By Telawna Kirbie
You may remember that in July we announced Prosper Waco had received a grant from the Hogg Foundation to hire a mental health and substance use policy fellow. This role has been filled, and Prosper Waco is excited to have more directed work in public policy through this wonderful gift from the Hogg Foundation.
As part of this fellowship, our policy fellow will receive support from both a mental health mentor and a public policy mentor who will provide guidance in these areas. The fellow and both mentors will be engaged in monthly meetings with a cohort of other mentors and fellows across Texas and will receive additional training and support from Texans Care for Children, the Hogg Foundation, and previous graduates and mentors of the fellowship program. This two-year program includes training, consultation, peer support, networking, professional development, and a week-long Policy Academy in Washington, DC.
We are pleased to announce that we have chosen Monica Davila for the position. She is a local social worker and a recent graduate. As a native Wacoan, Monica has a special place in her heart for Waco and Texas, so she is excited to work toward addressing behavioral health legislation that will support her fellow Wacoans and Texans.
She recently graduated with her master's degree in social work, with a concentration in community and administrative practice, from the University of Texas at Arlington. Monica also has her undergraduate degree in social work from Tarleton State University. Her desired field of work within social work has always been policy, which is not a common social work field.
Monica previously worked in roles related to substance misuse treatment, hospice care, and reproductive health. During her undergraduate studies, she interned with the McLennan County Specialty Courts and conducted a research study that highlighted the experiences of drug court participants.
The drug court received a $270,000 grant to enhance the programs, and the research findings provided insight and guidance for enhancements. This is just an example of the work she has accomplished. Monica is so excited for this opportunity. You can catch her at the Texas Capitol this upcoming legislative session.
Join us in welcoming Monica to the Prosper Waco team.
Telawna Kirbie, LCSW-S, is director of behavioral health initiatives for Prosper Waco.