year old daughter. Motherhood has taught me so much about life and what is important.

Paul LeBuffe, M.A., Director

Hello, I’m Paul LeBuffe, Director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children.

I have been with Devereux for 36 years and my favorite part of being on this team is working with colleagues who genuinely and passionately care about our mission to promote the resilience of children and the adults who care for them.

Professionally I am most passionate about collaborating with teachers, out of school time staff and parents to ensure that every child has the social and emotional skills needed to be successful and happy.

Personally I love canoeing on still waters; camping with my family; reading local history, visiting historical sites and reflecting on the strengths of our ancestors; and attending student musical performances – it so much fun to see elementary and secondary students working together to produce beauty.

My wish for children in 2017 is to not be discouraged by the rancor and discord sowed by adults and to show us how to play nicely with each other.

Here is a picture of me and my daughter, Denise at the wedding of my niece.  I chose this picture because it lets me brag about Denise, a pediatric occupational therapist.

Rachel Wagner, MSW, National Trainer & Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist

Hello, I’m Rachel Wagner and I am a National Trainer and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist.

I have been with Devereux for 10 years and my favorite part of being on this team is that I get to work with some of the smartest people I have ever met!  Working with a team of people who are smarter than you is such a wonderful way to grow and stretch every day.  I am so lucky!

Professionally I am most passionate about understanding children who use challenging behavior and finding ways to support them so they can thrive.  Children who use challenging behavior are actually great communicators.  I am most passionate about listening to what they are trying to say!

Personally I love my family.  I want to raise kids who are thoughtful, so my most favorite thing is having deep conversations with children about things like kindness, justice and what it means to be “cool.”

My wish for children in 2017 is that they feel heard.  Children are wise and kind and have so much to teach us if we could all just quiet ourselves and our lives and really listen to them.  My dad passed away in 2016 and the greatest gift he ever gave me is that he always listened whole heartedly to me, even when he was busy.  I want that same gift for all children.

Here is a picture of me and my family enjoying a hike near a beautiful waterfall in Ithaca, NY.

Rich Rinaldi, MBA, Business Analyst

Hello, I’m Rich Rinaldi, Business Analyst.

I have been with Devereux for one year and my favorite part of being on this team is working with smart, dedicated people.

Professionally I am most passionate about helping folks work more efficiently and effectively, non-profit management, and promoting SEL in youth.

Personally I love traveling to new places, hiking new trails, and cooking new foods.

My wish for children in 2017 is to get to spend time at summer camp, where they can unplug from their technology and connect with their peers and good adult role models.

Here is a picture of my girlfriend Hadley and me as we visited Machu Picchu in March. We are planning a trip to Cuba or Kenya next!

Susan Damico, M.A., Assistant Director

Hello, I’m Susan Damico, Assistant Director of DCRC.

I have been with Devereux for 20 years and my favorite part of being on this team is knowing that I am part of something that has and continues to have positive impacts on children, families and child-serving professionals.  I am fortunate that I get to speak to DECA Program users on a regular basis and hear stories about how our resources improve the quality of the services that children and families receive.  I never get tired of hearing these stories— they make me happy to come to work each and every day.

Professionally I am most passionate about helping adults understand the importance of what Ann Masten calls “Ordinary Magic”.  So often the circumstances children and families confront feel overwhelming and it is hard not to get discouraged about the impact that promoting resilience really has.   Thanks to researchers like Ann Masten and others, we know that it is the most ordinary things that have extraordinary power—even for those children who face significant trauma and stress.  The love and comfort that a parent or caregiver shows a child each day; the predicable routine that a caregiver offers a child day in and day out, the high-five or hug that a child gets each and every day from a caring adult— these ordinary things are powerful and have long-term, life changing implications.  This message is so hopeful and I am passionate about sharing it with anyone who will listen!

Personally I love my family!  I am so grateful for my husband, sweet (yes I mean it) teen-age son and daughter, parents and even my pets.

My wish for children in 2017 is Peace—I wish for peace at every level — in our world, in our country, in our communities, in our families and within ourselves.

Here is a picture of Linda Likins, the founding director of the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative and me.  This picture was taken last month when I was fortunate enough to visit Linda in CA where she now lives to be close to her son and grandchildren.  Linda was my boss, mentor and now most importantly, remains a dear friend.  We picked up and carried on during our visit as if no time had passed.  I can’t wait until we can do it again!

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Villanova, PA 19085