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Staff Spotlight: Kristen Azzopardi

GET TO KNOW OUR STAFF MEMBER, KRISTEN AZZOPARDI, IN TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT Q&A!

What is your position?

I am a Clinical Case Manager for the Staten Island Court-Based Intervention & Resource Teams (CIRT).

Why did you choose this profession?

To be very honest, this profession fell into my lap! I was finishing my last year of college at SUNY Albany and a friend referred me to an internship at EAC Network. I fell in love with the work, and the rest is history!

How long have you been working with EAC Network?

I interned with Staten Island TASC for a month, and then I was hired as a temp for TASC through the summer. I then finished my last year of college and was hired as a Clinical Case Manager for CIRT. I’ve worked full-time for EAC Network for a year.

What is your favorite part of your job? 

As cliché as it sounds, the best part of the job is helping others. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a client grow and develop throughout your time as a case manager.  My success comes from watching others succeed, which is something that my job has given me the opportunity to do.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of my job is separating my life from the lives of my clients. I put so much of myself into helping them overcome their hardships that leaving at 5:00 pm every day seems almost unfair to them. I guess it shows how much I love the work I’m doing, but I have to remember that I cannot lose myself in the process.

What aspect of your job do you wish people knew more about?

I wish people knew more about the programs that EAC Network offers. I see so many people whose lives are torn apart by substance abuse, especially working within the treatment side of the criminal justice system. I wish these people knew about all the programs that are offered to get them help.

Name one goal you have for the upcoming year.

I want to go back to school part-time to get my Master’s degree!

Tell us about a client who deeply influenced you and how you do your job.

My first successful client was probably the first person who influenced how I did my job. He worked so hard that when he was done he cried tears of happiness. I could never forget the feeling of hope that jumped within my soul. I wanted every single one of my clients to be a success and just live a happier life. This was the point that made me want to be the best clinical case manager I could possibly be.

Name one of your hobbies.

I love yoga! This job can be stressful, and yoga has definitely helped me throughout this year.

Would you encourage others to go into your profession?

I would, but I would caution them to think hard about it. This profession is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of patience, a lot of love, and most importantly a lot of empathy.

What advice do you have for others interested in your profession?  

Do not give up. Perseverance is key in a profession like this. You will have successful clients, and you will have unsuccessful clients, but that doesn’t mean you give up on anyone.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be a psychologist. I have personally struggled with mental health issues, and I hope that my experience can help to change lives.

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Sarah Muller is the Development & Marketing Assistant for EAC Network. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in English.

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