Celebrating RHA’s Longest Tenured Nurse for National Nurses Week

RHA’s longest tenured nurse, Marietta “Cookie” Lofton, is celebrating 43 years at the place Where Humans Bloom! This National Nurses Week, RHA expresses our profound gratitude for Cookie and all our nurses dedicated to providing excellent care for the people we serve. We asked Cookie a few questions to get to know her better. 

Describe your role with RHA and overall industry experience.

Cookie: I began my career with RHA in 1980 as a Direct Care staff member on 3rd shift. Over the years, I have been fortunate to fulfill various roles with the Bear Creek facility as an LPN and RN. Currently, I am the RN Team Leader on Blue Bayou. I feel that my integrity, trust, and loyalty to others within the Bear Creek organization has been influential in developing a better medical team and therapeutic relationships with the individuals and families we serve. 

Why nursing? Tell us what inspires you about your work with RHA. 

Cookie: I had never considered a career in nursing, but I feel God always puts the right people in my path to steer me in the right direction. One day while assisting a nurse, she told me that I should become a nurse because of my enjoyment in helping others. So, I began my journey to become the nurse that I am today! I became an LPN in 1991, a RN in 1999, and earned my BSN in 2008.  

Tell us about a time you made a difference in someone’s life through your work.

Cookie: Every day that I have a chance to advocate, promote positive choices, and encourage independence, I feel that I have made a difference in an individual’s life. Throughout my tenure at Bear Creek, I have had opportunities to empower and enrich the lives of individuals who inspire me every day; their unconditional love still melts my heart and makes me smile! 

Outside of RHA, what are your passions and hobbies? 

Cookie: My faith in God and family are two of my strongest passions. I love being grandma to my granddaughter and grand dog. My hobbies include curling up with a good book, shopping for a great sale, or watching Lifetime and Hallmark movies. 

If you’re looking for a rewarding career making a difference in the lives of others, visit rhajobs.com and join our team of dedicated professionals at RHA – Where Humans Bloom! 


RHA Health Services Appreciates Our Passionate Teachers

Did you know that RHA Health Services employs teachers at many of our service locations? This Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to express our deepest gratitude for their selfless dedication to the people we serve. To celebrate, we reached out to two teachers to learn more about their stories. Bonnie Robbins and Quin Crandle work at our Tar River location, a residential facility for medically complex children in Greenville, NC. Keep reading to learn more about them!

Describe your role with RHA and overall industry experience. 

Bonnie: My passion has always been to work with special needs students, and I am now in my 39th year as a Special Education Teacher. I worked for the state for 31.5 years and served in many positions. I have been a department chair, exceptional children’s contact person, testing coordinator, and behavior specialist. I tried retirement and it just wasn’t for me! 

Quin: I have been with RHA Health Services for over 20 years. Through the years, I have experienced “ups” and “downs” while teaching. The ups outweigh the downs, thanks to the children that have been admitted into this facility.  

Why teaching? Tell us what inspires you about your work with RHA.

Bonnie: I knew at an early age that I wanted to teach students with special needs. I began volunteering with Special Olympics and I knew that this is where I was destined to be. The children at RHA inspire me every day. They greet me daily with smiles on their faces and no matter how bad I feel, they can turn it around with their laughter. I can come in to teach and feel better because my struggles cannot compare to what some of these children go through. If they can smile and be happy, then so can I. 

Quin: Teaching is a great profession and experiencing these children achieving different milestones makes my role so rewarding. What inspires me the most is seeing these children accomplish things they were told they would never be able to do. RHA provides me with the tools to build upon my knowledge as a teacher and to achieve the best outcomes in my role. 

Tell us about a time you made a difference in someone’s life through your work. 

Bonnie: I look at the students and say, “This is what we are going to do today, and you can do it.” My saying is, “You can do ANYTHING!” I have had the privilege of helping many students become productive citizens with employment and the ability to care for themselves. 

Quin: I am a positive influence that helps my coworkers experience the true purpose of their work through correct training. When they allow the smiles on these children’s faces add meaning to their days, it increases their motivation to come to work and see the children happy! 

Outside of RHA, what are your passions and hobbies? 

Bonnie: I love to travel, even if it is just a day trip. I have traveled to many places, and I will continue to travel as much as possible. I especially enjoy reading and being by the water, lake, beach, pool, etc. 

