Since Mountain Valley opened in 2011, we have looked forward to the day when we would invite a graduate to work on the staff. That day occurred last month, when Erika Faust was hired as our Program Outcomes Associate. Her thoughts on returning to MVTC are below.

I entered Mountain Valley in July of 2016 at 20 years old after realizing I needed a greater level of care in order to learn how to manage the anxiety I had struggled with my whole life. I wanted a fix for my anxiety, but learned that in order to get better, I had to radically accept my anxiety and learn to live with it in a healthy way. I learned that I would still experience anxiety and could use the skills I learned at Mountain Valley to return to college and live in accordance with my values and goals. Over the course of my final year at Villanova, I realized that I wanted to put my mathematical degree to use in the mental health field – and I fantasized about one day working for the place that made such a positive difference in my life.

Upon my graduation, Don Vardell provided me the incredible opportunity of becoming Mountain Valley’s first Program Outcomes Associate. In this role, I use my mathematics background to coordinate data collection and analysis. In addition, I also get to assess activity therapy modules to ensure they are meeting programmatic goals. With 19 years of equestrian experience, I especially enjoy joining the equine group, where I lead the activity occurring in conjunction with horseback riding and make suggestions for the equine program’s continual improvement.

As MVTC’s first alumnus to be hired to work on the staff, I hope to serve as a positive role model for current residents. Though I am working in Plainfield instead of Pike – the campus on which I spent my time at MVTC – the beautiful Mountain Valley culture remains the same. I thoroughly enjoy being back at Mountain Valley in this capacity and hope to play a role in keeping it the incredible place it is.