Resume

Melissaterese Rivera

 Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520 / melissa@yourcreativepathllc.com / 845.545.2895

Executive Summary

Using my 25-year history in youth development and working with at risk youth, I provide program development and enhancement as well as a commitment to having youth have their voice heard. My work is grounded in creating an environment where youth, staff and the community can engage and be a support for youth. A strong work ethic has allowed me to advance in organizations and make positive changes.

Experience

Senior Education Trainer/Youth Engagement Specialist                         July 2017-Present

Professional Development Program, University at Albany, SUNY (Albany, NY)

Training and technical assistance to the Local Department of Social Services (LDSS), Voluntary Foster Care Agencies, Department of Juvenile Justice and Foster Parents, in all areas of Youth Development.

  • Provide consultation, coaching and technical assistance to the Regional Office, local districts, and voluntary agencies on professional development and other strategies to improve their practice.
  • Deliver training and providing post-training support services in a wide range of adolescent services areas, such as use of guidance regarding educational funding resources, youth engagement strategies, staff development strategies, and program design.
  • Developing training and post-training plans with local districts and identifying needed specialist training.
  • Providing training and support for the Workforce Readiness Program
  • Active involvement in OCFS initiatives to provide internship opportunities for youth in care at the regional level.

Independent Living Skills Coordinator                                                      March 2015-July 2017

Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie, NY)

Program development for youth 14+ in age in the residential program, agency operated boarding homes, young mother’s program and the oversite of the Supervised Independent Living Program.

  • Increase the knowledge of staff regarding NYS Independent Living expectations
  • Provide support to youth regarding college planning and employment readiness
  • Conduct monthly groups using the Casey Life Skills Assessment, monitor credit reports & conduct annual assessments on life skills readiness
  • Collaborate with community based organizations, Healthy Families and Center for Child Abuse Prevention to provide ongoing services for our young mother’s

Part-Time Training Specialist                                                          December 2013 – March 2015

Research Foundation, SUNY Stony Brook University (Mid-Hudson Region)

Provided training and technical assistance under the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Adolescent Resource Network funding contract to all voluntary foster care agencies as well as local districts.

  • Increase the knowledge of caseworkers in relations to the NYS OCFS mandated Independent Living Skills policies and best practices
  • Assisted in curriculum development as needed
  • Provided resources for voluntary agencies in regards to housing, employment and education

Program Training Coordinator                                                   February 2006 – December 2013

Research Foundation, CUNY Silberman School of Social Work (New York, NY)

Provided training and technical assistance under the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Adolescent Resource Network funding contract to all 60 voluntary foster care agencies and the Administration of Children’s Services.

  • Increase the knowledge of caseworkers in relations to the NYS OCFS mandated Independent Living Skills policies and best practices
  • Developed and maintained an onsite training calendar as well as an off-site calendar
  • Managed a 10,000 piece library of youth development materials
  • Provided resources for voluntary agencies in regards to housing, employment and education

Youth Development Coordinator                                                    August 2004 –February 2006

Catholic Guardian Society (Bronx, NY)

Responsible for program development and enhancement of the Independent Living Skills program while supervising a team of 4 Youth Development Specialists and developing their professional development.

  • Developed the Independent Living Skills program to provide comprehensive learning experiences for over 200 youth ages 14-21
  • Collaboration with community based organizations to build a network of resources for youth and staff
  • Supervised Summer Youth Employment programming in house during the summer months

Youth Development Assistant Director                                           January 2001 – August 2004

Salvation Army Social Services for Children (New York, NY)

Responsible for program development and enhancement of the Independent Living Skills program to 300 youth.

  • Supervised a team of 4 Youth Development Staff who provided direct services to the youth
  • Developed various employment opportunities for the youth in the community
  • Strong collaboration with various community based organizations and the NYC Administration for Children‘s Services

Youth Development Congregate Care Coordinator                   October 1999- January 2001

Salvation Army Social Services for Children (New York, NY)

Responsible for independent living services to 8 group homes totaling 96 youth. Providing support to youth in their quest to learn how to live independently of the foster care system.

  • Provided life skills development for youth in 8 borough based group homes
  • Conducted various in house training to staff regarding life skills development
  • Strong collaboration with various community based organizations and the NYC Administration for Children’s Services

Congregate Care Caseworker                                                  October 1997- October 1999

Salvation Army Social Services for Children (Queens, NY)

Case management of 12 adolescent girls in a group home setting, where I facilitated school, community and family connections.

  • Developed plans with youth regarding permanency, safety and well being
  • Represented youth in family and criminal court
  • Conducted various assessments to meet the needs of the youth and family
  • Overall case management services that provided positive outcomes for youth

Special Projects

NYS Office of Children and Family Services Internship Program                                                   Summer 2018, 2019 & 2021

  • Recruit current and former foster care youth to apply for the summer internship program located out of the Westchester Regional Office
  • Hire and support the intern in the expectations of the internship
  • Provide opportunities to work with agency staff, foster parent and youth via trainings
  • Assist the intern in developing, coordinating and implementing the annual Youth Events that host about 175 youth and staff from the Mid-Hudson/Long Island areas
  • Provide support in assisting the intern in developing a guidance paper on an issue that is important to them
  • Providing support and professional development

NYS Youth in Progress Region 5 Liaison                                                  2017-Present

NYS Office of Children and Family Services

  • Recruitment of foster youth from the Mid-Hudson Region
  • Education of child welfare staff on the importance of youth voice in their overall planning
  • Facilitation of workshops and monthly meetings for youth and staff
  • Planning and Coordination of annual Youth Events

NYS Youth in Progress Region 6 Liaison                                                        2006-2013

NYS Office of Children and Family Services

  • Recruited foster care youth leaders
  • Educated child welfare staff on the importance of youth voice in their overall planning
  • Facilitated workshops and assisted in the bi-annual development of the youth retreats

Presenter

National Independent Living Conference – 29th Annual Growing Pains Conference 2016

Daniel Memorial

Workshop presentation of the challenges and successes of developing a Supervised Independent Living Program for foster care youth.

Adjunct Professor                                                                                                                                                          

Hunter College School of Social Work                                                                      2009

Youth Development Course

  • Co-Taught a class of graduate level students on the philosophy of Youth Development

Facilitator

New York City Youth Summit: Engaging Youth in Family Court Proceedings  2006                                 

Fordham University Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy

  • Co-Facilitated with a youth regarding how to engage young people in their court proceeding

Steering Committee Member

NYC Independent Living Consortium                                                               2001-2006

NYC Voluntary Foster Care Agencies

  • Monthly meetings to provide support and guidance to the contracted foster care agencies in NYC.
  • Resource development and information sharing
  • Co-Chair of the Housing, Education and Employment Committees

Education

City University of New York, Hunter College                                                       1997

            B.A in Psychology

Southern New Hampshire University 2020

M.S. Human Resources

Skills

Proficient in Microsoft Word / Microsoft Excel / Microsoft Power Point / Microsoft Outlook / Google Applications

%d bloggers like this: