Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award Recipients

Amanda Krafick

Amanda Krafick

2022

As a mother in long-term recovery from substance use disorder, Amanda Krafick understands the challenges faced by people living with depression, anxiety, and substance use. In rural Armstrong County, reliable transportation is one of the most significant barriers to the recovery process. Without a vehicle or access to safe public transit, people in recovery struggle to get to treatment, let alone find employment opportunities. That’s why Amanda started Rides 4 Recovery to help drive recovery efforts.

Launched in March 2020, Rides 4 Recovery started providing transportation to and from vocational training, applying, and interviewing for jobs, and to and from a job for the first 3 -6 months of a person’s employment. In its first year, the program was expanded to include transportation to and from treatment, and recovery support groups.

Amanda is the manager and founder of Rides 4 Recovery, but she’s also the heart. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amanda was behind the wheel, making sure people in recovery arrived on time.

For her creative problem-solving, compassion, and dedication, Staunton Farm Foundation is honored to award Amanda Krafick as the recipient of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award for Innovation in Behavioral Health.

Mila Sanina

Mila Sanina

2022

Staunton Farm Foundation is proud to announce Mila Sanina, former executive director of PublicSource, is the recipient of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award for Innovation in Behavioral Health.

Growing up in Kazakhstan, Mila attended the American University of Central Asia and the American University in Bulgaria before finally relocating to the U.S. to attend the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. After covering unrest in her home country and working at CNN and PBS NewsHour, she spent five years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, rising to the role of deputy managing editor. Mila’s ability to effect change increased when she took on the role of executive director of PublicSource, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to telling “Stories for a Better Pittsburgh.”

Under her leadership, behavioral health became a “beat” on par with any other at the publication, covered thoroughly and through diverse approaches. Mila also oversaw the production of public-service guides, like a November 2021 story that made a simple, but vital offer: “Mental health resources can be hard to navigate. Here’s how to start your search.”

When COVID-19 arrived, Mila engineered a major shift in pace at PublicSource, informed by three realizations which she seemed to arrive at immediately: 1) The behavioral health of the region as a whole depended on the provision of timely, accurate, clear information about the pandemic; 2) The pandemic would directly and profoundly impact the underpinnings of nearly every reader’s life; 3) Journalists would rise to the challenge of reporting the fast-paced developments and long-term ramifications, but would also need support and patience as they navigated new and stressful circumstances.

By late 2021, she decided that if she was going to continue to be an asset to her community and family, it was essential to take care of her own well-being. Among her final acts as executive director was a letter to readers that included this important sentence: “It’s time for me to focus on my well-being and find myself again outside of PublicSource.” This description of her decision, like so many of her other acts at PublicSource, had the effect of de-stigmatizing the prioritization of self-care and behavioral health wellbeing.

Julius Boatwright

Julius Boatwright

2021

On September 10, 2021 – World Suicide Prevention Day – Staunton Farm Foundation announced Julius Boatwright as the recipient of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award for Innovation in Behavioral Health. In honor of the award, Julius, the Founder and Managing Director of Steel Smiling, wrote the following message:

Content Warning: Suicide Awareness and Mental Health

For those of you who don’t already know, it’s World Suicide Prevention Day. This moment in time is near and dear to my heart for a number of different reasons. I’ll share just a few reflections that will forever be meaningful to me.

1. As a Black man, I take great pride in being emotionally intelligent, sensitive, and vulnerable. I’ve discovered that my most supportive and healthy relationships emerge when I show up as the authentic version of myself. The depth and realness of these connections help me to grow, heal, and evolve in ways that I never knew were even possible. With that being said, I’ve made it part of my life’s mission to let all black men know that practicing gentleness with yourself in these areas can illuminate a pathway to mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational development.

2. Nearly seven years after one of my dear friends transitioned following a tough experience with mental illness, I’ve learned how to lift up his life and legacy through love. I wake up every single day and pray for guidance on how to acknowledge people’s wellness needs with a deep sense of empathy, compassion, and integrity. What once left me with an array of unanswered questions, has since given me so much clarity, focus, and excitement for living. Now, the depth of passion and purpose that I feel from God to fulfill this mental health ministry is truly astounding.

3. When you make the conscious decision to commit your life to this type of service, please know that it will take a village of folks to sustain. I’m grateful, honored, and humbled to be mentored by some of the most kind-hearted, intentional, and amazing human-beings in the world. The way that people have gone above and beyond to pour into this calling continues to leave me in awe and inspired. Please know that if you’ve ever taken the time to support my well-being along the way, I deeply appreciate your kindness.

As always, you’re loved, valued, and appreciated. 

Staunton Farm Foundation is as proud to work with Julius and power Steel Smiling’s work today as we were when we were one of their first funders and partners.

