Women’s History Month is celebrated in March to honor the contributions of women to events in history, culture, and society. This annual celebration began in the United States in 1987, but has since spread to other countries around the world.
During Women’s History Month, Social Model Recovery Systems would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of Melanie Arellano, Regional Director, Los Angeles, and Lynetta Hale, Regional Director, San Gabriel Valley.
“Being a regional director taught me that effective communication, collaboration, and leadership skills are essential to successfully managing multiple programs and teams. It has also reinforced the importance of understanding and meeting the unique needs of each program and community we serve.” says Melanie
Melanie was raised by a single mom who is a continuous strong influence in her life. She witnessed the struggles her mom went through and has shown her that hard work, dedication, and independence has made her who she is today.
“My Mom’s resilience and determination have taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. She had me when she was 16 years old and had many struggles that I have watched her overcome throughout my life. Despite the challenges, she never gave up and always pushed through to provide for our family. I grew up witnessing the women in my life triumph over adversity as single mothers who had to step up and take on the roles of both parents after the men in our family were sent to prison. Their fortitude and tenacity have motivated me to put forth the effort and perseverance in the face of my own difficulties.”
Melanie dealt with depression and trauma at an early age that led to substance abuse and homelessness. She then began her journey in recovery at Mariposa Recovery Home. Mariposa helped her get back on her feet and gave her all the support she needed so she could be reunited with her son who was in foster care at that time.
After she got sober, she went back to school in 2002 to study addiction counseling. In 2003, she got an opportunity to work at Mariposa where she began her professional career as a substance abuse disorder counselor and eventually became the Program Director.
She recalled working with the inspiring and strong women and children in the community, helping mothers recover and women heal from their own trauma while empowering them to become the leaders in their own right.
“It was a fulfilling and rewarding experience that taught me the power of resilience and the importance of community support.”
She understands the importance of setting a positive example and that anything is possible if you just work on it.
“I’m conscious that my family and my two granddaughters are keeping an eye on me as I balance work, school, family, and recovery. I also do not take these opportunities lightly as a woman in leadership because I understand the importance of setting a positive example for young women and girls who are looking up to me, and I want to show them that it is possible to achieve success while also prioritizing self-care and personal well-being.”
“I love being a woman in leadership at Social Model Recovery Systems, and I hope to continue to be an example of resilience and empowerment for all, especially women and girls who may face unique challenges and obstacles in their own journeys. It is my goal to create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential” she added.
Currently, Melanie is working towards her goal of earning a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. And as a regional director, she has been overseeing all SMRS Los Angeles Programs: Royal Palms, Omni Center, Mariposa, and Bimini residential treatment centers.
Under her supervision are Vanessa Moses (Royal Palms Program Director), Carlos Aguilar (Omni Center Program Director), Vivian Escamilla (Mariposa Program Director), and Maria Reyes (Bimini Program Director).
Lynetta Hale, AMFT, LPT returned to Social Model Recovery Systems on 2/3/2023 as the Regional Director of San Gabriel Valley.
Lynetta was previously employed by Social Model from 2005 – 2007 when she filled the roles of Primary Counselor and then Medication Support Counselor at River Community.
Lynetta has worked in the treatment/recovery space for the past 32 years in various capacities including as a certified addictions treatment counselor, a licensed psychiatric technician, and program director in multiple settings including oversight of crisis residential treatment centers, enriched residential services (IMD step-down), outpatient and day-treatment programs, family reunification programs, directing the assessment and admissions departments at two inpatient psychiatric facilities, and has worked in the in-custody forensic setting.
Lynetta holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of La Verne (Summa Cum Laude) and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with a Trauma Studies Concentration from Pacific Oaks College.
Lynetta began her journey on August 16, 1988, when she surrendered her endless attempts to control her addiction and entered Stepping Stones recovery home in Covina (yes, now a program of Social Model Recovery Systems). Her journey of recovery has been in equal parts joyful, painful, and “oh, so worth it”. The process of recovery is not easy (if it were, we may all be unemployed). She has been graced to have maintained sobriety for 34 consecutive years. Posttraumatic growth has been inextricably intertwined along her journey.
Lynetta feels grateful to be in a position to not only oversee the San Gabriel Valley programs but to also be able to obtain her clinical hours for MFT licensure by providing clinical services for some SMRS participants, thus also bolstering support for the programs. Her dream is to continue a long and robust career with Social Model Recovery Systems and to teach, in the future, in an adjunct professor capacity.
Under her supervision are Sarah Tostado (River Community Program Director), Elizabeth Ello (Mid Valley Outpatient Program Director), Daniel Lugo (PCADD Program Director), Ellen Striverson (PCADD FSP Program Director, Patricia Flood (Stepping Stones Program Director), and Gloria Loera (River Community Covina/Wellness Center).
Women’s History Month is an important reminder of the crucial role that women have played in shaping our world and inspiring future generations. It is a time to celebrate the progress that has been made towards gender equality, while also acknowledging the work that still needs to be done to achieve true equality for all women.