Quin: Outside of work, I am a caretaker for my family members. I am also a crafter and use my creative skills to supply people in the community with custom-made items. I enjoy seeing the reactions on their faces when they receive their products. I have a strong passion for working with people with special needs.  

If you’re looking for a rewarding career making a difference in the lives of others, visit rhajobs.com and join our team of dedicated professionals at RHA – Where Humans Bloom! 


Nurses Week 2023: A message from RHA’s Chief Nursing Officer Robin Correll

Happy Nurses Week! We’re excited to recognize and celebrate RHA’s extraordinary team of nurses across many specialties; including caring for newborns with medical complexities, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or behavioral health needs. 

We truly have the best nurses. They demonstrate exceptional compassion and dedication, going above and beyond to ensure we’re providing high-quality care for the people we serve. 

Our nurses make a world of difference in the lives of people we serve, and we are grateful for their tireless effort. Please join us in thanking our nurses for their hard work and unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of others! 

– Robin Correll, Chief Nursing Officer  

Celebrating Western North Carolina’s Employees of the Year

RHA is proud to celebrate these outstanding employees named 2022 Employees of the Year!

Each month, Behavioral Health services directors in Western North Carolina name an Employee of the Month from which they annually select an Employee of the Year. Congratulations to the following employees who have worked hard for this award!

Brooklyn S. is an Employment Specialist with RHA’s Individual Placement Support Team. She is currently working towards a Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree from Gardner-Webb University. Brooklyn says, “I have always had a passion for helping those with mental health and substance use issues. My ultimate desired outcome is to obtain my PhD in psychology, so that I can continue to help the community that I serve and to have a greater impact in the lives of others.”

Brooklyn’s coworkers say:Thank you, Brooklyn, for the outstanding work you do! Brooklyn is consistent with serving members of IPS get and maintain employment, completing her documentation, and building bridges and partnerships with community stakeholders.”


RHA Team Leader Shemeca R.Shemeca R. is a Team Leader with RHA’s Comprehensive Case Management (CCM) Program. She started her career as a Qualified Professional with RHA’s Asheville-based Community Support Team, and after progressing to a Team Leader role, has grown the CCM program into the success it is today. 

Shemeca’s coworkers say:Shemeca leads by example, supporting not only her staff in being successful but also those individuals supported by CCM.”   

“Shemeca expects from others only what she will do herself. She is all in when it comes to helping and doing the ‘dirty work’ when necessary.”

RHA Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Catherine L.Catherine L. is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist. She is currently working to obtain a Mental Health license                                       

Catherine’s coworkers say:Catherine is extremely dedicated to her job. When I think about what it takes to be a great mental health and substance use therapist, I think about Cat. It’s amazing how well she balances the job, especially since she has been in the field for so many years.”                                

“Cat contributes to our team anywhere she sees a need. She has provided transportation to many of the individuals she serves just to help them get to groups to continue in their recovery journeys.”

Adaptive Technology Professional Bruce J.Bruce J. is the Adaptive Technology Professional in RHA’s Information Technology department.          

Bruce’s coworkers say:We are so appreciative of Bruce. He is a calm presence when we are experiencing IT panic. Not only is he incredibly competent in his job, he shows such patience with those of us who are less technically inclined.”                                                    

Bruce puts aside his own agenda on a busy day to help staff members who are struggling with IT issues. He responds quickly to IT struggles and maintains respect and professionalism as we try to navigate new computer systems.”

Employee Spotlight: Celebrating RHA Team Leads at the Place Where Humans Bloom!

Carlina S. and Nicole K. are Team Leads in North Carolina who recently celebrated five years with RHA.

Carlina is a Peer Support & Bridge Home Team Lead for RHA along the coast of North Carolina. Carlina began her journey at RHA as a Qualified Professional on the Transitional Management Services team in New Bern, a role she filled for a little over three years before transitioning to her current role as Team Lead over the Peer Support Team almost two years ago. In her current role, Carlina has been an instrumental part in establishing two new Trillium Bridge Recovery Homes in Greenville, North Carolina. Under Carlina’s leadership, the programs have seen such impressive success and growth in the Community Peer Support team’s caseload that they were able to split the team into two community Peer Support teams – one serving Greenville and New Bern, and the other serving Craven, Carteret, Edenton, and Elizabeth City.