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski

2020

The Staunton Farm Foundation announced Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the recipient of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award for Innovation in Behavioral Health. Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski, is founder and president of The Academy for Adolescent Health Teen Outreach in Washington, PA.

For over 30 years, Dr. Podgurski has dedicated herself to improving the lives of adolescents’ health and prevention. She believes everyone has worth and potential. Her programs educated more than 250,000 students in Washington, Greene and Fayette Counties with in-school programs teaching youth about self-respect, respect for all, human sexuality, and teen pregnancy. Her newspaper column “Ask Mary Jo” answers questions about health and sexuality. She also has authored 34 books, The Nonnie Series for children on pertinent topics.  She has presented over 750 workshops locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Podgurski founded The Washington Health System Teen Outreach in 1988 and a peer education program in 1995. Dr. Podgurski mentors young parents and trained over 15,000 peer educators and impacted the lives of over 7,000 young parents. Dr. Podgurski was a leader in establishing the LGBTQI programs in Washington, PA.

Dr. Mary Jo embodies the spirit of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Her ability, energy, and years of service to youth and their families, are what made her this year’s award winner. She is an inspiration to us all.

– Paul “Stoney” Griffiths, president of Staunton Farm’s board of directors.

Michael-Gruber

Michael Gruber

2019

Mike Gruber is the System Transformation Unit Coordinator for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health and is the Project Director for Stand Together. In his current capacity as Coordinator of the System Transformation Unit, he promotes wellness, recovery, and resiliency principles and practices an d seeks to end stigma and advance community integration for youth and adults who have behavioral health challenges.

Mike has worked in the mental health field for over 35 years as a clinician, EAP counselor, outpatient supervisor, mental health planner, and program manager of six programs, starting four of them.

His current duties include developing, coordinating, and implementing strategic planning for recovery initiatives as well as policy development. He works with the Allegheny County and the state to increase practices to promote awareness of recovery and implementation of recovery practices within the behavioral health field. He also manages the Certified Peer Specialist Program and the faith-based Behavioral Health Inclusion Project and is a certified Mental Health First Aid trainer.

Prior to assuming his current position, he worked as the Planning Specialist for the Office of Behavioral Health with primary responsibility for writing the annual mental health plan submitted to the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. In addition, he provided support to various stakeholder groups such as the Community Support Program.

He received his MSW with a specialization in planning, policy, and evaluation at Western Michigan University. Prior to beginning his mental health career, Mike served as a VISTA Volunteer where he learned community organizing strategies and techniques. His work reflects his belief in client self-determination and empowering disenfranchised groups to influence the service delivery system to be more responsive.

Dr. Neil Cappreto

Dr. Neil Cappreto

2018

Dr. Neil Capretto, the longtime medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center who helped save the lives of thousands of people struggling to overcome addiction was a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Capretto served as the chief resident in psychiatry at the former St. Francis General Hospital in Pittsburgh — where Dr. Abraham Twerski, served as head of psychiatry and became Dr. Capretto’s mentor. Twerski, an international expert in addiction, founded Gateway Rehabilitation in 1972.

Dr. Capretto regularly served as a consultant to local and national media outlets, including ABC and NBC network news, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, People, Women’s Health, Ladies’ Home Journal and the Lifetime television network.

In 2009, he was named the Not-for-Profit Communicator of the Year by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Dr. Capretto was among the first physicians in the United States to be certified and awarded diplomat status by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He also served on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine; was a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, where he served on the Task Force on Addiction Medicine in the 21st Century; and was a member of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.In 2012, Dr. Capretto was named Psychiatrist of the Year by the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Dr. Capretto lost his fight to a rare gallbladder cancer on June 9, 2018.

Sally Jo Snyder

Sally Jo Snyder

2017

Staunton Farm Foundation has chosen Reverend Sally Jo Snyder, recipient of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award for Innovation in Behavioral Health.

For the past 13 years, Reverend Snyder has worked in justice ministry settings as a community organizer on local, state and national levels. Of particular concern to Rev. Snyder are issues which impact marginalized populations, children, the impoverished, members of the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.

Since March of 2007, Snyder has been on staff of the Consumer Health Coalition where she is the Director of Advocacy and Consumer Engagement. She created and leads advocacy events for rights, resources, room, and respect for persons with all types of disabilities (physical, mental, sensory, and developmental, cross). Snyder leads advocacy trainings and education events for diverse populations and seeks to empower and involve individuals in both self and systemic advocacy. Rev. Snyder was appointed to and serves as the Vice-Chairperson for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and is chairperson of the Health Workgroup.

Lynne Loresch

Lynne Loresch

2016

Lynne Loresch, has over 30 years of service with mental health community.  She will be retiring as the Executive Director  of Mental Health America of Washington County. Lynne is tireless advocate for eliminating stigma, raising awareness and educating the community on behavioral health. MHA Washington is an advocacy and service provider and under her leadership, she has built a number of community based services.

