HCN News & Notes

Students’ Creativity Brings Comfort and Joy to MiraVista Staff and Patients

SPRINGFIELD — Students at William N. DeBerry Elementary School created more than 300 holiday cards for patients and staff at MiraVista Behavioral Health Center.

The cards were presented on Dec. 19 in red buckets resembling Santa Claus suits to representatives of the Holyoke-based center that provides psychiatric and substance-use care to adolescents and adults.

Elizabeth Fazio, principal of the Union Street School for kindergarten through grade 5, and art teacher Brie Shonak beamed with pride when the cards the students have been making since Thanksgiving were picked up by three of MiraVista’s senior leadership members: Mark Paglia, chief operating officer; Erin Daley, chief Nursing officer; and Kimberley Lee, chief of Creative Strategy and Development. They also presented the school with MiraVista’s You-Have-Our AdMIRAtion Award.

Lee said the school is the first community-based recipient of the award and recognizes how generous and willing the students were to undertake making the cards for those who would be hospitalized during the holidays as well as staff working to care for them.

“We are beyond grateful for their creations,” Lee said. “Throughout December’s holidays, which include Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, we have adults and adolescents in our care who are receiving treatment for their emotional well-being and substance use. The cards from the students are a nice message to patients and staff at this time of year that their well-wishers are many.”

Lee said MiraVista, which opened in April 2021 in what was Providence Behavioral Health Hospital, also has “adults with us who are in recovery from a substance-use addiction and a nursing and clinical staff who are with them throughout. Everyone will receive a little holiday joy from the students’ artistic designs and from the fact that so much thought and care went into creating them.”