Carlina is admired by her coworkers and has been referred to by peers as a great example of a strategic leader.

Nicole K. is a Transitional Management Services (TMS) Team Lead, also located along the east coast of North Carolina. Since Nicole came on board five years ago, she has been instrumental in training leaders within the company — Carlina being one of them.

Nicole maintains a full caseload and is often the first point of contact by Trillium Health Resources when they have a new member who needs to be transitioned to a TMS team in the New Bern area. Nicole is reported as  willing to drop everything to see a new individual and get them started with services. Coworkers described Nicole as a leader that is invested in the wellbeing of people, and someone who would willingly sacrifice anything to help a person supported.

We are so grateful to have Nicole and Carlina at RHA, and for the work that they are doing to help people we support live their best lives.

Interested in joining our team? Visit rhajobs.com to view available positions near you.

We’re Hiring! – Talent Acquisition Lead Shares About RHA’s Open Positions

As we expand and evolve, RHA is always seeking to fill open positions. From business to operations to healthcare, we offer a variety of opportunities for all experience levels. 

RHA's Talent Acquisition Lead Amie Sevier

We reached out to Talent Acquisition Lead Amie Sevier to share more about her work, RHA, and what potential applicants should know. 

Q: Can you describe your role with RHA and overall industry experience?   

A: As the Talent Acquisition Lead, my role is to lead the Talent Acquisition/Recruitment team to attract and connect talent at RHA. We work with the Operations team to connect candidates with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve across Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. I started in December 2020 as the first centralized Recruiter at RHA, and our team now has more than five members. I have 11 years of Recruitment experience in different industries, and I love having the opportunity to work with and hire passionate professionals! I love what I do because I am constantly learning from others, and I get to help develop and build the teams that stand behind our company.  

Q: What inspires you about your work with RHA? 

A: I am inspired by all we do for the community and the passion of our staff who work to provide opportunities for people to live more independent lives. I learn every day from the people at RHA, working in the community to make a difference by providing needed services I never knew existed. In Recruitment, we are inspired to keep doing what we do each day so RHA and all its great programs can keep providing for the communities we serve. 

Q: How would you describe RHA’s work culture and environment? 

A: RHA as a company is all about passion for the people we serve, and this shines through our staff. The Operations staff does everything they can to serve the unique needs of intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) services, mental health support services, and substance use services. Starting my job in 2020, I witnessed this passion when everyone came together to keep our services running as optimally as possible. 

Q: What kind of jobs are available with RHA? 

A: We have a little bit of everything at RHA, literally from hairdressers to psychiatrists! Most of our workforce are Direct Support Professionals, entry-level positions who provide care for the people we serve. These positions are 24/7, with a variety of schedules available, making them a great fit for someone in school or starting their career. We also have available positions in a variety of programs and services within the IDD and Behavioral Health space. My team and I like to say, if you are interested in working in one of the states we serve, we can find a job that suits your current needs and allows you to grow or “bloom” professionally at RHA. 

Q: What qualities and skills does RHA look for in potential candidates? 

A: We look for passion to support the people we serve, responsibility, innovation, a strong work ethic, and a teamwork mindset. 

Q: Why should someone apply to work with RHA? 

A: To state our tagline: At RHA, Where Humans Bloom, we give our staff the chance to grow and learn. If you want to make a difference in the lives of people living with intellectual/developmental disabilities or behavioral/mental health needs, there is a place for you at RHA. Explore the variety of services we provide to find the right fit for you and submit an application. We want to hear from you! 

Visit rhajobs.com or email careers@rhanet.org to learn more about available positions and apply now! 

Peer Support Brings Added Value to Recovery at RHA

Peer Support Services are recovery-focused, person-centered services for adults living with mental illnesses or substance use disorders.

At RHA, individuals who receive peer support services are paired up with a certified Peer Support Specialist (PSS) who will help guide them on their recovery journey. A PSS is someone with lived experience who has graduated from recovery courses and gone on to receive specialized training in how to support others on their journey.

With the help of a certified Peer Support Specialist, people learn how to manage their own recovery and build self-advocacy skills. Having guidance and support from someone who has “been there, done that” is what many in recovery value the most about peer support services. A PSS serves not only as a mentor but also as a source of hope and inspiration to people who are beginning the recovery process.

