Gerri Bloomberg reflects on 50 years of service to Howard Center
Gerri Bloomberg’s tenure with Howard Center reaches back 50 years to when she served on the Board of Directors for The Baird Center for Children and Families. She was the youngest member of the board, and eventually became its Chair. With a master’s degree in counseling and previous teaching experience, she was a perfect fit for the organization that provided residential and outpatient education and mental health programming for children with emotional and behavioral challenges. During that period Gerri also became a member of the Howard Center Board.
At the time, the Baird Center operated independently of Howard Center, but Gerri recalls the planning and discussions that occurred in advance of the Baird Center’s merger with what was then Howard Center for Human Services. In 1994, The Baird Center for Children and Families, Champlain Drug and Alcohol Services, and Howard Center for Human Services merged to become what is now known as Howard Center. Gerri served on the newly-formed Vermont Foundation for Children and Families.
As a mental health professional, Gerri was a perfect fit for Howard Center’s board. She had pursued her graduate studies when her children were small. When she entered the workforce she worked privately as a therapist. She was initially hired by The University of Vermont in the Center for Career Development, but then moved into Counseling Services. She became the Counselor for the Faculty and Staff and began the University’s Employee Assistance Program. She was president of the Association for Mental Health Counselors, worked with the legislature on licensing for mental health professionals, and later started her own business, Workplace Solutions, to serve nonprofits and businesses by offering employee assistance programs, counseling and organizational development services. Gerri sold her business and is now retired, but says she truly loved her career working with a variety of organizations and businesses. She has always believed in giving back, and over the years she has served on school and college boards and as a trustee for several organizations, including the Shelburne and Mater Christi Schools, Burlington College, and Lesley University. She was a member and director of the Burlington Rotary Club. She was also a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer for the Red Cross and was stationed at the World Trade Center Site (Ground Zero) following the 9/11 attacks.
From her historical vantage point, Gerri says, “Over the 50 years that I have been involved with Howard Center, I have seen how the organization has grown enormously in terms of its expertise, facilities, and the scope of services it provides. Howard Center has become a highly professional organization with excellent leaders and providers. In addition, I’ve always been impressed with the organization’s ability to provide professional growth for its employees.”
Gerri currently serves on the board of the Vermont Foundation for Children and Families, an affiliate of Howard Center, and continues her long service to the organization by helping to manage its endowment. In addition, she contributes her time and skills to the social action committee, and Sisterhood Board at Temple Sinai, and is on the board of an environmental nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico.
With what free time she is able to carve out for herself, Gerri spends time with her husband, her three children, and six grandchildren. She also continues to pursue her hobbies of painting (with The Monet Mamas) and playing jazz piano.