Super Staff Series: Connor McCarty

Super Staff Series: Connor McCarty

The Healthy365 Connection Center has a new team member! We are proud to welcome Connor McCarty, who will be serving our team as a Support Navigator with a special focus on clients and families within the justice system. His past social work and child welfare experience makes him the perfect fit for this role and we can’t wait to see our connections with the justice system continue to grow!

A background in child welfare

Connor is a familiar face at the Connection Center because of his past working relationships with his fellow Support Navigators. “I first got involved with Healthy365 through Christina Dewitt, she and I have worked together for about 7 years through social work,” said Connor. “She mentioned what she was doing here and that they were launching their justice program.”

Connor got his professional start in child welfare and has been serving Central Indiana for nearly a decade. “I have been in social work for about 10 years now. I have been working in child welfare for over six years,” he said. “When I was doing my undergrad I did various placements typically related to child welfare, and the majority of my professional work has been at the Department of Child Services.”

Transitioning into the justice system

When you think about working with clients in the justice system, you may just think about those who are incarcerated or on probation. However, families and children who have loved ones in the justice system are also largely affected. “I have worked very closely with the justice program because a lot of our clients overlap,” explained Connor. “I have worked directly with clients that have been in jail or prison, and that have transitioned out and worked with probation. I’ve learned to work collaboratively with them.”

A lot to love about Healthy365

Connor started working at the Healthy365 Connection Center just about a month ago on June 20, but it didn’t take much time for him to fall in love with the environment. “It is an amazing environment to work in and very supportive. Healthy365 is really client-driven and I love that,” said Connor.

He also appreciates how passionate Healthy365 is about our clients. “I love that the client is truly the main focus,” he said. “Everything we do relates to how this is going to benefit the client and, in turn, our community.” 

Unsurprisingly, one of his favorite programs at the Connection Center is one that can benefit children and families: “We can help link families to get coverage for health insurance. It’s an awesome resource because it’s not just Medicaid or the marketplace, it’s all of them. We can help families identify what works best for them and get them applied.”

A heart for Hancock County

Connor has a special place in his heart for local residents because he is one as well. “I’ve lived in Hancock County for about six and half years,” he said. “I lived in New Pal for most of that and then I recently relocated to Greenfield.” He also appreciates both the professional and personal benefits to be found here locally. “It’s a great community as far as collaboration,” he said. “It’s so easy to build those connections and relationships with people. I’ve worked in other counties and that is not always the case.”

Like many Hancock County locals, Connor loves the “small town” feel that can be found alongside a number of “big city” amenities. “I know a lot of people love that ‘small town feeling,’ but there are a lot of things to do and I love that it’s growing,” he said. “I love being able to be part of that growth, not just in this role but as a community member and being able to benefit from it.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?  

“Telekinesis… I would probably never get up.”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why?  

“I love the springtime because I love the outdoors. I love getting our garden and our yard ready for summer, planting and getting things pruned and cleaned up from the winter – that’s the best time.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? 

“If I’m being honest, it would be to drive through and get a McDonald’s Coke, and then show up to work and I am ready to go.”

What’s your most recent favorite read, movie, or show? 

“We just started Season 2 of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ on Netflix. I’m trying not to binge because we want to extend it but it’s awesome. Elliot Page is in it as a trans character, and as supporting and being in the community I love to see it. Sometimes I think major networks try to exaggerate real life and so it’s really refreshing to see it done well, in my opinion.”

Super Staff Series: Heidi Carmichael

Super Staff Series: Heidi Carmichael

The newest member of the Healthy365 team is our administrative assistant Heidi Carmichael. She is excited to serve the Hancock County community by connecting individuals with Support Navigators, as well as the myriad of mental health and substance misuse resources offered by Hancock Health and other local organizations. Next time you call the Healthy365 Connection Center, make sure to say hello to Heidi!

Experience in healthcare and beyond

Before entering the field of healthcare, Heidi spent a number of years working for a Midwest-based gas station and convenience store company. “I used to work for what was formerly GasAmerica in several different departments,” said Heidi, including payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable. A little over a decade ago, she chose to transition into healthcare, a field she has become quite passionate about. 

