Our team is made up of experts in the fields of social isolation, loneliness, addiction, and mental health.
Helen Rivas-Rose lived with severe shyness for 50 years. It truncated her education, denied her a career, oriented her two marriages, and affected her parenting. In midlife, she decided to do what was necessary to overcome it, taking self-directed steps that included: singing solo in public, delivering her own talks at Unitarian-Universalist churches, joining drama workshops to expose her childhood pain, and joining a typical socially oriented garden club.
With help from SCORE of Portland, Maine, and Dr. Kevin Crowley, school principal in Kennebunk, Maine, Rivas-Rose founded The Center for Social Isolation Relief, (CSIR) a non-profit tax-exempt organization. Its mission is to provide relief to socially isolated children and youth so they can unite with their peers. Rivas-Rose serves as program manager and CSIR works on designing and implementing projects for schools that will help children develop more self-confidence and social connections.
Antony has worked as a police community support officer for the London Met Police since 2006, primarily giving crime prevention advice. His role includes promoting any activities which support the socially isolated. One example is the LoneliLESS group run by colleagues in the neighborhood where he works. They offer a chance for people who are alone to get together once a fortnight for a couple of hours. Antony handles social media for CSIR.
Roberta Stout's career spans four decades of human service. In both Washington state and New Hampshire, she worked to close institutions for the developmentally disabled and assisted with placement of clients into community homes and activities. She later served as Executive Director of an agency which located or developed jobs for clients with mental health or developmental issues. In Colorado, she supervised a Probation Department, serving clients adjudicated for alcohol and drug offenses and referring them to treatment. For thirteen years, Roberta oversaw a Crisis Prevention and Intervention team serving southern Maine and currently, she contracts with York County Probate court as a Guardianship Visitor. She has experience in grant and proposal writing and will offer her skills to assist CSIR.
Joan has more than 30 years of experience working as a professional communicator both domestically and internationally. Her work spans the fields of training; program design; broadcast and print journalism; acting and coaching. In addition to regularly delivering media trainings throughout the U.S. for high tech, healthcare, wine industry and non-profit clients, for the last eight years she has been presenting The Listening Clinic and Make Your Point communication skills training classes for Intel Corporation at their sites around the world. Locally, Joan is a member of Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Invest in Incredible consulting team as well as a faculty member for State College of Florida’s Leadership Academy.
Her background includes more than twelve years as a talk show host/producer, a news reporter on radio and television, as well as freelance print journalism. She has worked for KTVU-TV (Oakland, CA,) Associated Press Radio Network, Cable News Network, KCSM-TV (public television, San Mateo, CA,) WQSA AM Radio, WZ 1280-AM Radio and Storer Cable Television (Sarasota, FL.) Her book, CultureShift, A Leader’s Guide to Managing Change in Health Care, was published by American Hospital Publishing, Inc.
Joan consults to numerous Fortune 500 companies; often working with senior management and others whose success depends on their ability to effectively communicate their messages.
Rachel Wells is a board-certified music therapist serving Southern Maine, from Portland to Kittery and is the founder of Southern Maine Music Therapy. Rachel graduated in 2006 from Anna Maria College with a Bachelor's in Music Therapy. She became board certified in Music Therapy in 2007. Upon completing her 1,200 hour internship at Shriners Burns Hospital, Rachel moved to Boone, North Carolina to pursue further education from Appalachian State University. She graduated in 2010 with honors with a Master's of Music Therapy, a Master's of Art in Clinical Community Mental Health Counseling, and a Post-Master's Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy. She has also completed Level I Helen Bonny Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). Rachel has experience working in a variety of settings and populations.
Through my own personal experience as an incarcerated man of color and someone who has struggled with addiction issues as well as an individual who has worked with others overcoming addiction as well as with immigrant youth, I have examined progression which occurs in group settings but fails when attempted therapeutically in isolation. I also have recognized that there are limitations to what can get done in group settings when the state of the group is non cohesive. I am of the belief that humans are fundamentally social creatures and not only is this indispensable to our progress as beings on this Earth but also to the processing of experiences which if not dealt with through social interaction are very likely to mutate in the self. In time such experiences may lead to behavioral issues, mental health challenges and even stress-induced autoimmune diseases. However when utilized they can facilitate greater connections among fellows as well as empower the individuals who have endured.
Dr. Julia Burns Riley is a social worker and an Associate Professor at several Universities in New England. She has been a practicing social worker in Maine for 27 years. Previously she was a private consultant working with social service agencies assisting with accreditation, licensing and the development and coordination of clinical programs. She has extensive experience in providing training and supervision to M.S.W. students and clinical social workers. She has experience in developing, designing and implementing course content for graduate social work students. Currently, she has a private practice serving children, adolescents and adults using a variety of treatment modalities. Her publications and research has focused on examining the effects of case management on behavioral and service outcomes for children and youth and understanding the service needs for children and adolescents in Maine.
Ph.D., Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Boston, Ma 2004
M.S.W. Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Boston, Ma 1993
M.A. Theology-Pastoral Counseling, St. Joseph’s College, Standish, Me 2016
B.S. Sociology/Psychology, Suffolk University, Boston, Ma 1991
Alan is a current president of the Kennebunk Free Library Board of Trustees, and a member of Kennebunk Portside Rotary (Past president and District Secretary), Heartwood College of Art Board of Director, and is currently on the Board for Maine Stage Shakespeare.
He is a former member of the Board of the Brick Store Museum,the Kennebunk Planning Board, and the Zoning Rewrite Committee. He also served on the MSAD 71 Board of directors for 9 years, and was the chairman of the building committees for the Middle School of the Kennebunks, and the Kennebunk Elementary School. His hobbies include, tennis, running, flyfishing, scuba diving, paddle tennis,road biking, hiking,jazz (tenor sax) photography and writing.
Dr. Merideth Norris, DO is a family medicine specialist in Kennebunk, ME and has been practicing for 23 years. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University College Of Osteopathic Medicine in 1996 and specializes in family medicine.
Susan Richards is a New York Times bestselling author of 3 memoirs;
Chosen By a Horse,
Saddled. Before becoming a full time writer, she was a social worker and a Writing Adjunct at Marist College and SUNY Ulster. She was married to renowned Magnum photographer, Dennis Stock who died in 2010.
The Kennebunk Police Department is proud to partner with CSIR as we believe in their mission to connect the socially isolated to community. Chief Robert MacKenzie says, “ there is a link between social isolation and substance use disorder. In order to tackle substance use disorder we must address the root causes, and social isolation is one of those root issues that we need to work together as a society to address.’ CSIR is an organization we can all support in order to help those struggling with social isolation which will have a positive impact on our society overall.
Kennebunk Free Library opens our doors to all and would especially like to welcome those who are socially isolated. Through our services and programs we strive to find ways to help connect people. This can be done person-to-person or person-to resource and digitally, in-person, or by just providing a public space where someone can still expect relative privacy while also being away from home.
Chris Wells is co-owner of a 15-years-running Web Development shop in Portland, ME. He graduated
summa cum laude
from Providence College with a degree in Computer Science, and from Appalachian State University with a Master's in Technology Education.