Jack Forck, Nicole Stevenson, Deborah Robinson and Caley Ortman are this year's recipients of Prairie View's Justina D. Neufeld Scholarship. Established three years ago, the Justina D. Neufeld Scholarship recognizes current Prairie View employees.
Justina D. Neufeld of North Newton met recipients of the scholarship in her name on July 18 at Prairie View in Newton.
Scholarship recipients were asked to submit an essay addressing their short and long term professional goals and an example of creativity and/or leadership within the Prairie View community.
They are required to have been employed by Prairie View for a minimum of two years, and they are expected to exemplify a commitment to the mission and vision of Prairie View throughout their professional careers.
Neufeld was employed at Prairie View from the late 1950s through the late 1990s. She held a variety of positions, including Prairie View's first community nurse. In this capacity, she traveled across central Kansas conducting home visits to patients discharged from the state hospital. She was Prairie View's first ambassador to Paraguay in 1969, then returned to the community nurse position in addition to coordinating services to the elderly and family life services.
During her tenure, she also served as director of the day hospital, interim director of child/adolescent services, special projects coordinator, interim nurse executive and interim director of Prairie View's residential program.
Forck is currently employed as recovery support staff at Prairie View's Addictions Treatment Center.
"I am a constant support and confidant [to our patients]," said Forck. "I am working to establish a rapport with our clients to help and encourage them to communicate and take positive risks. In doing so, the ultimate goal of my position is to influence a positive risk that promotes positive change that influences healthy growth."
Forck will receive a $500 scholarship to pursue a master's degree in social work.
"Along with the ambition to expand upon my existing knowledge, I also hope that by obtaining a master's in social work I will be able to perform my job more effectively, enhancing the quality of treatment my patients receive," he said.
Stevenson, a licensed specialist clinical social worker in Prairie View's McPherson and Hillsboro offices, works primarily with children and adolescents.
"I work to collaborate with co-workers to provide quality services to my clients as well as develop and maintain treatment plans," she said.
Stevenson was recently instrumental in organizing a Child/Adolescent Collaboration Team at Prairie View, which allows clinicians to collaborate, network and socialize with each other.
She will receive a $400 scholarship to expand her knowledge of working with young children through attending trainings and eventually becoming endorsed by the Kansas Association of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. This scholarship will allow Stevenson to attend KAIMH's spring conference.
Robinson is employed as a licensed specialist clinical social worker at Youth and Family Services on Prairie View's Newton campus. She serves children, ages 0-18, and their families by providing individual and family therapy.
"Helping children heal has been a passion of mine since I entered the field of mental health," she said.
She began certification as a trauma specialist two years ago, and is now in the process of advancing to the second level of certification. Her $400 scholarship will assist in her pursuit of certification.
"Many children cross the threshold of Youth and Family Services feeling hurt, angry, sad and scared without an understanding of why they possess such mixed emotions or why they keep getting in trouble at home, school or in the community," said Robinson. "Children of trauma need specific intervention to integrate memories with language so they may begin to heal and move forward as a survivor, rather than a victim, in their life story. Children of trauma need someone to walk alongside them and provide a witness to their terror, loss and grief. They need a compassionate therapist and treatment team willing to support their healing through structured, sensory-based trauma treatment."
Robinson's short-term professional goals include obtaining the Level II trauma certification and exploring the option of becoming a first responder to provide psychological first aid to survivors of catastrophic events throughout the world. Her long-term goals include providing clinical consultation to colleagues regarding trauma and trauma-informed care and obtaining certification to become a first responder to survivors of catastrophic events domestically and internationally.
Ortman is a community case manager who works with at-risk youth one-on-one in a community setting, helping to facilitate and lead psychosocial groups.
"When the opportunity arose to apply for a position as a case manager at Prairie View, it felt like a natural step for me to take," he said. "Case management has allowed me to do important and fulfilling work where my strengths and passions meet, and in the process, challenged me to become a more assertive and confident person. I have learned how to be more patient and understanding and how to recognize the individual struggles and needs that are unique to every child."
Because people are so important to him, and because his faith is inseparable from the person he is, Ortman said Prairie View's Christ-centered mission to provide for "the least of these" has helped solidify his conviction to work with youth in a church setting. He currently serves as a youth leader at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, and takes classes at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary through the Great Plains extension in North Newton. Last year he was officially accepted to begin working on his Master of Divinity degree, which will eventually be obtained on campus at Elkhart, Ind.
Ortman's $300 scholarship will be applied toward tuition to help him achieve his calling to work with young people in the church.
Donations to the Justina D. Neufeld Scholarship may be sent to the Prairie View Advancement Office, P.O. Box 467, Newton, KS 67114.