Lynne’s outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about the issues of behavioral health have made a significant impact not only on consumers, but also their families, MHA staff and Board, and numerous others.

Ian Cummins

Ian Cummins

2015

In November of 2013, Ian lost his younger brother to suicide. As an avid outdoorsman, Ian decided to turn this tragedy into an inspiring cross-country walk. Last year, he walked for six months from coast to coast to raise awareness for mental illness.

During the walk, which was called Ian Walks America, Ian shared his brother’s story with countless individuals and raised funds for mental illness, specifically NAMI Southwestern PA. Ian’s mission was magnified through social media and news coverage in various cities.

Upon his return home, Ian continues his involvement with the mental health community through volunteer work including speaking engagements, media interviews and continued involvement with NAMI Southwestern PA. He also gained employment as a nurse at UPMC Mercy Hospital’s Emergency Referral Center. In his free time, Ian enjoys hiking, traveling to new places, trying unique food and studying botany.

Sheila Fine

Sheila Fine

2014

Sheila Fine created LEAD Pittsburgh (Leading on Depression, Education, and Awareness about Depression).

When Sheila first conceived of LEAD, she was a total novice. She knew absolutely nothing about depression except that it was a condition that brought bright, articulate, and otherwise healthy people to their knees, and sometimes to commit suicide.

Sheila has combined her leadership talent, her skills at collaborating at every level within the community, her perceptiveness and sustained nature of her personal mission, to co-found LEAD, a grass roots non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the education and awareness of depression as medically treatable condition, eliminating barriers to treatment, and collaborating with community institutions to affect positive and lasting change.

Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett

2013

Karen Bennett has been Human Services Administrator for the County of Greene since 2000.

“Karen’s leadership and creativity have been invaluable. Greene County has an integrated model of human services, in that all departments are managed under one umbrella.

Their model allows for the most effective streamlining of human services, with centralized management, communication and location.

She has always put the consumer’s interest at the forefront and is an advocate on both the local and state levels. It is a privilege to be associated with Karen and her tremendous work

– Staunton Farm’s Foundation President, Rob Ferree. 

Walter Howard Smith, Jr.

Walter Howard Smith, Jr.

2012

Dr. Walter Howard Smith, Jr. had recently retired as Executive Director of Family Resources. Over twenty years, Dr. Smith has focused on understanding how family relationships change with stresses and result in child abuse, domestic violence, and conflict.

He is also a licensed psychologist with a private practice that specializes in treating children, couples, and families. He is the founding member of the Western Pennsylvania Family Center, an education resource center for lay and professional persons interested in family therapy and family studies. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Psychology Program at Duquesne University. He has presented lectures and conferences on child abuse and family emotional process throughout the United States and in several other countries.

Maurice J. Heidish

Maurice J. Heidish

2011

Maurice Heidish, LCSW, is the Director of the Community Partnerships Division of Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, a large diverse social service and behavioral health non-profit organization. His early clinical experience entailed treating families with mentally, emotionally and/or behaviorally disturbed children and adults with co-occurring mental health and drug and alcohol dependence.

Within his current Directorship/Administrative role, he has also provided direct service, trained, and led a team of Family Therapists. He received the Craig Award for the Specialized Family Therapy training regimen for Family Therapists.

Richard Jevon

Richard Jevon

2010

Dick Jevon was a board member and a volunteer Consumer Advocate at NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania. He has been actively representing the consumer voice and educating the public about mental illness since 1987.

“Dick Jevon is an activist who has personally brought about changes in the community mental health system through unrelenting, persistent advocacy,” said Chris Michaels, executive director of NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania. “Dick offers distraught family members great emotional support and comfort through education about mental illness and the service system, and he exudes empathy and understanding through his own shared experiences. We were honored to nominate Dick for the Albert B. Craig Jr. Award and thrilled that he is being recognized as a pioneer in mental health advocacy. His kindness, tenacity and generosity of spirit are unparalleled.”

Amy McNicholas Kroll

Amy McNicholas Kroll

2009

Amy Kroll was the first recipient of the Albert B. Craig, Jr. Award, as director of Justice Related Services for Allegheny County, where she helped build programs that prevent arrests and the sentencing of nonviolent people with behavioral health issues when they can improve through treatment, rather than arrest and conviction.

“It is because of Amy Kroll and her team that people with behavioral health issues are getting the treatment they need, rather than jail time,” said Marc Cherna, Directer of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. “We are pleased that Staunton Farm has recognized Amy’s leadership and what she and the Office of Behavioral Health have accomplished to benefit thousands of our Allegheny County residents.”