HCRS recognizes community partners at annual meeting

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, southeastern Vermont’s community mental-health agency, recognized two community partners at its annual meeting Nov. 6.

Each year, the nonprofit agency honors community partners who exemplify the spirit of effective collaboration in order to support the mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability needs of the community. This year, HCRS awarded Sara Kobylenski, strategic consultant for the Couch Family Foundation, and the Theatre Adventure Program of New England Youth Theatre, with their James Bartley Community Partnership Award.

Sara Kobylenski is a dedicated and committed advocate for children, families, and individuals in need. Over the last 30-plus years, Sara’s career has included being director of Casey Family Services, Springfield Family Services’ supervisor, AHS Hartford field services director, director of the Upper Valley Haven, and is currently a strategic consultant for the Couch Family Foundation, leading efforts to develop model collaboration.

HCRS CEO George Karabakakis, Ph.D., said, “Sara understands the power of partnership and that great things are not accomplished alone. She has brought that value of collaboration to life, and we are so fortunate to have Sara as a leader in our community.”

The Theatre Adventure Program of New England Youth Theatre began in 2004 as an inclusive theatre arts program for youth and adults with developmental challenges. The program has helped people tap into their creative, artistic, and educational needs, and their inspired work has been outstanding. Under the leadership of Laura Lawson Tucker and Darlene Jennings, the Theatre Adventure Program has provided individuals with transformative opportunities to strengthen their social skills, community, teamwork, and empathy.

Karabakakis said, “Our collaboration with the Theatre Adventure Program has taught critical peer mentorship and leadership skills and exemplifies the power and impact of our partnership.”

HCRS’ Community Partner Award was named in memory of James Bartley in 2018. Jim joined HCRS in the 1990s and was a valued employee for many years. Through his work as a case manager II, he epitomized collaboration and partnership.

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