BELLOWS FALLS, VT. – Parks Place, a community-based resource center located in Bellows Falls, recently announced the hiring of Jennifer Heidbrink as their new Executive Director. A life-long Bellows Falls resident, Heidbrink has several years of experience in the area of social services and states that she is excited to have this new opportunity.
“I have deep roots in Bellows Falls, and both my parents are from here as well,” Heidbrink said in a recent interview. “They adopted me from Korea when I was two months old, and I have lived here ever since, and now with my husband and two children.”
Heidbrink graduated from Vermont Academy before receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in developmental psychology at Keene State College, and then a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Antioch University in 2012. She also has had a mental health counseling license in the state of Vermont since 2015.
“After graduating with my Masters, I worked at HCRS as a school-based clinician at Riverside Middle School in Springfield,” Jennifer said. “I was then hired directly by the Springfield School District as a Clinical Case Manager at the Gateway Program. I provided counseling services, case management services for families, and counseling services for teachers.”
When Gateway closed, Heidbrink accepted a Therapeutic Case Manager position at Youth Services in Brattleboro, where she worked with young people who needed support with housing, mental health, education employment, and independent skills. Jennifer also ran the youth homeless shelter in Bellows Falls, and co-facilitated JUMP (Just Us Moms Program).
“My most recent employment was with Windham Northeast Supervisory Union (WNESU), working there for six years in many different roles. I began by supporting the district in building a behavioral classroom using trauma-informed interventions to help support students. I provided counseling for students and helped implement trauma-informed techniques in classrooms.”
Most recently, Heidbrink was the Early Education Home to School Liaison and the McKinney Vento Homeless Liaison, where her responsibilities included meeting with families and helping them locate resources in the area, delivering food and school supplies to hotels, supporting communication between families and the schools, and facilitating local playgrounds. Jennifer has also worked at the Bellows Falls Opera House selling concessions, and is now the Operations Coordinator.
“Here at Parks Place, we are currently organizing a holiday program, partnering with Chroma, WNESU, the Bellows Falls Rotary, and the Auxiliary, to provide gifts for families in the Windham Northeast area. Please reach out to Parks Place if you are interested in donating for a child or would like to make a monetary contribution.
“I would like to thank all the past executive directors for their hard work and dedication to this community. I would especially like to acknowledge [fellow Parks Place employees] Megan Applegate and Julie Cermola for their hard work and commitment through the pandemic.”