Citing her strong and effective commitment to the state’s refugee community, the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) has named Ridgefield’s Sylvia Steinert as Mental Health Volunteer of the year.
CIRI, the only statewide nonprofit that serves refugees, immigrants, survivors of torture, survivors of human trafficking, and asylum-seekers, made the announcement at its recent Volunteer Appreciation event, honoring the 670 pro bono professionals, mentors and other volunteers who have helped CIRI fulfill its mission over the past year.
CIRI’s Pro Bono Mental Health Program allows mental health professionals to have a more immediate and intimate impact on a refugee or immigrant as they resettle in the United States. Ms. Steinert, who has had a private practice for more than 20 years working with adults, couples and children, has also been involved for several years in the treatment of PTSD in refugees and asylum seekers. As a CIRI volunteer she has served as an expert witness and conducted pro bono mental health evaluations to prepare clients for asylum hearings.
CIRI CEO Claudia Connor said, “Our pro bono professionals, mentors and other volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization. They make a tremendous impact on our clients’ lives and on CIRI’s ability to achieve its mission. Together, we build engaged communities throughout Connecticut and make a difference in the lives of refugees, immigrants, asylees and survivors of human trafficking. Over the past two years, the number of volunteers serving with CIRI has grown from 160 to 670 volunteers who collectively logged an amazing 12,290 hours in a 12-month period.”