NAFI Rhode Island 2021 Staff Awards Announced

December 14, 2021

Each year, NAFI recognizes and celebrates employees for the outstanding work they do in providing the highest level of innovative human and social services to individuals and families.

Lynn Bishop, Executive Director of NAFI operations in ConnecticutRhode Island and New York, recently announced this year’s award winners. (Also see the stories on the Connecticut winners and New York honorees.)

Rookie of the Year:

The Rookie of the Year award is presented to someone who has worked for the agency for less than one year but has already made a notable mark on their program, having shown great enthusiasm for their job and commitment to professional growth.

NAFI Rhode Island 2021 staff award, awards
Paul Castaldi, Program Director of Enhanced Outpatient Services (EOS), Sandra Gomes, and Kristal Glaude of EOS. 

Sandra Gomes – Enhanced Outpatient Services, NAFI Rhode Island

Sandra started with EOS as an intern. She excelled as an intern and was delighted when offered a clinician position at EOS. Since joining the clinical team, she has shown great curiosity about the best ways to help her families and is eager to learn new strategies. In supervision she is always open to criticism and makes good use of the support offered to her. She has assisted in translation when needed for Portuguese families. She has been a great team player filling whatever role best supports the EOS mission of “strengthening families.” A wonderful addition to the program.

Awards of Excellence

The Award of Excellence is presented to someone who serves as an example of superior performance in their agency, having made significant accomplishments during the year. Recipients are recognized for exemplary leadership, innovation, or initiative.

NAFI Rhode Island 2021 staff awards, award
Paul Castaldi, Program Director of Enhanced Outpatient Services (EOS), Kristal Glaude, and Alison Rodino, Clinical Director of EOS.

Kristal Glaude – Enhanced Outpatient Services, NAFI Rhode Island

Through a chaotic year Kristal has been a stabilizing force. She is always coming up with new ideas to solve difficult problems. Very supportive to new staff and has become a large participant in the new staff orientation process. As a senior supervisor she has been a great mentor to our newer supervisory staff.  She has become a big proponent of Project Turkey and was instrumental in getting it off the ground this year. Despite the uncertainty of this year at EOS she has maintained a positive outlook and is always looking for ways to contribute. She is respected by all of her supervisees and instills excellence. Kristal has been a steady contributor since joining NAFI in 2013.

NAFI Rhode Island 2021 staff awards, award

Danielle Soule – NAFI CT/RI/NY Finance Team 

Danielle joined NAFI less than a year ago and has showcased her professionalism, ability to learn, and willingness to tackle any responsibilities given to her.   

Danielle approaches her workday with appreciation, focus, maturity, consideration of others, and lots of humor! On the business side of the agency, attention to detail, accuracy of work and meeting deadlines are core to our success. Danielle owns these values naturally and executes them with grace and respect. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to NAFI’s vision. You make a difference.   

Thank you Danielle for being a part of our team. We are so lucky to have you.  

Marisa Davis – Main Street, NAFI Rhode Island

NAFI Rhode Island 2021 staff awards, award

In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Marissa demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the Main Street program as well as to NAFI RI.   Marissa is a tireless advocate for the program. She brings a considered and thoughtful approach to her leadership but equally a willingness to learn. She works tirelessly well beyond a normal work week and is always willing to help out other programs when in need. She is always willing to pitch in for the good of the community. Her clear insight and guiding vision have earned her the respect and admiration of staff, clients and the community in which we reside. Marissa leads by example. She does not shy away the tough challenges. She takes the time to listen and take an active role in the successes of all the clients she oversees. The attributes Marissa Davis possesses include: caring, respect, transparency, commitment, dedication, integrity, hard work and resiliency. Marissa makes a difference, she exemplifies the mission, and positively impacts anyone who crosses her path.

Executive Director’s Choice Award

Each year, the agency’s Executive Director selects one individual to receive this distinguished award. It recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact on the organization based both on performance of job responsibilities as well as contributions to the overall mission, goals, and values of NAFI. 

Tracey Pearson with Executive Director Lynn Bishop

Tracey Pearson – Director of Residential Services, NAFI Rhode Island 

Capable, competent, dedicated and energetic are words that come to mind and fully describe Tracey. As the Director of Residential Services in RI, Tracey has given 110% to the residential programs over the past year, filling positions and acting as the Program Director in a time of a staffing crisis. Helping with transports, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and so much more, she has proven to be a true leader. She has spent countless hours interviewing and helping to hire and train staff because she understands the urgency and importance of supporting our staff. She is an advocate and has worked endless hours supporting and guiding the staff and kids at all four of RI’s group homes. Bottom line: Tracey is a true inspiration to others through role modeling and having a “we’re all in this together” attitude. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion

The DEI Champion Award is presented to a NAFI employee who is actively working toward achieving a welcoming, supportive and inclusive work environment. It is intended to celebrate those who embrace the value of diversity and recognize how it helps advance the mission of NAFI.

Giselle Lopez, LYNC, NAFI Connecticut

We have found in Giselle an inspirational mentor. She has voice, volume, vibrancy and virtue. She is the embodiment of human centered connection and she inspires in us the courage to open our hearts, start the conversation, take a stand, and connect across cultures, races, religions, and genders. Giselle goes above and beyond to incorporate cultural sensitivity and respect in all of her communications. She educates colleagues about the differences in Latino cultures, language, and norms. She continuously helps to keep us grounded in our goal to be inclusive and welcoming to all races, ages, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds. Giselle has recorded PSAs in English and Spanish, and across many NAFI CT programs has translated documents and supported us with interpretation. She also participated in the Cultural Diversity Sub-Committee as part of NAFI’s strategic planning. Giselle is currently serving as the chair of a committee working to start a Latino Center in Willimantic. The focus of the committee is on supporting undocumented immigrants to connect with community and mental health services.


NAFI has been operating residential, foster care and community based programs in Rhode Island since 1989. In 2004, NAFI RI grew into a comprehensive network of nine programs, serving adolescents and adults with an overarching mission of creating diverse and innovative services for people. NAFI RI includes juvenile justice, mental and behavioral health and family support programs. 

In 2016, NAFI RI joined forces with NAFI CT to create a multi-state, multi-service agency serving southern New England. NAFI’s Normative Community Approach creates a culture where people work together to achieve individual and community successes. To learn more, see the website at