THE SUPPORT NETWORK TEAM
Co-Director, Community Support and Outreach
Margery Jess, Co-Director, has been employed by the Support Network for over twenty years. She brings her own lived experience raising children with mental health concerns as well a background in Special Education to the program. Margery was part of the Collaborative Assessment Program, the first strength-based program for children in MA. She also was a Senior Family Partner with the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative when the program was first established in 2009. Margery was employed as a Family Consultant with the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services Planning and Review Team working with the most complex child and family circumstances. She is the recipient of the Human Service Forum “Clara Temple Leonard Award”, the “Paul Winske Access Award”, and the PPAL “Trailblazers Award”. During the past twenty years Margery has had the amazing opportunity to partner with hundreds of families to bring the family voice to the table. She spends her free time flower gardening, knitting, exercising, baking, and spending time with families and friends, including her three adored grandchildren.
Co-Director, Training and Program Development
Gretchen Emond, Co-Director, has been affiliated with The Support Network for over twenty years, first as a parent seeking assistance with her own child and then as a Family Support Specialist. Prior to working for The Support Network, she had experience as a childcare provider and then as a special education para-professional. Gretchen has served as a Youth Commissioner in her home town and is a trained CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children) volunteer. She has extensive training in special education advocacy, wraparound care and is a Vroon Vandenberg trained Senior Family Partner. She has assisted countless families to become their child’s own best advocate throughout western Massachusetts. She believes strongly that every family has strengths and talents to lean upon when times are tough and that we all create our own pathway to recovery for a full and positive life experience. When she is not working, Gretchen enjoys spending time with her husband and children, gardening, and raising chickens and ducks.
Family Support Specialist
Jan Lamberg, Family Support Specialist, is the mother of three daughters, all of whom are special in their talents, needs and relationship to the world! As a parent, Jan emphasizes supporting her children in their self-advocacy skills as well as nurturing their development of an ‘ear for the concerns of others’. She enjoys helping other parents strengthen their families and effectively navigate the many public systems of care and she is grateful to families who have shared with her their dreams, struggles and plans for a fulfilling life. Jan describes that perhaps the biggest challenge is learning how to juggle responsibilities with a unique, creative expression. Her efforts advocating for children’s and families’ mental health has been a tireless practice for Jan as she supports families on their distinctive and collective journey!
Bilingual Family Support Specialist
Cynthia Santiago, Bilingual Family Support Specialist, brings many years and much knowledge to the Support Network team through her work with people with disabilities and through her personal experience. She is the mother of two boys one of which has emotional and educational needs. Cindy assists her nieces and nephews with emotional challenges as well. She has completed the Parent Consultant Training Institute with the Federation for Children with Special Needs and actively supports many parents/caregivers in their quest to find the best possible services and resources. Cindy is very connected to our local community service agencies and strives to bring attention to the unique needs of children with emotional challenges. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going bowling, dancing or relaxing watching movies.