From without hope to Champion of Hope

Glenda Burns arrived in Rockford discouraged and downhearted. Knowing life needed to change, she entered treatment at Rosecrance and discovered the hope of recovery.

Inspired by caring staff, Burns recognized that her sustained recovery could be a professional asset and decided to pursue a career in behavioral health. She eventually returned to Rosecrance and has been a champion of hope for over 15 years.

“I didn’t have much going for me when I came here as a client, but staff saw what I could become,” Burns said. “After I finished treatment, Rosecrance gave me opportunities I might not have found elsewhere. Rosecrance embraces those of us who are in recovery.”

Burns started as a recovery home staff member, worked with adolescents and adults, and eventually ascended into leadership. She now coordinates care for several treatment units at Rosecrance Harrison Campus.

This professional growth was made possible by the wisdom of mentors and support of the organization. As career goals took shape, Rosecrance assisted with finances for counseling licensure, and then adjusted work schedules so Burns could earn three college degrees along the way. Early on, longtime recovery home supervisor Monica Smith became a valued mentor who continues to be a sounding board and voice of wisdom.

“Monica was one of the first people who took the time to invest in me, and I’m so grateful to be surrounded by people like that in my work at Rosecrance,” Burns said. “There are so many who are willing to go the extra mile to challenge us as professionals or encourage those of us who are in recovery. That makes this a special place to work.”

Those interactions with leaders led Burns to find ways to give back to the organization. She supervises a team of 18 and invests in each of them, feeling excited when she points interested staff toward career advancement.

In addition, Burns is involved in several initiatives that contribute to Rosecrance’s corporate culture. Two newer committees, one focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and another that promotes recovery themes, have brought greater awareness throughout the organization. She also directs monthly client community volunteer efforts and donation drives that help local communities.

“I enjoy giving back, and I’m proud of the way our staff participate in what we’re doing,” she said. “These different efforts help bring the organization together as a whole, no matter which facility or region we work in.”