Senior Hope Counseling, Inc., a not-for-profit non-intensive substance-abuse treatment program for seniors 50 years and older and their families, has appointed a new executive director, Nicole S. MacFarland.
At the same time, William Brian Barr has been named president of Senior Hope’s board of directors.
MacFarland was recently promoted after serving as the agency’s clinical director for the past eight years. She succeeds Senior Hope co-founder and former executive director, Dr. William P. Rockwood, who led the agency since its inception in 2002.
Rockwood announced his retirement in May 2012 at the agency’s 10th anniversary celebration, where he and Adrienne Rockwood, his wife and Senior Hope’s co-founder, were honored for their vision and their work with the elderly in the Capital Region. Both Dr. Rockwood and Adrienne Rockwood remain involved with Senior Hope, meeting regularly with clients and serving as honorary board members.
MacFarland has been a pioneer and outspoken advocate in the field of geriatrics, according to a release from Senior Hope Counseling. She has lectured on both the local and national stage on the topic of geriatric addictions and co-occurring disorders among older adults.
Her articles have been printed in several national publications and she wrote a chapter in the book, Days in the Lives of Gerontological Social Workers: 44 Professionals Tell Stories from Real Life Social Practice with Older Adults.
MacFarland has also developed an online continuing education course about seniors in recovery, available through the New York State National Association of Social Workers. She is the recipient of a Hartford Doctoral Fellows Pre-Dissertation Award and the 2009 New York State Individual of Distinction in Addictions Education and Training Award. In 2010, she was honored as Social Worker of the Year at the NASW-NYS conference.
MacFarland’s community service includes leadership roles within the National Association of Workers, as delegate to the National Delegate Assembly representing the Northeast division of New York State, and representative to the committee on nominations and leadership identification for the NASW-Northeast division.
MacFarland received her bachelor of arts degree from Skidmore College and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare, where she is completing a dissertation in the area of geriatric addictions. MacFarland lives in the Capital Region with her husband, Gary, and their son, Jared.
Barr is a retired social worker and substance-abuse counselor. He has been a volunteer and activist in the Capital Region for more than 35 years, working closely with such service organizations as the Neighborhood Resource Center, Rotary Club, and United Way.
Before joining Senior Hope’s board as vice president in 2005, he served as associate deputy commissioner for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Prior to that position, he was the clinic and community service director for LaSalle School, a post he held for 28 years.
In 2011, Barr was honored by the Jefferson Awards for Public Service at a national recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. where he spoke before volunteer leaders from across the country. The Jefferson Awards – often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for public service” – are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America, presented on both national and local levels. The awards program, whose past national honorees include Rosalynn Carter, Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey, serves as a call to action for volunteers in local communities.
The Barr family experienced a deep personal tragedy when they lost their 18-year-old son to suicide in 1984. Since that time, Barr has been a prominent voice in the suicide-prevention movement, as one of the first to speak of suicide as a disease.
He also recognized the need for specialized treatment and the importance of renewing dignity to those most affected by the loss of a loved one. His work has been published in several venues, including Prevention magazine and the book, One Bite at a Time: Attitude Control in Daily Living.
Barr is a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy and St. Michael’s College, and he received his master’s degree in social work from Boston College. He is also an affiliate member of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
The other members of the board of directors are Vice President Alice Green, Ph.D.; Treasurer Alan Lobel, M.B.A.; Secretary Karen Lobel, M.S.; Robert Conway Jr.; Betty Devine, M.S.W.; Rose Golden, L.M.S.W.; Alice King, Ph.D.; Peter Knapp; Margarita Perez; and Cheryl Randall, Esq. Honorary board members include William Rockwood, Ph.D.; Adrienne Rockwood, M.S., Ed.S.; and Father Peter Young.