Believing in Hope

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Believing in Hope

From how a child learns to how they foster personal relationships, early childhood development will impact them forever.

Recognizing this capacity for positive change, New Hampshire native Melissa Hugener has always wanted to work with children, and has done so at Waypoint for over 16 years. As a result, she wears many hats, not only serving as director of both the Partners in Health and Family Centered Early Supports and Services programs, but also as a clinical pediatric occupational therapist.

Melissa’s work week consists of a wide range of tasks, including case work with families, legislative advocacy to ensure proper funding and support for her programs, serving as a therapist, and staff management.

“There’s no such thing as a typical day at Waypoint,” Hugener pointed out, “but that makes it more interesting!”

Maryann Evers, Hugener’s colleague, is similarly driven. She has worked in the field as a social worker and then a therapist for over 25 years, and she’s been part of the Waypoint team as the director of Family Support for the past three and a half years. She’s constantly astounded by what people can overcome in the face of extreme odds.

“You can always find and celebrate change, which is eternally inspiring to me,” Evers said.

As a leader and mentor, Evers dedicates much of her time to providing emotional support and guidance for her staff and educating them on best practices and approaches. She attends meetings all over the state to advocate for her programs and to change public perceptions of social work.

In an effort to make sure her staff is providing the best possible care, Evers works to ensure that the subjective lenses of their personal lives do not affect their work with clients. She also strives to destigmatize people’s need for help.

“You don’t have to be a certain age or have a certain problem,” Evers said. “Everybody, at some point in their life, needs some type of support and that’s ok.”

Even with a phenomenal staff and the strength of an established organization, Waypoint is always looking for more help. Whether dedicated, skilled employees who aren’t afraid to do challenging work, or financial support for the many programs, help is always welcomed.

“All of our staff are doing incredible work. We’re all dedicated to addressing human need at every level, but that need won’t go away,” Hugener said.

Hugener and Evers work with children because they both believe it’s the best course to effect meaningful change. They see families who are under immense stress and strive to help them find their way.

“I believe in hope and trying to inspire hope in whatever circumstances someone is in,” Evers said. “I wanted to work in a job that maximizes hope and that’s why I’m at Waypoint.”

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