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Supervisor Spotlight – Debbie Wright

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To Debbie Wright, Senior Housing Specialist of our Housing programs, helping people in recovery is all about acceptance and “meeting people where they are.” She always tries to inspire and motivate the people she works with. “If everyone could have someone that believes in them, life would be better.” Debbie describes her relationship with her residents as “very good and very trusting” and she loves to see them succeed and empowered. “I love to advocate for them when they don’t think they have a voice and I encourage them to find their voice.”

She has an Associate’s Degree in Substance Use and Mental Health Counseling from Erie Community College. In a couple weeks, she’ll be starting school at Buffalo State in order to earn her Bachelor’s in Social Work. She’s going back for this degree because she has “a love of helping women, children, and people who are at a disadvantage.”

Her career in recovery started when she was a secretary at Lakeshore’s Lighthouse, which is a residential program for women in recovery and their children, similar to Madonna House. While employed as a Secretary there, she interviewed to become a Case Manager, but was unfortunately told that she didn’t have enough experience. Thankfully, one of Debbie’s many strengths is her determination. She went back to school for her Associate’s Degree and eventually achieved her goal of becoming a Case Manager at Lighthouse. Her career then brought her to Cazenovia Recovery Systems where she first started as a Case Manager at Supportive Living. From there, she became a Housing Specialist and is now a Senior Housing Specialist.

Debbie learned about Cazenovia Recovery Systems while working at Lighthouse when she referred one of her clients to our Housing programs. In fact, Debbie is now this resident’s Housing Specialist and she has helped her regain custody of her kids.

Family reunification is a major motivation for Debbie, and she is instrumental at promoting it at the Housing programs. Recently, she helped a resident who lost custody of her kids due to a situation involving domestic violence. Debbie worked with CPS and other agencies to return this resident’s children back to her.

Debbie is excited that Cazenovia Recovery Systems is now serving women, children, and families at Madonna House and Supportive Living in Niagara County. She hopes that our agency can begin to provide similar services for families in our programs in Erie County. “I would love to see a program for women and children,” she said. “I would love to have the opportunity work with families and to do even more with family reunification. It’s what keeps me going.”

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