Kimberly Rivera is a Clinician for Day Program students at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center. Rivera is from Miami, Florida, who moved to Niskayuna at a young age. She received her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Bryant & Stratton, and her Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University at Albany.
What did you do before Vanderheyden?
"Before Vanderheyden I was a substitute teacher in the Schenectady City School District. I also interned at Albany Medical Center in the outpatient Psychiatry Unit, where I provided psychotherapy for adults."
Why did you choose Vanderheyden? What appealed to you?
"I decide to work at Vanderheyden because while working as a substitute teacher in the Schenectady City School District, I learned how to work with various type of students and enjoyed working in an educational atmosphere."
What do you bring to your job?
"A positive attitude and a mindset ready to assist individuals with any situation they are confronted with."
"I try to bring a positive energy. I try to come in with a smile every day, to make it safe and comfortable for students to actually want to interact with me, and also make it comfortable for staff to interact with me. I want to have a good relationship with everyone here."
What do you like about your job?
"I enjoy building relationships with each individual student and getting to know them on a personal level. As well as collaborating with staff to ensure the students' educational and emotional needs are met."
"I think in the end, there's a lot of rewards with this job. It's the relationship you build with students, getting to know them individually and also working together with staff to provide a safe environment for the kids."
Share a story or unique experience from Vanderheyden.
"A unique experience outside of my role as a clinician was having the opportunity to assist in teaching a Spanish Language Class (at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center), where I have grown to interact with not only day program students but residential students."
"So, whenever we have an intake and the parents don't speak English or if the guardian doesn't speak English, I help translate. Up in the cottages, if their parents don't speak English, I typically reach out to the parents and try and translate."
Do the students enjoy learning Spanish?
"At first it was difficult for them to get used to, learning a new language is hard. A lot of them have actually learned to speak certain words, so I think it started to become useful for them, and they're realizing that as well. A lot of them are Seniors and Juniors, so they know that eventually it can benefit them."
Share a story or unique experience from your life.
"After graduating with my masters in 2019, I traveled throughout Europe visiting various parts of Spain and France. I was lucky enough to see the Eiffel Tower."
What can you say to someone thinking about joining our Vanderheyden Team.
"You are exposed to many different types of situations and learn how to adjust and collaborate with other staff members to ensure the best possible outcome for each individual student."
"You get to work with tough situations, but at the same time, there's a lot of rewards in the outcome."
What accomplishments/hobbies/likes, etc. do you want to share?
"I received my licensure of Social Work practice in February 2020."
"I enjoy spending time with my nephews and my family. I like to travel a lot, so I try and go visit different areas like Utica, Philadelphia. I do different little mini trips."