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Karen McNerney – Staff Spotlight

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Karen McNerney, program secretary at Madonna House

Karen McNerney has been a fixture of our programs in Niagara County even before Cazenovia Recovery assumed their operations. She first started at Sundram Manor when it was still under Fellowship House and helped out as a resident monitor while doing secretarial work on the side. When the program secretary position opened in December of 2015 at Madonna House, she jumped at the opportunity.

In her new position at Madonna House, Karen was able to be a part of the transition between Fellowship House to Cazenovia Recovery. “When we switched over, everybody at Cazenovia Recovery was phenomenal,” said Karen. “There are more resources available and Admin provides great support. Things get fixed right away.” Karen used this new situation as an opportunity to meet administrative and support staff throughout the agency, and she fit right in. “I met everybody by calling for help,” she joked. “But everyone was always willing to lend a hand.”

At Madonna House, Karen really enjoys working within an environment that has kids. “They bring life to the house,” she said. “And I’m a big kid, so it works out well.” Children, residents, and staff alike all appreciate Karen’s positive attitude. “I think that being upbeat helps our residents,” she explained. “Recovery isn’t all rainbows and candy, so I always lend an open ear.” Teamwork is important to Karen, as well, especially when helping residents. Thankfully, her team shares this same attitude as the staff at her program work very well together. “We help each other out all the time and get the job done,” she noted.

One of the best parts about her job is seeing the growth in our residents. This is readily apparent in the new alumni meetings for former residents that Madonna House recently started hosting. “We get to hear how well former residents are doing,” she said. “We also get to see the kids who were born at Madonna House now that they’re older.” To Karen, these meetings are a strong testament to Madonna House’s treatment. “Above all else, our program works,” she said.

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