“I have been in healthcare for 10 years now,” said Heidi. “I previously worked with Trilogy Health Services in admissions and marketing for a skilled nursing and assisted living facility.” When Healthy365 was looking to expand the team with a new administrative assistant, Heidi was excited to apply. “I was introduced to Healthy365 by a current coworker at Hancock Health, who I previously worked with in another healthcare setting,” she said. “I was ready to make a change from the location I was in.”

Joining the Healthy365 team

Although Heidi is a recent addition to Healthy365, she already feels at home. “I like the positive and supportive environment,” she said. Despite the serious nature of our work, the Healthy365 team makes it a point to both work hard and play hard, and Heidi has especially enjoyed getting to know the fun-loving environment at the Connection Center. “There is a lot of positive reinforcement,” she said. “And there are lots of fun pranks.”

In her work as administrative assistant, Heidi is often the first point of contact with individuals calling into Healthy365 for help. “I like to connect with people and help them find a navigator to manage their needs,” she explained. Heidi is also excited to see the Healthy365 Connection Center continue to grow our substance misuse resources for clients in need of this specific support. 

Serving the Hancock County community

A resident of neighboring Henry County, Heidi looks forward to serving her fellow Hoosiers as a member of the Healthy365 team. “My favorite thing about Hancock County is how it is a very close-knit community,” said Heidi. Like many of our clients and staff members, Heidi is continuing to learn about the wide variety of local organizations that are dedicated to serving Hancock County. “It’s also very supportive with lots of resources I’m learning,” she said.

Heidi and her husband of nearly 30 years, Gabe, also have a special connection to the local agricultural population. “Our family, previously alongside Gabe’s dad, is part of the farming community in Hancock and Henry Counties, which have a major rural agriculture focus.” Her family includes three children, one at Purdue, one at Ball State and one who just graduated as a Ball State Cardinal. Heidi also has a four-legged family member: “My favorite thing is to go home and just hang out with our dog, Boomer.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?  

“Teleporting … travel time totally stinks!”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why?  

“Fall, because of the color and it’s cooler, no humidity.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? 

“Coffee!”

What’s your most recent favorite read, movie or show? 

“Yellowstone and 1883, I am completely addicted.”

Super Staff Series: Sarah House

Super Staff Series: Sarah House

Our newest Support Navigator, Sarah House, joined the Healthy365 team in January 2022. She is happy to be home again in Hancock County, using her years of experience in the realm of resource connection on our team of Support Navigators. Our staff members go far beyond simply handing people a list of available resources, and Sarah is a great example of going above and beyond for our community. 

A background in providing resources

As Sarah explained, she has always worked professionally with families to connect them to resources that can support them. “I was a Peace Corps volunteer after college and I lived abroad for 4 years teaching English in Namibia,” she said. “When I moved back home in 2019, I knew that I wanted to get back into that grassroots, community level of work.”

When she returned to Indiana, she took a position with the Department of Child Services, “And that refocused me to want to be back in my specific community,” said Sarah. “I really wanted to be in Hancock County and was very fortunate to join the Healthy365 team.”

Choosing to work at Healthy365

Sarah first heard about Healthy365 through a family member, and she was really struck by the mission. “I love how Healthy365 is going back to basics by meeting people where they’re at and removing barriers,” she said. “And I love the community aspect.”

Healthy365 serves as a free and confidential centralized connection to resources for those living in Hancock County, especially with regard to those in need of mental health and substance misuse support. For Sarah, her favorite part of Healthy365 is “how we serve as the connection to the service and I think what sets us apart is how personable it is,” she said. “Plus, it’s a great team here, just a wonderful group of women and I’m very grateful for them.”

As a Support Navigator, Sarah also loves the consistency she can provide to clients in the community. “Once you establish that connection with a patient, you are going to be the one working with them going forward,” she explained. “Every time they call, they’re going to be connected back to you. They’re going to work with you and you are going to walk alongside them.”

Serving the Hancock County community

Sarah especially enjoys how the work she does with even just one patient can lift everyone in Hancock County. “Helping an individual be healthier and happier – that benefits the entire community,” she said. And why does she love living and serving in this community? “It feels small but we have big resources available.” Hancock County is a small world, and Sarah loves how you so often “know somebody who knows somebody” in nearly every interaction. “I really enjoy knowing that I am making a difference one person at a time in my community.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have? “I think I’d want to fly.”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why? “Fall. I love Halloween, I like the leaves changing, I love being outside but not sweating. Indiana in October, you can’t beat it.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? “A very hot cup of coffee.”

