Wayside Warriors: JP Posnak and Kendra Holmgren

Wayside Warriors: JP Posnak and Kendra Holmgren

By Allison Parks
Site Director, Wayside MetroWest Community Services

It’s not often families reach out to share the positive stories. It’s not because there aren’t plenty of instances where our staff are making a positive difference, but the nature of their work is often invisible. It may go unnoticed outside of individual and group therapy, but it’s certainly not unappreciated. I’m grateful for JP and Kendra and Diana for reinforcing what we already know. Kendra and JP have been running our Saturday Club group for almost two years now and are two of the most creative individuals I know. They have successfully transitioned their in-person group to virtual and they continue to plan some amazing activities. Both JP and Kendra have also been very supportive to other staff in coming up with creative at-home activities to keep our youth connected. Thank you both Kendra and JP, we are lucky to work with two creatively superior individuals!

Dear Allison,

“I am writing to you as JP Posnak and Kendra Holmgren’s supervisor to share with you what wonderful service providers you have in these two outstanding individuals. My son has been in their “Saturday Club” through Wayside since last September, and there is not a week that goes by that I do not say to myself and aloud to my husband, ‘These people are amazing – how lucky are we that our son is in this group!'”

Our son joined Saturday Club last September and greatly enjoyed the in-person outings every other week. As a very young and socially immature teenager with developmental delays, ADHD, slow processing, and other learning and social-emotional disabilities, my son benefited enormously from the opportunity for regular socialization and from the reinforcement of social skills that JP and Kendra taught.

Once COVID hit, JP and Kendra easily could have cancelled Saturday club, since it was no longer possible to do the alternate weekly outings.  Instead, these two wonderful individuals started meeting WEEKLY on Zoom with the group. They provided structure, socialization, fun activities and reinforcement of the importance of listening to others’ views and thoughts while developing self-advocacy skills as well.

It was the one social outlet my son continued to have all spring, and I get tears in my eyes when I think about Jenny and Kendra showing up at our house one day, masked and socially distanced, to bring my son the materials he would need for activities they would do in Saturday Club!

All summer, this group continued to meet weekly, even though Saturday Club was supposed to end in June. Kendra and JP recognized the need for continued socialization among the group and therefore continued to gather them each week.

Now into October, Saturday Club is still going strong and meeting weekly. My son looks forward to it all week and confirms with me each week that he can attend. The one time I made the mistake of scheduling something for him on a Saturday between 10 a.m.-2 p.m., he asked me to cancel it so that he would not have to miss Saturday Club. Sometimes we listen outside of my son’s door, and it’s an absolute joy to hear the group chattering away.

JP and Kendra have adopted activities that the kids all like to participate in. They have learned to play Roblox online to keep up with the members’ interests. Mostly, the group continues to provide structure, an outlet for socialization, and reinforcement of appropriate rules for social engagement.  I truly credit these two amazing individuals and their commitment to my child and the other Saturday Club kids for the fact that he has handled COVID, and being cut off from normal routine, as well as he has.

I do not know if you have a “Staff Member of the Month” award or if there is anything else I could do to show JP and Kendra how much we appreciate and value them. If there is something I can do, I would love to do it. I am reaching out to you as their supervisor so that you know what lovely, kind, empathetic, caring staff members you have in JP and Kendra.

My whole family will be forever grateful to them.”


Diana Turk

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