Meet JRI's Service Navigator

Our Navigator personally answers questions and talks with you about resources that may be available in the community to meet your individualized needs. If you have any questions about our programs or services, or aren't sure what you need, contact our Service Navigator, Rachel Arruda, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.

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A Healthy Brain and A Kind Heart

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

By: Courtney Edge-Mattos

His scheduled visit was cancelled suddenly, leaving him in the school office. 

“Hi, Buddy is still here…Do you know if someone is coming to get him?”

There hadn’t been a message to let anyone know of the cancellation.  Foster mom thought he was at the DCF office.  Our Case Manager thought the same.  Buddy just knew he was waiting with the receptionist. 

She picked him up.  She’d met him twice before.  “Do you remember me?” she asked tentatively.

His eyes were huge, searching, trying to recall something from the recesses of his brain.  “Um…Maybe?”

She introduced herself, settled him in her car, and drove the seven minutes to the office. “We can hang out while we wait for Nana A,” she said, referring to his foster mom. 

He sat in a chair, twirling it joyfully.  Volunteer holiday wrappers were boxing and bagging hundreds of gifts that we had no way of hiding from his delighted gaze. 

“Who are they all for?” he asked with wonder.

“For kids…Sometimes, we like to help Santa.”

“I can help!  I’m like, the best wrapper ever!  I’m really good!”

In an effort to hide his gifts, which were on the wrapping table, we found an art project instead.  His attention darted here and there.  He read every piece of signage available, asking only every few minutes for help with a word.  He asked about the board with incoming foster parents.  “Why does it say CPR?  What is that?  What does “App A” mean?  What is MAPP?”

He asked if we knew his old foster parents, who he lived with for nearly a full year, but could not recall their names.  His memory has holes in it and sometimes it is hard for him to pull that information, but he knew them in his soul.  “They were nice,” he said.  We assured him we did know them and agreed that they were nice. 

“I got Papa A a ruler for Christmas from my school store, because he’s always measuring things.  He’s that kind of guy,” he said knowingly. 

She arrived, anxious at how the sense of being left behind would settle on his shoulders. 

“My boy, I’m so sorry that happened!”

“Where were you?  Why didn’t anyone come?” he asked.

“I don’t know.  I’m so sorry, but I’m here now.”

He accepted that graciously, then showed her his artwork, a snowman he was working on.  He talked about giving gifts to his friends and family.  We filled Nana A in on his reading success.

“Buddy has a very healthy brain,” I complimented.

“And I have a kind heart,” he crowed. “That’s the most important part!!!”

Nana A glowed with pride over the lovely little boy in the twirly chair.  “It is, Buddy.”

If you would like to help a child celebrate their healthy brain and kind heart, please reach out to us today.

www.jri.org/fostercare

A child is waiting.

@JRISocialJstce