What’s your most recent favorite read or movie? “I love to read and I loved the book ‘Station Eleven’ which they just made into a tv series. I was very concerned they were going to ruin it but it was totally different and really phenomenal.”

Super Staff Series: Christina DeWitt

Super Staff Series: Christina DeWitt

We are kicking off our first super staff series feature of 2022 with one of the newest member of the Healthy365 team: Christina DeWitt, MSW, LSW. Christina joined the Connection Center as a Support Navigator in July 2021, and has been doing a great job of supporting our local residents in their wellness journeys. 

Stumbling upon Healthy365

Christina first heard about Healthy365 after a search for local helping agencies. Christina served as a Social Worker for the Indiana Department of Child Services prior and was excited to hear about an agency serving the local community so close to her home in Henry County. “I was trying to find something where I would be able to make an impact with the local community,” said Christina. “I kind of stumbled upon Healthy365 and had the opportunity to become a Support Navigator and Licensed Social Worker for the Connection Center.”

A “dual citizen” in Hancock County

Christina was especially excited to return to Hancock County for work after spending time here during her days with the Department of Child Services. “Although I technically live in Henry County, I count Hancock County as my ‘home’ for work.” she said. For Christina, coming back to Hancock County truly felt like “coming home” in a way, in large part due to the people who live and serve in our community. 

“It doesn’t matter which organization or agency you go to, it could be going to Hancock Regional Hospital or walking into the Wellspring Center, it just feels like home,” Christina explained. “Everyone wants to help anyone who is in need, improving the overall climate and environment of the county. It’s always so nice to be able to walk in and know you’re going to see a friendly face.”

Walking alongside your wellness journey

Christina’s favorite part of the job has been the navigation part of her Support Navigator role. “It’s not only connecting individuals that are in need to other community resources, but that true navigation of walking alongside them,” she said. Our Support Navigators are dedicated to helping clients get connected to local resources for whatever needs they or their family may have, but they also go above and beyond a simple introduction. 

“It’s making sure that they have that actual connection to be engaged with mental health resources,” said Christina. “And continuing those conversations and being able to check in, follow up and go on that journey with them.”

Making a community impact

And with her original goal of making a local community impact, it’s no surprise that that continues to be Christina’s favorite part of the job. “I love working at Healthy365 because of the impact that it has on the community overall,” she said. Although Support Navigators work one-on-one with individuals and families, as Christina explained, “in the big scheme of things it makes a lasting impact on Hancock County and the local residents.”

Rapid-fire questions:

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have? “My superpower would be healing. Not only physical healing of an injury, but the overall healing and holistic care for those who are struggling with mental health, etc.”

What is your favorite Indiana season and why? “Spring because I love the idea of newness. The things of the past are going down, and the spring brings the flowers and birds and everything kind of springing to life again.”

What is your favorite way to kick off a Monday? “Coffee, tons of coffee. I’m also a huge promoter of mindfulness, meditation and yoga. For me, Mondays are typically a reflection for the week, getting my priorities straight and really setting intentions for what I hope my week will look like with at least a couple cups of coffee.”

What’s your most recent favorite read or movie? “‘Joe Bell.’ It has Mark Wahlberg and is based on a true story where the dad is on a walk to end the stigma of bullying. Throughout the story you find out that his son actually passed by suicide. We just watched this a few weeks ago and I was like, ‘I think this is my favorite movie ever.’”

Our Staff’s Holiday Traditions

Our Staff’s Holiday Traditions

How do you and your family get into the holiday mood? This Christmas, we’re excited for you to get to know our team better by sharing the seasonal traditions of our Healthy365 staff members. Maybe you’ll find that you have similar holiday traditions, or maybe you’ll discover a fun new activity to add to your annual celebration. 

Laura Baker

The whole holiday Christmas season is packed with tradition. With the starting being Thanksgiving evening, my husband and children get the house ready with Christmas lights and with all the hype of the drumroll of the “Christmas Vacation” movie we stand outside in the yard with an official flip on the lights to let the world know it is indeed time to start celebrating the birthday month of Jesus. Throughout the month we attend as many fun Christmas events as we can manage with the finality of Christmas Eve service in our best pajamas then stopping for some hot chocolate made just the way we like it and touring the area for Christmas lights. Trying to sleep for the night before we celebrate as a family with all the food and merriment we can manage. But I must mention that in order for Mommy and now Grandma to stay sane throughout the holiday season I make meditation, prayer and moving my body a priority throughout the month, even rising early Christmas morning to get my selfcare routine in so I can stay mentally and emotionally full of joy for my family. Have to fill your own cup so you can fill others.’ 

