The Republican/Mass Live

Montague Catholic Social Ministries adds co-director for internal relations; Heather Wood Treme hired

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By Cori Urban | Special to The Republican 

TURNERS FALLS –Montague Catholic Social Ministries has added a new position to its staff roster – co-director for internal relations, and Heather E. Wood Treme has taken on the task.

"I have a very strong understating of the mission and intention of Montague Catholic Social Ministries," she said. "My education from Mount Holyoke College has given me a strong intellectual understanding of trauma informed practice and what it means to act in a trauma informed way."

The Shelburne Falls resident is a graduate of Greenfield Community College with an associate's degree in health science and Mount Holyoke with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Her background is in psychology, early childhood education, and marketing.

In September Treme joined Susan Mareneck in overseeing internal relations, policy review and implementation.

She will focus on organizational management including staff, finance and programs. Mareneck will continue to work on organizational development and partnerships, program development and communications.

"There is a basic imbalance of equality in this country. This is obvious when looking at the financial statistics for the United States." Treme said. "What may be less obvious is the slant that is created in economic equality which trickles down to the ways that we interact with each other on the whole. The ministries has a unique opportunity to spread equality through the way that we interact with our patrons which is the natural fall out of (employing) trauma informed practice."

The co-directors work part-time, sharing a full-time position.

"We believe this division of labor responds to the increasing demands for efficiency and accountability in the non-profit environment," Mareneck said. "It also responds to the need for people working in the realm of social need to have flexibility to be effective in family and community life as well as work life."

The model of shared leadership was adapted by the ministries in 2012 as a strategy for building the capacity of its administration to meet increasing need in the community and demands on non-profit organizations including data collection and impact evaluation requirements by funders, while remaining independent.

Montague Catholic Social Ministries works to strengthen, encourage and support people in the community through outreach, family education, positive conflict resolution, leadership development and group empowerment.

Programs include playgroups for children, a women's resource center, job-readiness programs, parent education, a fathers' group, emergency basic needs resources, family support home visits and a parents' support group.

"Since a significant role of the executive is also to get the word about the effort being made by an organization out to the world in order to form partnerships and fund the work, I will continue to represent (Montague Catholic Social Ministries) in this role," Mareneck said. "I have found it gratifying to let others know about our model of wrap-around support for families – simple really, but rewarding for all involved, from those who care enough to donate to make our outreach possible to those facilitating the ministries' programs who form bonds of care and connection with people they serve. We are a family resource center, in the truest sense."

Montague Catholic Social Ministries has served families in Montague and Franklin County since 1994.

"I am looking forward to making community connections both with our patrons and our supporters," Treme said. "This is highly critical work happening here, and I relish the thought that affecting one person – changing one mindset – how that has the potential to ripple out into the community as a whole."

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