Brenden was a recipient of peer support services at RHA Health Services. With the help of a PSS, Brenden was able to access services that changed his life, including Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment. He shares his experience in a video filmed by UNC Psychiatry:

Thank you, Brenden, for sharing your story!

Are you looking for support on your recovery journey? Visit us at https://rhahealthservices.org/behavioral-health-services/ to view behavioral health services by state.

Peer Support at RHA Inspires Those in Recovery to Give Back

Donna received peer support services from RHA during her recovery – now, she’s a certified peer support specialist at RHA.

At RHA, individuals who receive peer support services are paired up with a certified Peer Support Specialist (PSS) who will help guide them on their recovery journey. A PSS is someone with lived experience who has graduated from recovery courses and gone on to receive specialized training in how to support others on their journey.

For some, peer support services are so impactful on their individual recovery journey that it inspires them to give back. This was the case for Donna, a Peer Support Specialist with RHA who utilized our peer support services during her own recovery journey. In this video from UNC Psychiatry, she talks about her experience:

Donna’s story echoes that of many of the peer support specialists at RHA Health Services, including team members like Cole, Ethel, and Tanya, whose stories you can read by clicking here.

If you’re interested in becoming a Peer Support Specialist or helping people in recovery, visit rhajobs.com to learn more and view available positions near you.

Thank you to Donna and others for sharing their stories and providing inspiration and support for others in recovery!  

RHA Employee Celebrates 11 Years at the Place #WhereHumansBloom!

Marianne T. is an RHA Business Manager in North Carolina who celebrated her 11-year anniversary with the company in July.

“I started working with the Foothills Service Center area in 1995. In the early 2000s, the company was vested and we wound up going through three new management companies in a matter of months, which caused drastic upset with the community of people we serve… In 2010 or 2011, RHA finally took over and I was committed to making sure that they were successful so that we could provide stability for the people we supported.”

Marianne began as a Business Manager with RHA, helping identify training opportunities, billing efficiencies, and other areas of improvement that could elevate the experience of the people supported at the Foothills Regional Treatment Center. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles supporting project management, office transitions, special projects, and more.

“I’ve always said if you need someone to break down a big project, give it to Marianne,” said Tina H. when complimenting Marianne on a recent position change. “You have stepped into your new position with a lot of thought and investigation. I appreciate how you have moved into it with such grace.”

“Marianne is quite the generous lady… She sewed all FRTC staff a personal cloth mask and in addition, delivered to the unit…. Thank you Marianne for caring for the RHA team,” Angela N. said after Marianne hand-sewed masks for staff members at the Foothills Regional Treatment Center during the height of COVID.

After eleven years with the company, Marianne says that there’s never been a dull day– and she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Every day is an adventure because every day we are figuring out how we’re going to make the next thing work successfully.” She said, “The thing about RHA is that the mindset is ‘we are going to do whatever it takes to succeed, and we are all going to do our best to make sure it does.’ And even when things don’t succeed, the people in charge come back and say, ‘Let’s look at this and figure out how to do it better next time.’ RHA just does not fail.”

Thank you, Marianne, for your commitment to RHA and the people we support!

Inspired by Marianne’s story? Visit rhajobs.com to learn more about available positions and apply now!


RHA Employee in North Carolina Creates Newsletter with the Help of People Supported

Debra W. is a Qualified Professional (QP) at RHA who has been working with people supported to create fun and festive newsletters for more than two years.

Debra began creating a newsletter with the help of people supported at one of RHA’s group homes in North Carolina more than two years ago.

“The newsletter is a big confidence booster. It makes people feel good and supported,” said Debra. “There are people supported who look forward to working on the newsletter. Once they’re done and something they helped create is printed, they get to see it and show it off.”

When Debra first introduced the newsletter she said people weren’t sure how to respond, but that it quickly gained traction. “People weren’t sure what to do with it for a long time, but now it’s gotten to the point where the people supported are asking about it constantly. They want to have their birthday celebrated, or appreciated. I barely have to engage people anymore because people enjoy it so much.”

The newsletter has been running for more than two years, and while a recent change and Debra said she’s excited to continue working on it. “I love to do it; it’s my work hobby! It’s just the most fun, relaxing thing in the world.”

Thank you, Debra, for engaging the people we support and helping them find a way to feel seen, supported, and celebrated!