Brandee Bastin

Our traditions revolve around family. Christmas Eve day is spent with my husband’s side of the family where we enjoy lunch, exchange gifts, and the children get to spend some time with their cousins. Christmas Eve night will usually find us having dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant (which unfortunately is closed right now as it is moving locations) and watching our favorite Christmas movies at home. Christmas morning we enjoy opening gifts at home while listening to Christmas music and then visit my parents’ home for Christmas breakfast and exchange gifts. The remainder of Christmas Day you can find “A Christmas Story” running its 24-hour marathon on one of our televisions and all of us taking a nap at some point during the day. We just enjoy spending time together! 

Christina DeWitt

We have a few holiday traditions that we look forward to each year. One of my favorites is loading my children in the car with overflowing bowls of popcorn, hot chocolate, Christmas music and movies, and driving around our local community looking at the Christmas lights that neighbors take time to hang for others to enjoy. We also love waking early Christmas day to open gifts and seeing the joy and spirit the day brings. Instead of a “traditional” holiday meal, we always opt for sushi the day of Christmas and love having as many different rolls as possible and of course rice, always rice. Finally, my all-time favorite tradition is taking time for self-care including being as present as possible and taking time to slow down. To do this, I ensure to incorporate mindfulness as well as acts of gratitude to highlight the Reason for the Season.

Amanda Everidge

I have a few Christmas traditions that are very important to my family. Our families spend Christmas Eve together and decorate sugar cookies and gingerbread houses every year. We look forward to painting our cookies, sharing stories and having screen-free fun together. On Christmas morning we enjoy opening presents while listening to Christmas music and the Yule Log burning in the background. In the early afternoon, you will find us taking a family walk around our neighborhood or Beckenholt Park before snuggling on the couch to watch “A Christmas Story.”

Amanda Hinkle

My holiday traditions are that on Christmas Eve we spend that time with my mother-in-law and their side of the family. This has been a tradition for many many years, going to my mother-in-law‘s house first and then going to my husband’s grandmother’s house for the evening. We sit around tables and have a good conversation while the kids play a variety of games in the basement. There is always some sort of fun craft for the kids to do. Then we get back to our house after midnight and get the kids in the bed and get ready for Christmas morning. It can be very exhausting but we love it. On Christmas morning, my parents and my brother are at the house and we do gifts together, then the rest of my side of the family comes over for dinner. It is very much revolved around family and just being with each other. Aside from the traditional family gatherings we like to go to Christmas at the Zoo and find a place to do drive-through Christmas lights. 

Teri House Gottschalk

Our holiday traditions are all about family time and start with decorating the house inside and out, but never before Thanksgiving. No matter the weather, the outside decorations go up the weekend following Thanksgiving! That weekend also includes a trip to a local tree farm to select the tallest, skinniest tree we can find. Decorating the tree is a family event, including my four adult children, and two granddaughters. Waiting for the big day, we bake cookies and other treats to share with friends and our awesome cul de sac neighbors. Tinsel, our Elf on the Shelf has required a lot of attention this year, as he appears to be lazy and sometimes “forgets” to relocate overnight. We try to fit in an evening for enjoying light displays in neighborhoods, or places like Winter Lights, or the Fairgrounds display. Christmas morning we have cinnamon rolls and cocoa while opening our gifts from Santa. Late morning, my mom, sister and brother-in-law join us for more gift exchanging, then we enjoy a leisurely brunch and relax the rest of the day. 

Krystal Montgomery

This year is extra special for my family and our Christmas traditions. We moved into our new home in November and have a new tradition of hosting Christmas with my extended family. We enjoy putting up our tree, decorating, and hanging all our “special” ornaments. On Christmas Eve we open one gift each and always have matching pj’s. Excitement fills the house on Christmas morning with opening presents together, Christmas music playing in the background, and the kids get a “special” ornament attached to one present each year. This is a family tradition my parents started with my brothers and I.