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Opportunity House Names Director and Program Assistant to S.M.I.L.E Program

by Opportunity House

Pictured above: Bianca Ruiz, S.M.I.L.E Director.

Bianca Ruiz has been named Director of the S.M.I.L.E program at Opportunity House. 

In this role, Ruiz is responsible for program development of the S.M.I.L.E program. This program is a key component of the Opportunity House Shelter Services. S.M.I.L.E. stands for Skills Mastery for Independent Living and Empowerment.

Clients are required to attend programming at the shelter that includes life skills training, mental health and wellness, financial literacy, and skills to live independently. Ruiz will foster relationships with community resources, volunteers, and others to bring essential skills training to clients at Opportunity House. The goal of the program is to connect clients to provide training and education to empower clients to improve their lives by becoming permanently and stably housed within the community.

“It is rewarding to me to work with individuals who are experiencing homelessness. I look forward to creating positive, uplifting relationships, and introducing our clients to programs, skills, and experiences that will bring a positive impact to their lives,” noted Ruiz.

A graduate of Reading High School in Reading, Pennsylvania, Bianca attended Reading Area Community College and graduated from Penn State Berks with an associate degree in occupational therapy.

Before joining Opportunity House, Bianca worked as a case manager at Hope Rescue Mission, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Yessenia Rivera, Program Assistant.

Yessenia Rivera has been named S.M.I.L.E Program Assistant at Opportunity House.

In this role, Rivera is responsible for supporting the program manager of the S.M.I.L.E program and supporting the programming offered through the program. The S.M.I.L.E program is a key component of the Opportunity House Shelter Services. S.M.I.L.E. stands for Skills Mastery for Independent Living and Empowerment.

Clients are required to attend programming and Rivera will work with them to assist them in maximizing the training provided and applying the learning to their individual needs. The program connects clients with community resources, volunteers, and others who bring essential skills training to Opportunity House.

“I enjoy working with clients and getting to know them as individuals. Their stories are empowering. We help them find their voices in such a powerless time of their lives. Empowerment through everyday wins can make such a difference. “It’s the little things that build into routine, structure, and hope,” said Rivera.

A graduate of Easton Area High School, Rivera graduated with an associate degree in social work from Reading Area Community College. She is currently enrolled at Kutztown University, working toward her bachelor’s degree in social work.

Prior to joining Opportunity House, Rivera was a quick-service restaurant manager for Turkey Hill. Rivera also works part-time at Reading Area Community College as a Trio Peer Mentor.

This year, Opportunity House celebrates its 40th anniversary of providing emergency shelter to people in need in our community. Over 500 clients each year depend on Opportunity House to help them get back on their feet and return to stable housing.

Opportunity House is a Keystone 4-star Early Childhood Learning Center with programs for newborns, preschool, and after-school programs. Over 125 families benefit from the program by providing quality daycare to low-income families, allowing parents to work, and providing economic stability for their families.

The post Opportunity House Names Director and Program Assistant to S.M.I.L.E Program appeared first on BCTV.


Source: bctv

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