Selfie of an individual wearing a black shirt and red flannel. They are also wearing glasses and have a nose ring. In the background is a bookshelf and couch.

Staff Spotlight – Meet Skylar!

Hi – I’m Skylar!

I am the Nurse Team Lead and also serve as the nurse for the Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team. I currently work mainly in Burlington and Chittenden County, but since working with Pathways I’ve worked all over, from Brattleboro to St. Albans. I support the nurses who work with our Housing First program as well as provide direct nursing support to individuals enrolled in the FACT program. Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) is a new Pathways Vermont program supporting folks who have severe mental illness and are coming out of the correction system.

FACT is a partnership between both the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Corrections. It is meant to help keep folks with mental illness from cycling through corrections again and again by providing the community support they need. It’s an exciting new program!

My day-to-day role comprises both direct service and a combination of meetings, administrative tasks, emails, and a touch of advocacy. In terms of direct service, I meet individuals where they are and assist with healthcare and nursing needs. This can include medication management, medical and nursing case management (such as scheduling appointments and supporting during them), wound care, injections, and more. Additionally, I supervise the nursing staff in our Housing First Program. I also have the opportunity to be a part of several coalitions, specifically the Decriminalize Vermont and Overdose Prevention Site committees. Both of these are harm reduction coalitions actively seeking harm reduction solutions.

Pathways’ mission and particularly our values inspire me a lot! I truly feel I’ve discovered an organization that genuinely “puts its money where its mouth is.” I am inspired by the WAY Pathways wants to provide services, which is by putting personal agency and choice at the forefront of everything we do. Pathways recognizes that it sits in the middle of a system of oppression, and that we can be complicit in these systems, or try our best to dismantle them. We provide direct services, but we are also always dreaming of a world where our organization doesn’t need to exist. Moreover, we’re not solely system-oriented; we recognize and honor the full humanity of every individual we serve. I love that Pathways doesn’t look for the easiest answer or solution, but really tries to imagine how we can be in the world that does the most good for the most people, without getting caught up in some of the judgment that you see from some other service providers.

I can’t pinpoint my one favorite Pathways experience to date, but most memorable for me is all of the unique places I’ve given people injections. In cars! In parks! While they were in handcuffs! I’m motivated by my coworkers and service recipients to come to work every day. My coworkers rock, and truly care about the people we are supporting. And though it is hard to generalize about all of the people I work with, in general our service recipients are some of the most authentic folks I’ve ever met. I appreciate my connections with them so much.

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