What is your name and the name of the organization you represent?
We are Matt Bugni and Brynn Molloy, with AWARE
Where can we find your website?
Where in Montana are you located?
AWARE’s headquarters are located in Anaconda, however we have offices and/or early childhood centers and residential homes in Anaconda, Belgrade, Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula and thanks to telehealth, we have employees located across the state who work remotely. AWARE serves all 56 counties in Montana.
Tell us a bit about your organization, and the sort of work it does?
In 1974, AWARE was formed by a small group of parents sitting around a kitchen table discussing opportunities and possibilities for their children with special needs. Their discussion led to the opening of a small furniture refinishing business where people with developmental disabilities could learn a trade and make a valuable contribution to the community. Our name – AWARE (previously Anaconda Work and Residential Enterprises) – reflects our original mission in 1976 when we became incorporated, and it continues to do so as we have evolved over time.
The support we provide helps the adults, children and families we serve become active and vital members of their community while focusing on personal growth.
· AWARE has a team of nearly 800 employees, serves all 56 counties and over 4500 unique individuals each year through community care & treatment, residential services and early head start.
· We ensure people with mental health and/or developmental disabilities live in a home of their choice and provide the day-to-day support they need.
· We help adults with disabilities find fulfilling employment, either through an AWARE program or in the community.
· We support children ages 0-8 and their families through a number of early childhood programs in Billings, Belgrade, Butte and Helena.
· We ensure adults and children live successfully in their communities, providing home visits, help in school, assistance with services, psychiatric assessment, and outpatient counseling.
Doing the kind of work you do can be both rewarding and challenging. What are some of the biggest ongoing challenges your organization faces as it works to accomplish its goals?
Workforce shortages, lack of adequate funding and resources, demand for services, inadequate affordable housing and childcare options.
Tell us about some of your accomplishments, and what you are most proud of as an organization?
- CARF accredited
- Center for Excellence is a candidate for accreditation through Cognia
- Increased wages for staff
- Awarded $4.5 million grant from SAMHSA to develop and implement Family Assertive Community Treatment program in Montana,
- Awarded $457,000 through the FCC to support telehealth
- Awarded $78,000 grant through PacificSource Community Health Grant to train staff in Multi-dimensional Family Therapy, becoming the first and only provider in Montana to offer this therapy
- AWARE’s Early Head Start program in Butte is celebrating 25 years of service to the community this year
- AWARE has partnered with William Henry and Be Better World to offer diversity, equity, inclusion, leadership and communications trainings for employees
- AWARE offered its first ever Clinical Leadership Summit October 12-13, 2022 – open to the public and designed to offer networking, professional development and inspiration with advocacy, resilience and clinical practice tracks.
Respecting the privacy of any individual(s), can you relay to us a story (or two or three!) about a time or situation that had a personal, positive impact on you in the course of doing your job?
Below are a few examples of positive success stories with our clients.
What are some pros and cons to working in behavioral health in Montana?
Pros: We make a contribution to humanity by providing opportunities for people with disabilities to live interdependently with dignity and respect, and we do so while saving taxpayer dollars.
Cons: It is currently quite difficult to obtain the resources (funding/staffing) to deliver services to all of the people seeking our care.
Thinking of the population you serve, and the areas of behavioral health you are most involved with, if you could snap your fingers to make one change, what would it be?
Increased reimbursement rates so that services are sustainable.
If you had to give a shout out to another BHAM organization for doing exceptional work, what org would it be? Why?
L’Esprit in Livingston. They are mission driven, innovative, willing to try new things if right for their clients. YBGR. Their CEO is an amazing leader, intelligent and generous to share and collaborate.
Any other shout-outs or kudos for Montana’s behavioral health heroes?
We celebrate AWARE’s health care heroes every month in our enewsletter – INK. Here’s a link to several shoutouts: https://www.aware-inc.org/news/categories/employees
What else would you like the world to know about your organization?
AWARE prides itself on investing in its workforce in order to bring its mission to help people live independent lives to life. AWARE’s leadership team is constantly evaluating and thinking innovatively to determine a path forward to effectively expand access to services for the Montanans who need it the most.
AWARE’s culture of care drives all that we do. AWARE’s Unconditional Care Principles inspire the services we provide to each person who comes to us for care. You can find a full list of our unconditional care principles at: https://www.aware-inc.org/ucc-principles .