Social Work & Resource Services
Many Fresh Start clients come to us during transition periods in their lives. Maybe you aren’t quite sure the best way to take advantage of our services, or how to find the community services you need. With in-house specialists ready to help you make positive changes for your future, we have you covered.
Not only do we have social workers in-house to connect you with the necessary social services, but we also have resource specialists who will work with you to create a Fresh Start plan based on your goals. We also have group sessions that offer a built-in support network with a group of women going through similar life changes.
Social Service Coordinator:
This can be your initial point of contact when connecting with Fresh Start by providing guidance, education, and referral to help you move forward with your current goals. It is our priority to get you connected with the appropriate service, workshop, group, and support.
Claudia has worked in social services for over 18 years serving the community as a Family Advocate, bilingual substance abuse counselor, program coordinator, bilingual parent aid, and High Needs Case Manager. Claudia is a strong believer of the importance of connecting women with natural and community base supports in order to be able to thrive and rise above adversity.
Social Work Services
Our social workers will provide you with personalized, one-on-one support as you make changes in your life. We’ll work with you to prioritize current needs and find community resources to help meet them. Beyond immediate needs, you’ll also get guidance in identifying growth opportunities, setting goals and creating an action plan to keep you moving in the right direction.
Rebecca Christ, MSW, MPA
Rebecca is driven by a deep desire to advocate and work with women by addressing their needs from a holistic approach that includes mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Rebecca has served in many capacities, including as a crisis response team member, a victim advocate and a congressional constituent caseworker. She teaches stress management at the university level. Rebecca holds master’s degrees in both social work and public administration from Arizona State University.
Becky Onken, LMSW
Prior to Fresh Start, Becky worked as a case manager for SEARCH Homeless Services in Houston, TX. In her time at SEARCH, Becky supported chronically homeless adults with behavior change through both individual and group work. Becky’s passion has always been helping others succeed, which led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology from Edgewood College in Madison, WI and her masters of social work from the University of Houston in Houston, TX. Becky is excited to be a part of an organization with a powerful mission of empowering women and helping them achieve their personal & professional goals.
Merle Salus-Herbig, LCSW
Merle has decades of experience as a social worker, performing psychotherapy for individuals, families and couples, as well as therapy groups and psycho-educational groups. Subspecialities of Merle's are gerontology and work with boundaries. At Fresh Start, she facilitates the two-part group workshop "Developing Boundaries/Continuing Healthy Boundaries" as well as "The Women's Group" and "The Second Half" (for women 45 and older). She holds dual master's degrees in both teaching and social work from the University of Chicago.
Open Support Groups
Groups offer a wonderful opportunity to connect with other women working through similar challenges as you. It’s a powerful experience that builds strong ties of friendship and support among the women who attend.
Any Fresh Start client can drop in on an open support group without pre-registering or committing to attend more than one session. All open support groups are free—simply show up the day and time that the support group is offered. Check our calendar for schedules.
Closed Support Groups
Closed groups are more structured than open groups, with sessions that build upon each other over 6-10 weeks. Although these sessions are also free, we do require that you pre-register directly with the group facilitator to attend, and you must commit to attend all sessions to ensure you get the full benefit of the group.
Take the first step in the journey to the life you deserve. Learn more about attending the programs and services at Fresh Start!Start Now