Cathleen M. Greene, PhD | Vice President of Operations
Firstly, I must begin by acknowledging those who profoundly impacted my personal and professional growth as an inner-city teacher/administrator for 20 enlightening years. The primary pillars that inspired, challenged, delighted and yes, at times frustrated me, my prodigious students. Thank you for the unequivocal experience of YOU. We explored together, learned together and grew together. They alone are the impetus that propelled me forward to earn two Masters degrees, with advanced graduate studies in Educational Leadership, CT 092 Certification for Intermediate Administrator and Supervision, and ultimately my Doctor of Education.
During this time, I witnessed firsthand the aftermath of a very “broken system” – the disconnect between the school system and the criminal justice system. This terrible injustice as seen through the eyes of my students (and all our youth) set forth my personal quest for answers and ultimately became the foundation for my doctoral dissertation. The reality, was far too many of my students involved in the juvenile justice system and subsequently incarcerated for months at a time still dreamed of graduation day.
Sadly, because there was no communication or adequate transitional systems in place between these two systems, students would eventually return to school drastically behind in their academics. As a direct result of this breakdown in systems, their hopes of graduation were thwarted. Conversely, this disconnection only further perpetuated an ever-increasing high school dropout rate and reentry into the cyclical prison pipeline.
The purpose of my research study, A Case Study of Interagency Collaboration as Reported by the PREP Advisory Committee, was to explore with key members of the Pilot Reintegration Education Program (PREP) Advisory Committee, the characteristics of their interagency process and how they perceived that these factors contributed to accomplishing the common objective of providing a smooth and effective transition for students between release from the juvenile justice system and re-entry into a public-school district. Data analysis led to the following conclusions. Careful planning, with thoughtful use of people and places, is an essential ingredient for successful collaboration. Working collaboratively with system partners provides a greater opportunity for successful implementation of true organizational change. A continuum of transition services that provides uninterrupted access to community resources, opportunities and supports is an essential ingredient for effective transition to the community. A transition that is well supported across systems is crucial to their long-term success (Mazzotti & Higgins, 2006).
As a direct result of my doctoral research, in addition to, my subsequent teaching at the World Scholar-Athlete Games and World Youth Peace Summit, I founded the organization A Light in The Distance. Once again, it was without question my inner-city children who were pivotal in nurturing my vision of this scholarly enterprise. Aptly ordained “A Light in The Distance”, it was theoretically designed and implemented to assist the desolate and troubled inner-city child who had lost their way in the dark maze of the juvenile justice system. Drawing upon my extensive knowledge and wide experience in the human education field which includes a B.A. in Psychology, as well as, certifications as an International Life Coach and Spiritual Counselor my organization became a reality. My proposed program of educational support, in conjunction with psychological fortification, so integral a part of the process, was birthed to give these children the strength to find the world an exciting challenge. “A Light in The Distance” – a symbol of hope, recognition, direction and answers to all who enter its welcoming doors.
Subsequently, the culmination of my professional experiences earned me the honor of being selected to speak at numerous state conferences both in CT and MA on various social, emotional and educational topics. I became the VOICE of our youth. In 2016, disheartened by a system that did not embrace such “out of the box” evidence-based solutions, I took a great LEAP OF FAITH to change the course of my life. I resigned from a school system where my heart and soul were no longer nourished to embark on my new and exciting path at THRIVE Veterans Center. The opportunity to collaborate with my brother, Dr. Kevin P. Greene, on issues of the heart has been one of my greatest blessings.
In much the same way as my students were entangled in a “broken system”, the same holds true for our honorary Veterans afflicted with addictions, PTSD, etc. Fortunately, THRIVE Veterans Center’s BR+ NAD three phase program is the SOLUTION. It is an honor to be able to synthesize ALL of my personal/professional experiences and schooling into an effective transformational tool for clients upon their transition into the “real world”. My EMPOWERMENT curriculum, was carefully designed as a powerful, interactive and highly engaging aftercare program for clientele upon successful completion of our BR+ NAD protocol. The “blueprint” for my life coaching sessions is based on the well renowned book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. My philosophy is simple yet powerful. True transformational self-growth begins with providing necessary tools for self-love (overcoming feelings of guilt, shame, etc. that have imprisoned them) in order to ultimately share this love in all outside relationships, as well as, the community. Throughout this journey we will explore together, learn together and grow together. We will THRIVE!!
I wish to acknowledge ALL of our heroic Veterans who inspire in me the commitment to pursue that which I so passionately believe; a treasured gift of the heart that I will carry with me always in my unwavering pursuit of sharing YOUR legacy of LIGHT and HOPE.