I took a lot away from our Health and Human Services Day in November. I went with Michele and Krystal from ALDEA Children & Family Services. We toured the wellness center at Harvest Middle School. It was heartbreaking to see that so many of our children carry so much stress with them on a daily basis. While sad it was wonderful to see that kids today are open about their stress and active in caring for their mental health. There is no stigma attached to asking for help for oneself or a friend. Michele and Krystal were incredible guides through this process. Their caring and knowledge is amazing. The amount of care needed and given by ALDEA was overwhelming. - Adam Ghisletta
As inspiring as my tour with ALDEA was the rest of the day was outstanding. The panelists really stood out to me. Their talks were inspirational. I was especially moved by Molly from Waste Not Napa. Last year after Bottlerock I volunteered at the Table feeding the less fortunate. Waste Not Napa brought food left over from Bottlerock for lunch. I didn’t know who brought the food at the time, but thought it was a terrific idea. When I found out during our class that this was a project done by former Leadership students I was blown away. Our class and I have big shoes to fill. The entire day was something I will never forget. - Rina Faletti
One experience will always stand out from the Health and Human Services Day, and this was meeting Celine Regalia, Director of Operations at Collabria Care (formerly known as Napa Valley Hospice). That day, my 83-year-old mother was in the hospital for the third time in a few months. I had been told to visit Collabria Care, which I knew nothing about. Suddenly at the LNV morning coffee chat there stood Celine and Collabria Care. After listening to my mom’s story, Celine encouraged me to make an appointment. Yet, later that day, she touched my elbow during the closing session, saying she would wait at her Collabria office until after Leadership ended.
We met in the empty after-hours building, talking about my mother’s worsening condition and options for comfort care. It was an enlightening experience, because she knew what I did not yet know: that my mother’s time had come. By chance, Collabria ended up providing the hospice care my mother received inpatient at the Queen, and she died just a week from that Leadership day.
Celine demonstrated that it is the alignment of personal with professional vision that feeds true leadership. That meeting changed my perspective, and in doing so it changed my life, because my new perspective allowed me to accept my mother’s unexpected death, and to help my mother to accept it as well. This in turn affected my entire family – down to my 10-year-old daughter, who was so close to her grandmother. During one amazing moment at my mother’s bedside I calmly observed the miracle of my mother explaining her acceptance of her own death in a way her 10-year-old granddaughter could also accept, even if through a veil of tears.
The Health and Human Services Day went far beyond a sampling of professions and professionals; it became very literally a life-changing experience, thanks to a gifted and experienced leadership style. - Natalie Griffin
From the beginning of our Leadership Napa Valley experience, Class 32 was warned that Health and Human Services Day would be an emotional rollercoaster. “Bring tissues,” everyone advised. However, no amount of advice could prepare us for how inspired we would feel at the end of the day. A mentor was assigned to each class member, who spent the morning showing us what their organization looks like in a given day.
Abode Services is built on the principle of Housing First. Their staff work directly with the homeless to not only find housing, but also to provide services to help them sustain that home. Abode Services manages the two year-round homeless shelters, an Emergency Shelter, and a homeless resource center in Napa. The staff of Abode Services meet their clients where they’re at, whether that be newly homeless, chronically homeless, or those needing a temporary helping hand to get back on their feet. Abode provides critical assistance to community members who find themselves homeless such as transportation services, connection to mental health resources, and assistance with housing-related services like utility assistance programs, communication with property managers/landlords, and programs providing free household goods to fill their new residences.
We are so grateful to the mentors, the speakers, the facilitators, the Health and Human Services Department, and the day’s sponsor, Napa Valley Vintners. As always, thank you to Jill and Holly for their leadership and guidance through this incredible program.
Submitted by Adam Ghisletta, Rina Faletti and Natalie Griffin, participants in LNV Class 32.