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Meet Melissa Pappas, Rosecrance Central Illinois Executive Director

Pappas was named Rosecrance Central Illinois’ executive director in 2022.

Hope—it’s critical to the recovery journey, and it’s what keeps people moving forward through the most difficult circumstances.

Rosecrance Central Illinois Executive Director Melissa Pappas discovered hope’s sustaining power early in her career counseling individuals involved in the criminal justice system whose death sentences had been commuted to life in prison.

“I couldn’t imagine the trauma of no longer having a death sentence, but still knowing that you will spend the rest of your life there,” she said. “They taught me so much about hopelessness and what it means to champion hope in the most challenging situations.”

Through those experiences, and watching a family member battle addiction, Pappas developed a passion for ending the stigma and expanding access to life-giving treatment.

That is why she joined Rosecrance Central Illinois in October 2021 as the organization prepared to expand services under a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grant. Pappas was tasked with implementing the array of programming, which included hiring and mentoring staff, and strengthening valuable partnerships in Champaign County.

“I was excited to provide services to people who didn’t think they had anybody in their corner,” she said. “Our staff have such dedication to make Rosecrance that place of stability, and their work keeps me passionately involved with our mission.”

Earlier this spring Pappas was named Rosecrance Central Illinois’ executive director. She sees this as an opportunity to make a personal impact on a much wider continuum of services.

In addition, Pappas is using the expanded role to further strengthen the continuum of behavioral health services available in the area. Whether through relationships with other providers or growing Rosecrance Central Illinois’ existing offerings, she is eager to reduce barriers to life-giving care.

“I’m impressed with everyone’s dedication to serving those who need it the most,” she said. “There are so many options available to help a variety of populations. As we strengthen those ties, we will be able to provide even better services to the whole community.”

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