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Story #52

Staff Profile: Estrella Montanez

Born and raised in the Bronx, Estrella Montanez is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk families in the borough. As Residence Director at the Nelson Avenue Family Residence, she supervises all aspects of the residence's services for families and day-to-day operations. Estrella works with her staff to ensure that families have a positive experience in the shelter as well as a plan to move forward.

"Our goal and our approach are to assess a family's immediate needs and prepare a plan to get families back into the community," she said, "finding employment, saving, and exploring resources such as family and friends."
                                                                                                                                                        Estrella has a background in working in a variety of social service roles. After receiving her Bachelor's degree in Developmental Sociology from Cornell University, Estrella worked in a multi-systemic therapy program for youth in the juvenile justice system as an alternative to incarceration. "I worked to help them remain in the community and stay away from trouble," she said. 
 
Estrella's work inspired her to pursue a Master's degree in Social Work at Columbia University. After receiving her MSW, Estrella worked in an outpatient mental health program for children and youth. Having excelled in her previous roles, Estrella was ready for a more senior position. "I asked myself, How else can I assist in this field?" Estrella joined BronxWorks as a Case Management Supervisor in November 2015; her first supervisory role. Estrella was promoted to Director of Social Services at Nelson Avenue in January of 2016 and to her current role in May. "I've done a lot!" she says with a smile.  "All with children, youth, and families."
 
No longer in a direct service role, Estrella enjoys working with colleagues to have an impact. "I've grown to like seeing staff grow and develop," she says. Helping families secure housing has been particularly rewarding to Estrella.
 
"We recently had a parent with a child at camp and they just found an apartment. They called their child to say, I have a surprise for you when you get home," Estrella said with a smile. "It's their own place that's big."

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#42 Understanding Diversity in a Multicultural Community

#41 Rachel B. – On the path out of poverty

 

Click below to read the 40 BronxWorks Stories that highlighted our 40th anniversary year

#40 Carolyn McLaughlin – One Family Meets Another

#39 Robin Hood and BronxWorks – Synergy in Fighting Poverty

#38 The BronxWorks Board of Directors: Time, Talent, Treasure, and Terrific!

#37 Betances Community Center Advisory Board: “We have PhDs in ‘street’!”

#36 20+ Years of Careers in Service at BronxWorks

#35 Camila R. – By helping another, she helped herself

#34 Jean Smith – A Lifetime of Caring and Lifting Lives

#33 BronxWorks Partners: These Landlords are Building Futures and Community

#32 FEPS – Reducing fear, confusion and homelessness

#31 Horatio G. – Building his future through language

#30 BronxWorks Blue Waves – Swimming for Fun, Fitness & the Future

#29 Abubacar W. – Big Steps for a Little Boy

#28 Bedtime Stories – Lifting lives through reading & caring

#27 Tyrese M. – “I get another family”

#26 Eva M. – Intra-agency collaboration results in happiness and a home

#25 KC, Shannon, & Christopher – Making Children’s Lives Better

#24 Veronica, NCJW, and HIPPY – “Not alone in this journey through life”

#23 Maria R. – A 23-hour bus ride and her faith saved her life

#22 Ronald G. – "Crossing a bridge to better health and stability"

#21 Stephanie M. – From Attitude to Aptitude

#20 "Reweaving the social fabric of a neighborhood"

#19 Catherine M. – "I'm not a sit-down kind of person!"

#18 Judy Leonard – A Letter to BronxWorks Friends

#17 Rachea C. – Achieving Milestones, Step by Step

#16 Eric Hill – Miles & Music

#15 BronxWorks and Super Storm Sandy – Dedication, stamina, and grace personified

#14 Milagros R. – One dress, many dreams

#13 Heights seniors take the healthy lead

#12 Nidia R. – Minor repairs = major relief

#11 Homeless Outreach Team – Feeling Connected to the World

#10 Cristina, Raymond, Crisbelly & Aaron – Growing up at BronxWorks

#9 Jeniffer M. – From the South Bronx to South Africa: the visit of a lifetime that almost didn't happen

#8 Nathaniel S. – "I'm right there beside you"

#7 Diana S. – Overcoming tragedy: "I'm still here"

#6 Irodney P. – "I want to earn it not have it handed to me"

#5 Natividad C. – A bond of mutual respect and genuine affection

#4 Michael J. – "What was given to me was given freely"

#3 Kathryn Speller – Retiring from work, not her passions

#2 Alfredo C. – "Thanks to you, Dad"

#1 Jonathan P. – Striving for Excellence

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